John and Abby Michel of Gibson County and Kyle and Leah Musselman of Miami County are the winners of two of Indiana Farm Bureau’s top awards for Young Farmers & Ag Professionals in 2020, the Excellence in Agriculture Award and the Achievement Award.
Two panels of judges evaluated this year’s participants. Excellence in Agriculture candidates were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations, while the Achievement Award candidates were judged on their leadership abilities and on what they have achieved with their farms.
- John and Abby Michel, Gibson County, won the INFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes Young Farmers & Ag Professionals who do not derive the majority of their income from an owned production-agricultural operation. The Michels will receive a John Deere Gator (courtesy of Farm Credit Services), a $3,000 cash prize (courtesy of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance) and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the American Farm Bureau annual convention in San Diego, California.
- Kyle and Leah Musselman, Miami County, won the INFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes Young Farmers & Ag Professionals who earn the majority of their income from their farms. The Musselmans will receive a $6,000 cash prize (courtesy of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance), 250 hours of free use of one M-Series tractor (courtesy of Kubota Tractor Corporation) and an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the AFBF annual convention. The winners also will be awarded the David L. Leising Memorial Award.
Winners and finalists will be formally recognized during the INFB state convention later this year. Learn more about this year’s winners below.
John and Abby Michel, Gibson County
As partners in their family’s multigenerational farm, the Michels devote a lot of time and energy to the operation. On the farm, John assists with planting and harvest and manages the chemical and fertility programs and farm technology systems. He also works full-time as an operations manager at AgriSelect where he helps local farmers with their ag-chemical programs and provides general agronomics counsel. Abby supports all farm operations and can often be found moving equipment and delivering parts.
“Agriculture is in our blood,” said Abby. “The opportunity to come back and buy into the family farm and raise our family the way we were raised is more than we could have ever dreamed of.”
John has a bachelor’s degree in Ag Systems Management and Abby a master’s degree in Youth Development and Ag Education. A few years ago, the Michels participated in the INFB Leaders in Action program which led to their involvement with the county Young Farmers & Ag Professionals program. They later served as District 9 representatives on the State Young Farmers & Ag Professionals Committee.
“We’ve since come off the committee, but really appreciate everything we were able to gain there – from leadership and fun to the relationships that we’ll always have,” said Abby.
Learn more about the Michels here.
Kyle and Leah Musselman, Miami County
Together, the Musselmans have grown their family’s traditional grain operation into a diversified farm which includes corn, soybeans and wheat but also hogs and local sweet corn. Beyond their own farm, they also operate a robust custom farming operation for farmers in their community where they create individual crop plans for their clients and run a local seed dealership. Kyle started the family’s wean-to-finish hog operation at 19 years old, which was a pivotal step in allowing them to later take over the entire family operation.
“Our families have always farmed, and we have been passed down the love for farming,” said Leah.
“We don’t wake up thinking in dollar and cents,” added Kyle. “We wake up thinking about the lifestyle we grew up enjoying and that’s what we want to carry on in our legacy.”
The couple met at Purdue, where Kyle earned a bachelor’s degree in Ag Systems Management and Leah a bachelor’s degree in Ag Economics – Sales and Marketing. Several years ago, the Musselmans joined the Miami County Farm Bureau board as Young Farmers & Ag Professionals co-chairs and revitalized their local YF&AP program.
Learn more about the Musselmans here.