Ben Ellebracht, retired Brownwood High School Ag teacher, was recently recognized for his contributions to rangeland management and his role as an educator by the Texas Section Society for Range Management’s (TSSRM) annual meeting in Kerrville, Texas. Mr. Ellebracht was presented with the TSSRM Grassroots Award by former students Forrest Smith and Michael Willson. Smith and Willson were members of Ellebracht’s national championship range team in 1999.
For 37 years, Ben Ellebracht has had a tremendous impact on Texas rangelands. Many of his former students have pursued careers related to the management and conservation of our grazing lands. During his teaching career, he led many Range and Pasture judging teams to the state and national contests, enjoying success at both levels.
At Comanche High School, he led winning teams at the Area IV Sweepstakes for 16 years straight (from 1970-1986). His students claimed victory at the State Range & Pasture contest four times (1981, 1983, 1984, 1985), State Meats Judging in 1985, as well as the High Point Individual in 1983 and 1984. After moving to Brownwood High School, Mr. Ellebracht was able to build a competitive FFA judging program from scratch. He led teams to numerous Area Range and Pasture successes, two victories at the State Range & Pasture contest (1997, 1999), two State Nursery & Landscape wins, and one National Range and Pasture trophy in 1999. His teams boasted High Point Individual awards at the State Range & Pasture contests in 1995 and in 1999, as well as the National contest in 1999.
He not only taught classes related to range plant identification and the study of range management, but Mr. Ellebracht spent many hours outside of school training the teams. Setting up plant identification lines, shooting slopes, and creating range plot scenarios often took priority for him after the normal workday was over. For his hard work and dedication to his students, he was awarded the Region V Soil & Water Conservation District Conservation Teacher of the Year in 2005 and the FFA Association Agriscience Teacher of the Year award in 2007.
Many of Ellebracht’s students have pursued careers in rangeland, turf management, or horticulture due to his influence. His impacts in these areas is immeasurable, and for his positive influence on so many students Ben Ellebracht exemplifies the qualities of the Grass Roots Award Winner.
Michael Willson is a 1999 graduate of Brownwood High School, Texas Section Society for Range Management member, and works for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service as a Rangeland Management Specialist covering 52 counties of North and Central Texas.
Ben Ellebracht Education & Awards
Bachelors of Science Agricultural Education - Texas A&M University 1970
Master of Science Teaching - Tarleton State University 1976
37 years teaching (1970 - 2007)
2007 Agriscience Teacher of the Year - Texas FFA Association
2005 Conservation Teacher of the Year - Region V Soil & Water Conservation District of Texas
1st Place State Nursery & Landscape (2004) Texas A&M University
1st Place State Nursery & Landscape (2002) Texas A&M University
1st Place State Range & Pasture (1999) Tarleton State University
1st Place National Contest Range & Pasture (1999) Oklahoma City, OK
1st Place State Range & Pasture (1997) Tarleton State University
High Individual State Range & Pasture (1999)
High Individual National Contest Range & Pasture (1999)
High Individual State Range & Pasture (1995)
1st Place State Range & Pasture (1981) Tarleton State University
1st Place State Range & Pasture (1983) Tarleton State University
1st Place State Range & Pasture (1984) Tarleton State University
1st Place State Range & Pasture (1985) Tarleton State University
1st Place State Meats Team (1985) Texas A&M University
Comanche FFA won Area IV Judging Sweepstakes 16 years in a row (1970 - 1986)
High Individual State Range & Pasture (1983)
High Individual State Range & Pasture (1984)