In just three short years since it began, Purdue University’s Women in Agriculture award have been prestigious, highly sought-after and very competitive awards. To get the award, a person must be nominated, and the nominator must submit a packet of information about the nominee, including letters of support from various people who have worked with that person.
Two more women were added to the list of winners on the opening day of the Indiana State Fair. They were Kristi Kretzmeier, for the achievement category, and Belinda Puetz for the Leadership award.
Neither are strangers to Indiana Prairie Farmer readers. Kretzmeier is the daughter of George and Nancy Krom of Rochester, co-host of the 1989 Farm Progress Show. In fact, Kristi and her husband, John, met while John was working for a chemical company, in preparation for the show.
The two have grown their farm from 1,000 to 4,000 acres since ’91. Kristi is responsible for financial management, and actively participates in planting and harvesting. She also maintains a small beef operation. Her activities off the farm include volunteer work at her children’s school, in 4-H and in Extension programs. She is chair of the Administrative Board of the Otterbein United Methodist Church. Their children include Kenzie, Clay and Carson.
Kretzmeier and her oldest daughter were featured on an Indiana Prairie Farmer cover about a decade ago for a story about he future of farming for today’s young people. She and her husband have been sources for various articles about crop production and use of technology over the years.
Meanwhile, Belinda Puetz went from being an aggressive, super-helpful communication specialist with the Indiana Soybean Growers (now Indiana Soybean Alliance) to marketing manager for CountryMark CO-op. She’s been instrumental in both roles in developing the market for bio-fuels form a publicity standpoint.
Featured in a number of articles, Peutz is also one of the inspirations behind the scenes for both youth and adult essay contests in Indiana Prairie Farmer. This spring’s adult version netted Hettie Gray, Fairland, 1,000 gallons of fuel form CountryMark and Gray’s local CountryMark supplier.
Puetz was outstanding Purdue Senior in ag communications in 1991, and is currently in Class 13 of the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program. She and her husband, Greg, have two children, Megan and Logan.