Women's Leadership Committee

Women with a Voice

Indiana Farm Bureau understands the vital role women play in the success of Indiana agriculture. That’s why the Women’s Leadership Committee was established. It’s dedicated to educating the public through programs and events that promote a positive image of agriculture. These activities also provide Indiana women with a platform for leadership, political involvement and networking.

Women’s Agriculture Communications Training
Women's Leadership Advocacy Day
ACE Ambassadors
Spring Conference
Grant Opportunities
Taste From Indiana Farms
Agriculture in the Classroom
Our Food Link
Ag Foundation
  • Mar 06 1922
    On Equal Footing
    The woman's program materializes in what was at first called the Social and Educational (S. and E.) Committee. They speak out for better homes, better schools, and a richer and more varied life for adults and youth.
  • Feb 03 1923
    Farm Women Make Waves

    The new program would ensure wider and more active interest among the farm women. The state committee recommends that at least half of the committee on membership in each county and township be farm women.

    The state committee also recommends that a survey is done on the conditions of the community relative to their social, education and economical welfare, and that the community program be made so that these phases of welfare may be improved.

  • Nov 01 1923
    A Seat at the Table

    Edna Sewell is elected as second vice president and is later named head of the women's department in 1929.

    Her philosophy, “you can't be loyal indefinitely to a fertilizer bag, an oil drum or an insurance policy," injects moral and spiritual values into Indiana Farm Bureau.

  • Oct 27 1926
    Not Stuck in Committee

    Verna Hatch of Allen County is chosen as department head.

  • Aug 01 1957
    Gross Takes the Wheel

    Under Lois Gross’s leadership, the governing body of the Women's Department is renamed the State Women's Committee.

    Gross serves Indiana Farm Bureau first as a volunteer, but her position as director of the Women's Department becomes a part-time, paid staff position following the formation of the State Women’s Committee.
  • Jan 01 1978
    A Full Time Duty

    Carley coordinates work in the many areas of the women's activities, including health, safety, farm product promotion, public relations and legislation.

    She is the first full-time staff director of the Women’s Department. The position previously was part time.

  • Dec 09 1980
    The Hegel Effect

    She assumes the duties of Director of the Women’s Department at Indiana Farm Bureau in 1993. Hegel becomes the Midwest Region Representative on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s National Women’s Committee, a member of the AFBF net farm income study committee, and is appointed by former Governor Robert Orr to serve on the Great Lakes States Development Committee.

    Hegel is quoted as saying that Indiana Farm Bureau’s Women’s Department, “has never worked on ‘women's programs’ but on programs that affect the bottom line in farming.”

  • Nov 01 1982
    Sowing Seeds in the Future
    Farming the Classroom is designed to teach children about agriculture and nutrition in 30-minute lessons and brings farm men and women into elementary schools to tell the students about various aspects of agriculture and farm life. The Women's Department also hosts teachers’ workshops, and they work together to develop educational videos about agriculture and food products.
  • Dec 01 1987
    Outstanding in Their Field

    This award is given annually to one "outstanding" woman and is announced at the state Farm Bureau convention. The purpose is, “to recognize a farm woman for her achievements and contribution to the farm family, home, business, Farm Bureau, agriculture and community and service programs.”

    The award also recognizes the 8.2 percent increase in the number of women farm operators and the 12.8 percent increase in acreage operated by women since 1982.
  • Dec 08 1989
    "ACE" in the Hole

    The ACE Ambassador program funds foreign trips to various parts of the world for 10 farm couples. Upon their return, couples present programs at district meetings to share with others what they had learned.

    The program is created following Carolyn Hegel’s trip to Western Europe with AFBF’s National Women’s Committee, where Hegel is surprised to be learning from the European farmers and not teaching American farming techniques.

  • Jan 01 2007
    Chism Takes Charge

    Isabella Chism of Galveston also serves on the Indiana Farm Bureau’s board of directors and its affiliated companies, including Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.

    Isabella Chism helps Indiana Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committee advance in the development of female leadership skills across the state. She oversees the appointment of the state education coordinators to ensure the farm voice in the classroom aligns with current curriculum. Chism also oversees the name change of the Farming in the Classroom program to Ag in the Classroom to align with the established USDA program.
  • Mar 01 2008
    New Name, Same Vision
  • Dec 01 2014
    A Proper Title

    This recommendation follows letters from county leaders asking Indiana Farm Bureau to standardize the title across the state.