Achievement Award finalists Brent & Ashley Reed, Elkhart County
Brent and Ashley Reed are both active in the daily management and decision-making for their farm, where they grow soybeans, wheat, non-GMO food-grade soybeans, certified organic soybeans and non-GMO corn (the crop that currently represents their most significant number of acres). Both grew up on farms, and they started farming together when they married in 2012. They credit Brent’s father, who still contributes labor and experience to the farm operation, with giving them to opportunity to farm and live out their dreams.
Achievement Award finalists Neal & Lydia Wolheter, Noble County
The Wolheters both grew up on farms – Neal on a grain farm and Lydia on a small cattle and horse farm. After graduating from college, they moved back home to farm full time with Neal’s family. Today they raise corn, soybeans, hay and a little bit of cereal rye. Neal’s responsibilities including day-to-day management of the grain operation, while Lydia keeps all of the farm’s accounting and production record and is an independent closer for local title companies. They have three children: Parker, Reese and Breanna.
Excellence in Agriculture finalists Ben & Casey Shireman, Scott County
Although they both have careers outside of agriculture, Ben and Casey Shireman wanted to be involved in agriculture from an early age. Since 2014, they’ve split their time between their off-farm jobs – Casey at a local community bank and Ben in quality control at a diesel engine remanufacturing firm – and their small farm, where they raise about 20 acres of fall ornamentals and vegetables including sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, numerous varieties of peppers and cole crops including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
Excellence in Agriculture finalists Jonathan & Derika Spaetti, Spencer County
Jonathan and Derika Spaetti both grew up on family farms. Jonathan bought a farm on his own when he was 20 years old, and he also continues to work with his father and uncle on the farm his great-grandfather purchased in 1943, where they raise soybeans and food-grade white corn. Derika works full time as a high school math teacher and focuses much of her time away from her job helping to grow the family’s farm operations.