LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation held its fifth annual Grower’s Gala on Dec. 7, as a virtual event. The event celebrated the Foundation’s mission to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. The virtual event included program highlights, testimonials, and a tribute to retiring President Steve Nelson. 

“The year 2020 has been full of pivotal moments. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation adapted quickly to the new methods of teaching and learning, recognizing that a strong statewide understanding of agriculture is more important than ever before,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director.

The Foundation moved its live auction to an online auction with the support of BigIron Auctions. More than 50 items were auctioned, including dinner with the newly elected president of Nebraska Farm Bureau, seed corn, a drone, barn security camera, remote control Ford cooler, gun concealment bench, binoculars, tools, clocks, and gift baskets.

“We can’t THANK BigIron Auctions enough for hosting our auction at no cost. Thanks to the BigIron Gives platform, our members got a professional online auction experience, and 100% of the sales prices come to the Foundation to help fulfill our mission,” said Schafer.

Lancaster County Farm Bureau sponsored the annual “deck of cards” raffle, and Nick Haack of Kearney/Franklin County Farm Bureau was the lucky winner of a Browning X-Bolt Medallion .270 Caliber Rifle and Leupold scope.

Thanks to the generosity of donor Charles W. Herbster of Falls City, Neb., a matching gift doubled the first $25,000 raised at the Grower’s Gala. Totals for the event topped $58,000 to support the Foundation’s programs including Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom, the Ag Pen Pal program, scholarships and awards, and consumer engagement efforts.

“Mr. Herbster’s matching gift has been transformational for our fundraising at this event for three years in a row. Our team is honored to put his gifts to good use every day, and we are happy to recognize his outstanding generosity,” said Foundation Board Member Rob Robertson.

The Foundation also honored retiring President Steve Nelson for his service to the Foundation. Lisa Lunz of Dixon County also retired from the Board of Directors and as the chair of the Promotion and Education Committee (P&E). Also retiring from the P&E Committee is Sarah Bomark of Lincoln County.

“The Foundation benefits from the dedicated efforts of outstanding volunteers, and I am so grateful for the contributions of Steve, Lisa, and Sarah,” said Schafer.

Special thanks to BigIron Auctions for facilitating the online auction, and the following live auction and raffle donors: County Farm Bureaus: Buffalo, Douglas, Hall, Kearney/Franklin, Lancaster, Rock, and Seward; Nebraska Farm Bureau member benefit partners: Avis/Budget, CASE IH, Certified Piedmontese, Choice Hotels, Farm Bureau Bank, Ford, Grainger, IHG Hotels, John Deere, Nebraska Star Beef, OfficeDepot/OfficeMax, Tripbeat, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Yamaha, and Younes Hotels; additional supporters: Aurora Cooperative, Bakers Candies, Center Creek Gunsmithing, Craft Axe Throwing, Dekalb, Escape Room Lincoln, Glenda Mach, Harbor Freight Tools, Hosick Family, Lied Lodge at Arbor Day Farm, Lincoln Saltdogs, McClinton Family, Mark & Judi McHargue, Miletta Vista, Oriental Trading, Orscheln's Farm and Home, Paula Peterson, Rick Ronhovde, Schafer Family, Scheels, Sothern Hospitality Ventures, Thompson Family, UNL Athletic Department, Uppa Crik Tap Room, and WESTCO.

The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, visit www.nefbfoundation.org