Kevin Eblen of Creston was recently recognized posthumously as a 2013 Honorary American FFA Degree recipient by the National FFA Organization. Eblen was honored with this degree in recognition of his exceptional service and dedication to the agriculture industry and for his outstanding contributions to the National FFA Organization.
Eblen was a self-described “Iowa farm kid” and was active in Creston High School FFA.
He rose through the ranks to earn his American FFA degree at the 59th National FFA Convention, where he was also recognized as Iowa’s candidate for Star Agribusinessman of America.
While studying at Iowa State University, Eblen served as National FFA president from 1986-87, after serving the Iowa FFA Association as secretary and president the prior two years. At the time of his election, Eblen was only the fourth Iowan to be elected National FFA president, and only the 10th Iowan to serve as a National FFA officer.
“The Honorary American Degree is awarded to individuals who provide exceptional support to ag education and FFA, and who have made a true commitment to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of students,” said Ryan Tate, National FFA Foundation strategic accounts director. “Kevin was not only a longtime supporter of FFA, but he was also an amazing person who had a huge impact on everyone he worked with. He exemplified our motto of ‘living to serve’ and embodied everything we would want to honor with this award.”
During his 20 years at Monsanto, Eblen lead the merger with Delta and Pine Land, and initiated the company’s sustainability efforts, before taking a post in Beijing. Most recently, Eblen was the president of Monsanto Greater China and an advocate for fighting world hunger.
His widow Jacquie, parents Donald and Carolyn, and sisters Joedy Wynn and Pam Gray all traveled to Louisville, Ky., for the award ceremony at National FFA Convention, as did Dean Harder and Darren Coppeck, who were on the national officer team with Eblen.
“It was a privilege to walk across the stage to receive Kevin’s Honorary American Degree on his behalf, and to know he was appreciated for his time and dedication to an organization he dearly loved and believed in,” Jacquie Eblen said. “Kevin credited much of his success in life to the firm foundation FFA provided him, and he often spoke of his advisors with sincere gratitude and appreciation. As FFA advisors, you give young adults the courage and wisdom to become the best they can be.”