09:00 AM

Nine teachers named as their state’s Ag Educator of the Year

To thank educators for their exceptional contributions and devotion, students, parents, and community members nominated over 900 agricultural educators across the nine states for the 2022-2023 Golden Owl Award®. Of these teachers, 64 were recently recognized in their states as finalists. Nationwide and its state partners are proud to announce the nine Golden Owl Award grand prize winners and Ag Educators of the Year:

  • California: Jason Ferreira, Hanford High School
  • Illinois: Trent Tabor, Cambridge High School
  • Indiana: Duane Huge, Danville High School
  • Iowa: Emily Kruse, North Scott High School
  • Nebraska: Randy Vlasin, Hayes Center Public Schools
  • New York: Deb Fletcher, Cobleskill Richmondville Central School
  • Ohio: Jeffrey Stimmel, Big Walnut-DACC FFA
  • Pennsylvania: Michael Clark, Greenwood FFA
  • South Dakota: Noelle Swanson, Northwestern Area School District

As grand prize winners, these teachers earn the title of their state’s Ag Educator of the Year, the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy, and $3,000 in funding to help bring new opportunities to their programs. Each finalist was also recognized in front of their school and awarded with $500 for their program.1

“These outstanding agricultural teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of their communities,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “We’re committed to work with our state partners to honor these dedicated educators who continue to inspire future generations of agriculture leaders.”

As the no. 1 insurer of farms and ranches in the U.S.2, Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award to honor the contributions of teachers and support them with additional resources to assist their continued educational efforts.

In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is also donating $5,000 to each participating state’s FFA organization to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers and advisors alike.

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



1 In Ohio, all Golden Owl Award funding is contributed directly to the school to benefit the agriculture programs.
2 Source: A.M. Best Market Share Report 2022