Tom Anderson is everywhere in his new Toyota Tundra
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 05/14/2012 3:47 PM
PLAINVIEW, Minn. — Tom Anderson's got a new truck.
A 2012 Toyota Tundra, to be exact.
Anderson, a farm business management instructor for Riverland Community College, received keys in a ceremonial presentation April 9 at the Plainview Farm Business Management Annual Analysis Banquet. He received the actual keys to drive the truck on April 13.
The truck is part of the awards package Anderson received because his Riverland farm business management program was named one of the Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Programs in the nation by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. Toyota sponsors the award, giving winners a two-year lease on a Toyota Tundra.
Technically, the truck belongs to Riverland and Anderson drives it for work. Riverland pays for the insurance and fuel. Dahl Toyota provides two years of complimentary maintenance or Toyota Care, which is standard on every new Toyota sold or leased, said Andrew Dahl, general manager of Dahl Toyota in Winona.
Four adult agricultural education programs from throughout the nation were recognized last fall by the NAAE. The other programs recognized were in Missouri, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
"Obviously, I'm thrilled with the recognition," Anderson said. "It's an honor, a very sincere honor."
Anderson has been a farm business management instructor at Riverland since 1997. Prior to that, he taught high school agriculture at Plainview for 18 years. Anderson strives to put students first. He believes the success of his program comes from developing students' interests through curriculum that meets and exceeds their educational needs.
"His award speaks to the depth of quality that we have with our faculty in this program," said Terry Leas, president of Riverland Community College.
Leas attended the key presentation along with James Garwood, a Toyota district sales manager, and Dahl, a fifth generation auto dealership owner. Dahl's great-grandfather, Andrew H., started selling Model Ts in Westby, Wis, in 1911.
"Andrew is excellent to work with," Anderson said, as he thanked both the dealership and the college for their contributions to farm business management.
Anderson's willingness to go the extra mile was noted by community leader Tom Deming of Plainview.
"I see him working a lot of extra hours and providing his clients with the analysis information they need to make business decisions as his office is located in our bank building," said Deming, senior vice president of First National Bank of Plainview, in a press release.
Riverland's Leas praised Anderson as a very popular and respected instructor.
"It's very important to Riverland to have an instructor recognized at the national level because it adds to our reputation for excellence," Leas said.
Riverland has about 500 students from 12 counties in southeast Minnesota enrolled in its farm business management program, he said. Farm business management students make up about 10 percent of the college's student body. There are 10 instructors.
Leas supports the program in a variety of ways, from showing up at annual banquets and other events to advocating for the program. He keeps Riverland farm business management instructors abreast of what he's hearing at the state level regarding the program and gathers information on how proposals would impact students and the college.
"I think they just like the fact that I include them in the communication and seek their counsel," Leas said.
Leas said the national honor acknowledges the quality of the Riverland farm business management program. Anderson is the second Riverland instructor to earn the national honor. Ron Van Nurden, who is retired, earned the award previously.
"We're very proud of our farm business management program and the faculty that make it such a strong program and I would expect that other faculty may receive these honors or awards in the future because, you know, we just have a consistently very strong group of faculty," Leas said.
And, for the record, Anderson hasn't given Leas a ride in the new Toyota yet.
"He has told me that it's a very awesome ride," Leas said.