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Kari Slagel from Strawn, Illinois Kevin Leigh Smith
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: Kari Slagel, Strawn, Ill., was selected as the Tom Budd Ag Communication Freshman Scholarship winner for 2019.

Purdue ag communication student receives support

The scholarship honors Tom Budd, longtime Indiana Prairie Farmer editor.

What better way to honor a master communicator and one of Indiana Prairie Farmer’s own than with a scholarship in his honor? The Tom Budd Agricultural Communication Freshman Scholarship is presented to an incoming freshman enrolled in ag communication at Purdue University each year on behalf of Indiana Prairie Farmer.

The current recipient is Kari Slagel. She hails from Strawn, Ill., where she grew up on a farm. Her parents are Mark and Suzanne Slagel.

Slagel has a passion for English and writing, along with her farm background, says Kevin Leigh Smith, a communication specialist in the ag communication department. He notes that her enthusiasm for agriculture encouraged her to choose ag communication as her field of study at Purdue.

Slagel hopes to put what she learns to good use in the future. She aspires to educate others about the important role agriculture plays in people’s lives today, Smith says.

Tom Budd, whom the award is named for, began as a field editor for Prairie Farmer, and later was named the first editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer when it became a separate magazine. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Lebanon, Ind., and graduated from Purdue University in 1956. Budd became editorial vice president of Farm Progress Cos. in 1982 and served in that position until he retired and returned to his farm near Lebanon in 1996. He died in September 2005.

Budd’s passions included helping youth, helping farmers and writing about agriculture. The scholarship aids continuing generations of young people who share those same passions.

If you know of someone interested in Purdue ag communication or want to know more about the Budd scholarship, email Smith at

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