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Old Friend to Indiana Prairie Farmer Readers at Forage Day

Quentin Williamson received national award for service.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

September 21, 2009

3 Min Read

He may be a bit older than before, but Quentin Williamson is still a guy with a smile and a burning passion for soil conservation. He needed to sue his cane, but he walked across the rough pasture to attend the Purdue Forage Day held in the corner of Wayne County last week.

Williamson is from Wayne County, near Economy.. He spent his career farming, then later in soil conservation work. Long past retirement age, he was still helping the Wayne County soil conservation district promote no-till and soil conservation. He is perhaps best remembered for his ability to get huge crowds at meetings and the summer trips he organized.

The secret to getting farmers to come to meeting sis to call them and invite them personally, he once confided. It's hard to turn down a personal invitation. And providing free food doesn't hurt!

Williamson also lined up summer tours for county farmers to see points of interest to conservation farmers not only in Indiana, but across the Midwest. They visited Coschocton, Ohio, to see long-term no-till plots, and Jim Kinsella's farm in Lexington,Kill., among lots of other places. "I still have guys ask me to put a tour together, even though I've been retired for several years," he says, smiling.

Tours were popular because he always allowed room to visit places of interest that weren't necessarily related to conservation farming, and somehow bird-dogged the best places to eat in any given area. One of his favorites in central Indiana where the tour stopped was at Bird's Cafeteria, near I-65 at the Greenwood Main Street exit. The founder of the famous restaurant, Jonathon Bird, died earlier this summer. If the name sounds familiar, he was an avid race fan and became a car owner at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway.

Williamson was recently honored by the Soil Conservation Society of America for his body of work over his long career in educating others about conservation. He recently received the award at the annual conference of the group, held this year in Dearborn, Michigan.

What does Williamson do today, now that he's retired for a second time from conservation work? "I clean out the dairy parlor," he responded. "And I'm not kidding- I really do that for my son. Sometimes I even drive a tractor. You can't just sit down and quit, or it will be all over for you."

Not bad advice- that's vintage Quentin Williamson talking.

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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