Finalists named for Young Farmer awards

Winners to be announced on Facebook next week

Nov. 3, 2016

For more information, contact: Allie Rieth, 317-692-7183

Mindy Reef, 317-692-7822,


Note to editors, news directors: The finalists in this year’s Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer awards come from Hancock, Henry, Noble, Washington and White counties. High-resolution images of all six finalists, as well as cutline information, are available for download:

Finalists have been selected for two of Indiana Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer award programs, the Excellence in Agriculture Award and the Achievement Award.

Young farmers who earn a majority of their income from their farms are recognized through the Young Farmer Achievement Award. They are judged on their achievements in their farming operation and on their leadership abilities.

Achievement Award finalists:

Matthew and Brianna Chapman, Henry County

Matthew Chapman manages a diversified grain operation, two swine finishing barns and a commercial trucking operation in Springport. Working alongside his father and brother, the Chapman farm is truly a family business. Brianna owns and operates two retail floral shops.

Dallas and Meggie Foster, Hancock County

When Dallas and Meggie Foster started their farm in 2006, Dallas was working full-time as a farm manager at a nearby swine operation and Meggie off-farm as an agricultural journalist. The farm has now grown to the extent that Dallas works there full-time, and Meggie now works as marketing manager at CountryMark Co-op. They have a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation and raise nearly 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans.

Neal and Lydia Wolheter, Noble County

Farming is in the blood of Neal and Lydia Wolheter. Both came from family farms, and today they farm with Neal’s family. Neal manages day-to-day operations of a farm that covers a three-county area and is an area representative for a real estate company. Lydia takes care of bookkeeping for the entire operation and is an independent real estate title closer.

The winners of the Achievement Award receive a $6,000 cash, 250 hours maximum free use of one M-Series tractor, the David L. Leising Memorial Award and an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting. Runners-up receive a $1,000 cash prize.

The Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation they own. Participants will be judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

Excellence in Agriculture Award finalists:

Jeremy Barron, Noble County

Since graduating from college, Jeremy Barron has worked for Cargill Risk Management, currently as financial services lead, helping farmers and ranchers around the world manage price risk. His roles have included traveling to Brazil and seeing how farmers there handle risk. He and his wife have a small grain farm they hope to grow.

Jeff Demerly, White County

Jeff Demerly sells, markets and promotes seed inputs, crop insurance risk management and general profit consulting services to growers near Wolcott, Ind. He works with growers individually by providing seed input and advice on how to maximize profits for every acre.

Deidra Gottbrath, Washington County

Deidra Gottbrath works two demanding jobs: She’s a stroke clinical operations nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, but she also farms with her parents and on her own acres, which she just recently acquired. She has a long involvement in Farm Bureau, and currently serves as Washington County Farm Bureau president.

Winners of the Excellence in Agriculture receive a John Deere Gator, a $3,000 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting. Two runners-up receive a $1,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.

The winners of both contests will be announced on the Indiana Farm Bureau Facebook page at noon EDT on Thursday, Nov. 10. All finalists will be recognized at the INFB state convention, Dec. 8-10 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne.