40 years of the Cozad Chamber Farmer Appreciation BBQ celebrating the future of Ag

Cozad High School FFA Instructor McKenize Crowe addresses the crowd at 40th Annual Farmer and Businessman Appreciation BBQ.

COZAD — Forty years of existence is cause for celebration, the Cozad Chamber of Commerce was celebrating both their Farmer and Businessesman Appreciation BBQ and their 2019 award winners on Tuesday, Aug. 13

The event is organized by the Cozad Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, the Cozad ambassadors helped out with the running of the barbeque and serving.

There are two awards presented during the evening, the Ag Service Award and the 2019 Farm Family Award.

The winner of the Ag Service Award was Mike Bellamy. The presenter, Chuck Birgen, said Bellamy was born in Cozad and he worked the family farm with his father from an early age. He went on to study ag economics in college, and returned to Cozad to continue helping the on the farm.

Today the farm is a fourth generation family farm, Birgen said.

“It’s quite an honor, thanks,” Bellamy said after receiving the award, “Cozad has been quite the place to raise a family.”

He said his business has been successful thanks to his employees and noted he would not be anywhere without his customers.

“I can’t say enough for the customer base here,” Bellamy said in closing, “Thanks to the chamber and the Ag committee.”

Cozad Executive Director Karmen Morse said Bellamy was chosen for the Ag service award because of all of his actions in the community and his promotion of agriculture has been tireless throughout the years.

Don and Jane Kinnan were named as the 2019 Cozad Farm Family of the Year. The Kinnan family story had been compiled by Barb Batie and was read by Birgen during the event.

Don Kinnan was born on July 19, 1932, Jane on June 12, 1931. Both met in Cozad and they were married on Aug. 19, 1951 at the Presbyterian Church in town.

Don had worked the family farm starting when he was a senior in high school, and work the same land his whole life, except for two years when he served in the Korean War.

Morse said the Kinnans were chosen due to their deep roots in the Cozad community and their farm is multi-generational. She said they have been active in the farm and ag community.

Senator Matt Williams was on hand as one of the presenters during the event. “Cozad should have great pride in the business celebrating the ag industry,” Williams said.

“Ag has had challenges these years,” said Williams, speaking of the March blizzards and flooding and the July flooding, “commodity prices are not where we want them to be, we have issues with trade and tariffs.”

Yet Williams said people will always be “optimistic and bullish,” about the future of agriculture. He said the most important ingredient in ag is the people.

The night was about celebrating people, celebrating everyone who has made a commitment to community and agriculture, said Williams.

There are three ways people react to adversity, Williams said, they quit, they blame or they step up and take responsibility to make a positive change.

“We will move and grow together, we may ride a rollercoaster of trade prices, but we will work hard and move forward,” Williams concluded.

The new Cozad High School FFA Instructor McKenize Crowe and the FFA officer team also made a presentation before the group. Crowe said she was originally from McCook and grew up in the front seat of a tractor. She described her passion for FFA and its importance for those students who are interested in going into agriculture for a career.

“I can’t wait to see what Cozad has to offer,” Crowe said, “The FFA officers take on a huge role every time they zip up the jacket.”

Crowe said the FFA team will be “living at leadership workshops,” this year and will also attend the national FFA convention.

“Ag is the best industry in the world,” Crowe said as she concluded.

Judy Eggleston presented Ag Scholarship information. The scholarship has been handed out since 2007 to students who are interested in agriculture.

Kyle German, the 2018 AFA scholarship recipient, as present to tell the group how he had benefited from this scholarship. German first thanked Eggleston and the Cozad Ag Committee for awarding him with the scholarship.

German is currently attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and is majoring in ag business with a minor in agronomy. This summer he has an internship in Gothenburg.

He encouraged the FFA students to apply for the scholarship and take advantage of the opportunity.

At the conclusion of the event, Birgen said, “We have heard about optimism, these may be hard times but this is a reminder of why I live where I live. We make a commitment to get past this together. Have a safe and productive harvest.”

Morse said on Thursday she felt the event went great and there were many generous sponsors this year.

Please see page seven of the Clipper-Herald to read Barb Batie’s full write up about Don and Jane Kinnan.

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