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Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement honors, elects new members

Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement honors, elects new members
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green offers remarks at the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement banquet March 23 in Lincoln. (Photo: Loren Rye)

Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement honored David and Ann Bruntz, and Don Hutchens at a banquet on March 23 at Nebraska East Union in Lincoln.

Formed in 1916, the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement is dedicated to preserving and improving Nebraska agriculture. Each year, the group recognizes at least one honoree and elects new members.

David Bruntz grew up on a family farm near Friend, and Ann (Ramm) was raised on a family ranch near Stuart. They met while attending while attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. After they married they began their farming operation near Friend, Bruntz Farming & Feeding Inc., which consisted of corn, soybeans, milo alfalfa and cattle.

Both have served in several key volunteer and leadership positions. David’s roles have included chairman of the Nebraska Cattlemen Farmer/Stockman Council and president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Research and Education Foundation, a role that Ann has also held. In addition, Ann has served as chairman of the board for two terms at the Nebraska Beef Council. She has also been president of both the Nebraska Livestock Feeders Auxiliary and the Nebraska Cattlewomen. In 2003, Ann was honored with the Nebraska Cattlewoman of the Year award.

The couple are very involved within the agricultural industry and their community of Friend. They are active in the Nebraska Agribusiness Club, Agriculture Builders of Nebraska, Farmers Union Cooperative, Friend Chamber of Commerce and Friend United Methodist Church.

Hutchens grew up on the family farm southeast of Geneva. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and then returned to the family farming operation for 14 years before beginning his career in agricultural leadership. In 1985, Hutchens was named assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, eventually serving as director in 1986. He was selected as executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board in 1987, a role he held until retiring in 2014.

As a graduate of the inaugural class of the Nebraska LEAD Program, Hutchens recognizes the value of giving back to the industry through service and as a mentor. A few of his volunteer involvements have been with the Nebraska 4-H Foundation, Nebraska FFA Foundation and the Agriculture Builders of Nebraska.

Honors Hutchens has received include an honorary American farmer degree from National FFA, outstanding member award from Nebraska Young Farmers and Ranchers, outstanding professional contact from the mayor’s committee for international friendship, the leadership alumni award from the Nebraska LEAD Program, and an award for outstanding leadership and dedicated service to agriculture from KRVN.

NHAA also welcomed new members at the banquet. New members were nominated by a fellow member of the hall for their significant contributions to the state’s agriculture industry.

This year’s new NHAA members, listed by hometown are:

  • BROKEN BOW: Bill Adams, chief engineering officer, Adams Land and Cattle; Jerry Adams, chief executive officer, president, Adams Land and Cattle; and R.T. Thomas, owner/operator, Thomas Livestock Inc.
  • EDGAR: Dawn Caldwell, head of government affairs, Aurora Cooperative
  • FIRTH: Ed Woeppel, education and program director, Nebraska Cooperative Council
  • LINCOLN: George Graef, professor of plant breeding and genetics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • SCOTTSBLUFF: Arden Wohlers, rancher and retired veterinarian
  • ST.PAUL: Fred Meyer, farmer and rancher
  • WESTON: Gregg Fujan, owner/operator of soybean and corn production enterprise
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