Roger Hadley of Woodburn was so impressed with two of this year's Indiana State FFA officers that he took time to call Indiana Prairie Farmer while still touring with them on a recent trip to Washington, DC. Both Hadley and the officers were there as part of an Indiana Farm Bureau effort to improve knowledge and the communication base between members and other Hoosiers and elected officials in Washington, D.C. The program is known as FB to DC.
The most recent trip occurred just a few weeks ago. This time Ann Bechman and Laura Stockwell, two members of the current Indiana FFA State Officer team, were invited along with the group to learn about what happens inside the Beltway, and about how what happens there impacts agricultural and rural policies back home in Indiana.
Bechman hails from Otterbein, Indiana and is a Benton Central High School graduate. Her agricultural activities in her FFA and agricultural education program centered around sheep production. Bechman and her family operate a flock of about 50 ewes, many of them purebred animals.
Stockwell graduated from Prairie Heights High School. It's located on the LaGrange and Steuben County line, literally, in northern Indiana. Her family is in the dairy business, and makes their income from milking cows.
For Stockwell, it was an opportunity to team up With Hadley, himself an Indiana Prairie Farmer Master Farmer, an award also sponsored by the Purdue University College of Agriculture, and meet with local representatives working in Washington, including their Congressman, Greg Souder. Both Bechman and Stockwell heard directly from Senator Richard Lugar, who addressed the FB to DC delegation from Indiana during the trip.
"This was a great opportunity, and I was privileged to get to know these Indiana FFA state officers," Hadley reported. "They were excellent representatives in Washington on this trip."
Hadley's own daughter, Tonya, was an Indiana FFA state officer just a few years ago, His wife, Vicki, is an Allen County Extension educator, based in Ft. Wayne. Hadley himself is perhaps best known for his efforts to promote soybeans in Indiana. He works tirelessly on behalf of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, urging more farmers to become members of this group.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance was formed just in the past couple of years. The group represented the merger of the Indiana Soybean Board and the Indiana Soybean Growers Association.
Meanwhile, Bechman and Stockwell, along with their other five fellow state officers, prepare for their biggest and final activity of the year- the Indiana FFA state convention. This year's event will be a three-day affair, ending on Wednesday evening rather than mid-day Thursday, which has been the traditional ending time for decades. The move was to allow FFA chapters the opportunity to reduce expenses with the possibility of reducing nights spent away from home.
The 2009 Indiana State FFA Convention is June 15-17, and will be held in West Lafayette at Purdue University.