Texas Farm Bureau announces 2023 Excellence in Agriculture finalists
(WACO, Texas)—A passion for agriculture, community and family earned three agricultural professionals recognition in the 2023 Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) contest.
The finalists in this year’s competition are Cody Berry of Lufkin, Matthew March of Livingston and Jacob Spivey of Warren.
TFB’s EIA award recognizes young men and women ages 18 to 35 who have not derived a majority of their net income from an owned production agricultural enterprise in any of the past three years.
“Texas agriculture is made up of farmers and ranchers, but it is includes businesses and individuals that support agriculture,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “These young professionals may not be farming and ranching full-time, but they are actively involved in continuing our state’s strong agricultural legacy.”
Cody Berry is an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor at Hudson ISD.
He helps his students learn through hands-on activities in the shop and through extracurricular activities, including livestock shows, ag mechanics projects, speaking contests and more.
Berry serves as the secretary and president of the Executive Committee of the Area IX FFA Association. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas.
In addition to his career as a teacher, Berry is active in Farm Bureau. He is an Angelina County Farm Bureau board member and serves as the Young Farmer & Rancher chair and on several committees. Berry previously represented District 9 on TFB’s Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee.
He and his wife, Madisyn, have two daughters and own land in Angelina County on which they harvest timber.
Matthew March is a County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Polk County.
March coordinates educational meetings, farm tours, seminars over pest management and assists with the senior citizen community garden. He also provides farmers, ranchers and local landowners with information related to agriculture and natural resources.
March farms in Rosenberg and lives in Livingston. He continues to help manage his family’s ranch in Fort Bend County and leases land to a local farmer. He also has a custom baling business.
He stays involved in his community by serving as the secretary for Polk County Farm Bureau and coordinates the Farm Bureau Produce Growers Breakfast Meeting each month.
Jacob Spivey is an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor at Warren ISD.
He works with students on livestock and plant-based projects, leadership skills and trains teams for FFA competitions. Through these activities, Spivey helps his students learn about the importance of agriculture and how to advocate for the industry.
Spivey is active in Farm Bureau at the county, state and national level. He serves as the secretary for Tyler County Farm Bureau and helps coordinate the county’s annual Ag Education Day. Spivey also served his local community as a director for the Chamber of Commerce, the hospital foundation board and school board.
Spivey and his wife, Melanie, have two daughters and live in Warren.
His family is involved in timber production and raises Brahman cattle.
The winner will be announced at the TFB Annual Meeting Dec. 1-3 in Frisco.
The winner will receive a $15,000 member-dealer voucher to be used at Ford, Case IH, Grasshopper, CAT or John Deere, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, an engraved crystal award; and expense-paid trips to both the TFB Annual Meeting and AFBF Annual Convention.
The two runners-up will receive a $1,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Bureau Bank; a $500 cash award, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company; and an expense-paid trip to the TFB Annual Meeting.
The winner will advance to compete in the national contest hosted by AFBF in January.
Information on TFB’s EIA contest and Young Farmer & Rancher program can be found online at texasfarmbureau.org/YFR.
Annual Meeting details
For more information about TFB’s 90th Annual Meeting, visit https://texasfarmbureau.org/annualmeeting.