The cover of the May issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer features Troy Hattery, a farmer and supervisor for the Miami County Soil and Water Conservation District. Earlier this year, he was named Indiana's Supervisor of the Year by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Indiana Prairie Farmer sponsored the award, so we wanted to visit Hattery and get a firsthand look at what he dos on his farm and in his community. The local district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rick Duff, joined our conversation. He wanted to make sure Troy got all the credit he deserved. He knew Troy would be humble. In fact, minutes after winning the award, Troy remarked that he was certain that although he was a nominee, he wouldn't be selected, because he knew how much some of the other nominees did for soil and water conservation.
That's OK, Troy, obviously you do a lot as well. My trip to your farm and our conversation confirmed it. You've helped demonstrate how to practice no-till and other conservation practices on your own farm, but you've also promoted soil conservation by coordinating cover crop seeding in Miami County, serving on the steering committee of the Eel River Watershed project and playing an active role in educating elementary students in the county about agriculture and soil and water conservation.
Don't shy away from your 'moment in the sun.' In my estimation, good people doing good work get very few opportunities in public to shine and be recognized for what they do.
Dave Nanda's son, Paul, recently had the opportunity for one of those moments. Nanda is a consultant who works closely with Indiana Prairie Farmer on a number of stories and projects related to corn production. His youngest son, a graduate of Lawrence Central High School on the northwest side of Marion County, is a doctor who spends a considerable amount of time traveling the world, often on his own time, taking supplies and offering services to poor people in countries where medical help is desperately needed. He's been to parts of the globe where angels fear to tread.
Last week, his school honored him with an evening banquet in his honor. It's something they do for graduates who make unusual and important contributions to their community and beyond. His picture will hang permanently inside the high school building.
"He's pretty humble about it," said a proud dad. "Tell him to enjoy it," I told Dave. "He does great work, and there are far too few times when those who do good things receive public thanks for it."
All this was on my mind today as I learned of the passing of Ron Lauster, a former employee with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and an envoy for soil conservation with the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District for roughly the past decade. He was a tireless writer, always distributing conservation information to anyone that could use it.
He was officially recognized along with his fellow district employees and supervisors for supporting the efforts of IUPUI in Indianapolis and working with their students on conservation issues at a banquet on March 31. Photos were snapped and well deserved congratulations were offered
Then the next day, Ron passed away unexpectedly.
Life is short indeed. If you get the chance to receive an award, or recognize someone else who deserves it, take it, do it. We say thank you far too few times to those who do great things, often as volunteers on their own time.
Here's dedicating this column to the memory of Ron Lauster, whose information and articles occasionally appeared here. It's comforting to know he did get a moment in the sun before being called away so quickly.