Apex Winners 2005
Dale and Lisa Koester
Dale completed his B.S. in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in 1992. He was the Outstanding Senior in Agricultural Economics and Runner Up in the School of Agriculture . Upon graduation, Dale worked as an agronomist for the Posey County Co-op. In May 1995, Dale then joined the family farming operation near Wadesville , Indiana .
Lisa completed degrees in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Communication at Purdue University in 1994. Lisa was the Outstanding Freshmen, Junior, and Senior in the School of Agriculture . She was selected as her class speaker for Commencement at Purdue University . Lisa began her professional career as a territory agricultural chemicals sales representative for Novartis (Syngenta). She placed in the top 10 percent as a sales representative in her region with annual sales of $6.5 million. When Dale and Lisa began a family (a son, Travis now age 7, a daughter, Lindsey, now age 4, and a daughter, Reagan, 8 months), Lisa returned to the family farm to assist Dale in record keeping and management decisions, especially GPS maps. She also established and manages her own value-added farming ventures consulting business.
Dale and Lisa have been very active in their community and in many leadership activities since high school. Both were Salutatorians of their respective high school classes. Lisa was named All-State in Volleyball and Academic All-State in Basketball and was Class President. Both were active in 4-H and FFA and both received American Farmer FFA Degrees. They held various local and district offices in both youth organizations. While at Purdue, Dale was on the Ag Council (Vice-President) and University Dairy Club (President). Lisa was an Ag Ambassador, member of Mortar Board, and Ag Council (Reporter).
They continue in various state and national leadership roles. Dale is a member of the Dean's Agricultural Advisory Council, District President of Young Dairymen, a member of the Posey County Co-op Advisory Board, County Extension Board, and Past-President of the Indiana Farm Management Association. Lisa is a member of the Agricultural Alumni Board of Directors, works with various FFA groups, and serves in many community groups including Knight's of St. John , Junior League, PBS Kids, Posey County Community Center , and the Zion Nursery Center School Board. Both are active in their church as Sunday school teachers, building committee, social committee, Bible study leaders, etc. Other community events include helping with school farm tours, Ag Day, and media interviews.
Dale and Lisa were recognized in December 2003 by the Indiana Farm Bureau with the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. They have been active with the Indiana Farm Bureau, Young Farmer Committee, with Dale serving as Vice-Chairman of the State Young Farmer Committee. They have competed in the Farm Bureau State Policy Discussion Meet and judged undergraduate students in the Farm Policy Discussion Meet held each year in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University .
Dale and Lisa operate 2,815 acres, which with double cropping is equivalent to 3,650 acres. They milk 185 cows, feed out 80 dairy steers, and finish 1600 hogs annually. They have developed innovative management systems for capital management, estate planning, and intergenerational asset transfers. They produce several specialty crops, including white corn and wheat straw for a local erosion blanket factory. Dale also uses a tile plow to improve on-farm drainage and as a custom business for neighbors and landlords. Careful building design and construction has held down the Koester's production costs, while still allowing for future expansion of grain storage and milk production.
In short, Dale and Lisa Koester are outstanding farmers and community citizens. They represent the best of agriculture's future in Indiana.