Nominations Now Open for Professional Development Awards

Written by NAMA on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 , 9:14 am

The Professional Development Awards of Excellence honor NAMA members based on outstanding achievement in each of the Professional Development Areas (PDA). Awards of Excellence will be presented in the areas of (1) Marketing Communications, (2) Product/Species Management, (3) Public Relations and (4) Sales.

The deadline for submitting nominations for the Professional Development Awards of Excellence is July 20, 2018.  These awards will be presented at the 2018 Fall Conference, September 18-20, in Minneapolis, MN.

Nominees for the Awards of Excellence must be NAMA members. Nominators should target individuals with direct planning and execution responsibilities in the respective Professional Development Area from agribusiness and related companies. If you have any questions regarding these awards, please contact Jenny Pickett at

Please fill out the online nomination form.

View the rules and regulations and past winners on the NAMA website.

Agribusiness Leader of the Year Award

Written by NAMA on Monday, April 2, 2018 , 12:01 pm

The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) has named Calvin Ernst, Founder and President of Ernst Conservation Seeds, as the 2018 Agribusiness Leader of the Year.

This award, which is NAMA’s highest honor, recognizes outstanding leadership in private, public or academic service and is conferred each year to a senior agribusiness executive who not only exemplifies excellence in agribusiness, but has also made significant contributions to the industry. Now in its 18th year, the award will be presented at the 2018 Agri-Marketing Conference, April 11-13, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Calvin Ernst has always believed in the need to continually educate himself and others on best practices, to study the future of agronomy and foresee opportunities to diversify and meet future demands. He has been invited to events across the world to speak about the greater conversation within the industry, including eastern Europe as part of the “People to People” exchange program in order to study a diverse agricultural practice; and China, where he helped promote inter-cropping perennial legumes with annual grain crops in order to reduce crop inputs and erosion.

He soon began collaborating with federal agencies, highway departments and land developers to establish wetlands and meadows using native seeds, and teaching these groups how to install bioengineering materials for soil stabilization. He has accomplished much in an industry that he largely pioneered, all while keeping a fearless work ethic and willingness to invest his time and efforts for the industry.

Ernst had witnessed firsthand the potential of crownvetch for erosion control while living and working in the greenhouses at Pennsylvania State University. His gut told him this legume held great commercial potential. Back then, in the mid-to-late 1960s, the massive U.S. Interstate Highway System was being built and suddenly, there was high demand for effective cover crops to revegetate rights-of-way and highway medians. Much of Ernst Crownvetch Farms’ key growth occurred during the ensuing years, thanks largely to the relationships being cultivated with highway departments and government agencies involved with the interstate system.

By the 1980s, the crownvetch market collapsed. Ernst then shifted almost his entire product offering to native plant seeds, then changed the name of his company to Ernst Conservation Seeds in order to solidify its shift in philosophy. The company soon began specializing in custom mixes for wetland mitigation, restoration and wildlife habitat. It later added bioengineering – or live plant materials – for stream bank restoration and other uses.

What began as five acres of crownvetch now includes nearly 10,000 acres of native grasses and wildflowers. Ernst Seeds currently grows hundreds of native and naturalized species for seed production and limited live plant sales. The staff has grown to nearly 90 full-time employees. Ernst and his company continue a mission to identify and locate native species with restoration and conservation value that can be cultivated into mass production.

Ernst has received considerable recognition during his career, including the Atlantic Seed Association’s Honorary Seedsman Award; the American Agriculturist Master Farmer award; the Governor Raymond P. Shafer Distinguished Service to the Community Award; Pheasants Forever Outstanding Support Award; the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program Special Service Award; Friends of French Creek Farmer/Landowner of the Year; Gannon University’s Small Business Award and Crawford County Council of Farm Organizations Ag-Industry Award for Outstanding Service to Crawford County Agriculture.

Ernst is a member of several trade, professional and conservation organizations, including the American Forage and Grassland Council, American Seed Trade Association, Inc., Atlantic Seed Association, Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, Ducks Unlimited, International Plant Propagators Society, Inc., National Federation of Independent Business, National Wild Turkey Federation, Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio, New England Wildflower Society, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association, Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, Pheasants Forever, Soil & Water Conservation Society, Southern Seed Association, Virginia Native Plant Society, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Western Seed Association.

He has served as commercial representative for the Eastern Native Grass Symposium Steering Committee. He serves on the Biofuels Advisory Panel for the Chesapeake Bay Commission. He also serves on the board of directors for French Creek Recreational Trails, Inc.

