CAFNR Alumni Association announces annual award recipients

Awardees are recognized for outstanding contributions or service to the CAFNR Alumni Association at the annual ceremony on May 4.

Alumni fall event

The CAFNR Alumni Association is thrilled to present its annual awards, which honor and celebrate exceptional contributions and service to the association. These awards highlight the dedication and commitment of individuals who have gone above and beyond to support and uplift the CAFNR community.

Bob Idel

Portrait of Bob in dark suit and striped tie.

Dana Brown Haynes Service Award

Bob Idel has been awarded the Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award from the CAFNR Alumni Association. 

Idel worked for FCS Financial for more than 43 years, served on the board for both the Missouri Pork Association and Missouri 4-H Foundation, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture economics from Mizzou in 1974 and has been a proud supporter of the CAFNR Alumni Association ever since. Idel was awarded the Citation of Merit from the CAFNR Alumni Association in 2010.

“Idel has devoted numerous hours to further our fundraising initiatives within the university and specifically CAFNR. Most notably the time he has spent over the years helping us with our sponsorships for our annual golf tournament,” said Anita Vanderwert, director of business development at Brownfield Ag News.

“Whenever asked, he has always stepped forward and volunteered. We all know if you want to raise money in the state of Missouri just ask Idel.”

Idel and his wife, Pam, reside on their farm near Owensville, which adjoins the farm where he was raised. Here they raise row crops, hay and cattle and volunteer their time in various organizations in Gasconade County.

The Dana Brown-Haynes Award is given to an outstanding CAFNR faculty or staff member, alumnus or student who has demonstrated a long-term commitment of service to the College.

Robin Horstmeier

Portrait of Robin in patterned shirt and dark jacket, in front of brick wall.

True Tiger Award

Robin Horstmeier has been awarded the True Tiger Volunteer Award from the CAFNR Alumni Association.

Horstmeier is the founder of Horstmeier Consulting, where she creates training and development resources for agriculture education and youth development. In this role, she also facilitates the Missouri FFA HYMAX Academy – an agricultural advocacy program for high school sophomores. Horstmeier also serves as an associate teaching professor at the University of Missouri and instructor in agricultural education at Kansas State University.

Horstmeier earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from Mizzou, and her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.

“Robin has provided leadership for two youth development initiatives that have proven vital to preparing students for leadership and service. The Missouri FFA HYPE and HYMAX academies have been incredible successful,” says nominator Jim Spain, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

“I believe that Robin goes above and beyond in her service to CAFNR and the leadership she provides to the future generations who will become future CAFNR alumni and go on to be leaders in Missouri and U.S. agriculture.”

Deanna Schuck echoes the sentiments about Horstmeier’s dedication to the HYMAX and HYPE academies, as well as the dedication to FFA chapters in reviewing of their materials.

“I know Robin in the capacity of working with her through agricultural education and the assistance she provides to students and departments across Missouri. She has assisted FFA chapters in reviewing their national chapter applications, as well as individual students in development of their National FFA proficiency applications.

“Robin is a constant figure at Mizzou sporting events and CAFNR alumni events such as CAFNR Unlimited. She also volunteered her time when her husband was a member of the CAFNR Alumni Board.”

The True Tiger Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources through their volunteer efforts and sincere dedication to the University.

Christopher Daubert

Vice Chancellor and Dean Daubert smiling

Honorary Member Award

Christopher R. Daubert, Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, has been named a 2024 Honorary Member of the CAFNR Alumni Association for his support of the college. Daubert joined CAFNR in August 2017 from North Carolina State University and immediately began creating a strategic plan for the college; the “Drive to Distinction’s” guiding vision focuses on creating a healthy world.

Under his leadership, student enrollment, retention, graduation rates, as well as career placement rates, have risen, in addition to gains in research funding, patents and published and cited articles.

He will serve as president of the Institute of Food Technologists starting in September 2024 and has received alumni awards from both his undergraduate alma mater, Pennsylvania State University, and his doctoral institution, Michigan State University.

Nominators mentioned Daubert’s vision, approachability and engagement in how he excels in leadership of the college and shows his love for CAFNR and Mizzou.

“Dean Daubert’s vision is expansive and inclusive. Upon his arrival, he led CAFNR to envision the College’s achievement in a bold new way. The new strategic plan, Drive to Distinction, was launched in 2019. He has led the implementation of this plan with intention, excitement and success.

“Dean Daubert is approachable in every way. He has created a collegial environment for staff, faculty and students in the College. His active listening skills have enhanced trust and collaboration. He is diplomatic. He can meet with alumni, high ranking government leadership, students. He can walk through all of those lanes with so much ease and likeability. He is a fine and effective ambassador for CAFNR.

