El Campo agriculture industry members Sarah and Zach Eder, a husband and wife team, won first place at the Texas Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture competition in San Antonio earlier this month.

“We are very honored to be selected,” Sarah said. “It’s very exciting to be able to share our story and represent our community.”

The couple won based on the presentation they gave at the 2019 TFB meeting.

The Eders discussed three topics in the presentation: a new look at on-farm economics, promoting investments in local agriculture and new faces in agriculture, which is their passion project, according to Zach.

“The biggest thing that set Sarah and I apart is we take a very non-traditional path to a traditional industry,” Zach said.

Sarah Eder teaches biotechnology and physics at El Campo High School, while Zach is a technology development director for Advanta, a global seed development and production company. Zach travels the U.S. for his job, but primarily works in Amarillo.

The topics they included in their presentation pertained to the couple’s work and main issues they see the modern agriculture industry is facing.

“Creating new stakeholders is everything,” Sarah said. “We need people of all areas to not only know and understand agriculture and how it impacts daily life, but to work in the ag industry not only as producers but in all the non-traditional supporting roles that are necessary in today’s market.”

Sarah and Zach were two of the five finalists for the EIA who presented at the annual TFB meeting in San Antonio this month. Two other finalists, Jessica and Ben Rumbaugh, were from El Campo.

While Sarah’s family was not involved in ag, Zach’s father worked as an agronomist for more than 30 years, and his family owns a small farm in the area.

The couple moved to El Campo in 2013 after Zach earned his PhD at Texas A&M University.

“There’s no greater place in ag, in my opinion than the Gulf Coast,” Zach said. “El Campo and Wharton County are some of the most diverse ag scenes in the country. We have the opportunity to work with people as sophisticated as the most advanced growers on the planet.”

Since the Eders won at the state level, they will present on behalf of TFB at the 2020 American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Austin in late January, where they will compete for the National Excellence in Agriculture award.

The national award winners will receive a new Ford vehicle, with a maximum value of $35,000.

“We’re just really blessed to have a great support team in El Campo,” Zach said. “It’s a great place to live, a great place to learn about agriculture, and we’re really excited to represent this area on a national level.”

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