Local agricultural teacher honored as finalist for  Ag Educator of the Year

Nationwide and United Group Insurance honored Shenandoah High School agricultural teacher, Sarah Martin, Jan. 27 as a finalist for the 2019-2020 Ag Educator of the Year honor through Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award. Pictured L to R: Jason Shaffer, Shenandoah High School principal; Kim Hall, Nationwide; Sarah Martin, Shenandoah High School agricultural teacher; Nick Bosley, United Group Insurance; Steve Ferreira, Nationwide and Josh Remington, Iowa FFA Foundation.

On January 27, Nationwide and United Group Insurance honored Sarah Martin, an agricultural teacher at Shenandoah High School in Shenandoah, as a finalist for the 2019-2020 Ag Educator of the Year honor through Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award. As a finalist, Martin was presented with a $500 cash prize and plaque in front of fellow teachers and students. She will now have the chance to be crowned as Iowa’s Ag Educator of the Year in April 2020 and receive $3,000 to help fund future educational efforts.

About the Golden Owl Award...

Farming is the backbone of America, but recent trends show a declining number of students who are studying agriculture. In Iowa alone, the presence of agriculture teachers (or teachers in the field) has decreased by 20 percent over the last five years.

To shed light on this trend, Nationwide, the #1 farm insurer in the U.S., established the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to honor contributions of Iowa and Ohio agriculture teachers and the importance of agricultural education for future industry leaders. The 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award was expanded to include California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Nationwide is also investing $5,000 in each participating state’s FFA organization to further support aspiring agriculture professionals.

After sifting through more than 1,000 nominations, Nationwide will honor 32 teachers across the five states throughout January and March 2020. This spring, one finalist from each state will be chosen as a grand-prize winner based on additional review by a selection committee. Each grand-prize winner will receive the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy, the designation of Ag Educator of the Year and a $3,000 Nationwide-funded cash award designed to support continued education efforts.

“Farming is in our roots at Nationwide and we’re proud to recognize teachers for their dedication to educating the next generation of agricultural leaders,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “These talented individuals have a tremendous impact


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on the students and communities they serve. The nominations highlight the passion and inspiration they impart on their students, fellow teachers and community members.”

Following the inaugural Golden Owl Award, the 2018-2019 Iowa Ag Educator of the Year quickly saw a 30-student increase in his agricultural shop class for fall 2019—at a high school with just over 300 students. Recipient Brad Taylor, a teacher at Roland-Story High School in Story City, Iowa, credits this growth to the recognition he received through the Golden Owl Award.

The Golden Owl Award is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, Compeer Financial, Iowa FFA Foundation, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

To learn more about the Golden Owl Award, visit www.GoldenOwlAward.com.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

¹Source: Iowa FFA data

2 Source: 2018 SNL Financial Report. Based on statutory data.

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