Nebraska Farm Bureau's highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award, has gone to Eugene Bargman of Beatrice and his late wife, Caroline. The recognition came at the 2011 Nebraska Farm Bureau Convention in Kearney.
Eugene Bargman, 87, and Caroline, who died in a car accident in 2006, are widely respected for their commitment to God, country, community, agriculture and Farm Bureau, according to Keith Olsen, who recently retired as organization president.
"They were an effective team during their 60 years together and their commitment to their beliefs showed in their actions," he says. "Until Caroline's passing, you always saw them together, working to help agriculture, young people and their community."
The Bargmans were married in January 1946. Eugene completed his service in the Air Force later that year and taught "On the Farm" night classes in agriculture to military veterans. While he studied for his applied agriculture associates degree at the University of Nebraska, the Bargmans were the first house parents for the Lutheran Student House and were involved with campus ministry for more than 60 years.
The Bargmans were early adopters of conservation technology on their diversified farm near Pickrell, where they raised their five children: Carol, Jean, Cynthia, Marybeth, John and Laurie. They were co-operators for on-farm studies with state and federal agencies and both were leaders in Gage County Farm Bureau.
Eugene has been a Farm Bureau member for 63 years and continues to serve as secretary-treasurer of the Gage County Farm Bureau.
Eugene served as president of the Gage County Fair Board and of the Federal Land Bank board of directors and was a member of agricultural advisory boards for Nebraska governors, U.S. senators and members of Congress. Caroline was a member of the Nebraska Soybean and Grain Sorghum boards.
The Silver Eagle Award has been presented annually since 1986, when former U.S. Rep. Virginia Smith was the first recipient. Farm Bureau members and county Farm Bureau organizations may nominate individuals and organizations with Nebraska connections for the award.