Don Villwock had the podium and command of the crowd at the Indiana Farm Bureau Convention Friday afternoon in Indianapolis. He used it to present President's awards to two special people – special in his own life and in their service to Indiana, especially Indiana agriculture. He recognized Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and U.S Senator Richard Lugar. Both will retire when their current terms expire next month.
"We owe thanks to Becky and her staff at the first Indiana State Department of Agriculture," says Villwock, Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. president from Edwardsport in Knox County. Indiana Farm Bureau actively promoted formation of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. The legislature founded the agency during the first year of the first term of the Daniels-Skillman administration in 2005.
"It's been a pleasure to serve you as the first Secretary for Agriculture," Skillman told the crowd. "I thank you for helping us."
Next, Villwock called Richard Lugar to the podium. He completes his sixth and final term as U.S. senator next month.
"I wouldn't be here as president if it wasn't for Dick Lugar," Villwock says. "I first met him at his office in Washington, D.C., in 1979, and he has been a great friend and supporter."
Villwock worked for the senator as an ag liaison for several years, before Lugar tapped him as Indiana director of what's now the Farm Service Agency. He served in that post for approximately four years.
Senator Lugar recalled his days growing up and working on his family farm. The family owns land in Marion County, and maintains it as a farm. He served as chairman of the Senate Ag Committee and was largely responsible for helping establish the Conservation Reserve Act which still exists and enrolls millions of the most erosive acres around the country today.
Both Skillman and Lugar received a fitting send-off from the large crowd at the convention.