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From the 6th Annual FFA Blue & Gold Gala program:

Mike Olsen, an outstanding agriculturalist, community service leader, and FFA supporter, is the recipient of the 2021 Arizona Association FFA Agriculturalist of the Year award. This award is gi

ven to a member of the agriculture community who has a strong spirit of leadership and has made a significant contribution to Arizona agriculture and the community. The Arizona FFA State Officers make the selection annually from nominations the FFA members submit from across the state.

Mike was born in Prescott, Arizona to Ann and John Olsen. He spent his childhood on their family farm in Big Chino, Arizona. They raised cattle, farmed corn, alfalfa, and had a permanent pasture.

He graduated from Prescott High School in 1971. Following graduation, he attended Yavapai Community College for one year before finishing his education at the University of Arizona where he graduated in 1975 with degrees in Agricultural Education and Horticulture with a minor in Animal Science.

Mike married his wife, Sherrill, in 1975 and they have 3 wonderful children, Kyle, Karen, and Clint. Their oldest son Kyle is married to Tasha, and they have two boys, Landon and Garrett. Kyle is involved in the operation of the family business, Olsen’s Grain. Their daughter Karen is married to Tom. Karen is a practicing Nurse Practitioner, who also raises and trains barrel racing horses. Their youngest son, Clint, and wife Cailey, live in Colorado, where he is an engineer.

Mike was a Vocational Agriculture teacher from 197501979 in Mesa, Arizona. He has been involved in many agriculture education / FFA advisory committees, a member of the Cooper Ag Center Booster Club for Chino Valley FFA, and has judged many FFA contests over the years.

“Mike Olsen is an agriculturist through and through. He has dedicated his whole life to agriculture and has helped foster the love of Ag in many generations. Mike started his career as an Ag teacher and then he and his father bought a feed store in Chino Valley and he has continued to support ag programs but just in another fashion. You will not find a person out there that has anything bad to say about Mike because he is just an overall genuine person. Mike and Olsen’s Grain is one of our biggest supporters and without their help our Ag program would not be nearly as successful as it is. Olsen’s Grain has five locations across Northern Arizona, and I believe they are successful because people realize that Mike and the other owners want people to not only feed their animals high quality feeds, but they also want to educate people on the importance of a healthy lifestyle for their animals. While Mike might not be in the classroom anymore, he is and will always be an education and his love for agriculture is second to none. Mike, thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and my Ag program,” Miles Holder, Chino Valley Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor, shared.

Mike established Olsen’s Grain, Inc. along with his wife Sherrill and father John in 1979 with the original location in Chino Valley. The company has now grown to four additional retail Livestock Feed and Pet Food stores and an operating feed mill in Arizona. The other retail locations are in Prescott, Flagstaff, Dewey, and Clarkdale. Mike and his CEO/CFO, Michelle Gronek, have supported the Arizona Agricultural Education / FFA Foundation, Fundraising for Ag Education Raffle, formerly known as the Gator Raffle, the past six years. They sell tickets at four of their five retail locations.

Every year Olsen’s Grain holds the Arizona Equifest Team Roping, which raises funds for the Olsen’s Scholarship Fund supporting local high school students. In past years, they’ve also held Team Roping events to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.

FFA is an organization very near and dear to their hearts, as they have held team roping competitions to raise funds to support the chapters in their area, as well as supporting the chapters through direct donations and allowing fundraising activities in all of their stores. They donate dog food to all the K-9 units in Yavapai and Coconino counties for the life of the dogs. Olsen’s also supports the Yavapai County Humane Society and United Animal Friends annual events, as well as discounted dog food throughout the year for the shelters.

When Mike was asked what his fondest memories were of FFA he shared, he has many. “As a teacher, fond memories of FFA included coaching the winning Dairy judging team in the state then driving the students to the FFA National Convention in Kansas City, MO to compete. As a parent, my fondest memory was of my daughter, Karen being selected as a finalist for the Star State Greenhand Award. As a supporter, my fondest memories were the many years of judging the District Agriculture Sales Contest.” Olsen’s is also a supporter of the State Career Development Event for Agriculture Sales.

Mike shared, “I support FFA from firsthand knowledge of the leadership and character development proven by many former FFA members having had, and currently having key positions in our company.”

Community service has always been important to Mike. He has served as a member of the Chino Valley School District school board for 8 years and has been serving as President for 2 years. He is currently a member of the Yavapai Cattle Growers Association and serving as a board member. In the past, he was also a member and the President of their church parish council. He served as the 4H-FFA Livestock Expo chairman, board member and President of the Arizona Junior Rodeo Association. Mike is currently serving as a board member of the Arizona Agricultural Education / FFA Foundation. For enjoyment when Mike is not volunteering, he is a private pilot and enjoys flying. He also enjoys snow skiing, and team roping every chance he has.

Mike Olsen and his company, Olsen’s Grain, believes in giving back to the community that has supported their business for over 35 years. We congratulate Mike on being selected as the 2021 Agriculturist of the Year.