Indiana has its two state winners of the young farmer competitions held annually by Indiana Farm Bureau. The winners move to national competition at the annual convention of American Farm Bureau Federation in early January in Nashville, TN.
Jeff Demerly of Wolcott, Indiana in White County is the INFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award winner. He receives a John Deere Gator and a $3,000 cash prize.
Winners also receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the national contest in Nashville.
Achievement Award candidates were judged on their leadership abilities and on what they have achieved with their farms, while Excellence in Agriculture candidates were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
Winners and finalists will be formally recognized at the INFB state convention in December.
About the winners:
Jeff Demerly grew up working on his family’s row crop farm and was actively engaged with FFA and 4-H. After graduating from college, he became removed from farming, but a few years later, he felt the pull to rejoin the ag industry. With the help of his wife, Jenna, he created his own agricultural retail business, Demerly Ag Plus. Their business sells, markets and promotes seed inputs, as well as crop insurance risk management and general profit consulting.
“Applying for this award was a life gauge for me, a way to sit down and evaluate myself throughout the year and what I was doing on behalf of my business, my family and my community,” said Jeff. “Since applying, I’ve watched myself grow, watched the business grow, watched my community grow and watched my family grow.”
He is also an active White County Farm Bureau member.
“I started my experience with Indiana Farm Bureau through the Young Farmer program,” said Jeff. “It didn’t take long for me to grab onto every opportunity I could within the organization. I moved into a variety of roles and became vice president for a year and I now fill the role of president of White County Farm Bureau.”
Matthew and Brianna Chapman both majored in agriculture in college and have been focused on excelling in many aspects of the agriculture industry ever since. Matthew is a third generation farmer. He and his family farm corn, soybeans and wheat in Henry County and manage two swine barns all while owning a commercial trucking company. Matthew works full time on the farm while Brianna operates two retail flower shops.
“After we graduated from Purdue, we started a Young Farmer program in Henry County and we tried to get really involved in our county Farm Bureau,” said Matthew.
“We made friends at the state Young Farmer convention and decided to be Young Farmer reps for the state. We did that for two years and we made friends for life.”
He explained the struggle many family farmers face as they attempt to expand the farm to incorporate children or additional family members.
“For every young farmer, it can be difficult to find your way and expand the farm so that you have an income to come back to,” explained Matthew. “Any young farmer needs to be creative in the ways you diversify your operation.”
Source: Indiana Farm Bureau