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Morgan Allen wins Excellence in Agriculture award

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 12/12/2013 12:55 PM

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GOODHUE, Minn. — A Goodhue County Farm Bureau member is bound for San Antonio after winning an Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Morgan Allen, who farms with her husband, Keith, near Kenyon, won the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture award on Nov. 23.

Allen will represent Minnesota at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in San Antonio, Jan. 11-15.

She already is getting ready for the competition. Her application must be into the national office by Dec. 10. Last week, she was working with Katie Brenny, MFBF associate director of consumer outreach and leadership development, to refine her application.

It must really stand out because only the top 10 contestants have the chance to go before the judges with their PowerPoint presentation.

She finds out if she's in the top 10 at the first general session of the annual meeting, so she has to prepare a PowerPoint before heading south. The judges from the state competition gave her good feedback for improvements on her presentation and application, Allen said.

The written applications are anonymous at both the state and national level, Allen said, it's during the presentation that applicants get to be specific.

At the state level, 60 percent of the judging is based on an eight-page written application. The application has four parts, Allen said.

The categories are personal background, agricultural involvement, leadership experience and questions about issues facing agriculture.

The other 40 percent is based on the 20-minute presentation given to a panel of judges, the same people who judged the written application. The presentation is a way to walk through and expand upon the written application, Allen said.

She submitted the written application in September and learned Nov. 23 that she was the winner. Other contestants were Brad and Jenna Davis, of Wright County, and Eric Kuehl, of Stearns County.

She applied by herself because her husband, Keith, aged out of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Program. The program is targeted toward Farm Bureau members who are age 35 and younger.

The couple became involved in Farm Bureau about seven years ago through the Young Farmers and Ranchers program. They started going to Farm Bureau Day on the Hill and from there, they went to Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conferences. They've also taken a couple trips to Washington, D.C., with the young farmers program.

Their involvement began with an invite from some Farm Bureau members.

The couple will continue to stay involved in Farm Bureau, Allen said. Keith was just elected the Goodhue County Farm Bureau president and they have tossed around ideas to get people more active and more interested in Farm Bureau.

Strong county organizations are the strength of the state Farm Bureau, she said.

Allen said she's lucky to live in the county in which she grew up in and know a lot of the young farmers. Many of them are people she went to high school with and they are looking for things to do after they've graduated from 4-H, FFA and college. There are not a lot of social activities to bring farmers together in small, rural communities, she said.

Allen also wants to get involved in Farm Bureau's promotion and education activities.