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Local Foundation Raises Ag Awareness

Local Foundation Raises Ag Awareness
Agriculture group tries to tell story of farming to non-farmers.

Decatur County and Jay County are two counties who have paved the way in working with their community foundation to set up funds to benefit agriculture groups in their county. Friends of Johnson County Agriculture was formed three years ago to do a similar thing in Johnson County.

The idea grew out of a leadership project headed up by Jennifer Campbell, Franklin, a farmwife who was in a countywide leadership program. They adopted the hoppers of grain program used in Jay County and have raised $20,000 in three years, some from grain, some from donations.

Creative start: Jennifer Campbell, Franklin, was responsible for starting the Friends of Johnson County Agriculture, which partners with the Johnson County Community Foundation.

The first major project was to buy two grain rescue safety tubes for the county. One is located at an elevator and the other at a fire station on opposite sides of the county and they are available to anyone. So far they have collected dust, which was the best possible outcome. The program also included training for about 50 first response rescue team members, plus training for the local Franklin FFA chapter.

Since then, the committee used the next year to rebuild their fund, then hosted a "Know Your Neighbor" program at the Dave and Bruce Dougherty Farm two years ago. They invited people within a 10-mile radius. About 100 people attended and got to ask questions and agriculture in action.

Keegan Poe, a spokesman for the group, says they are planning to host another Know Your Neighbor program this summer. The host farm will be the Ed and Bruce Morris farm on Indiana 135 near Bargersville. The entire Morris family was honored as the Johnson County Farm Family of the Year during the Ag Day Celebration there last week.

The goal will be the same as before, Poe says. They will attempt to bring in as many non-farm people as possible to learn firsthand about agriculture. Based on their first field day two years ago, they will be ready to explain things to people who have no idea what to expect in a modern farm.

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