Saturday evening just before the Minnesota State Holstein Show, the three finalists for the  Steele County Free Fair and KDHL Southern Minnesota Ag Ambassador of the Year were recognized. They were Matt Braun from Dennison, Randy and Kathy Bauer from Faribault and Steve Olson from Buffalo. This is a program that was started by the Steele County Fair and KDHL many years ago to recognize and say thank you to people that were promoting agriculture in Southern Minnesota.

Steve Olson from Buffalo was named the Steele County Fair and KDHL Southern Minnesota Ag Ambassador of the Year. Steve is the executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers and the Chicken and Egg Association. Steve helped lead the turkey industry through the crises of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2015. Steve, along with staff, continually conducted and coordinated interviews with the media during the outbreak. If a reporter wanted to talk with a state veterinarian, medical doctor or official from the Minnesota Department of Health, it was set up. Steve has a special passion for working with the FFA, having received the Honorary Minnesota FFA degree and the American Honorary FFA degree.

Two other finalists were also recognized at the Steele County Fair Saturday evening. One of those was Matt Braun from Dennison. Matt grew up on a farm in Dakota County and farms near Hollandale. Matt has been very involved with the Dakota Rice Corn and Soybean Growers and Rice County Pork Producers. Matt has taken charge of social media for the corn and soybean growers and pork producers, reaching out to consumers on Facebook and Twitter. Dakota County is rural, but it is also metro so Matt has taken advantage of that by organizing promotions at grocery stores in the metro area. Parking a big track tractor in a grocery parking lot is a great way to get consumers to stop by and start a conservation.

The other finalists were Randy and Kathy Bauer from Faribault. This is the first time a couple have been chosen as finalists. But Randy and Kathy are really a team promoting agriculture and educating children. The Bauer family are dairy farmers just east of Faribault and they have turned their farm into a classroom. Every spring the Bauer farm hosts third-graders from Faribault through the Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committees Adopt-A-3rd-Grader Program. In addition the Bauers' farm is open to any group that would like to come and visit. In addition Randy and Kathy are involved in many farm groups and community organizations.