“Dean Daubert cares about alumni. You can see him at alumni events being involved and interacting with alumni. At other University-sponsored events, he is engaging with people. At the State Fair, he rolls up his sleeves to bus tables at the Pork Producers.”

Ina Rae Brazeale

Photo of Ina Rae in purple dress.

Honorary Member Award

Ina Rae Brazeale of Paris, Missouri, a retired schoolteacher, farmer, philanthropist and community volunteer, has been named an Honorary Member of the CAFNR Alumni Association for 2024 for her support of the college.

She has supported students not only through her career as a math teacher at Paris High School, but in her support of CAFNR students and a CAFNR education. Those who have received the Charles R. and Ina Rae Brazeale Scholarship while a CAFNR student have gone on to be leaders in their careers and communities, note nominators. The scholarship currently supports eight student per year (with an emphasis on students from Monroe and surrounding counties with demonstrated leadership capacities and a high motivation for public service) – when fully endowed it will support nearly 30 scholarships annually. Charles is a 1957 graduate of CAFNR.

The Brazeales do not just give financially, but support students by attending many CAFNR functions. Brazeale and her husband have also donated their own farm in Paris to the University of Missouri to invest in the future of students.

“The sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams said, ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.’ I am confident in saying that this is Ina Rae’s brand of quiet leadership,” said nominator Samantha Davis, former student of Brazeale and former CAFNR student. “Her impact on CAFNR and on the agriculture industry may not be loud or show in fancy titles for her, but the work that she’s done – alongside her husband Chuck – has meant a great deal to numerous CAFNR students over the years and will continue into the future.”

Kellie Ann Coats

Photo of Kellie Ann in dark jacket and glasses.

Citation of Merit Award

Kellie Ann Coats, B.S. ’97 Animal Sciences, has been awarded the Citation of Merit from the CAFNR Alumni Association. 

Coats is the Executive Director of the Missouri Women’s Council within the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Here, she advises and communicates with the Governor’s office and state leadership about Women’s Council initiatives. Previously, Coats served as the director of advancement of MU Health Care for a number of years.

She has volunteered her service to the Hawthorn Bank Business Leaders Council, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the Mizzou Alumni Association and the University of Missouri Flagship Council Board of Directors.

“While she has significant expertise to share, Kellie Ann is most diplomatic and respectful to other volunteer leaders who have less expertise in a particular area. The time and talent of community volunteer leaders is a precious commodity these days, and I am grateful that Kellie Ann is one of those professionals who continues to make time for service,” says Sabrina McDonald, fellow Missouri Flagship Council board member.

“I met Kellie Ann when she was president of the Memphis Alumni Chapter. One of the first things she told me was that she was a CAFNR graduate. She was on the national MAA board at the time in that role. She told me how proud she was to be the lone CAFNR grad on the board and how essential it was for the college to be represented,” said Robin Wenneker, Past President, Mizzou Alumni Association.

“Kellie Ann has had this incredible career where she meets and has the ability to amplify projects/places/people in which she believes. How lucky are we that CAFNR is close to her heart.”

The Citation of Merit is for professional attainment by a CAFNR alumnus in their chosen career field. The individual’s efforts and support will have added to the excellence of CAFNR and the University of Missouri.

Mike Deering

Mike in plaid shirt and green pullover, wearing dark glasses, in front of mountain scenery.

Alumnus of the Year

Mike Deering, B.S. Agricultural Journalism ’04, executive vice president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, was named the CAFNR Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year for 2024 for his involvement in and support of the college and University of Missouri.

Nominators say that, aside from his family, Deering’s two great loves are the agriculture industry and the state of Missouri. He celebrates the role of family and community in farming. He is actively involved in leadership roles with Missouri Farmers Care, the CAFNR Foundation and the Missouri State Fair Foundation. Past roles have included serving as director of communications for both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the U.S. Grains Council, director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation, and editor of the Western Livestock Journal. After graduating with his bachelor’s from Mizzou, he received a master’s in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University. He has been named to both Missouri Times and Drovers’ 40 Under 40.

“He is a leading voice for not only the industry but also for the University of Missouri on agriculture and extension issues with the Missouri legislature,” said nominator Robin Wenneker, past president of the Mizzou Alumni Association and the CAFNR Foundation. “He is considered one of the most influential of the University of Missouri’s alumni for his ability to keep CAFNR and Mizzou at the forefront of state government in its policies, support and funding. His trusted voice allows officials to better understand how laws, policies and procedures would impact citizens throughout the state.

“Mike has been a key proponent for the need for new and updated facilities at Mizzou and specifically within the CAFNR footprint. His advocacy and legislative relationships help secure the new Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Lab and Meat Science Labs, as well as support for our research farms and extension.”