Nov. 10, 2016
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Note to editors, news directors: The winners of this year’s Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer awards come from Hancock and Washington counties while the runners-up come from Henry, Noble and White counties. High-resolution images of the winners as well as all four runners-up are available for download:
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Farmers from Hancock, Washington counties earn statewide Young Farmer awards
Dallas and Meggie Foster of Hancock County and Deidra Gottbrath of Washington County are the winners of two of Indiana Farm Bureau’s top awards for young farmers.
The Fosters won the INFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers who earn the majority of their income from their farms.
Gottbrath won the INFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes young farmers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation they own.
The Fosters and Gottbrath will now represent Indiana in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement and Excellence in Agriculture competitions. They will be competing against young farmers and ranchers from across the country at the AFBF annual meeting, to be held Jan. 8-10 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The winners of both contests were announced on the Indiana Farm Bureau Facebook page at noon EST today.
Two distinguished panels of judges evaluated participants. YFAA candidates were judged on their leadership abilities and on what they have achieved with their farms, while YFEIA candidates were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
Some of the judges were previous Young Farmer award winners, and others came from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Hoosier Ag Today, The Farmer’s Exchange, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the National FFA Organization.
“I’ve enjoyed the Young Farmers judging experience this year, including the valuable time spent with the other judges,” said Andy Eubank of Hoosier Ag Today. “But it all started with the written applications which offered many diverse agricultural backgrounds and perspectives by the applicants. We had quite a number of outstanding entries and it was impressive to see their involvement in ag, Farm Bureau and their communities. It’s always good when the quality of applications makes ours a difficult decision, and it was!”
Dallas and Meggie Foster have a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation and raise nearly 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans. Dallas works full-time on their farm; Meggie is the marketing manager at CountryMark Co-op.
Deidra Gottbrath, who works full time as a stroke clinical operations nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, also finds time to farm with her parents. She recently acquired some acreage of her own.
For winning the INFB Achievement Award, the Fosters will receive $6,000 cash, 250 hours maximum free use of one M-Series tractor and the David L. Leising Memorial Award. Gottbrath receives a John Deere Gator and a $3,000 cash prize. In addition, all the winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the AFBF annual meeting.
Runners-up in both contests receive a $1,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. The runners-up are: Jeremy Barron, Noble County (YFEIA), Matthew and Brianna Chapman, Henry County (YFAA); Jeff Demerly, White County (YFEIA); Neal and Lydia Wolheter, Noble County (YFAA).
Both winners and finalists will be recognized at the INFB state convention, Dec. 8-10 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne.