Mid America CropLife Association Announces Award Recipients

The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) presented several awards at its recent annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN. They included the following:

  • Ambassador of the Year Award: Michelle Kilper, MACA’s Ag Academy Program Coordinator
  • Dean Roy Achievement Award of the Year: Aaron Locker, Helm Agro
  • Educator of the Year Award: Eric Snodgrass, Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • Industry Vision Award of the Year: Steve Petersen, President, Gowan USA
  • Ruth White Media Award: Bob Quinn, WHO Radio

Learn more about the award recipients below:


Ambassador of the Year

The Ambassador of the Year Award was first presented in 1993.  It is designed to recognize an ambassador for their efforts in promoting the crop protection industry through presentations to students or consumers.  This year’s recipient is Michelle Kilper, MACA’s Ag Academy Program Coordinator.  Formerly called the CropLife Ambassador Network, Michelle worked tirelessly to create the new name for the program which is Ag Academy and the new logo.  She’s updated the presentations for the ambassadors to use, she refreshed the website to make it more user friendly and continues to recruit ambassadors.

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Michelle Kilper

Through her efforts to have ambassadors make presentations to students in elementary and middle schools on the importance of agriculture, more than 7,000 students in seven midwestern states learned about agriculture during the 2022-2023 school year.

Kilper works to find creative ways to make the presentations fun for the students and have the teachers find the presentations beneficial.

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and her Master’s in Management from Fontbonne University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Since April 2015, Michelle has been working for MACA.  In addition to the Ag Academy program, she coordinates the Young Leadership Scholarship Program (YLSP) and Developing Professionals (DP) program.

Dean Roy Achievement Award of the Year

MACA President Joe Olson (left) presents the Dean Roy Achievement Award to Aaron Locker of Helm Agro.

MACA President Joe Olson presented the Association’s most coveted award, the Dean Roy Achievement Award, to Aaron Locker, Helm Agro, during its recent annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 7. The award is named in honor of one of the organization’s founders, for “Exceptional Service to MACA and the CropLife Industry,” for their contributions of selfless service.

Locker has been an active member of MACA for several years and worked in the industry for 32 years.  This past year Aaron served as the Industry Communications Chair which oversees the Ag Academy, Young Leader Scholarship Program, Developing Professionals Program in addition to recruiting members.  Locker works with his committee to develop a plan for the year and makes sure the plan is in alignment with MACA’s mission.  He holds his committee accountable by ensuring a solid plan and that it is executed.

He leads by example as he recruited a new member and also served on the Strategic Planning Team to help move MACA forward and prepare MACA for the future.

MACA President Joe Olson says, “It’s easy to see why Aaron has been successful in his career – he is calm, determined, and gets the job done.  While he may be a seasoned veteran, he still maintains a high level of energy and enthusiasm.   Aaron believes in MACA and recognizes its importance for the industry and thus is proud to be an active part of MACA.”

Aaron Locker lives in the Columbus, Ohio, area and is the 42nd person to receive the Dean Roy Achievement Award.

MACA Honors Educator of the Year

MACA Vice President Dr. Jaime Yanes presents the Educator Award to Eric Snodgrass of Nutrien Ag Solutions.

The MACA Educator of the Year Award was presented to Eric Snodgrass, Nutrien Ag Solutions. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated significant contributions to American agriculture, especially in the MACA region. Also, the person has demonstrated evidence of consistency in educating the public on the value of production agriculture.

Eric serves as the Principle Atmospheric Scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions for more than 4 years.  He spends countless hours creating and presenting weather data specifically designed to help Ag Retailers and Growers manage the largest unknown factor in agriculture within the Corn belt.  His unique combination of Ag specific master data and presentation skills brings those in agriculture a new capability to manage the business.   You can even see his ag weather forecast on YouTube.

His current research uses machine learning to better understand field-level weather impacts on yields in the US and to increase confidence in long-range weather prediction.

He presents his research as a featured speaker at over 100 conferences annually where he provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather sensitive financial institutions, farmers, commodity traders, and other stakeholders.

Before transitioning to Nutrien Ag Solutions, Eric was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2006-2019.

Currently, Eric is now an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Department.

Eric received his Master of Science degree from the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign and his Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology from Western Illinois University.

Industry Vision Award of the Year

MACA Vice President Dr. Jaime Yanes presents the Industry Vision Award to Steve Petersen of Gowan USA.

MACA presented the association’s Industry Vision Award to Steve Petersen, President, Gowan USA.

Steve has worked relentlessly to help create an environment at Gowan that makes all employees strive for excellence through a “boots on the ground” approach that puts customer relationships, value added agronomic products, and experienced know how into action for Gowan customers.

Petersen’s leadership has impacted millions of acres of row crop, turf, and fruit & vegetable crops across America.   His commonsense approach to working through the Covid 19 challenges has led to excellent customer satisfaction.

Steve grew up on a family farm in North Bend, Nebraska and earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Peterson has more than 26 years of experience in the Agricultural Crop Protection Chemical Business. He began his career with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) / ZENECA Ag Products and then transitioned to Gowan Company in 1999 where he has held several positions in Sales, Marketing, and Management.

Currently, Steve serves on the Executive Board of Directors for CropLife America. Gowan has been a long-time member and supporter of MACA over the years.

The award is presented to an individual who’s devoted their career to promoting and protecting the interests of the entire crop protection industry, which supports American and Midwestern agriculture, and has shown leadership roles within their company and in other industry-wide organizations.

This award was first presented by MACA in 1982.

Ruth White Media Award

Bob Quinn

The Ruth White Media Award is presented to an individual who’s demonstrated evidence of consistent, objective, and accurate reporting on American agriculture and the myriad of issues involved in modern agriculture, including the CropLife industry. This year’s winner is Bob Quinn, WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bob currently hosts the daily “BigShow” on WHO-AM 1040 on the dial from 11-1 p.m, central…the program also runs on WMT-AM Radio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Bob graduated from Iowa State University in 1978 and started his radio/tv career at a farm station is southeast Iowa and then moved to WHO Radio in 1983.  During his time at WHO, he has covered farm issues from Washington, DC — to corn and soybean fields across the Midwest.  Bob also hosts a daily, morning program that airs on stations in the Central Valley of California.

As a result, he shares agriculture with his large ag audience and with a large non-ag group of listeners.

Quinn’s farming roots date back to his grandparents farm just south of Des Moines.  He and his wife, Ann, have a small farm in Madison County in south central Iowa.