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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

30 Days of Ag November 19: Indiana Farm Bureau

I know almost of us like to observe Wordless Wednesday, but today I'm all words and no pictures.  I could go dig them out from all the files, but today I would just like to chat with you.

I'm not sure why, but I haven't talked much about my connections to Indiana Farm Bureau.

Maybe I thought you all would think I am trying to sell you insurance, but I am not a salesperson for IFB.  We do have IFB insurance, and we have had it for many years, but that's not my biggest connection to IFB.  I can put you in touch with our county's agent, Joe Horstman, and he would do his absolute best by you.  I can attest to that.

My connection to Indiana Farm Bureau is on the farmer end, or as we like to say, the organization part of it (infarmbureau.org).

Tall Guy and I became board members about 14 years ago, just a bit longer than we have been married.  I will tell you a funny story.  At a leadership meeting, we both took the Myers Briggs Personality test and discovered we were polar opposites.  That's kind of important to know before actually saying "I do," but the great takaway about our opposites is that we tend to compliment each other.  He sees black and white answers to solutions while I see all colors of the rainbow.  I'm outgoing, and he is reserved.  He is a one thing at a time guy, and I (at least I used to be) am a multi-tasker who doesn't mind too much if one thing isn't tied up in a neat bow before going on to another project.  TG is BIG on bows tied tight!

This group has sent us on trips to Washington D.C., right up to Capitol Hill to meet with our state senators and congressmen.  We have traveled to many of our adjoining states to learn more about agriculture from their perspectives through Young Farmer trips.  My legislators at the state level know who I am and feel comfortable talking to me about agriculture.  I, who in all honesty was never that political, served on our state ELECT oversight committee where I started to better understand the power of politics.

Here in our own little world, I served almost nine years as the District 3 Secretary/Treasure, and I have served on our county board as secretary/treasurer, county information leader, and I currently am president of our Benton County Farm Bureau.  It takes some time away from home, but it is a family friendly organization, and I always come away from a gathering learning more than I knew.  It is a great place to network, and it has become sort of like that lovely bar in Boston where everyone knows your name.

The biggest part of what I do is reach out to as many young people as possible to teach them about Agriculture.  We work with 4-H and Benton Central's FFA programs.  We work with Purdue Cooperative Extension, and we work with our county's youth in the elementary schools through several programs geared toward educating children about farm safety, where their food comes from, and all of the great career opportunities Agriculture offers.  You don't have to own an acre of ground to become involved in Ag. We need communication leaders, scientists, veterinarians, political lobbyists, mechanics, marketing majors, and the list goes on........  Ag touches each and every person's life more than once a day.

We want kids to know that pizza doesn't come from a delivery boy, a chuck roast is NOT a roast that belongs to Chuck,  soybeans can make great crayons and candles, and there is a difference between field corn and sweet corn.  We give classes, fund projects, and we award $2000.00 in scholarships to graduating seniors whose parents are members of IFB.  My little county is just about the smallest in population in our state, around 89th of the 92 counties yet we are the third largest Ag county in the state.  As I like to tell people, there are more four-legged critters than two-legged critters in our county.  In our District 3 group of eight counties, we have been the top District in activities two years in a row.

So you will be hearing a bit more from me about Farm Bureau in the future.  I went to a meeting with our state officers last week (yep, I talked with the president  first vice president, second vice president, and the state secretary/treasurer.  We all know each other very well), and it dawned on me that we, as farmers, do not promote ourselves.  Sometimes there just isn't time to toot our own horn. There are many people in the world just sitting at their computers waiting to pounce on some part of my Ag world, and this seems to happen most when all of us are in a tractor, pretty much oblivious to the rest of the world unless it's about the weather. That's why I blog, and I learned about this opportunity from our IFB regional manager.  Thank you Janice Deno for thinking of me when this project started.

IFB's motto is Your Voice Can Be Heard, and I can attest to the fact that mine has.  I feel very comfortable talking with elected officials about property taxes, water rights, three commissioner county government, and a slew of other topics.  I also have several people on my contact list who I can call in a heartbeat if I am stumped with a question or find a farmer in need of guidance or assistance on a variety of topics.

Take the time to seek out your county's Farm Bureau.  I know there is one in every county in Indiana. This is such a great organization to do just what farmers do: grow the best product we can.


  1. A good reminder. I haven't taken the leap to get involved in Iowa Farm Bureau yet, but I did go to my first Iowa Agri Women meeting. It is my goal to find more of a leadership role in Iowa ag this year because you are right that farmers need to promote ourselves more.

    1. Glad you are exploring your options to learn more. We so have to help each other along this path. I bet Katie Anderson Olthoff would be a great lady to chat with. AND I have to beg a thousand pardons about not posting during your beauty swap; it hit right in the thick of our harvest. I will try to get something up in the next week!



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