National Farmers Union (NFU) today awarded Maureen McCollum of Wisconsin Public Radio with the Milton D. Hakel Award for Excellence in Agricultural Communications during its 113th Anniversary Convention.

“NFU greatly appreciates the role Maureen McCollum has played in covering stories important to family farmers and ranchers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “She has been seen by many as a breath of fresh air in the journalism industry. Her reporting for Wisconsin Public Radio is not only accurate and fair, it is also timely.”

The award is presented to reporters or news outlets that demonstrate exceptional reporting of agricultural issues and was named in honor of Milton D. Hakel, a longtime, well-respected Farmers Union communicator.

“Maureen has a solid reputation for digging deep into issues that affect farmers in Wisconsin and around the country,” said Johnson. “Her features have even been picked up nationally by National Public Radio. She has educated farmers and consumers alike on topics like Country-of-Origin Labeling, the Farm Bill, farm income, changing farmer demographics, raw milk legislation, the impact of elections on rural issues, and challenges our farmers continue to face,” he said.

McCollum’s journalistic achievements have not gone unnoticed. She has also been recognized with awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press.

Past Recipients of the Milton D. Hakel Award for Excellence in Agricultural Communications include:

2014 Tim Marema, The Daily Yonder, Whitesburg, Ky., and Knoxville, Tenn.
2013 Al Gustin, KFYR and KBMR Radio, Bismarck, N.D.
2012 WisconsinEye News Team, Madison, Wis.
2011 No awardee
2010 Julie Harker, Brownfield
2009 Chris Clayton, DTN
2008 John Nichols, The Nation/The Capital Times, Madison, Wis.
2007 Michelle Rook and Tom Riter, WNAX Radio, Sioux Falls, S.D.
2006 Chuck Abbott, Reuters News Service
2005 Robert Pore, Grand Isle Neb.
2004 Ed Slusarczyk, Ag Radio Network, Utica, N.Y.
2003 Larry Steckline, Mid-America Ag Network, Wichita, Kan.
2002 Mike Hergert, Red River Farm Network, Grand Forks, N.D.
2001 Cheryl Tevis, Successful Farming, Des Moines, Iowa
2000 Jerry Hagstrom, National Journal, Washington, D.C.
1999 Judy Stratman, WNAX, agriculture reporter, Yankton, S.D.
1998 A.V. (Al) Krebs, The Corporate Reapers, author, Everett, Wash.
1997 Alan Guebert, Farm & Food File columnist, Delavan, Ill.
1996 Dave Russell, Tribune Radio Network, Indianapolis, Ind.
1995 Lee Egerstrom, St. Paul Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
1994 Don Muhm, Des Moines Register, farm editor, Des Moines, Iowa
1993 Don Kendall, Associated Press, farm writer, Washington, D.C.
1992 Loren Soth, Des Moines Register, editorial page editor, Des Moines, Iowa
1991 Ron Hays, Oklahoma Agrinet, farm program director, Oklahoma City, Okla.
1990 Dan Looker, Successful Farming, Des Moines, Iowa

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.