HOWARD -- Tom Holton, an agricultural teacher at East Knox Jr./High School, is one of 10 finalists in Ohio for Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award.
This award recognizes the contributions of Iowa and Ohio teachers in preparing the next generation of young people for successful careers in agriculture.
“We’re proud to recognize outstanding teachers for their dedication to agriculture education and their communities,” said Brad Liggett, president of agribusiness for Nationwide. “These talented individuals have dedicated their careers to helping the next generation of agricultural leaders.
"The nominations highlight the tremendous efforts these teachers provide to agricultural education and the inspiration they give to their students.”
Holton was notified of the nomination at a surprise event on Friday. He has taught the FFA and agriculture program at East Knox for 36 years.
At separate award ceremonies, 10 finalists in Ohio and seven finalists in Iowa will be presented with a $500 cash prize and entered into a final selection stage.
In April 2019, 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 a Golden Owl Award trophy, the designation of Ag Educator of the Year and a $3,000 Nationwide-funded cash award designed to help support continued education efforts.
The nomination form states that:
"Holton's students have experienced success in competitions and academics. He has a special gift for seeing potential in someone, especially if they don't see it in themselves.
"Mr. Holton dedicates his time to help students recognize, unlock and achieve their potential."
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 years¹.
To shed light on this trend, Nationwide, the #1 farm insurer in the U.S., established the Golden Owl Award to honor contributions of agriculture teachers and the importance of agricultural education on future industry leaders.
This effort is the result of a partnership between Nationwide, the Iowa FFA Foundation, the Ohio FFA and Ohio Farm Bureau.
“We created this award to bring attention to the growing need for agricultural teachers in this country,” Liggett said. “Providing teachers with these additional resources will help develop their programs and provide their students with an optimal learning experience. Our goal is to spread this program to more states in the coming years to highlight all the talented agriculture teachers across the country.”