The AgriVision Award is one of the highest honors in Indiana agriculture. This year’s award was presented Wednesday at the Indiana State Fair. Two men were honored, and both have made their marks on Indiana agriculture.
John D. Hardin, Jr., a pork producer from Hendricks County, who has served agriculture on the state, national, and international level, is man whose behind the scenes efforts have resulted in expanded trade, preservation of farmland, and the education of many of our future leaders in agriculture. “I am very grateful to have this recognition of our efforts to do what we could to move agriculture forward,” said Hardin.
Hardin is the Vice Chair of the American Farmland Trust Board of Directors and owner of Hardin Farms, a grain and pork operation located 25 miles west of Indianapolis. He is a trustee of the Farm Foundation, past President of the National Pork Producers Council, and past Chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. In his 24 years of service as a Purdue University Trustee, Hardin chaired the Finance, Academic Affairs, and Audit and Insurance committees and has been a consistent advocate for smart growth in agriculture; reducing the amount of farmland converted for development; and enhancing the productivity and environmental performance of America’s remaining working lands.
Hardin has been a tireless advocate for agricultural trade and has traveled the world helping to negotiate trade agreements that have resulted in increased livestock exports over the past 2 decades. But, Hardin is worried about the future of U.S. trade, “We are going to have to get past this short, populist reaction and actually think about the consequences that make America stronger.”
The other AgriVison Award went to Indiana State Veterinarian, Dr. Bret D. Marsh. He was commended for his work to modernize the Board of Animal Health and for implementing the premise ID program in the state. “To know in advance where these animals are located is vital in helping us respond to disease events,” stated Marsh.
Notably, Dr. Marsh led the response effort earlier this year to contain the spread and eradicate the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in southwestern Indiana. Due to his leadership, the quick response by BOAH, and the strong collaboration between the industry as well as many governmental agencies, the state was able to achieve avian influenza-free status and even set policy for response when dealing with large animal health emergencies. “It has really been heartening when we needed help people have stepped up, pitch in, and make it happen,” Marsh told HAT.
Dr. Marsh was appointed in 1994 and serves as the Indiana State Veterinarian of BOAH. During his career, he has successfully promulgated laws to improve Indiana’s animal health programs and negotiated the hiring of specialized personnel to provide more effective and efficient service to Hoosiers.
These two leaders join a long and distinguished list of AgriVision recipients whose vision has made Indiana agriculture what it is today and will be tomorrow.