Two Indiana women recognized for their commitment and contributions to the agriculture industry were honored during the Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch's Celebration of Agriculture, held Aug. 16 at the Indiana State Fair. The recipients were selected by the Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture team. The team coordinates such programs as the Midwest Women in Agriculture conference and regional educational workshops in addition to the Women in Agriculture Achievement and Leadership Awards.
Jason Henderson, associate dean of Purdue University's College of Agricluture and director of Purdue Extension, presented the team's awards. He detailed the many contributions of Jane Ade Stevens, the winner of the Purdue Extension Women in Agricluture Leadership Award, which recognizes a woman in agribusiness or policymaking position who has made a difference in Indiana Agriculture. Stevens has served for eight years as the chief executive officer of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, and the Indiana Corn Growers Association. Her responsibilities include overseeing all corn and soybean checkoff programs as well as membership and policy organizations.
In his tribute, Henderson observed, "Jane often says that farming is 'in her blood.' She has demonstrated that personal commitment from her days as an agriculture student at Purdue through her current leadership in seeking new markets for corn and soybeans, advocating for government policies to better serve Hoosier farmers, and contributing to education and research."
Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture, praises Stevens' role in realizing the vision of the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center, which opened at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education in 2016.
"Jane's leadership was a critical factor in making this new venture a reality in supporting corn and soybean innovation and providing a pivotal opportunity for faculty researchers and students," she said.
The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture Achievement Award recognizes women who are directly involved in a home farming operation. Henderson presented the 2018 award to Jaime Schilmiller. Schilmiller joined a farming family about 15 years ago when she married the third son of five boys. Schilmiller has consistently stepped up to help with all aspects of farm life, whether that includes bottle feeding calves, digging potatoes, selling at produce stands or promoting the family farm.
Henderson highlighted Schilmiller's involvement in My Little Farm in Floyd County, a program which provides a learning-based program to teach children and adults about farm life, hard work, education and jobs in Indiana: "My Little Farm has become the highlight of the Floyd County Fair, reaching over a thousand participants annually. Jamie will soon be expanding the program's outreach to thousands of 7th grade students exploring agricultural careers and their own higher education options."
In January 2019, Schilmiller will launch her own chemical, fertilizer and seed company for Floyd County, which has included passing the Indiana State Chemist Core and Pesticide exams for licensing.
The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture awards commitee was co-chaired by Kamille Brawner, a Jennings County Extension educator, and Lori Bouslog, an Extension educator in Vermillion County.
"I'm honored to serve on this team with my fellow educators and our advisory members. Selecting these impressive women to be honored plays a key role in advancing our mission to recognize and empower women who hold and who seek to assume leadership roles in agriculture," Bouslog said.
Press release courtesy of Maureen Manier, Ag Communications Department Head, Purdue University.