Outstanding INFB volunteers honored at 2019 Spring Conference

Molly Zentz, APR

(Indianapolis) – March 12, 2019 – Hoosier farmers from across the state attended Indiana Farm Bureau’s 2019 Spring Conference this past weekend in Indianapolis. The conference, hosted by the INFB Women’s Leadership Committee, provided professional development and networking opportunities for Farm Bureau members prior to the 2019 planting season.

At the conference, several members were honored for their accomplishments and volunteer efforts in 2019, including participation in INFB’s Agriculture in the Classroom program. The in-school program teaches children where their food comes from and the importance of Indiana’s farmers.

Theresa Gottbrath, Washington County grain farmer, was named Volunteer of the Year. Gottbrath was chosen for this award because of her devotion to student education for nearly 30 years. Before her retirement, Gottbrath taught at a large middle school in Washington County and challenged her students to learn about agriculture. After retirement, she continued to bring agriculture education to the students in her community as a volunteer for the Ag in the Classroom program.

Gottbrath is a dedicated volunteer and community-minded individual. She serves on the local community foundation board, is a Lions Club member, a Master-Gardener volunteer and a school board member for the East Washington School Corporation. Gottbrath is a published author and devoted mother and grandmother.

Jane Whitsitt, Dubois County, was also honored at the conference for her participation in the Ag in the Classroom program as a volunteer for 25 years. 

“We honor some of our most outstanding Ag in the Classroom volunteers at Spring Conference because they do so much to increase agriculture literacy in our state,” said Isabella Chism, INFB 2nd vice president and chair of the women’s leadership committee. “As a grassroots organization, we rely on volunteers like these to help us tell the story of Indiana agriculture.”

Ag in the Classroom also relies on devoted teachers to execute the programming. This year, INFB selected Lauren Searcy of Cascade High School and Kelly Shannon of New Market Elementary School for its National Ag in the Classroom Scholarship. With this scholarship, both teachers will be able to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas this June.

Joining both teachers are two INFB volunteers who also earned scholarships to attend the national conference. This year’s volunteers receiving the National Ag in the Classroom Conference Scholarships are Debbie Trotter and Carol Graves of Clark County.

Also recognized during the conference were Wabash and Washington county Farm Bureaus, each of which won an agriculture education and promotion development grant from INFB to help further develop their agriculture education programming. Wabash County won for its culinary class program and Washington County will be purchasing supplies for student popcorn, sunflower and pumpkin lessons.


About Indiana Farm Bureau: 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB). Since 1919, it has protected the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers and is the state’s largest general farm organization. As a farmer’s strongest advocate, INFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s right to farm, because agriculture is so vital to Indiana’s economy.  Learn more at INFB.org