Co-Alliance Cooperative Launches ‘FFA Proud!’ Partnership

Members of the Co-Alliance team pose with Indiana FFA members in front of one of the two fuel trucks branded with the ‘FFA Proud!” logo. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Co-Alliance Cooperative is helping to promote Indiana FFA with a $25,000 donation to the organization, as well as branding two of the tanker trucks in its fleet with a giant logo on the sides that reads ‘FFA Proud!’

“As it drives up and down the road, it’s a moving billboard for FFA, Co-Alliance and our CountryMark brands,” says Amy Kinsler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Co-Alliance.

One of the trucks with the ‘FFA Proud!’ logo was unveiled this week during the Indiana FFA State Convention at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  The two tankers will be seen all across the state as CountryMark branded fuel is being delivered to farms, schools and businesses.

“We’ll be covering over 100,000 miles with each one of these trucks independently, so that’s 200,000 miles a year that these will cover. We’re excited to see them in action. They’ll be on our rural roads, they’ll be on our interstates across Indiana and I think the whole community [and] the whole state will see these [trucks] moving up and down the road,” Amy says.

Co-Alliance board member Bill Peters (far left) and Co-Alliance Vice President of Sales and Marketing Amy Kinsler (far right) present a $25,000 donation to Indiana FFA State Officers. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Amy says the partnership with is very important to help grow the next generation of Indiana’s ag leaders.

“As we look down the path, we’ve got a lot of growth on our horizon,” says Amy. “We’re looking to how we better service our farmer-owners and truly, Indiana FFA is creating our future workforce.”

Bill Peters, Tipton County farmer and Co-Alliance board member, says he’s proud that Co-Alliance is promoting Indiana FFA and helping to develop its members into the next leaders in Indiana’s agribusiness sector.

“It’s all about the future,” Bill says. “One of these days were all going to be replaced as leaders and it’s going to be these young kids who learn from FFA and be the leaders that we need in this country and this part of the state.”

Amy says that the co-op’s donation and its rolling billboards on their trucks will also help grow Indiana FFA and the leadership opportunities they provide.

“I think we’re all blessed to be in Indiana agriculture, but I think one of the shining stars of Indiana is our FFA and our FFA members across the state,” says Amy. “To me, this is a natural fit as we step in and help support and sponsor them moving forward.”

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s radio news report on Co-Alliance launching it’s new ‘FFA Proud!’ partnership with Indiana FFA.

Co-Alliance Vice President of Sales and Marketing Amy Kinser unveils the newly branded ‘FFA Proud!’ tanker truck before Indiana FFA members. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

FFA Member Adam Polston Shares His Talents During Indiana FFA State Convention

Adam Polston, a senior at Blue River Valley High School in Henry County, performs ‘How Great Thou Art’ during the Indiana FFA State Convention. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

During the second general session of the 93rd annual Indiana FFA State Convention, one FFA member from Henry County got the chance to show off his talents by singing and performing an all-time classic hymn on the piano in front of the large audience at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Expo Hall.

“I won [the talent competition] for my singing at District 9. I sung Amazing Grace there, so I changed it to How Great Thou Art,” says Adam Polston, who will be a senior this fall at Blue River Valley High School north of New Castle.

Adam said performing in front of several thousand people during the convention is a lot different than performing at his church.

“I was really nervous. I was feeling nauseous back there at first because it’s a lot of people. I just kind of focused on the song and the lyrics of the song and just trying to get that message out.”

Adam says serving in FFA has been a family tradition.

“I’m in a big family of six and all my family members have done it,” according to Adam. “I did it in seventh grade and I wasn’t really involved until this past year. I was buckling down and said this is like a great program to do.  I did soils this year and I did dairy judging.”

He’s says he’s undecided as far as his career path after high school.

“I don’t know if I want to go into music like I’ve presented here [at the Indiana FFA State Convention] or into union work [like carpentry] and pick up a trade there. [My family and I] are praying for it and hopefully that it will come out eventually and I’ll get the right pathway.”

