2017 – Dayle Williamson
With our 31st presentation of this award, we honor a very special contributor to agricultural and rural Nebraska over a rich lifetime of service and inspiration. The Nebraska Rural Radio Association’s Service to Agriculture Award for 2017 goes to Dayle Williamson of Lincoln.
Dayle Williamson was born and raised on the family’s farm in Southeast Nebraska near Ohiowa in Fillmore County and graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He immediately began a career in the US Army as a Second Lieutenant, serving two years, and then returned to his home state to join the Nebraska National Guard where he served with distinction during a career of some 30 years, retiring at the rank of Brigadier General.
But Dale’s expertise and successes are perhaps best known owing to his efforts in the areas of soil and water conservation, flood control and for his activities related to environmental protection and improvement. Dayle served with Nebraska’s Soil and Water Conservation Agency for 42 years, becoming that agency’s director in 1971. His first order of business was the enormous challenge of implementing the new Natural Resources legislation signed into law by Governor Norbert Tiemann and guiding the Nebraska Legislature to enact laws in 1972 combining 154 “special purpose entities” into Natural Resources Districts. On July 1, 1972, the Natural Resources Districts officially came into existence. Dayle served as Director for 30 years.
The Lincoln Journal Star at his retirement posited that Williamson’s agency had “been the conduit or overseer for hundreds of state and federal projects that have protected the state’s precious soil and water resources and have saved millions in potential flood damage.”
Soon after Dayle’s retirement from state government, he was tapped by Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Nelson to help craft the Farm Bill. With that, Dayle started a 12 year stint as Nelson’s right hand man on ag and military issues, and mentoring young staff members.
Then, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during which Dayle’s background and experience informed his call to serve when our warriors were sent abroad. Dayle constantly stood shoulder to shoulder with departing troops…their wives, husbands, children, mothers and fathers. As a “soldier’s soldier” with firm, kind and sound advice, a message of courage, he promised that he himself would be in front of the line at their welcome home…and he has done just that.
Dayle Williamson’s long and distinguished career exemplifies the very essence of service. It is the distinct pleasure of a grateful Nebraska Rural Radio Association to present the 2017 Service to Agriculture Award to Dayle Williamson.
(Special thanks to The Lincoln Journal Star and Nebraska Natural Resource Districts)
2016 – Howard Lamb, former Nebraska State Senator, Posthumously. Accepted by Howard’s son David Lamb
2015 -Mike Johanns, former US Senator, US Secretary of Ag, Nebraska Governor
2014 – Don Hutchens, retired Executive Director of Nebraska Corn Board
Nebraska Rural Radio Association
Service to Agriculture Award Recipients
1987 – 2015
2016 Howard Lamb, former Nebraska State Senator, Posthumously
2015 Mike Johanns, former US Senator, US Secretary of Ag, Nebraska Governor
2014 Don Hutchens, retired Executive Director of Nebraska Corn Board
2013 Weldon Sleight, retired Dean of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
2012 Keith Olsen, Grant, former President of Nebraska Farm Bureau
2011 Eric Brown, Lexington, KRVN and NRRA General Manager
2010 Jim Lundgren, Lexington, Nebraska Water Users
2009 Elaine Stuhr, Bradshaw, former State Senator
2008 Eugene Glock, Rising City NE, former NE Soybean President
2007 Dr. Allen Blezek, Director, Nebraska LEAD Program
2006 Dr. Tom Osborne, former U.S. Congressman, NE 3rd District
2005 Cap Dierks, veterinarian, rancher, former State Senator
2004 Robert C. Andersen, President, Nebraska Cooperative Council
2003 Willard Waldo and Max Waldo, Pork producers/innovators
2002 Dr Michael S Turner, UN-L AgriBusiness Professor 1964-1999Cooperative Council Educator
2001 Harry Knobbe,Farmer-Feeder-Broker-Cattlemens’ Associations.
2000 Max Brown, KRVN G.M. and Secretary/Treasurer of NRRA 1950-1979
1999 Dr Irv Omtvedt,UN-L VP/Vice Chancellor IANR.
1998 Robert L Raun, Nebraska farmer, Chairman of the Board of the Kellogg Foundation
1997 Randy Cruise AND Rod Gangwish, Past presidents of the National Corn Growers Association
1996 Bob Ruggles, President of National Pork Producers
1995 Charles (Chuck) Schroeder, CEO National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Past Nebraska Secretary of Ag
1994 Dr Martin Massengale, UN-L/retiring President, IANRChancellor, President Emeritus
1993 Gary D Myers, President/The Fertilizer Institute
1992 Harry Cleberg, CEO/Farmland Industries
1991 Ken Hobbie, President/US Feed Grains Council
1990 Retiring Congresswoman Virginia Smith, US Congress
1989 Alan (Bud) Middaugh, US Meat Export Federation
1988 Dr Ken Bader, US Soybean Institute
1987 Clayton Yeutter, US Secretary of Agriculture