Longtime farm news broadcaster and ag teacher are VIP recipients

Wisconsin Ag Connection
Ag teacher Gordie Gasch (left) and longtime farm broadcaster Mike Austin were selected to receive the prestigious VIP citation during the Wisconsin FFA Convention.

Farm broadcaster Mike Austin and ag educator Gordie Gasch are among elite company in the FFA world.

Both men were presented the VIP Award during the Wisconsin FFA Convention on June 12 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The award is a special honor and has only been presented to a select few individuals since its inception as a state recognition program.

The citation is presented for a lifetime of support, dedication, and leadership--all benefiting FFA, FFA Alumni, and/or the FFA Foundation.

Voice of Agriculture

Mike Austin was a farm broadcaster for 41 years of which 38 years he shared agricultural reports on WTAQ in Green Bay. His schedule was also very busy on the banquet circuit either as an emcee or the main speaker. He has attended 35 State FFA Conventions, served as the emcee for American and State FFA Degree ceremonies, evaluated state and national FFA officer candidates, and most enjoyable to him, he interviewed hundreds of FFA members.

Austin has received numerous recognitions and awards for his agricultural reports and is the first farm broadcaster in the state to receive the Carol Brewer Award given by the Associated Press for excellence in broadcasting and commitment to his community.

Austin has many FFA memories but his fondest is of a shy young man who grew through his FFA experiences, received his American FFA Degree, helped organize his local FFA Alumni chapter, now assists local FFA members with their journey, and is an award winning photo journalist that he had the privilege of working with for 5 years.

Winning tradition

Gordie Gasch started his agriculture education career as a student and FFA member at Chilton High School where he won 2 state CDE contests and earned gold at nationals. In 1969 he was elected Secretary of the Wisconsin FFA and served as a delegate to the infamous 1969 National FFA Convention in Kansas City where he was able to vote in favor of the most historic change FFA has experienced—allowing girls to become FFA members.

For 28 years, Gasch was an agriculture educator and FFA Advisor at Brillion. During his tenure he had 35 state winning Career Development Event teams, including two teams that went onto place second at the National FFA contest.

His love for CDEs led Gasch to serve on the CDE Committee for 15 years and 7 years as the FFA CDE Coordinator.