TAPS January Awards Event Concludes 2021 Contests

By: Tessa Burford, TAPS Team Member

After completing the fifth full year of competitions, the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program, which prides itself on networking opportunities, hosted its annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 15. The event was held at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, NE, and approximately 75 people attended the social hour, dinner, and presentation from the TAPS Team.

The event’s main purpose was to summarize the 2021 farm management competitions held in North Platte, NE, at the West Central Research, Extension, and Education Center (WCREEC). The fifth year of the program held competitions in sprinkler corn, Subsurface Drip Irrigated (SDI) corn, and grain sorghum. Attendees were given information specific to the past year’s competitions and opportunity to visit with other participants, university officials and various stakeholders. Aside from networking, the peak of the evening was the presentation of winners across all categories; individual winners each received a plaque award, an oversized keepsake check, and a customized TAPS apparel item.

2021 grain sorghum contest winners included: both Most Profitable and Greatest Efficiency, Chad Dane of Clay Center, NE; Highest Yield, Tom Carpenter of Bartley, NE.


2021 Sorghum Greatest Efficiency & Most Profitable awards recipient, Chad Dane (left), stands with Executive Director of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, Nate Blum (right).

SDI contest winners included: Most Profitable, Rattlesnake Boys team of Wood River, NE, consisting of members Kevin and Amy Harsch, Jay Johnson, and Jeremy Gewecke; Greatest Efficiency, Bryant Knoerzer and Matt Furlong of Elwood and Bertrand, NE; and a tie in Highest Yield between 1) Bryant Knoerzer and Matt Furlong and 2) Lorn Dizmang of Dizmang Ag located in Moorefield, NE.


2021 SDI Most Profitable award recipients, the "Rattlesnake Boys" team members Kevin Harsch (left) and Jay Johnson (center), stand with Eco-Drip Fertilizer Field Consultant, Taylor Reynolds (right).


2021 SDI Corn Greatest Efficiency & Highest Yield awards recipients, teammates Matt Furlong (left) and Bryant Knoerzer (right), pose with their shared accolades.

Sprinkler corn contest winners included: Most Profitable, Waters R Us team of Lincoln, NE, consisting of Nebraska Department of Natural Resources employees Alexa Davis, Kent Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Esseks; Greatest Efficiency, Norton FFA team of Norton, KS, captained by instructor Caroline Howsden; and a tie in Highest Yield between 1) Luke Olson of McCook, NE, and 2) Joshua Becker and Steve Hunt of Beaver City, NE.


2021 Sprinkler Corn Most Profitable award-winning team “Waters R Us” members, Alexa Davis (left) and Kent Zimmerman (center), stand with TAPS Team member, Chuck Burr (right).


2021 Sprinkler Corn Greatest Efficiency award-winning Norton, KS FFA instructor, Caroline Howsden (left), stands with TAPS Team member, Chuck Burr (right).

Additionally, the TAPS Advocate Award was presented to Curtis Scheele of Holdrege, NE. This annual award is presented to an organization, person, or business that goes above and beyond in their support of the UNL-TAPS program.


2021 TAPS Advocate Award recipient, Curtis Scheele (center), stands with TAPS Team members, Matt Stockton (left) and Daran Rudnick (right).

The evening concluded with a prize drawing of all those who completed in-season TAPS surveys and the 2021 TAPS participant grand prize winner was also selected. The grand prize included a trip to Lincoln, NE, including an overnight stay, gift certificate for a meal in the downtown Haymarket District, and an activity or event of choice, as well as a variety of gear from partners and sponsors. Brandon Andrews of Cambridge, NE, won the grand prize.


2021 TAPS participant grand prize recipient, Brandon Andrews.

The 2021 TAPS report is now available online. If you are interested in TAPS participation in 2022, please contact program manager, Krystle Rhoades.