Night of honors

Published 9:57 am Monday, October 4, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
DOWAGIAC - The evening at the annual Cass County Farm Bureau 2004 annual meeting, held at Southwestern Michigan College, was one of good food, friendship and presentations of many awards.
Carl Sparks, president, introduced the distinguished guests, who included the President of Michigan Farm Bureau from Lansing Wayne Wood, and both State Rep. Neal Nitz and State Sen. Ron Jelinek.
Sparks was pleased to present the "Distinguished Service to Agriculture" to Dan Rajzer, the Cass County director for the Michigan University Extension office.
Additional awards went to the K-12 Educator of the Year - Cynthia Hopkins, a fifth grade teacher at Edwardsburg Intermediate School, and Agri-Science Educator of the Year - Clarence DeBoer, of Dowagiac Union.
Named Ag Communicator of the Year was Marcia Steffens of Leader Publications, editor of the Edwardsburg Argus and Cassopolis Vigilant.
Young Farmer Achievement Award went to David and Stacey High, who are state finalists. District finalist for Young Farmer Discussion was Dennis Peterson.
Proactive leadership in Ecology Management was Bill White.
Also recognized were the students who attended the Young People's Citizenship Seminar Program. Three of the five were present Monday to receive certificates: Brytani Griner of Marcellus, Lindsey Stoeckinger of Edwardsburg and Breeann Wiles of Marcellus. Not present were Michelle Hentz of Edwardsburg and Nicole Smith of Marcellus.
The students told of how the program has made them more aware of voting procedures and the importance of participating in both school, local and national government.
Star awards were given to program chairs: Cliff Poehlman, Darrin Williamson, Karen Clark, Dennis Wooden, and Dennis Peterson.
Key Club awards went to agents Jeff Neumann of Dowagiac and Pete Fichtner of Cassopolis for increasing new memberships.
Also discussed at the meeting was the importance of farmers volunteering to be environmentally friendly.