INDIANAPOLIS — Finalists have been selected for Indiana Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award. These state awards are conducted as a part of the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Award competition.
The Achievement Award recognizes and rewards outstanding young Farm Bureau members whose farm management techniques and commitment to their communities set a positive example for others involved in production agriculture. Winners must be members of Indiana Farm Bureau between the ages of 18 and 35 and earn the majority of their income from production agriculture.
The winners of the Achievement Award receive a $6,000 cash prize (courtesy of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance), 250 hours of free use of one M-Series tractor (courtesy of Kubota Tractor Corporation) and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the American Farm Bureau annual convention in San Diego, Calif. in January. The winners also will be awarded the David L. Leising Memorial Award. Runners-up receive a $1,000 cash prize (courtesy of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance).
The three finalists are Kevin and Kimberly Burton of Fulton County, Kyle and Leah Musselman of Miami County and Brent and Ashley Reed of Elkhart County.
The Burtons run a diversified farm operation that includes corn, soybeans, hay and beef cattle while providing several custom services for other farmers in their part of the state. Kevin has a degree in agriculture business management and crop production and is now the vice president and general manager of the farm, coordinating many of the daily operations. A large part of their business, poultry litter spreading, covers 14 counties across the northern part of Indiana. Kim has a degree in early childhood education and now works part-time on the family farm. She also does photography in her spare time and has photographed family and senior portraits and weddings. The Burtons are active Farm Bureau members, having served as Young Farmers & Ag Professionals co-chairs for their county Farm Bureau since 2015.
Together, the Musselmans have grown their family’s traditional grain operation into a diversified farm which includes corn, soybeans and wheat but also hogs and local sweet corn. Beyond their own farm, they also operate a robust custom farming operation for farmers in their community where they create individual crop plans for their clients and run a local seed dealership. Kyle started the family’s wean-to-finish hog operation at 19 years old, which was a pivotal step in allowing them to later take over the entire family operation. They met at Purdue, where Kyle earned a bachelor’s degree in Ag Systems Management and Leah a bachelor’s degree in Ag Economics – Sales and Marketing. Several years ago, the Musselmans joined the Miami County Farm Bureau board as Young Farmers & Ag Professionals co-chairs and revitalized their local YF&AP program.
The Reeds are fourth-generation farmers who bring a diverse background in agriculture to their operation in Elkhart County. Brent grew up raising corn, soybeans and sheep and at 15 years old, he rented his first farm and purchased his first flock of sheep. Ashley grew up on a grain and earthworm farm before earning a degree in business administration. Today they raise corn, soybeans, hay and sheep, and manage all aspects of the family farm. Both Brent and Ashley work on the farm full time – handling everything from seed selection to running the combine during harvest. They grow conventional, non-GMO and organic crops. They also manage a seed and fertilizer business. As active Farm Bureau members, the Reeds have served their county as Young Farmers & Ag Professionals co-chairs since 2016.
The winners of the contest will be announced on the Indiana Farm Bureau Facebook page on Wednesday, Aug. 26.