" "

The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee hosted the 13th annual ag appreciation luncheon Wednesday, March 19.

Guest speaker Kevin Kuhle, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation National Policy advisor, spoke on the recently passed Agricultural Act of 2014 (the Farm Bill) and how it supports farmers, rural communities, nutritional needs and conservation efforts.

The 2014 Friend in Ag Individual Award was presented to Brenda Ranum for her dedication and hard work in moving agriculture forward through her work with producers, women, youth and the community.

Ranum served the ISU Extension as a regional director until accepting her new position as the director of the career center at Luther College.

She has been a Winneshiek County Ag Coalition Member and a Pinebluff 4-H Camp Foundation Board member. Ranum has been an advocate and volunteer for the Northeast Iowa Regional Food and Fitness Initiative. Northeast Iowa was one of nine project planning sites in the country sponsored by W. K. Kellogg Foundation with a $500,000 grant. Also, under Ranum’s leadership, the Winneshiek County ISU Extension partnered with local organizations and women landowners to create a series of educational workshops to address issues affecting the growing number of female agricultural decision-makers. 

Ranum has received several distinguished service awards including the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Distinguished Service Award, and the National Excellence in Teamwork Award. She has also been awarded the ISU Extension, Team Achievement Award and the Youth Director’s Award.

The 2014 Friend in Agriculture Business Award was presented to Kirkeby Welding and Machine of rural Decorah.

Its owner, David Sacquitne, has been farming since 1999.

His farm consists of 328 acres in which he raises corn and soybeans. He practices soil conservation and applies these methods at the Sacquitne family farm, in which his father, Obert Sacquitne starting farming in 1953. He also owns and operates the Kirkeby Welding shop north of Decorah. 

Sacquitne is a machinist and welder and has been in business for 38 years. He serves farmers in the surrounding area as well as local businesses. He also constructs and builds grain pits for farmers.


Ag scholarships

The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce also awarded two scholarships in the amount of $350 each.

Ben Hanson is the recipient of the 2014 Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Scholarship at the high school level.

Hanson is senior at South Winneshiek High School. After graduating from high school, he is planning to attend Iowa State University to study agricultural engineering and to get a job with a company that manufactures agriculture equipment as design or test engineer. He also wants to get a small farm where he can continue raising his own cattle. Hanson is an active 4-H leader, participates in FFA, South Winn Trap Team, National Honor Society and Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. Hanson is the son of Brian and Rachel Hanson of Decorah.

Tanner Mashek  is the recipient of the 2014 Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Scholarship at the NICC level.

Mashek is a first year NICC agriculture student. He is studying ag business and dairy science, and has received various awards and recognitions with his involvement in ag-related and other activities. He is also interested in dairy cattle genetics and will do his internship at Swiss Genetics Al Company in Switzerland in 2015.

He is expected to continue his seven-generation family farm and become a mentor for the next generation of dairy producers. Mashek is the son of Dennis and Barb Mashek of Calmar.