11 receive Purdue Ag Alumni Association's top award
Certificates of Distinction were awarded during the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association's annual Fish Fry. Recipients, from left, are James Vorst, West Lafayette; Homer Ousley Jr., Mentone; Joe Peden, Bloomington; Jane Ade Stevens, Indianapolis; Scott Rumble, Lafayette; William J. Beard, Frankfort; Byron Ernest, Lebanon; John Trott, West Lafayette; Brian Reichart, Frankton; Beth Archer, Danville; and Mark Townsend, Hartford City. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Eleven leaders in agriculture have received the Purdue University Agricultural Alumni Association's highest honor in recognition of their career-long service to their profession and communities.
The association presented Certificates of Distinction on Saturday (Feb. 5) during the annual Ag Alumni Fish Fry at the Blue Ribbon Pavilion on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The award has been given since 1938.
The recipients are "extraordinary examples of achievement, citizenship and service and exemplify the servant leadership for which our association is known," said Donya Lester, executive secretary of the Agricultural Alumni Association. "It is inspiring how their leadership has transformed organizations and communities throughout Indiana."
The 2011 honorees are:
* Beth Archer of Danville, Ind. Archer is the executive director of AgrIInstitute, an agriculture advocacy group based in Danville. She previously worked as a consumer and family science teacher and for the state Department of Education. Under her direction, AgrIInstitute has been recognized as the premier leadership opportunity for cultivating leadership in Indiana's agriculture industry. Participants in the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program are developed to be advocates of agriculture. Her colleagues recently selected Archer leader of the year for the International Association of Programs for Agriculture Leadership. She received a bachelor's degree in home economics education from Purdue in 1979.
* William J. Beard of Frankfort, Ind. Beard is founder of Beard Industries, a worldwide leader in grain dryer manufacturing. He retired from the company in 2002 when it was acquired by CTB Industries, a Berkshire Hathaway company, and became part of its Brock Grain Systems business. Beard is now serving his second term as a Clinton County commissioner. Beard and his wife were instrumental in bringing a YMCA to Clinton County, raising more than $4 million for the project. He serves on the YMCA's board of directors. Beard received a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Purdue in 1949.
* Byron Ernest of Lebanon, Ind. Ernest has spent the last 25 years in education and is working on his doctorate in teacher leadership. For the past six years he has been an agriculture instructor, FFA adviser and department head at Lebanon High School. He restarted the program, established new facilities and designed a curriculum that encourages students to enroll in agriculture classes. He teaches three advanced life science courses in which students also can earn credits from Purdue. Ernest was the 2010 Indiana Teacher of the Year. He received a bachelor's degree in animal science and agricultural education in 1985 and a master's degree in agricultural education from Purdue in 1987.
* Homer Ousley Jr. of Mentone, Ind. Ousley has been the crop farm manager for Creighton Brothers in Warsaw, Ind., for the past 40 years. He manages 8,000 acres of cropland, 1,200 acres of woodland and 700 acres of forage land using no-till farming, crop rotation, filter strips, tree planting and environmental enhancement to preserve the soil and waterways. He is a past president of the Kosciusko County Cattlemen's Association and was Cattleman of the Year. Ousley was selected as Conservation Farmer of the Year and the Master Farmer of the Year by the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District. He received a bachelor's degree in animal science in 1970 and a master's degree in animal science in 1972 from Purdue.
* Joe Peden of Bloomington, Ind. Peden is a former USDA district conservationist and state agronomist and farms near Bloomington. As a soil conservationist, Peden educates farmers about no-till practices and building terraces and waterways. As a farmer, he promotes agriculture education by opening his farm each spring to thousands of elementary school students through the Children's Farm Festival. Working at the Children's Farm Festival gives 4-H and FFA members a sense of responsibility and shows them the importance of educating the public about agriculture. Peden is treasurer of the board for the White River Co-op. He received a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Purdue in 1963.
* Brian Reichart of Frankton, Ind. Reichart is president and chief executive of Red Gold LLC, a family-owned and family-operated tomato processing company with headquarters in Orestes, Ind. Reichart worked at the cannery throughout high school and college before joining the staff full time as plant manager and chief engineer. When he became president and CEO, Reichert grew the company from a small regional and seasonal packer with 170 employees to a national supplier of tomato products with 1,328 employees. The company now processes more than 10,000 acres of tomatoes, making Red Gold the largest privately owned tomato-processing company in the world, distributing products to all 50 states and exporting to 16 countries. He received a bachelor's degree in industrial management from Purdue in 1972.
* Scott Rumble of Lafayette, Ind. Rumble retired in 2002 following a 42-year career in Extension. During that time, Rumble worked in six Indiana counties. He also served in the Army National Guard and Air Force Reserve for a combined 20 years. He is a commercial Realtor in Lafayette with Coldwell Banker Shook. Rumble, honored for his career in leadership by being named a Sagamore of the Wabash, is chairman of the Tippecanoe County Park Foundation and a past president of the Tippecanoe County YMCA Board. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from Purdue in 1969.
* Jane Ade Stevens of Indianapolis. Stevens is executive director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Corn Growers Association. She has led producer trade missions to other countries to promote Indiana's agricultural commodities. Stevens served as chief of staff to U.S. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Jim Moseley and for many years managed the Pioneer Hi-Bred Our Land Pavilion and the Agriculture/Horticulture Building exhibits at the Indiana State Fair. She received a bachelor's degree in agricultural communication from Purdue in 1969.
* Mark Townsend of Hartford City, Ind. Townsend is manager and part owner of Townsend Farms, a 2,400-sow operation and 2,200-acre crop farm in Grant and Blackford counties. Townsend Farms has persevered through difficult economic times to be one of the few remaining independent hog producers in Indiana. In the 1990s Townsend served on the Indiana Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development, helping to develop the strategic plan for Indiana agriculture. He was appointed chairman of the state committee of the Agricultural and Conservation Service. Townsend also served on the Purdue Board of Trustees. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Purdue in 1977.
* John Trott of West Lafayette, Ind. Trott is a former director of Purdue Agricultural Centers and assistant to the director of Agricultural Research Programs. Before taking those positions, he worked as an Extension educator. As director of Purdue Agricultural Centers, Trott developed and coordinated plans for site-specific research with departments in the College of Agriculture. He also was responsible for recruiting, hiring and evaluating the eight farm superintendents and the general management of the farmland. As assistant to the director of Agricultural Research Programs, he provided administrative assistance to various agricultural councils across the state. He also assisted the director in overseeing the departmental research facilities and identifying linkages between the departmental farms. As the public policy agent in St. Joseph County, Trott coordinated and directed a program that maintained educational programs for more than 40,000 participants. During his years there, more than 8,500 youth participated in 4-H, making it the second-largest 4-H program in the state. He received a bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1964 and a master's degree in youth development and agricultural education from Purdue in 1981.
* James Vorst of West Lafayette, Ind. Vorst served agriculture as a teacher and adviser in Purdue's Department of Agronomy for 40 years, teaching crop production and other courses to more than 10,000 students until his retirement in 2010. Vorst is listed in the Purdue Book of Great Teachers, has received the University Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and has been selected as the outstanding teacher in agronomy four times. He also has been awarded the USDA Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Regional Award.
Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Donya Lester, 765-494-8493, email@example.com