Indiana Farm Bureau held its annual convention December 12-13 in French Lick. The organization ended the year with 256,658 total members and of those, 73,068 are voting members.
A lot of credit for these numbers goes to the hardworking counties in the state. County Farm Bureaus were recognized as "Cardinals," "Hawks" or "Falcons" for their participation. Each category required a set of basic goals to meet. Any county who fulfilled extra requirements in all five categories were presented the Falcon Award.
Seven county Farm Bureaus were recognized:
Influential Organization Program Area
Jefferson County was recognized for the Madison schools building project and referendum. They hosted local education meeting, worked with school board members, took ads in the local paper and radio station. Those efforts paid off with 77% of the county voting to defeat the referendum.
Marshal County was recognized for its efforts to establish a better relationship with Sen. Dan Coats and his staff and show the senator the diverse agriculture of northern Indiana, its importance to the local economy, and share the issues facing agriculture. They invited 10 surrounding counties to meet with Coats and his staff. About 168 people attended the event including mayors, school superintendents, county officials and town managers, as well as farm bureau members.
Montgomery County's Young Farmer group was recognized for hosting a dinner and discussion with federal, state and local lawmakers. The goal was to introduce the younger ag community – including high school students – to their representatives.
Young Farmer and Youth Category
Washington County was recognized for its "See What Ag Gives" (SWAG) campaign to publicly celebrate agriculture at their county fair. There were nightly SWAG searches, an educational ag-focused spinning wheel at their fair booth, a dedicated kids' day SWAG search, and the first annual Ag Hall of Fame dinner and Farmer's Health initiative.
Franklin County's strong young farmer program was recognized for its community outreach. The group supports local food pantries, buys livestock for underprivileged families at the local 4-H auction, supports needy families at Christmas, sells ice cream at the county fair, hosts a truck and tractor pull each spring, and this year, purchased grain rescue tubes for local fire departments. The group has 2,500 fans on their Facebook page.
Public Relations and Education
Pike County was recognized for its county fair-based campaign to increase its public profile. The county financially supported the Pike County 4-H Council, purchased livestock in the 4-H auction, greeted more than 300 people at a family fun night Ag in the Classroom event, hosted an Our Food Link function and promoted farm safety to non-farm families.
Kosciusko County was recognized for its partnership with Lake City radio stations to have a week-long ag trivia contest on two different local radio stations. Each of the 20 winners was awarded a $25 gift card to a local supermarket. They also worked with eight area farmers to sponsor the grand prize, a $500 gift card to the same supermarket.
Franklin County was recognized for its purchase of two grain rescue tubes, two grain evacuation augers, rescue harnesses and rigging for their local fire departments. They also provided training for local farmers and volunteer firemen.
For a full list of all the county Farm Bureaus and the awards they earned, visit the INFB award website.
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.