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Sleight, Rishel, Uden, Anthony named to ag hall of fameTell North Platte what you think

Several new members have been inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement, including four from west central Nebraska.

They are:


Don Anthony is a Lexington grain producer and former cattleman. Active in serving his community, state and country, Anthony chaired the leadership that created All Points Cooperative (merging Lexington and Gothenburg cooperatives in 2004), then chaired the All Points board of directors (2004-2011). He also provided leadership for the Nebraska Cooperative Council Scholarship Program.

Anthony chairs the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Board and is a board member of CHS Inc., a regional Fortune 100 cooperative based in Minneapolis. He is one of the first Leadership Fellows of the National Association of Corporate Directors Board. He is a past leader of the local Presbyterian Church (USA), the Ag Society and Extension, Farm Bureau and District 17 school board.

Anthony served in the U.S. Army Reserve and Nebraska National Guard (1970-76). His recognitions include U.S. JayCee Outstanding Young Farmer (1986) and Lexington Chamber of Commerce Farm Family of the Year (1994). Anthony and his wife Linda have three children.


Craig Uden of Elwood is in charge of cattle procurement and public relations at Darr Feedlot, which he managed from 1983-2007.

Uden also currently manages a 1,250 head cow/calf operation. He is a longtime promoter of beef and has served the industry in many capacities. Currently he is vice president of policy for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Formerly he was chair and vice chair of the Federation Division of NCBA; past president and secretary of the Nebraska Beef Council; and chair of various Nebraska Cattlemen committees.

By building relationships and improving committee structure, Uden has strengthened the Nebraska Beef Council and the beef checkoff. Uden's involvement with the Nebraska Cattlemen Education Foundation led to increased scholarship funding and a renewal of ties with higher education.

Uden is a current chair at Trinity Lutheran Church, and he and his wife Terri have two children.


William H. Rishel, a Pennsylvania native, became a Nebraskan by choice in 1975. That's when he moved his family to North Platte to become a rancher/Angus seedstock producer. Rishel Angus now is known nationally and internationally for its commitment to improving carcass merit and consumer preference.

Very active in the cattle industry, Rishel has served as president of Nebraska Cattlemen (2010), president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Research and Education Foundation (2000-2001), and chaired the Certified Angus Beef board of directors (1995-96). He has served on boards of directors for the Cattlemens Beef Board (2000-2006), the Certified Angus Beef Association (1991-1996) and the American Angus Association (1991-1996).

He also was key in creating the Nebraska Cattlemen's Classic. Rishel's honors include being inducted into the Nebraska Cattlemen Hall of Fame (2012), Distinguished Alumni for the Penn State Department of Animal Science (2008), Record Stockman U.S. Livestock Industry Leader of the Year (2007) and Angus Heritage Foundation Inductee (2005). Rishel and his wife Barbara have three daughters.


Weldon Sleight, dean emeritus of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, is well-respected as a leader and promoter of education, agriculture, entrepreneurship, rural Nebraska and the university.

Sleight developed such NCTA programs as the 100 Beef Cow Ownership Advantage, 100 Acre Farm Advantage, Cowboy Boots to Combat Boots and the NCTA Business Builder.

Under Sleight's leadership at NCTA a new education center, expanded veterinary technology teaching hospital, residence hall and biomass heating plant, valued at more than $15 million, were built. Incidentally, Sleight had many similar successes in Utah, where he worked in extension and higher education (1972-2006), and chaired many national and international committees.

These experiences later helped benefit Nebraskans and Nebraska, where he retired in 2012. The Idaho native has received scores of awards and recognitions for his educational leadership and is current and past member of a dozen professional organizations.

Sleight is a member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sleight and his wife Pauline have six children.


Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel is a UNL Extension specialist in community and economic development in the Nebraska Panhandle. Burkhart-Kriesel serves in many capacities as a consultant and on several agricultural, political and financial boards of directors. Among them is the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, of which she was president (1997).

Burkhart-Kriesel also worked in several capacities with the National Association of Wheat Growers -- as a board member, chair of the grain quality committee and member of the long-range planning committee. A LEAD II Fellow graduate (1982), she also served on the LEAD board of directors (1995-2000). Since 1998, Burkhart-Kriesel has been awarded more than $1 million of grant funds for Nebraska rural community research and extension programming.

Among the honors for the Nebraska City native are the National Educational Technology Award and National Programming Team Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals; and early career awards from Nebraska Epsilon Sigma Phi, Nebraska Adult and Continuing Education Association and the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association. She and her husband Leon co-own/operate Kriesel Certified Seed at Gurley.


Bill D. Dicke founded an independent feedlot consulting firm in 1981. Today Cattlemen's Nutrition Services LLC is one of the largest in the nation, with clients in 14 states.

The company also conducts large-pen commercial research trials.

Dicke has served on nutrition advisory boards for several pharmaceutical companies and agribusiness firms over the last three decades and was a primary influence in developing ethanol byproduct feeding in Nebraska. Now of Lincoln, Dicke also manages the Dundy County family farm, which received the Aksarben Pioneer Farm Award in 2009.

A member of the National Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame nominating committee since 2011, Dicke also serves on the Nebraska Cattlemen Education Committee and on the board of directors for Agriculture Builders of Nebraska. He was just inducted as the 79th member of the Block and Bridle Hall of Fame at UNL.

A member of St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Dicke and his wife Laurie have two daughters. They serve as TeamMate mentors for students in Lincoln Public Schools and have hosted several international exchange students.


Milford A. Hanna, professor emeritus of Biological Systems Engineering at UNL and Kenneth E. Morrison Distinguished Professor (1990-2011), most recently served as interim head of his department during a national search. Hanna's primary research emphases have been extrusion process engineering, biofuels, biopolymers and biomaterials. The 2008 Science Watch reported Hanna ranked No. 1 by total citations in biofuel research for the preceding decade. He has about 350 peer-reviewed publications and holds five patents.

Among his awards are being named a Fellow in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (1996) and Engineer of the Year for the Nebraska section of ASAE (1991). Heavily involved in Kiwanis, Hanna served as president and foundation president of the Kiwanis Club of Northeast Lincoln, as governor of the Nebraska-Iowa District Kiwanis, and Foundation Board of Trustees for Kiwanis International.

The Pennsylvania native and his wife Lenora have four children.


Charles L. "Chuck" Myers of Lyons farms, promotes, researches and markets soybeans. Myers chaired the United Soybean Board and International Marketing Task Force to develop and implement a new business model to internationally market soybeans; he has traveled to China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina to do so.

A founder of the Soy Nutrition Institute to promote soy health benefits, Myers also served on the National Biodiesel Board (more than 1 billion gallons of biodiesel now is produced annually). A LEAD XV program graduate and fifth-generation farmer in Burt County, Myers and his family received the Aksarben Pioneer Farm Award.

In 1985, Myers began no-till farming and has widely shared his experiences with Midwestern farmers. A former president of the Lyons Community Foundation, he and his wife Gloria have two daughters.


Gene Watermeier grew and diversified his Unadilla farm to include livestock, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat, at the same time cultivating a passion for service and education.

A former substitute agricultural education teacher for Syracuse Public Schools, Watermeier later was elected to the Syracuse School Board. His service to higher education includes 16 years on the Southeast Community College Governing Board; as a board member for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumni Association and serving as that board's president (1994-95).

He also served on the Federal Land Bank Farm Credit Board, as District 2 representative for the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, and many offices in the Lutheran Church.

He served in Korea, received the Lincoln Journal Star Honor Farm Family Award and the Farm Bureau Community Service Award. Watermeier and his wife Lois have two children.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/12/2013
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