Each county in Indiana has a unique way to celebrate and promote agriculture. Perhaps none is more unique than Shelby County’s efforts, which culminate in an event called A Taste of Shelby County Agriculture, held in early March each year at the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, Fairland. This year, 450 people gathered to visit with friends, businesses and county organizations; to award scholarships raised through the program; and to honor a lifelong supporter of agriculture.
Scott Gabbard, Shelby County Extension ag educator, coordinates the effort, but he’s quick to point out that many people have roles in the Shelby County Ag Promotion group. This year, some 50 donors contributed to promoting agriculture in Shelby County. Double Platinum sponsors included Shelby County Farm Bureau Inc., Shelby County Co-op, Bunge NA and Premier 1 Cos.
Two scholarship recipients have been recognized through the program each year since 2005. This year’s winners were Emma Engel, Southwestern High School, and Abigail Gabbard, Morristown High School.
“We were also pleased to have all five Shelby County FFA chapters participate this year,” Gabbard says. FFA members assisting in various roles came from the Morristown, Shelbyville, Southwestern, Triton Central and Waldron FFA chapters.
Gerald Gray, Fairland, was recognized as the 2020 Shelby County Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Gray graduated from Purdue University and returned home to join his father, Gibson Gray, in the seed business. Today, Gray’s Seed Inc. operates as a regional seed company through a partnership with AgVenture. He is a former president of the Indiana Seed Trade Association and a member of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association’s board of directors.
Former recipients of the award include George Crosby, John Carson, Darrell Linville, Harold Tennell and Edwin Yarling.