Adam says he’s been finding inspiration in the messages of the state officers and guest speakers during the convention.

“I’m having a blast here [at the convention].” The keynote speakers are giving out great truths that you can take in and then try to adjust to your life and try to challenge you. That’s what FFA does. It challenges you and pushes you to strive for greatness.”

Click BELOW to hear more about Adam Polston’s FFA journey – and what led him to serve with Indiana FFA.

FFA members hold up their cell phones with the flashlight app on during Adam Polston’s performance. C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Indiana FFA State Convention Recognizes a Year’s Worth of Service

Indiana FFA State Officers for 2021-22. Left to Right: Madisen Carns, Sentinel; Jordyn Wickard, Treasurer; Abby Stuckwisch, Southern Region VP; Tyler Kilmer, Northern Region VP; Nicholas Neuman, Secretary; Kourtney Otte, President. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

The 93rd annual Indiana FFA State Convention is underway as members from across the state converge in Indianapolis.

“The blue jacket is probably the snazziest thing you can wear,” says Kourtney Otte, president of Indiana FFA, referring to the blue corduroy jackets that many young men and women will be wearing during the convention at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

“We are going to have hundreds upon hundreds of members here celebrating them and their achievements and recognizing all the hard work that goes into an entire year as an FFA member,” says Kourtney. “Our entire team is so thrilled to be back here at the State Fairgrounds.”

‘Pulse’ is the theme for the 93rd annual Indiana FFA State Convention. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

The theme of this year’s convention is “Pulse.”

“We want to feel adrenaline. We want to feel excited. We want to really feel the pulse of who we are as FFA members and bring all of that to the [State] Fairgrounds to get people hyped,” says Kourtney. “We’re excited to be that team that kind of hypes everyone back up and gets them super excited and to really feel that adrenaline [as part of] the journey and the change that has come throughout this year.”

Hoosier Ag Today’s C.J. Miller interviews Indiana FFA president Kourtney Otte of Seymour. Photo: Elise Koning / Hoosier Ag Today.

The state convention is also a chance to honor Indiana FFA members and advisors as the organization gives out four State Star Awards which recognizes FFA members who have excelled in the Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs. Members compete in one of four different Star Award Areas: Agribusiness, Agriscience, Farmer, and Placement.

In addition, the Indiana FFA will recognize Hoosier Degrees that document the FFA members who have achieved success at a high level in their Supervised Agriculture Experience program, leadership development, and community service.

Kourtney said the state convention is a chance to show off Indiana FFA’s efforts this past year of living out its motto of “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve.”

“We’ve been on 24/7 doing work everywhere we can. This would not be possible without those [FFA] members, without people wearing a blue jacket [or] without people continually spreading the word of agriculture

Click HERE to listen to C.J. Miller’s radio news report with Indiana FFA president Kourtney Otte and how the 93rd annual Indiana FFA State Convention is recognizing a year’s worth of service.

Click BELOW to watch Hoosier Ag Today’s C.J. Miller chat with Indiana FFA State Officers Kourtney Otte, Nicholas Neuman, Abby Stuckwisch and Jordyn Wickard as they discuss the awards and celebrations that are part of the 93rd annual Indiana FFA State Convention.

How to Manage Your Crops During This Week’s Extreme Heat

An American flag adorns a barn roof that faces a soybean field in Smithland, Indiana in Shelby County. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

This week, Indiana will likely experience extreme heat with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. When the humidity is factored in, the heat index will be well above 100 degrees. It hasn’t been this hot in Indiana since July 2012.

“If you [have] irrigators, obviously you’re [going to] be running around like crazy keeping those operational and getting those fields watered as much as possible,” says Daniel Stauffer with Specialty Hybrids.

Daniel Stauffer, Field Sales Representative with Specialty Hybrids. Photo courtesy of Specialty Hybrids.

Daniel says your crops may benefit from the high heat.

“We’re obviously in the beginning stages of this big heat wave here, but it’s positive in that it’s going to cause these plants to root down to find more moisture, and so hopefully that’ll help us in the long run,” Daniel says.

