How do you know your agriculture event is a success? When, unscripted, Director of Indiana State Department of Agriculture Ted McKinney starts his speech by saying "I attend a lot of event and this is outstanding!"
"Do you all know what you have going on here?" McKinney asked in his opening remarks at the Shelby County Ag Promotions Dinner. "Five-hundred and twenty-five some attendees at a county focused effort to celebrate agriculture, you all are outstanding."
Now its 12th year, this event has continued to grow exponentially. Started as a way to increase participation in celebrating agriculture in the county, it has now become a March highlight.
"With the help of our sponsors the Shelby County Ag Promotion committee is able to carry out its mission," says Jeremy Weaver, committee member. "That mission is to educate and promote the tremendous role that agriculture plays in Shelby County."
The ultimate goal of the banquet is to help raise funds for two, four-year renewable scholarships the committee offers to college bound or current college students with an agriculture background, whether it be farm, 4-H or FFA. It is also an opportunity to gain insight from the Director of Agriculture on what is happening in our industry statewide.
The committee, made up of about eight to10 farmers, Shelby County ag industry representatives and the local extension agent, work to put this event and several other events on during the month of March and throughout the year.
Later this month the committee will sponsor Fourth Grade Ag Safety Day. Fourth graders in the county are invited to learn more about agriculture, experience firsthand some farm equipment and livestock to learn more about an important industry in their county.
They also support a local FFA Chapter through a petting zoo at the Shelby County Fair, and a county wide billboard campaign to educate commuters in the county to slow down and pay attention to farm equipment on the roads. The committee also supports various other programs that help promote agriculture throughout Shelby County.