Applicants say awards process challenges them – in a good way

YF Applicants_EIA Demerly2017_2Each year, Indiana Farm Bureau selects two individuals or families as winners of the Young Farmer Excellence in Ag and Achievement awards. Those young farmers win several coveted prizes from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, but they also have the opportunity to represent Indiana at the AFBF convention to compete for a national title.

INFB is now accepting applications for its 2018 Young Farmer awards. Members who are between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to apply for the awards:

  • The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes outstanding young Farm Bureau members who do not derive the majority of their income from an owned, production agriculture operation, but who actively contribute and grow their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture.
  • The Achievement Award recognizes outstanding young Farm Bureau members whose farm management techniques and commitment to their communities set a positive example for others involved in production agriculture. Winners must earn the majority of their income from production agriculture.

Jeff Demerly, White County Farm Bureau president and Indiana’s 2017 Excellence in Agriculture Award winner, said that winning a Young Farmer award was a great opportunity for him to showcase all of the opportunities that Farm Bureau has offered him and to educate other young ag leaders about those same opportunities.

“As I filled out the application, I was able to see all of the experiences I gained through the organization,” Demerly explained. “And at the same time I was achieving the goals that I set forth for myself, I was raising my family and watching my business grow.”

YF Applicants_EIA_Gottbrath2016Deidra Gottbrath, the 2016 Excellence in Ag Award winner and Washington County Farm Bureau president, shared a similar appreciation for the application process as a young professional.

“I had to take such a deep self-assessment during the application process and it helped push me to some big goals,” Gottbrath explained.  “It’s been neat to see how I’ve been able to check off the goals on my one-year plan and I am already meeting some of my five-year-plan goals.”

Both Demerly and Gottbrath said that being selected for the award has helped them advance their careers.

“Winning gave me the chance to close this chapter of my early career and begin a new one as I continue to be involved and support Indiana Farm Bureau,” said Demerly.  “It has inspired me to showcase all of the opportunities that were offered to me and make sure other young leaders have the same opportunities I have had along the way.”

“Not only has it offered me more confidence and extended leadership skills, but it’s opened a lot of doors for me,” said Gottbrath. “In my trek to obtain more land and expand my farm, I’ve been able to put the award on loan applications, and that’s been a really affirming thing for them and has given me more credibility.”

According to Gottbrath, there’s nothing to lose by applying for the award, even if you aren’t selected as a winner.

“Every year that I’ve applied, I’ve gained skills and friends and contacts and continued to grow,” she said. “There is no harm. If you don’t win, you’re better equipped to apply next year. The best thing that someone can do is challenge themselves with this opportunity.”

The application deadline for both awards is May 1. If you think you are eligible for one of these awards, visit the Young Farmer Awards page for details. Specific questions will be addressed by the organizational development team.