SPOKANE — The agricultural business community honored a business with deep roots in the region and high school students working for the future of the industry.
The AgriBusiness Council of Greater Spokane Inc., Spokane’s chamber of commerce and economic development council, gave the first Excellence in Agriculture awards to the McGregor Company and the Odessa High School Future Business Leaders of America.
According to the council, a selection committee considered four criteria — innovation in agriculture, economic and environmental stewardship contribution to agriculture, impact on agriculture and industry awareness and outreach.
The McGregor Company, based in Colfax, Wash., received the award for rehabilitating an abandoned biodiesel facility and turning it into a state-of-the-art fertilizer distribution center.
During his acceptance speech, Alex McGregor, president of the company, said he sees a broad range of opportunities in agriculture for the generations coming on board.
“Agriculture remains a place where hard work, integrity and a handshake are what drive us,” McGregor said. “I have not the slightest doubt that the next greatest generation will be up to the challenge and achieve much.”
The Odessa FBLA, from Odessa, Wash., was honored for a forum held during the 2013 expo in partnership with the council. Agriculture professionals spoke with students about career opportunities in agriculture.
The project placed first in the nation at the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in June 2013.
“It was definitely a shock and really an honor,” FBLA advisor Terri King said of the Spokane Ag Expo award. “In a small town, people like to see their students succeeding. When students win those kinds of awards, it makes our whole community and school system feel good.”
Jay Allert, AgriBusiness Council chair, said the awards perfectly match his organization’s mission to highlight positive things going on in the agriculture industry.
“It was this ‘Ah-ha’ moment of, ‘My goodness, let’s recognize people or organizations that have done something in the industry to promote it and make it better,’” Allert said.
Allert found it interesting how the awards naturally divided into honoring youth and business. He “absolutely” plans to continue offering the award.
Nomination forms will be available in the fall of 2014.