Whitley County recognized at state conference

Last month, the Whitley County Farm Bureau Young Farmer program was awarded the Awakening Award by the Indiana Farm Bureau. The award is given to counties that have shown growth and momentum with new and developing Young Farmer programs. Pictured from left, Kelly Snipes, outgoing Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee chair, presents Awakening Award to Dane Drew, Whitley County Farm Bureau President and Megan Rawles, Whitley County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chair.

KPC News Service

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 400 Hoosier young farmers traveled to Indianapolis this past weekend for the annual Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Leadership Conference. Several farmers and county young farmer programs were honored for their accomplishments in 2017, including Whitley County.

Whitley, Putnam and Fulton county Farm Bureaus received the Awakening Award. The Awakening Award was started in 1998 to encourage growth and momentum with new and developing county young farmer programs. Programs that are new or have not applied for the contest in the last three years were eligible.

Spencer County Farm Bureau’s young farmer program was recognized with the Outstanding County Young Farmer Award, given to the top program in the state. One young farmer representative from the county will receive an expenses-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference in Reno, Nevada, in February. Jasper and Fulton counties were runners-up.

Morgan County Farm Bureau was recognized as the Most Improved Young Farmer Program this year. This is based on a comparison of activities of the past three years and how the activities and programs of that county’s young farmer program have improved.

Three county young farmer programs were recognized for their contributions to Feeding America, a nonprofit with a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and more. Bartholomew County Farm Bureau donated the most money to Feeding America, collecting $4,000, and Jasper County Farm Bureau donated the most non-perishable food items, a total of 420 pounds of food. Bartholomew County Farm Bureau also donated the most time, with 780 hours.

Conference attendees also raised money for two other special causes, the Indiana 4-H Foundation and the FFA Foundation. Attendees voted with their wallets to see which INFB member would be asked to kiss a skunk from the Silly Safari entertainment show. The People’s Choice Award winner was new INFB Young Farmer Committee chair Aaron Chalfant from Randolph County. All proceeded benefited the foundations. A live auction on Saturday raised the total funds donated to $5,816 for the agriculture youth organizations.

Winners of the state’s two collegiate Farm Bureau chapters’ Discussion Meets were also recognized. Vincennes University Discussion Meet winner Derrik Osborne, of Knox County, and Purdue University Discussion Meet winner Kayla Hoenert, of Posey County, will compete against other collegiate winners from around the country at the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference.

Young farmers who recently competed at AFBF’s annual meeting in Nashville received recognition as well. Those were:

• Deidra Gottbrath, of Washington County, competed in the AFBF Discussion Meet and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of competition.

• Jeff Demerly, of White County, competed in the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes young farmers who do not receive the majority of their income from a production agricultural operation that they own, and placed in the Top 10 in the nation.

• Matt and Brianna Chapman, of Henry County, competed in the Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers whose farm management techniques and commitment to their communities set a positive example for everyone involved in production agriculture.

For more information on programs and conferences sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau, visit infb.org.

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