Next Gen NAMA Awards

Written by NAMA on Monday, April 2, 2018 , 12:01 pm

The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) is pleased to announce the winners of the Next Gen NAMA Award. This award, in its second year, was developed to celebrate the next generation of leaders. Honorees are nominated from within their company or through chapter or national leadership. The three recipients for 2018 are Kaitlyn O’Neal, Monsanto; Tyler Smith, Meredith Agrimedia; and Rebecca Shaw, Cargill.

Kaitlyn O’Neal has been with Monsanto for four years and is currently working with the internal Monsanto team, the regional WestBred staff and the marketing agency, Brighton, to develop and deliver targeted internal and external marketing plans. O’Neal has been pivotal to building WestBred from a logo into a brand that seed suppliers and growers recognize. She has been involved with the Great Plains NAMA chapter since 2014. She has served on the Fall Conference Committee and was the Vice Chair of the 2016 Fall Conference. Most recently,
O’Neal served as Chair of the 2017 Fall Conference
in Milwaukee.

Tyler Smith is a National Account Executive for Meredith Agrimedia. He has a history of developing relationships with his clients and helping them execute media goals. Smith is dedicated to having research drive his work with Meredith. Smith is an advocate for open communication in the workplace and he keeps tasks moving forward. Smith is an active member of the North Central NAMA chapter board. He helped plan and execute the Region 3 Best of NAMA awards in 2017, and has served as a judge for the student competition at national NAMA.

Rebecca Shaw works as a Dairy Marketing Specialist at Cargill and, over the past four years of her career, has developed her skills as a marketer and a leader. Shaw was part of the dairy marketing team from the beginning and helped create the project management system, sales support plan, etc. all the way through external positioning of the Cargill brand. Shaw also played an important role in the development and launch of our Feed Your Dreams campaign. She is active in the North Central NAMA Chapter and enjoys attending both regional
and national events.

The Next Gen NAMA Awards will be presented at the 2018 Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information on the Conference, visit

Ag Association Leader of the Year Award

Written by NAMA on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 , 11:31 am

NAMA has named Kendal Frazier, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), as the inaugural Ag Association Leader of the Year.

This award recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence among senior executives who have made significant contributions to the agriculture industry in their roles with association or commodity organizations. Frazier will be honored during the 2018 Agri-Marketing Conference, April 11-13, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Frazier’s tenure with NCBA began in March 1985, and during his more than three decades with the association he held leadership roles with its communications, governance and issues management functions. Frazier served as the Chief Operating Officer before being named CEO in 2015.

Throughout his years of service to the beef community, Frazier has worked on a number of high-profile projects and issues. For instance, he played a lead role in coordinating the beef industry response to the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. He also developed and/or managed a number of award winning communication tools utilized by NCBA today, including NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen, National Cattlemen and Directions.

Frazier was also instrumental in retooling the annual Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show to expand the industry-leading trade show, along with increased opportunities for experiences and entertainment, improving the event for attendees. This strategic shift has spurred significant growth in attendance, leading to consecutive attendance records in recent years, thanks in part to Frazier’s leadership and vision.

In addition to his work at NCBA, Frazier has also served in volunteer leadership roles with the Livestock Publications Council, Agriculture Council of America and more recently with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

Deadline for NAMA Industry Awards in Two Weeks

Written by NAMA on Thursday, January 4, 2018 , 12:22 pm

Celebrate the achievements and impressive careers of the very best in agriculture. NAMA has FOUR different opportunities, including a new award, with upcoming deadlines.

Winners of these prestigious awards will be honored at the 2018 Agri-Marketing Conference, April 11 – 13, in Kansas City, MO. Check them out below.

NEW! Ag Association Leader of the Year Award:
This new award recognizes outstanding achievement in association or commodity organizations. Click here to find more information about this award and fill out the online nomination form.

Agribusiness Leader of the Year Award:
Nominate a leader with amazing achievement in agriculture and the food and fiber industry. Click here to find more information about this award and fill out the online nomination form.

NAMA Marketer of the Year Award:
Can you think of a NAMA member who has outstanding accomplishments in the field of agri-marketing? Click here to find more information about this award and fill out the online nomination form.

Next Gen NAMA Award:
Know someone with a bright future in the industry? Now’s the time to shine the spotlight on them! Click here to find more information about this award and fill out the online nomination form.

Submission deadline is January 19, 2018.

Contact Jenny Pickett at if you have any questions.

This Web site is hosted by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).
NAMA is not responsible for comments or views expressed by users.