Service to Panhandle ag, Friend of Extension, and Esprit de Corps recognized
Nebraska Extension in the Panhandle has recognized Rick Preston, general manager of the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District, for Service to Panhandle Agriculture in 2019, and the executive director of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, Lynn Reuter, as a 2019 Friend of Nebraska Extension.
Cardinal Farrington, facilities director at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, was saluted for his efforts with the Esprit de Corps Award.
The awards were presented during the Panhandle District holiday celebration dinner in December, which was attended by leadership from the University of Nebraska Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, along with faculty and staff from the Panhandle R&E Center.
• Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture Award: Preston was recognized for the grace and professionalism he exhibited last summer following the tunnel collapse that disrupted water deliveries on the Goshen-Gering/Fort Laramie irrigation canal. The nomination recognized the yeoman effort that Preston and the board of directors of the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District exemplified during this crisis. His efforts to inform irrigation district members, along with his constant work with associated entities to bring resolution to this circumstance, were commendable.
The Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture Award recognizes those who provide outstanding service to agriculture in western Nebraska. Award criteria include value of work done or cooperation with UNL specialists or educators; leadership in agriculture; community service other than agriculture; and level of impact on Panhandle agriculture.
• Panhandle District Service to Extension Award: Reuter was recognized for her willingness to support and help facilitate extension and research endeavors at the Panhandle R&E Center and in the entire 16-county Panhandle Extension District. Her work as executive director of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission facilitates a positive relationship with the university, and she is always very helpful in strengthening connections between the university and dry bean growers and processors.
The Friend of Panhandle Extension Award recognizes persons or groups whose contributions have furthered Extension activities in the Nebraska Panhandle.
• Panhandle District Esprit de Corps Award: Farrington, the facilities manager at the Panhandle R&E Center in Scottsbluff, was recognized for his willing attitude to serve others and provide for the needs of the center. In particular he was commended for the effort to remove snow last March following one of the worst blizzards in recent history. He and his facilities crew also have done a remarkable job of freshening up the grounds at the center, including the arboretum area.
The Esprit de Corps Award is given periodically by Panhandle Research and Extension District to a person who exemplifies the definition of Esprit de Corp which is, “…a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group.”
Wisconsin native elected president of National Onion Association
Wisconsin native Doug Bulgrin has been elected president of the National Onion Association and will serve as the nationwide organization’s chief for the next two years. The National Onion Association was incorporated in 1913 and represents more than 500 onion growers, shippers, packers and suppliers throughout the United States.
He is the 32nd president of the National Onion Association. Trustees of the NOA elected him to the position in December during a convention in Naples, Fla.
Bulgrin, 46, has been with Gumz Farms and its predecessor, the Lewiston Corporation, for 30 years. He works at present as the onion packing shed manager for Gumz Farms, which bought out Lewiston in 1997.
Bulgrin loves the challenge of solving problems. He got involved with the NOA a few years back, working on food safety issues. “Rather than doing what someone has told us to do with food safety, I’d rather be involved in helping create and steer policies and rules that make sense,” Bulgrin said.
In his two-year tenure, he wants to concentrate on increasing membership, as well as member participation.
He attended his first Washington D.C., trip with the NOA leadership last year, and his eyes were opened. His expectations going in were, ‘How can I as one person make a difference?’ He quickly learned that he was dealing with human beings — everyday people who needed our industry’s expertise in some of the larger issues affecting the onion industry.
“That awakening in Washington was real. It’s like, ‘We really do matter. We can make a difference,’” Bulgrin said.
He hopes these next two years will be busy with meeting people, increasing membership and industry participation in Washington regulations that affect the onion industry.
Bulgrin said it will take everyone in the membership to help it evolve.
“If the NOA is going to continue to thrive, we have to evolve,” he said. “We need to hear if things are going well, or what aren’t going so well. The more ideas we have out there, the better.”
Bulgrin, who grew up on a dairy farm in Portage, Wis., is married to Nikki, and together they have three teen children. Bulgrin has spent the last seven years farming with his children to introduce them to agriculture. ❖