Hoosier farmers from across the state attended Indiana Farm Bureau’s 2018 Spring Conference this past weekend in Indianapolis. The conference, hosted by the INFB Women’s Leadership Committee, is an annual event that provides professional development and networking opportunities for Farm Bureau members.
At this year’s conference, nearly $5,000 was collected for the Farm Bureau Foundation benefiting the Carolyn Hegel Memorial Scholarship Fund. The money was raised by conference attendees who participated in a silent auction and a live auction. Auction items were donated by county and district Farm Bureaus.
In addition, several members were honored for their accomplishments and volunteer efforts in 2017 at the conference.
One INFB program that requires many volunteers across the state is Ag in the Classroom, an in-school program that teaches children where their food comes from and the importance of Indiana’s farmers. Outstanding Ag in the Classroom volunteers were honored at Spring Conference with the following awards.
Marlene Fudge of Rush County was named Volunteer of the Year for INFB’s Ag in the Classroom program. Fudge was chosen for this award because she went above and beyond to educate Indiana’s youth about agriculture in 2017. Fudge is an active member of Rush County Farm Bureau where she serves as the county’s education and outreach coordinator.
INFB also named five members as 2018 Reaching Out Award recipients. The Reaching Out Award is also given to Ag in the Classroom volunteers that showed a true commitment to the program and to volunteering in their county’s schools. This year’s Reaching Out Award winners were Caren Crum, Carroll County; Miriam Ruppel, Wabash County; Debbie Allen, Switzerland County; Lynda Bauerle, Jennings County; and Deborah Trotter, Clark County.
“Marlene and all of our Reaching Out Award recipients have such a passion for teaching kids about farming and agriculture,” said Isabella Chism, INFB second vice president and chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “They do a great job of bringing their personal experiences on the farm to the classroom so that the kids get to learn about their food right from the source.”
INFB volunteers who have participated in the Ag in the Classroom program for 25 years were also honored at the conference. Those members are Erna Loyd, Spencer County; Maryann Maschino, Jennings County; Lynda Phillips, Ohio County; Marvis Loveall, Parke County; Treva Smith, Parke County; and Helen Witte, Wells County.
“Each year we honor some of our most outstanding Ag in the Classroom volunteers at Spring Conference because they do so much to increase agriculture literacy in our state,” said Chism. “As a grassroots organization, we rely on volunteers like these to help us tell the story of Indiana agriculture.”
Also recognized during the conference were White and Clinton county Farm Bureaus, each of which won an ag education and promotion development grant from INFB. White County won for its Neighborhood Food Oasis Program and Clinton County won for its Community Garden Project for Food Insecurity.