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Waltz, Young Farmers earn national award
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Effingham County High School agriculture teacher and longtime Young Farmer Association advisor Freddie Waltz receives the National Association of Agricultural Educators outstanding postsecondary/adult agricultural education program award from Jim Baudino, with Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. Toyota sponsors the Outstanding Agricultural Educator Award as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. Winners also received a two-year lease on a Toyota Tundra. - photo by Photo provided

ATLANTA — The Effingham County Young Farmer Association is one of only six programs nationwide that received the National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award on Nov. 28 at the NAAE annual convention in Atlanta.

Freddie Waltz has been an agriculture educator for 40 years. He has been teaching high school agricultural mechanics at Effingham County High School and advising the Effingham County Young Farmer Association for 15 of those years.

Waltz saw a need for continuing agricultural education beyond graduation, as he believes people, whether teenagers or adults, are lifelong learners. Members of the ECYF learn about an assortment of agricultural topics, and they decide what they want to learn about.

The ECYF raises funds to support the Effingham County Fair Livestock Show and scholarship funds for local high school agriculture students by holding an annual auction.  Community support and the participation of local businesses are vital to the success of the auction. The community, business leaders and professionals believe in the future of agriculture and invest in Effingham County students, raising $1,800 per year for the livestock show, and $12,000 for scholarships.

“The Young Farmer Program is strong and dynamic in Effingham County,” said Thomas Kessler, longstanding member of ECYF and owner of Live Oak Farm. “This program touches many outside of the farm community by helping each of the members be effective at our respective segments in agriculture.”

Each of the six regional Outstanding Postsecondary/ Adult Program Award winners received a plaque, expense paid trip to attend the NAAE convention in Atlanta, and a two-year lease on a 2012 Toyota Tundra.