“So, who gets the keys to a new Ford truck? The winners of the 2022 Achievement Award are… Indiana’s Jacob and Jill Smoker!”
Those words erupted from the loudspeaker Monday in Atlanta, Georgia during Farm Bureau’s annual convention. LaPorte County farmers Jake and Jill Smoker won the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award that recognizes young farmers who have excelled in their farming operations and have exhibited superior leadership abilities.
“It’s unreal, Eric. We didn’t expect it. It was just an honor to go down and compete on a national level and be able to represent Indiana in the way we did. I’m still trying to process it. Jill’s still trying to process it. I know when they announced our names on stage, I didn’t even hear the names. All I heard was ‘Indiana’ and Jill grabbed my hand and kind of pulled me forward. So, it’s still just an unreal experience.”
HAT asked Smoker what made their application stand out above the rest. He says he and Jill have been asking themselves that same question, but he believes their application displayed their love of agriculture, a love of their community, and a love of Farm Bureau.
“I used to work in Chicago and had an opportunity to come back to the farm. I had parents that were very supportive of me getting involved in Farm Bureau and taking time away from the operation to go to the statehouse and go to D.C. and be able to have those kinds of experiences. Those kinds of things, I think, translated into our application.”
The Smokers will receive a new Ford truck and paid registration to the Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Louisville next month.
Jake and Jill served as representatives for the Young Farmers & Ag Professionals state committee from 2017-2019 with Jake serving as chairman in 2019. Hear why he believes you should get involved in the Young Farmers program in the full HAT interview below.