Botetourt student is named Outstanding Young Agriculturalist

Specify Alternate Text
Claire E. Seibel of Botetourt County was named this year’s Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Outstanding Young Agriculturalist. She was recognized Aug. 3 at the VFBF Young Farmers Summer Expo in Richmond.

The Outstanding Young Agriculturalist recognition program is co-sponsored by the VFBF Young Farmers and Women’s committees and Farm Credit, and recognizes high school juniors and seniors for academic, community and agribusiness achievement. Additionally, finalists are judged on presentations to a panel of judges.

Seibel is the daughter of G. Andrew and Dr. Megan Seibel and a 2018 graduate of Lord Botetourt High School. She has grown up on her family’s Mountain View Farm and Vineyard and worked seasonally in beef, forage and fruit production. The work has led to her receiving an FFA National Fruit Production Proficiency Award and National Agriscience Research-Animal Systems Proficiency Award.

Additionally, she has attended the Virginia Governor’s School for Agriculture and served as president of her school’s FFA chapter and the Virginia FFA Association’s South Ridge Area. In June she was named Virginia’s FFA state vice president.

Seibel is a member of the national Honor Society and National Art Honor Society; was a 2017 delegate to Virginia Girls State; served as captain of Lord Botetourt’s varsity cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams; volunteered as a student mentor in her county school system; and teaches first grade Sunday school and serves on the parish council at the Church of the Transfiguration in Fincastle.

In the fall of 2019 she will enroll at Virginia Tech, where she plans to study biological systems engineering and serve in the university’s Corps of Cadets.

“As I grew up in a family engaged in agriculture, I learned how agriculture connects and unites all people, and I have advanced my understanding to see how agriculture creates a global network that is the foundation of nations and central to all lives,” she wrote in remarks provided to the award judges. “I realize the importance of the industry and take pride in my agricultural heritage. I have thus strived to be an outstanding young leader in the industry by advocating for it and intend to do so for the remainder of my life.”

Seibel will receive a $1,500 scholarship sponsored by Farm Credit, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. and the VFBF Young Farmers Committee.

First runner-up was Shelly Y. Underwood of Hanover County, who will receive $500 courtesy of the VFBF Young Farmers.

Other finalists were Ruth Fitzgerald of Nelson County; William Fleming of Dinwiddie County; Jayson Gill of Lancaster County; Ryan Gobble of Washington County; Tiffany Heishman of Shenandoah County; Newlin Humphrey of Fluvanna County; Ethan Jackson of Bedford County; Kendall Knicely of Rockingham County; Matthew Myers of Culpeper County; Wade Reiter of Dinwiddie County; Morgan Short of Washington County; Diaz Tompkins of Chesterfield County; and Ben Whitlow of Charlotte County.

Each will receive a $250 prize, sponsored by Virginia Farm Credit Associations and Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co.


With 127,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry and preserving the Virginia way of life.

Contact: Greg Hicks

Support Virginia Agriculture

Join Now

Related Articles

Get Recognized

If your publication or radio or television station is delivering stellar coverage of agriculture on an ongoing basis, this is the award competition to enter. Learn More