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Nationwide Announces 2019-20 Ag Educators of the Year

The Golden Owl Award® recognizes the nation’s extraordinary agricultural teachers

Des Moines, IA – Educators devote limitless time, and often their own resources, to helping students pursue their passions. Through uncertainty, they’ve also shown agility and patience as virtual and reformed learning environments have required them to pivot quickly to digitize their curricula.

Nationwide, the number one insurer of farms and ranches in the U.S.1, is honoring five agriculture teachers with the Golden Owl Award®, recognizing them as their state’s 2019-20 Ag Educator of the Year.

Nationwide will award each winner $3,000 in funding to help bring new opportunities to their programs and students2. The insurer recently recognized the exceptional efforts of 31 agricultural teachers across five states as finalists for the 2019-20 Golden Owl Award®.

The 2019-20 Ag Educators of the Year are:

  • California: Rosemary Cummings – Nipomo High School, Nipomo, CA
  • Illinois: Ed Curry (posthumous) – River Ridge High School, Hanover, IL
  • Iowa: Elsa Schmidt – Mid-Prairie High School, Wellman, IA
  • Ohio: Christi Bachman – Bloom Carroll High School, Carroll, OH
  • Pennsylvania: Mark Anderson – Elizabethtown High School, Elizabethtown, PA

“As a company with deep roots in the agriculture community, Nationwide knows the critical role that agricultural teachers play in preparing the next generation of industry leaders,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “We’ve received thousands of nominations over the years highlighting the impacts teachers make in their classrooms and communities. Those touching stories have inspired us to honor even more well-deserving teachers.”

Nationwide launched the Golden Owl Award during 2018-2019 by recognizing the contributions of 17 Iowa and Ohio agricultural teachers. Nationwide expanded the 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award to recognize 31 outstanding educators across five states: California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Now in 2020-2021, the award is expanding again to include Indiana and New York.

“We encourage students, parents, fellow teachers and others to nominate their favorite agricultural teachers to acknowledge their hard work,” said Liggett. “We’re so appreciative of our state partners. Without their collaboration and dedication to the industry, this program would not be possible.”

Nominations for the 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award are now underway and will close on December 31, 2020. Following the nomination period, a selection committee will determine finalists for each state, who will receive an individualized plaque and $500 to support their agriculture programs2. A finalist in each state will then be chosen as that state’s Golden Owl Award winner. To nominate a teacher or learn more about the Golden Owl Award, visit GoldenOwlAward.com.

Nationwide support of agriculture community

Nationwide supports the future of the ag community through meaningful sponsorships of national and local organizations. In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is donating $5,000 to each participating state’s FFA to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers and advisors alike.

The Golden Owl Award is the result of a partnership between Nationwide, the California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, Indiana FFA, Farm Credit Mid-America, the Iowa FFA Foundation, New York FFA, New York Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, AgCredit, Pennsylvania FFA, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Compeer Financial.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


1 Source: By direct written premium, AM Best (2018)
2 In accordance with Ohio law, cash prizes in Ohio are awarded to the winner’s school ag program.