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 Indiana Farm Bureau



December 3, 2012

For more information: Courtney Rude, 317-692-7183

Kathleen Dutro, 317-692-7824 (office); 317-727-0607 (cell), kdutro@infarmbureau.org

Mindy Reef, 317-692-7822 (office), 765-426-1498 (cell), mreef@infarmbureau.org

Note to editors, news directors: This release should be of particular interest to media that cover Adams, Clinton, Gibson, Jennings, Kosciusko and LaGrange counties.

The winners of the Young Farmer Achievement and Excellence in Agriculture Awards will be announced at the IFB convention on Dec. 7 during the afternoon general session. Photos of winners and finalists are available for download:

Briggs link:  https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJZN3RlK3hreEFsYzlVag

Feutz link:  https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJZN3RUMGNRR2Z2bk1UQw

Fruechte link: https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJZN3RYTkE0b0ROUjhUQw

Haney link: https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJZN3RlK3hRYS81SE1UQw

Thelen link:  https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJZN3RUMGNubHptcXNUQw

Zook link: https://www.yousendit.com/download/WUJZN3RlK3hnYU5sQXNUQw

You can also have them emailed to you by calling or emailing Mindy Reef or Kathleen Dutro using the contact information above.


Finalists selected in Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer contests 

Finalists have been selected for the two statewide awards given to young farmers by Indiana Farm Bureau.

The finalists in IFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award are Julie Thelen, Clinton County; Drs. John & Marybeth Feutz, Gibson County; and Brad & Amanda Briggs, Jennings County. This award recognizes young farmers who are involved in agriculture in ways other than as farm owners.

The finalists in the Young Farmer Achievement Award contest, which recognizes young farmers whose farm management techniques and commitment to their communities set a positive example for everyone involved in production agriculture, are Travis & Sara Zook, LaGrange County; Orville & Jessica Haney, Kosciusko County; and Craig & Mindy Freuchte, Adams County.

The overall winners of the Young Farmer Achievement Award and Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award will be announced on Dec. 7 at IFB’s annual convention, which will be held in Indianapolis. Indiana’s winners will then represent Indiana in the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher contests, the winners of which will be announced during the AFBF convention in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 13-16.

Excellence In Agriculture Award Finalists

Julie Thelen, Clinton County

Growing up on a large Angus farm in Saline, Mich., Julie Thelen eagerly helped her grandfather with everything from feeding to castration, and as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Clinton Central Jr./Sr. High School she is sharing that passion for agriculture with the next generation. “Of course I would love for them to go into agriculture,” she says about her students, “but even if they don’t, they’ll gain more knowledge about agricultural production and be able to make better decisions as consumers.”

Drs. John & Marybeth Feutz, Gibson County

During the day John Feutz is a veterinarian but at night he is fulfilling his dream of raising cattle together with his wife and fellow vet Marybeth. “I’ve worked on farms my whole life,” said John. “Right now we have beef cattle and hay, but one day I hope to expand into field crops.” Marybeth is also a full-time blogger and runs the site Agricultured.org as a way to educate the public. “There’s a huge disconnect between farmers and consumers,” she says. “I want the site to be a place where people can go and get their food questions answered.”

Brad & Amanda Briggs, Jennings County

Brad and Amanda Briggs grow vegetables, a little hay and some meat goats on 10 acres in Dupont, Ind. But they cultivate their most important crop in the classroom.  Amanda is the lead ag teacher and FFA advisor at Madison Consolidated High School. Brad holds the same positions at Jennings County High School.  Both see their work with students as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the next generation of farmers and consumers.

The state YFEA winner receives a John Deere Gator (cash value: $8,000) courtesy of Farm Credit Services; $3,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance; and expenses paid to the 2013 national convention in Nashville, Tenn. The two runners-up receive $1,000 cash prizes from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.

Achievement Award Finalists

Travis & Sara Zook, LaGrange County  

Travis and Sarah Zook of LaGrange County were raised on family farms and knew that what they wanted was to someday have a farm of their own. Travis started cash-renting a 10-acre field when he was just a teenager, and they now produce nearly 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay and have a 42-head beef herd. Travis is responsible for most of the farm’s daily operations, while Sarah does the book work and recordkeeping and helps out as needed.

Orville & Jessica Haney, Kosciusko County  

Orville and Jessica Haney met at Purdue when he signed her up for the Dairy Club, and dairying is still a big part of their lives. With Orville’s father and brother and their families, the Haneys milk 185 cows and also produce corn, hay, wheat, beans and oats. They represent the 6th generation to raise children and milk cows on their family farm, which is on the Kosciusko-Fulton County line. Jessica also works off-farm as a nurse, and the couple has three children: Keith, Claire and Levi.

Craig & Mindy Freuchte, Adams County

Young Farmer Achievement Award finalists Craig and Mindy Fruechte farm 1,800 acres of commodity crops and forage near Decatur, Ind. They manage the land and share farm equipment with Craig’s father in exchange for labor to create what they refer to as a collaborative farming theory. In addition, both work off-farm jobs. Craig works at AgriStats in Fort Wayne while Mindy is a case manager in Lutheran Hospital’s emergency department. The Fruechtes are active volunteers for Adams County 4-H, their church and several other organizations.

The state YFAA winner receives a $6,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance; 250 hours maximum free use of one M-Series tractor (and loader, if appropriate) courtesy of Kubota Tractor Corporation; the David L. Leising Memorial Award; and expenses paid to the 2013 national convention in Nashville, Tenn. The two runners-up receive $1,000 cash prizes from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.