Not only do agricultural teachers play a critical role in preparing future generations for successful careers, but they also have a tremendous impact on the communities they serve. To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s teachers, Nationwide, the No. 1 writer of farms and ranches in the U.S.¹, has honored 10 exceptional ag teachers as finalists for the 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award

Each finalist received a $500 donation to their school’s agricultural program before being entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year. In addition to the Ag Educator of the Year designation, the grand-prize winner will receive a $3,000 Nationwide-funded donation to their school’s agriculture program and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy.  

“Nationwide created the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to bring attention to the growing need for agricultural teachers in this country,” said Nationwide’s President of Agribusiness, Brad Liggett. “Following the inaugural Golden Owl Award, the Iowa Ag Educator of the Year saw a 30-student increase in his agricultural shop class. We hope that providing teachers with additional resources and recognition will help to boost their programs and provide students with an optimal learning experience.” 

Nationwide initiated the Golden Owl Award in 2018 by recognizing 17 local agriculture teachers in Ohio and Iowa. As a result of the positive response from the communities that Golden Owl Award nominees make a difference in, Nationwide expanded the 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award to include California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Ohio’s 2018-2019 Ag Educator of the Year, John Poulson, teaches at Pettisville High School and has made a life-long impact on students for more than 38 years. 

“This award represents the entire Pettisville community because it takes a team effort to teach our students,” Poulson said. “It’s very positive for our future that Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau recognize the efforts of all the agriculture teachers across Ohio.” 

Nationwide is also investing $5,000 in each participating state’s FFA organization to further support aspiring agriculture professionals. 

The Golden Owl Award is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, Compeer Financial, Iowa FFA Foundation, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. 

Ohio’s 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award finalists

  • Christi Bachman – Bloom Carroll High School
  • Nathan Birkhimer – Fayetteville Perry High School
  • Hannah Everetts – Edon Northwest School
  • Collin Gierke – Global Impact STEM Academy
  • John Koenig – Miller City High School
  • Sarah Lucha – South Central High School
  • Wendi Mizer Stachler – Miami Trace High School
  • Tyler Pope – Buckeye Central High School
  • Jeremy Ryan – West Muskingum High School
  • Erin Wollett – Cardington-Lincoln High School

Source: 2018 SNL Financial Report. Based on statutory data.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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