One year ago Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, also the first official Secretary of Agriculture in Indiana, created a new annual award for someone doing an outstanding job in agriculture. It was called the AgriVision Award.
The first winner was Sonny Beck, president of Beck's Hybrids, Atlanta. Also an Indiana Prairie Farmer/Purdue University College of Agriculture Master Farmer, Beck was a farmer first, and helped develop the seed business started by his father, the late Francis Beck, and his father. Sonny's father was also a Master Farmer, named in 1972, and Sonny's son, Scott, now a vice-president with the company, was named a Master Farmer in ceremonies held at The Barn across from the Indiana State Fairgrounds last year. Since the barn structure was moved across the street into the fairgrounds to become part of an educational complex earlier this year, the Master Farmer ceremonies will be held this year at the Beck Agricultural Center at the Purdue Agronomy Research Center on U.S. highway 52 a few miles west of West Lafayette and the Purdue campus. Ironically, the Beck family donated a sizable portion of the funding so that the state-of-the-art center could be built.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, created during Skillman's first year as lt. governor, recently announced a 2008 AgriVision award winner will be named. ISDA is looking for help in finding the right individual most deserving of the award this year. The deadline for nominations is May 30.
"Generations of Hoosiers have worked to make agriculture a critical component of Indiana's economy and its heritage," Skillman says. "This award is a way to say 'thank you' to one person each year who exemplifies the work of so many."
Others considered for the award a year ago came from all aspects of agriculture, ISDA officials note. Some represented livestock production, others bioenergy, and yet others from the trade side of the ag business. The selection committee, not officially named in the release announcing the call for nominations, will be charged with looking for highly qualified individuals who have most reshaped and impacted Indiana agriculture through innovation, advances in technology or new business approaches.
So while you're riding the tractor, hopefully this week with a return of better weather and a chance to continue spring planting, give some thought to who fits your definition of someone who has helped reshape agriculture in Indiana. Learn about the actual nomination process at: www.in.gov/isda.