Creating Solutions Together

The 66th Nebraska Agri-Business Exposition was held January 23-24, 2024 in Kearney, Nebraska at the Younes Conference Center North. This day and a half event consisted of educational training in conjunction with the Nebraska Extension’s Crop Production Clinics and a show of vendor exhibits.

The Nebraska Agri-Business Association (NeABA) honored industry leaders at its annual convention in Kearney on Monday, January 22. Steve Anderson retired Vice President of Sales and Marketing from Stueve Construction Company was awarded the 2023 Association Industry Partner Award. This award highlights individuals outside the association’s membership, who have contributed to agriculture in a significant way through their profession. While at Stueve Construction, Steve helped customers build more efficient, state-of-the-art Dry Fertilizer, Liquid Fertilizer & Ag Chemical Warehouse Infrastructure for Ag Retailers, working closely with Ag Trade Partners across Nebraska as well as the US. & Canada. His leadership skills allowed him to show the next generation how to serve their customers. Steve is a coach and mentor to many. His dedication and support to ag retailers and the cooperatives in Nebraska often earned him the title of “Legend.”

Ray Steil was recognized with the “Award of Industry Distinction.” This special honor is not given annually and is reserved for individuals who have been dedicated to the mission of the Association during his lifetime. Ray is the owner and operator of Regulatory Management & Consultants and has over 50 years of experience in the Agricultural Industry. His passion for safety guided his service to many retail facilities and their employees in DOT, Worker Protection, Workers Comp, and EPA regulatory compliance. His impact on the profession is profound. Many look to Ray for direction, leadership, and advice to serve their customers without interruption, particularly at critical and stressful times.

Ray developed and completed anhydrous ammonia Response Training for over 400 Fire Departments. They have a new respect for the product and are confident if they had to respond to an accident. In addition to providing instruction for the Association’s ammonia training safety school, Ray also provided an industry HAZWOPER training course.

Ray has served on the National Safety Council’s Fertilizer and Agricultural Chemical Section. He was awarded the Frank Russo Memorial Safety Merit Award in 1995 and the Mid America Croplife Association “Step Award” in 2015 for his outstanding leadership and contributions to safety and education in the industry.

These awards were presented by Doug George, Chairman of the Association and a Sutton, Nebraska resident. Doug is Vice President and an agronomist at George Brothers Propane & Fertilizer Corporation in Sutton, Nebraska.

Presented by Mike Heins, Association Board Member, was the “Robert L. Anderson Industry Person of the Year” award. This award honors a member of the Nebraska Agri-Business Association for their exemplary service to the industry. The recipient is Gene Florell of Rusty’s Fertilizer in Elm Creek, Nebraska. Gene operates Rusty’s Fertilizer with his wife Barb. The success of the business is a tribute to Gene and Barb’s hard work. A true “family business.” The loyalty of both Rusty’s customers and employees are tied to Gene and Barb treating them like family.

His willingness to be an innovator and try new methods proved successful for Gene, but above that, his integrity earned him the respect of his employees and customers.

Gene’s greatest impact on the Association is his dedication to supporting events through participation and encouraging others to be involved. The Association can always count on Gene to step up when support is needed. He believes in the mission and is an advocate for the importance of having a strong organization representing the ag retail industry.

The “Applicator of the Year” award was presented to Mike Brockman of Kaup Seed and Fertilizer in West Point, Nebraska. This award was established to recognize a commercial applicator providing outstanding service, good stewardship in their community and exceptional leadership through mentoring or training.

Mike has worked in the industry for 49 years, all of those with the same company, Mike’s loyalty is remarkable. He is responsible for custom applications on over 35,000 acres per year. Mike’s coworkers note that he is the “Benchmark” to which other applicators aspire. His attention to detail and professional attitude drives his high-performance level. Mike is requested by many growers in the area who know his level of skill.

Mike has trained many new employees in the right way to apply products to a field. His attention to detail has helped many operators learn to apply the right way.

In the community, Mike volunteers his time with the city and parks board, ensuring quality activities for his fellow fishermen and outdoorsmen.

Five years ago, the Nebraska Certified Crop Adviser (NeCCA) program began honoring those Certified Crop Advisers with longevity in the program with specially designed lapel pins. This year was no different with twelve Nebraska CCAs becoming 25-year veterans in the program. They are Keith Gillham, Rick Goertzen, Samuel Jameson, Robert Kleinschmit, Steve Lind, Michael Lindauer, Ernest Newquist, Troy Nichols, Jerry Overturf, Joseph Sisco, Matthew Wohlers, and Douglas Zarek.