He recommends feeding your plants with nutrients, as well as fungicides to keep them as healthy as possible through the heat.

“If that plant is healthy, it’s going to be able to withstand stress better and so considering a micronutrient pack, sugars or fungicide. Delaro ® [or] Delaro ® Complete would be a couple [of fungicides] for later in the season for tar spot protection,” according to Daniel. “Right now, [I recommend] Stratego ® YLD early application just to keep the plant health up.”

He also reminds you of the fast-approaching cutoff date for herbicide applications for soybeans.

“For our XtendFlex ® soybeans [and] the usage of Xtendimax® herbicide, that cutoff date in Indiana is June 20, so make sure we get those out in advance of that date. A positive that comes from the dry weather is we should see even better residual control out of that product. [It’s best to] stay in front of the weeds to make sure they don’t rob yield.”

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s radio news report on how to manage your crops during this week’s extreme heat.

Click BELOW to hear the FULL interview with Daniel Stauffer with Specialty Hybrids about planting and crop emergence progress throughout northern Indiana.

At Specialty Hybrids, it’s your field, our Specialty. Find your local field sales representative and dealer online at

A set of barns and grain bins overlook a corn field in Shelby County, Indiana. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Johnson County Antique Tractor Show Keeps Indiana’s Farm History Alive

Dwayne Hansford, president of the Johnson County Antique Machinery Association, with his fully restored 1936 Farmall F-20. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

It’s about keeping a piece of Indiana’s farm history and heritage alive. That’s why people from across the Midwest are traveling to the Edinburgh area this upcoming weekend to share their passion for antique tractors.

“We always say, ‘step back in time with us’ because we like to step back in time and let everybody relive the past,” says Dwayne Hansford, president of the Johnson County Antique Machinery Association.  The organization’s annual tractor show is June 16-19 at Johnson County Park not far from Camp Atterbury.

Dwayne says the tractors on display represent a time when farming was far more challenging.

“You [would] spend a lot more time in the seat of a tractor back in [those] days,” Dwayne says. “Now they can cover several hundred acres in a day’s time. You [were] lucky to cover 15 to 25 acres a day with old equipment. A lot of people do this hobby for that very reason because grandpa or dad had the passion and they’re trying to keep it alive.”

That’s exactly why Dwayne says he started collecting and restoring antique Farmall tractors and has around 45 in his collection originally built between 1919 and 1952.

“Well, [my] grandpa farmed with M Farmalls. He eventually got up to [an International] 1066, but he was all International Farmall, so I got cut my teeth driving an M Farmall hauling corn when I was 13 [or] 14 years old,” according to Dwayne. “That got me started collecting because I grew up on a Farmall.”

Dwayne says the tractors you’ll see at the show aren’t meant to be locked away at a museum.

“You know that’s part of the nice thing about our hobby is we get to get out and play with things like we used to farm with. We get to show off a little bit, we get to go to parades, we get to go to plow day and work them all day if we want to or sit around have a conversation like a big family reunion and be able to enjoy what we do,” he says.

But most of all, Dwayne says the antique tractors serve as a bridge to Indiana’s farming history and cultural heritage that connects his grandparents’ generation with future generations.

“We [have] grandkids coming along now so we’re trying to get them involved and just carry on the legacy a little longer. One of these days we can sit back under a shade tree and watch them play with them. That’s what’s all about too.”

Click HERE to read more about the Johnson County Antique Machinery Show June 16-19 at Johnson County Park near Edinburgh, Indiana.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s radio news report on the upcoming Johnson County Antique Machinery Show and how it keeps Indiana’s farm history alive.

A restored antique Farmall tractor on display at the Johnson County Antique Machinery Show. Photo courtesy of the Johnson County Antique Machinery Association.

