Rural Recognition Banquet on tap

Rural Recognition Banquet on tap

Feb. 28 Agribusiness Breakfast 1

Brad Christensen, center, the chair of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce's Agribusiness Committee, listens in on a conversation while Chamber President Jeanne Schieffer writes down meeting minutes Friday at Stack n' Steak. This month's Agribusiness Breakfast was focused on preparations for this year's Rural Recognition Banquet, to be held March 24 at the Platte County Ag Park.

Preparations are continuing for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s Rural Recognition Banquet, set for 6 p.m. March 24 at the Platte County Ag Park.

The 52nd annual event will spotlight the many great contributions that the agricultural community and agribusiness have made to Columbus over the previous year. It will also serve as a celebration for people who have made a significant impact on agriculture and Columbus, through the presentation of five main awards: The Ag Pioneer Award, Ag Impact Award, Outstanding Area Farmer, Outstanding Senior Farmer and the Outstanding Women in Agriculture Awards.

Those particular awards will be presented to BJ Barcel of Barcel Landscape Products (Ag Pioneer), Dean Hanke (Ag Impact), Tim Mueller, (Outstanding Area Farmer), Mark Jenny (Outstanding Senior Farmer), and Kelly Jackson (Outstanding Woman in Agriculture), the chamber and committee recently announced.

Plans were continuing to be finalized at Friday’s Agribusiness Breakfast at the Stack n’ Steak, where committee chairman Brad Christensen has been crossing his t’s and dotting his i's to make sure the event is as good as previous years. With Platte County coming off of an eventful year, he said he feels that the 2020 event will be a good way to celebrate the impact that local farmers make on the community.

“Last year, we had it the week after we had the flood,” Christensen said. “We questioned, ‘Should we have it?’ We felt that our community needed that, our ag family needed the fellowship and the time to get together. I feel that this year has proven that our ag family and ag community is very strong. We all come together to help each other in our time of need and support. It’s not over yet, but it gives us another year to reflect on achievements and even the struggles that we’ve been handed or dealt.”

The event will include a spotlight on the Platte County 4-H program, as outstanding 4-H members will be presented awards delivered by the Nebraska Extension staff. In a press release sent out Friday, extension/4-H youth development coordinator Jill Goedeken said that they were appreciative of the spotlight that will be given to the many 4-H participants throughout the county.

“Our staff appreciates the opportunity to spotlight 4-H members, families and volunteers at the Rural Recognition Banquet,” Goedeken said. “It is certainly a special evening for the 4-H program and I look forward to congratulating all of the tremendous youth and volunteers honored at the Rural Recognition Banquet.”

A few loose ends need to be tied up before the big day, but for the most part, Christensen said that everything was finalized for the event. He’s looking forward to a great turnout to the event and another year of spotlighting what’s good in the world of agribusiness.

“It’s a great night to honor area farmers and anyone who’s in ag in our community,” said Miki Naylor, a member of the Agribusiness Committee from Pillen Family Farms. “We have a long-standing tradition of people (for whom) this is their livelihood, this is who they are and we’re glad to be part of it and to honor their contributions.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at



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