After recognizing six exceptional California teachers as finalists through the Golden Owl Award, the California FFA Foundation, in partnership with Nationwide and the California Farm Bureau, selected Jason Ferreira, agricultural teacher at Hanford High School, as California’s 2022-2023 “Ag Educator of the Year.”
Ferreira was formally recognized as the Golden Owl Award grand prize winner during the California FFA State Leadership Conference in Ontario on March 18. In addition to the title of California’s Ag Educator of the Year, Ferreira received the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy and a $3,000 Nationwide-funded donation to further Hanford High School’s agricultural education efforts.
Upon hearing of his win, Ferreira expressed his gratitude to students, colleagues, and community. “I’m grateful for everyone who has ever played a part in helping me serve my students, program, and community selflessly,” he said. “Receiving the Golden Owl Award reminds me of the powerful impact that FFA Advisors have on our community. I am humbled and proud to be a positive representative for California agricultural education and look forward to seeing the next generation of Golden Owls aspire to achieve success with their careers.”
Each Golden Owl Award finalist was also presented with an individualized plaque in front of attendees at the California FFA State Leadership Conference and received a $500 donation to support future educational efforts. The finalists included:
- Brian Kim – Sunny Hills High School
- Emily Brown – Corning Union High School
- Celeste Morino – Ripon High School
- Beth Swehla – Anderson Valley High School
- Lauren Peterson – King City High School
Ferreira’s passion for agriculture and his commitment to his students have made him an outstanding educator, and his recognition is well-deserved. Nominations described Ferreira as hardworking, dedicated, and inspiring. One student nomination read, “When I first met Mr. Ferreira I was not an active member and was only in FFA to get class credits, but in less than a few months Mr. Ferreira showed me the beauty of the FFA organization. He helped me work to become a sectional officer and helped me find my place in this organization. Sometimes I wonder how Mr. Ferreira is able to do all the remarkable things he does for this organization—it is a testimony to his love for and dedication to the FFA.”
As the number one insurer of farms and ranches in the United States, Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award with its state partners to shed light on the contributions of California’s leading agricultural teachers and provide additional resources to support their programs.
“As a company deeply rooted in agriculture, we are proud to collaborate with our state partners to recognize outstanding agriculture teachers, who are not only critical to the communities they serve, but also to the farming industry as a whole,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “We are extremely grateful for the contributions and dedication of these selfless public servants.”
In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is also donating $5,000 to the California FFA Foundation to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers, and advisors alike.
The Golden Owl Award is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, the California FFA Foundation, and the California Farm Bureau.