Farm Progress

The retired state soil conservationist was honored for her outstanding service to Hoosiers.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

January 27, 2018

2 Min Read
POIGNANT MOMENT: Jane Hardisty, honored for her service to NRCS and Indiana, takes a moment to compose herself after Ray Chattin (left) delivered heartwarming congratulations to her.

“You know, I got something in the mail one day last fall, and it was from Medicare. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was 65, and maybe I better think about what comes next for me in life. At times it still seemed like I was in my 40s and 50s, and I hadn’t stopped to think about it.”

That’s how Jane Hardisty, now retired as the Indiana state soil conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, explained her decision to retire to some 500 soil and water district supervisors and guests gathered at the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual conference. Multiple members of the Indiana Conservation Partnership gathered on stage with her to honor her on an outstanding career.

Hardisty, Greenfield, worked in public service for 43 years. She spent 20 of those years as a state conservationist — three in Michigan and the past 17 in Indiana.

“I enjoyed my time in public service, and I’m very proud of NRCS and our employees here in Indiana,” Hardisty said. “Working together with the Indiana Conservation Partnership, we have set a high bar in this state. Everyone will need to keep working to carry the soil health banner forward.”

Indiana is acknowledged nationwide as one of the leaders, if not the leader, in promoting soil health and cover crops. Indiana farmers have planted more than 1 million acres in cover crops each of the past two years.

Related:Jill Reinhart serves as acting state soil conservationist

“I recently read a book about Hugh Hammond Bennett, who led the effort to form the Soil Conservation Service in the 1930s,” Hardisty says. “NRCS and soil and water districts are the only program from that New Deal era which are still around today. That says a lot.”

What’s next for Hardisty? “I’ve got a 200-acre farm to look after, and two teenage parents,” she quipped. She and her sister help their parents, ages 88 and 91, when needed.

“I’m going to take a break and then see what comes along where I might be helpful,” she added.

Ray Chattin, Vincennes, who presented an award to Hardisty on behalf of the Indiana State Soil Conservation Board, got it right. “This isn’t the end of the book for Jane,” he said. “It’s just the close of a chapter. She will be back, and when she comes back, we all better be ready!”  

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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