Indiana Crops: 97% Percent of Corn, 92% of Soybeans Planted, Says USDA

Several barns and grain bins overlook a corn field in Shelby County, Indiana. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Corn planting progress is all but finished across Indiana. Both corn and soybean emergence progressed ahead of their respective five-year averages according to the USDA’s Weekly Crop Progress Report for the week ending Sunday, June 12, 2022

In Indiana, 97 percent of the state’s expected corn crop has been planted. This compares with 94 percent as an average over the past five years.  Of the corn crop planted, 89 percent has emerged compared with 83 percent over a five-year average.

The USDA also shows that 92 percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted at this time compared with 85 percent over the past five-year average.  Of the soybeans planted, 80 percent have emerged compared with 71 percent over a five-year average.

Of the corn crop in Indiana, 74 percent is rated either in good or excellent condition. Soybeans are at 73 percent and winter wheat is at 69 percent good or excellent condition.

Source: USDA Crop Progress Report, June 13, 2022.

Former Indiana FFA State Officer Pushes for More Ag Attorneys

Former Indiana FFA state officer Sarah Correll is now an attorney with Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis. She talks with Hoosier Ag Today’s C.J. Miller about the need for more students to consider a career in agriculture law. Photo: Andy Eubank / Hoosier Ag Today.

Sarah Correll has come a long way since she was a state officer with Indiana FFA in 2011-2012. She is now an attorney with Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis.

With the 93rd Indiana FFA State Convention running June 13-16, Sarah is strongly encouraging current members who are passionate about the ag industry to consider a career in agricultural law.

Sarah says she decided to become an ag attorney when she was serving in FFA.

“When I was growing up in Miami County, this was not on my horizon,” says Sarah. “Law school was not my plan and I think that there’s value in sharing these stories and sharing that these jobs even exist.”

Sarah says there’s a huge need for attorneys in rural communities to help guide farmers and their families with estate planning, as well as drafting, negotiating and executing legal contracts.

Those who have been raised in rural areas already have a better understanding of the legal needs in those communities, she says.

“We do things a little bit differently in agriculture. We think a little differently from a cultural standpoint, we do things a little bit differently in terms of what those assets are and then there’s a little bit more of a connection to those in some spaces. [There’s] a little bit more of a tie to keep the land in the family and those are areas where it’s really helpful to have someone who is from rural communities [and] someone who grew up in agriculture or around agriculture to go back to work with this communities [and] someone who really understands those areas.”

Sarah recommends students look into Indiana University’s program to place law students in rural areas – and says more FFA students should consider that career path.

“We have the Rural Justice Institute that is placing law students with rural judges. Those are judges and courts that typically are not going to get that unpaid labor, and so by subsidizing those programs the law school specifically through [Indiana University] are placing more young law students in those communities and hopefully getting them to build some ties with those communities,” according to Sarah.

She also says Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law at IUPUI in Indianapolis have partnered to offer a dual degree program in agricultural law. Students who complete the program will receive a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and Master of Jurisprudence from IU McKinney.

Click HERE to read more about the Rural Justice Initiative at Indiana University.

Click HERE to read more about the joint Purdue and IU dual degree program in agricultural law.

Click HERE to read Sarah Correll’s bio with Ice Miller. 

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s report on former FFA state officer Sarah Correll and her push to encourage current FFA members to consider a career in ag law.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels to Retire at End of the Year

Purdue University president Mitch Daniels. Photo courtesy of Purdue University.

Mitch Daniels is stepping down as president of Purdue University at the end of the year according to the school’s Board of Trustees.

Daniels became the 12th president of Purdue University in Jan. 2013, at the conclusion of his second term as Governor of the State of Indiana.  Before he was Indiana’s governor, he served under President George W. Bush as the director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2003.

During his time as Purdue’s president, he oversaw the addition of many buildings on campus, including the $108 million David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex which was dedicated in April.

Daniels also led the acquisition and development of Purdue University Global, as well as the creation of Purdue Polytechnic High Schools in Indianapolis and South Bend.

The university also says it has not raised tuition the entire time Daniels has served as president.

