More than 500 young farmers and ranchers traveled to Indianapolis this past weekend for the annual Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Leadership Conference.

Jasper County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program was recognized with the Outstanding County Award for the top program in the state. The Young Farmer committee chairman and a guest will receive an expenses-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Mo., in mid-February. Spencer and Tipton counties were runners-up.

Morgan County was recognized as the most improved Young Farmer Program.  This is based on a comparison of activities of the past three years and how the activities and programs have improved in that county young farmer program.

Dubois, Warrick and Wayne counties received the Awakening Award. The Awakening Award was started in 1998 as a part of the outstanding county program to recognize county Young Farmer programs that are new or have not applied for the contest in the last three years.

Three counties were recognized for their contributions to the Feeding America program. Henry County donated the most money, collecting $12,003. Morgan County was the top county in pounds of food donated. The county donated 150 pounds of food during the program year. Most hours donated went to Tipton County. Young farmers there offered 500 hours of their time.

Conference attendees also raised money for charities. Through Canstruction, a contest where young farmers built structures from canned goods, 5,000 cans of food and $1,500 were donated to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. A live auction on Saturday evening brought in $1,560 for Gleaners and $910 for Bread of Life Ministry in Lynnville. The silent auction held during the event raised $2,363 for Gleaners.

Winners of the state’s two collegiate Farm Bureau chapters’ Discussion Meets were also recognized. Vincennes University Discussion Meet winner Ashia George, Knox County, and Purdue University Discussion Meet winner Sarah Correll, Miami County, will compete at the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference against other collegiate winners from around the country.

Young farmers who recently competed at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Orlando received recognition as well.

  • Jake Smoker, LaPorte County, competed in the AFBF Discussion Meet.
  • Jacob and Jennifer Walker, DeKalb County, competed in the Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers whose farm management techniques and commitment to their communities set a positive example for everyone involved in production agriculture.
  • Mike and Sarah Hertsel, Elkhart County, competed in the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes young farmers who do not receive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation that they own.
Most Improved
Members of the Morgan County Farm Bureau Young Farmers
Awakening Award
Awakening Award: Clark Jordan, Wayne County; Sam Ebenkamp, Dubois County; Mike Holman, Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee chairman and Jordan Donner, Warrick County.
Feeding America
Feeding America Award – Patrick Maxwell, Morgan County; Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee chairman; Brian Riedie, Henry County and Kristina Cline, Tipton County.
Outstanding County Runners Up
Outstanding County runners up: Kristina Cline, Tipton County; Mike Holman, Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee chairman and Jonathan Spaetti, Spencer County.
Outstanding County
Outstanding County – Darin Gudeman, Jasper County, with Mike Holman, Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee chairman.

For more information on programs and conferences sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau, visit or call 1-800-FARM-BUR (327-6287).