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Who were those gallant 'older' gentlemen, anyway?Who were those gallant 'older' gentlemen, anyway?

FFA Corner: Now the world knows who the helpful gang of 11 ag teachers are!

Tom Bechman 1

September 14, 2016

2 Min Read

You have seen the picture below before. It appeared here on July 8 and in Indiana Prairie Farmer on Page 20 of the August issue. You were even provided with clues as to who these retired ag teachers are, and offered a $25 gift certificate if you guessed their identities correctly.

And the winner is … actually, two people identified all 11 men correctly, and each will receive a $25 gift certificate. Congratulations to Dave Burgess, Fountain City, a former ag teacher in east-central Indiana, and Jeff Conrad, a retired ag teacher himself. Conrad retired from Lakeland High School in LaGrange County after 30 years of teaching and now lives near Waterloo.


The retired ag teachers in the photo gathered to help spruce up the Indiana FFA Center earlier this year. Thanks to Conrad for supplying some extra information about some of these folks!

They are (from left) Dan Gottschalk; Bill McVay, who Conrad says wrote a tough farm business exam; Dale Butcher; Robert Meyerholtz; Leon Crowe; Gary Heshelman; Ben Helms, a 2016 retiree from Bloomfield High School; Jim Cummings, who taught the author at Whiteland High School; Charlie Hines; Joe Park; and Phil Carter.

Who were those gallant 'older' gentlemen, anyway?

Conrad's entry included a request to know how many combined years of teaching vocational agriculture and serving as an FFA advisor are accumulated among these 11 men. Count it in centuries, not decades. Thanks to Joe Park for providing the official tally — 403 years!

More volunteers

The retired teachers aren’t the only ones who help keep the Indiana FFA Center in good shape and make improvements, notes Park, the center's director.

“Many ag teachers of all ages have brought their chapters here, and have spent some time helping us do various jobs while they were here,” Park says. That’s a tradition that dates back to the founding of the center.

Earlier this fall students from Franklin College spent an entire day doing exciting tasks, including cutting weeds on the bank of the dam of the lake with gas-powered weed trimmers.

“They come each year as part of a day-of-service program which Franklin College maintains,” Park says. “We really appreciate their help.”

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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