Texas Farm Bureau names three Excellence in Agriculture finalists
(WACO, Texas)—A passion for agriculture, community and family earned three agricultural professionals recognition in this year’s Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) competition.
The finalists in this year’s contest are: Garren and Shannon Bellis of Grand Saline, Ryan and Jessica Railsback of Cisco and Ardy Tiner of Rusk.
TFB’s EIA award recognizes young men and women who are involved in agriculture but do not earn their primary income from a farm or ranch enterprise.
“Texas agriculture is diverse. It takes small and large farms and ranches, as well as businesses that support agriculture. And it’s the families behind those farms, ranches and businesses that makes agriculture a great industry,” TFB President Russell Boening said.
Finalists were chosen from TFB’s 13 districts.
Garren Bellis is a ranch manager for Gabriel Ranch, which is a registered Angus seedstock operation for both commercial and purebred cattlemen. In this role, he oversees the annual female and bull production sales, nutrition and health protocols and handles the daily aspects of the operation. Shannon Bellis manages BovaTrac International, a company that focuses on genetics for commercial cattlemen. She has worked with international groups and serves as a cattle consultant to the Ministry of Agriculture in Israel.
The couple also owns a small herd of cattle. They have one son, Beau, and are expecting another child.
Ryan Railsback is a ranch foreman for Paraiso Escondido. He manages the cow-calf operation and the wildlife operation, which includes white-tailed deer, exotic species, turkey, dove and quail. He also organizes commercial hunts and oversees brush control on the property. Jessica Railsback is an agricultural loan officer with Central Texas Farm Credit in Comanche County. She provides capital liquidity to agricultural operations and conducts agricultural valuations, among other duties.
Together, the couple partners on a Red Angus herd. They have two children, Kendall and Reed.
Ardy Tiner is an agricultural loan officer with Heritage Land Bank in Jacksonville. He works with those interested in purchasing land and livestock, helping them begin or expand their agricultural operations. Prior to accepting this position in July, he was an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor for 10 years. As a teacher, Tiner assisted his students in extracurricular agricultural activities, including stock shows and career and leadership development events.
He and his wife Brandi also have a herd of registered Brangus cattle. They have one daughter, Kinley.
“This year’s finalists exemplify the diversity of Texas agriculture. They also serve their communities, their families and agricultural organizations,” Boening said. “Their passion and determination to succeed is a benefit for all of Texas agriculture.”
The winner of the EIA contest will be announced at the TFB Annual Meeting in Corpus Christi Dec. 1-3.
The EIA winner will take home a UTV, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, and a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit.
This year’s EIA runners-up will receive $500 cash, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company.
All three finalists will receive an expense-paid trip to the TFB Annual Meeting.
The state winner will also represent Texas in the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting Jan. 11-16 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
For more information about the Excellence in Agriculture contest and other young farmer and rancher opportunities, visit www.texasfarmbureau.org/YFR.