Daniels will be replaced by Dr. Mung Chiang, currently the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and Executive Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Source: Purdue University

How a Henry County Farmer Benefits Through His Regenerative Ag Partnership

Henry County farmer Brian Miller (right) with Caleb Smith (left), Carbon Cropping Agronomist with Agoro Carbon Alliance. Photo by C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

More Indiana farmers are getting into the carbon market. Henry County farmer Brian Miller says he’s benefited from his regenerative agriculture partnership with Agoro Carbon Alliance.

“Carbon is very important. Everything on this earth is carbon-based, so to get the carbon back into a balance to me seems like a good idea,” says Brian, who farms nearly 1,500 acres near the town of Spiceland, which is south of New Castle.

Brian has been no-tilling and planting cover crops across his farm. He says he has gotten into carbon sequestration by working with Caleb Smith, Carbon Cropping Agronomist with Agoro Carbon Alliance.

“It’s just another resource as far as agronomy, as far as setting up a baseline and probably trying to put some numbers to how much carbon we are sequestering. That’s the one question that everybody always has when you do [cover crops]. How much carbon are you sequestering? Hopefully through working with [Agoro Carbon Alliance] we can put some numbers to that.”

Henry County farmer Brian Miller (right) with Caleb Smith (left), Carbon Cropping Agronomist with Agoro Carbon Alliance. Photo by C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Brian says Caleb and the team with Agoro Carbon Alliance have not only been helpful in giving him feedback to improve the health of his soil, but also flexible in their agreement involving his ideas for managing cover crops.

“My biggest benefit from it is just someone else to talk to about ideas that I have [and] someone who can broaden my knowledge base of what’s going on in other parts of the country and other parts of the world,” Brian says. “[There are] things going on all over the whole world with regenerative ag in the cover crops, so to have a resource that I can use and call up and bounce ideas off of and ask questions and help solve problems is a huge benefit to my operation.”

Caleb says that one of the ideas that Brian is using is a mix of 60-inch corn with his cover crops.

“He wanted to experiment with how wider rows help get more forage for [his] cattle and help reduce feeding costs. We worked to try to find the best way to possibly do that. That’s just the beginning. We have so many things that are not well understood in terms of what works to sequester more carbon that we haven’t even scratched the surface on and so you know something like 60-inch corn is really just the start,” says Caleb.

Agoro Carbon Alliance recently announced they have distributed more than $9 million in payments to U.S. farmers and ranchers in its first year, carving a unique position in the carbon farming market. The company’s carbon contract opportunities are based on improved management practices to sequester carbon and deliver sustained agriculture improvements, and are not packaged or paired with other product offerings.

A partnership with Agoro Carbon Alliance, such as the one the company has with Brian Miller, can also generate carbon credits that add a new revenue stream for farmers.

Brian says the success of his partnership with Agoro Carbon Alliance will also pay off for the environment.

“If you’re definitely thinking about going to the cover crops, I think the carbon market and [Agoro Carbon Alliance] is definitely something that will help you in your transition into how you will be successful in this. No one ‘s going to keep doing something if they’re not successful and they want you to be successful. What benefits us on the farm also benefits everyone else in this environment.”

Click HERE to read more about Agoro Carbon Alliance and what they can do for you and your farming operation.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s report on Henry County farmer Brian Miller and how he has benefited from his regenerative ag partnership with Agoro Carbon Alliance.

CountryMark Names New Vice President of Corporate Services

Mike Leland, Vice President of Corporate Services with CountryMark. Photo provided by CountryMark.

CountryMark has announced they have named Mike Leland as Vice President of Corporate Services.

According to the company, he will oversee the corporate teams of human resources, information technology, division order and management systems.

Leland joined CountryMark in 2018 serving as the director of human resources. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hope College and a master’s degree in human resources and labor relations from Michigan State University. Prior to CountryMark, he worked at Marathon Petroleum Company in several human resource leadership positions.

“I’m excited to have Mike on CountryMark’s executive team,” said Matt Smorch, CountryMark President and Chief Executive Officer. “Mike drives for excellence and has been a reliable leader of the human resources team since joining the company. His collaboration and input will be valuable to the executive team as we continue to improve into the future.”