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Indiana Women in Ag Honored

Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and senior associate dean of Purdue College of Agriculture, stands with the three Women in Agriculture Award recipients, Tracie Egger, Molly Grotjan and Isabella Chism, along with Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture..

Each year Purdue Extension honors women in agriculture who have made a difference. This year’s honorees, Isabella Chism and Dr. Tracie Egger, helped tell the story of agriculture to those outside our industry. Both have been leaders, mentors, and communicators for agriculture.

Chism did not grow up on a farm but now farms in  Howard County. She said this has allowed her to tell the story of farming from both an inside and outside perspective.

“I have had the unique ability to talk about agriculture from both sides and have been able to explain farming in ways non-farm people can understand.”

In 2006, Chism was elected Second Vice President of Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB). She serves on the INFB board of directors, is a member of the executive committee and the audit committee, and chairs the State Women’s Leadership Committee. She is the newly elected chairwoman of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee and is also chair of the Howard County Extension Board, executive director of the Howard County 4-H exhibit association capital projects and an at-large representative on the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council. Chism graduated from the Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series and the Syngenta Leadership at Its Best program and completed “Conversation Leaders” training through the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

Egger, a long time mentor at Purdue and now with AgReliant Genetics, told HAT it is important farmers speak with passion about what they do.

“Farmers need to be proud of what they produce and what they do.”

Egger began her professional career as a Purdue Extension educator in Posey County. She was promoted to Purdue Extension specialist in 2000 and named Purdue College of Agriculture’s assistant director in the Office of Academic Programs in 2001. Egger made a lasting impact on students through student organizations and career advising. In her current role, she develops and facilitates leadership training. For four years, Egger has led the AgReliant Women’s Network, a credible resource for employees to learn about diversity and inclusion.

Purdue senior Molly Grotjan received the Emerging Women in Agriculture Leadership Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of a high school or undergraduate student who has made a positive impact on agriculture. Grotjan was a 10-year 4-H member in Boone County and will be a senior at Purdue this fall in the department of agriculture economics. She has held numerous leadership roles while at Purdue including sharing her story with prospective students and families as a Purdue College of Agricultural ambassador and serving on the Purdue Ag Week task force.

Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, and Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture, honored the recipients of at the Indiana State Fair. “It was a great honor to celebrate these women. They are at different stages in their careers and lives, but they have all made significant and notable contributions to agriculture in Indiana and beyond,” Plaut said.

The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture team provides educational opportunities and resources for women in the agriculture industry and coordinates the Midwest Women in Ag Agriculture Conference.