Purdue University recognized one of its own with a prestigious award last week. The Spirit of the Land Grant Mission award a fairly new honor, was bestowed upon none other than Bill Field, who began as safety specialist in ag engineering and Extension more than 30 years ago.
He has grown his program to be so much more, including Breaking New Ground and Agra-ability, programs dedicated to helping farmers and farm families with difficulties such as loss of limbs or who suffer from debilitating arthritis, find ways to continue in their chosen profession. Field has assembled a staff of people who work on these special projects, bringing hope to people who don't have much hope if left to their own devices.
According to Purdue officials, the award 'celebrates a faculty member whose program integrates all facets of the land grant mission and exemplifies its spirit of partnership.
Teaching, doing research, taking that research to the people on the land who need it- in layman's term that's what the land-grant program was all about. Established in the 1860's, it led to the formation and support of many universities, including Purdue. Since its beginning, land-grant institutions have been charged with answering questions that can help farm families living and working on the land become more efficient and improve their lot in life.
As for partnership, perhaps no other single program or person at Purdue is a better example of growing through partnership. Field partners with various groups, including the Indiana Arthritis Foundation, to multiply the effect of the limited money he gets through the university. Through the years, he's worked hard at the state and national level to develop partnerships that enhance the knowledge base at Purdue, but which also help Field take his message to others who need it.
For many years and continuing today, he's been a driving force behind maintaining a health and safety tent at the Farm Progress Show. Even though the show no longer comes to Indiana but instead is near Decatur, Ill. every two years. Field makes sure the safety message is well-represented there. He cooperates with Illinois staff to find a place and purpose in the tent. This year's exhibit wound up on the cover of Indiana Prairie Farmer in October. It's meant to remind farmers to stay safe during the harvest season, and to remind those with special needs, especially those who suffer from arthritis, that help is available.
Congratulations to Field and his staff for all they do to make farming in Indiana safer and more enjoyable.