[r55] COLUMN: Taking pride in Indiana's agricultural heritage (8/15/2014)

Friday, August 15, 2014 7:00 pm

Start Date:  8/15/2014  Start Time:  1:00 PM
End Date:  8/15/2014  End Time:  1:00 PM
Taking pride in Indiana’s agricultural heritage

As some of you may know, I come from a very large family. I am one of the youngest of nine children and have fond memories of all of us growing up and working on our family farm. As a child I was not always aware of the history that I was surrounded by in my home, but I was always proud of where I came from. That same farm has been passed down from my parents to our siblings where the tradition of being a farmer in the Meyer family continues.

What is so great is that many families throughout the state share this same story. Indiana has a rich agricultural history; meaning that many other Hoosier families have a similar farming tradition that they have carried on for several generations. For many, farming is a way of life encompassing long days, perseverance and hard work. 

Given the significant impact these long-standing farming families have had on our economy and overall success as a state, the least we can do is make sure that they are recognized for this accomplishment. That is why twice a year the Indiana Department of Agriculture presents the Hoosier Homestead Awards, acknowledging families who have continued working together, passing down their tradition, to harvest, grow and raise food for over 100 years. 

Since the program’s inception in 1976, over 5,000 farms and families have been awarded for their dedication to Hoosier agriculture. The program was also established to acknowledge the farming families that have made contributions to Indiana’s economy, culture and overall advancement.

For past ceremonies, I was honored to stand with local farming families as they received their awards for their long-standing farms. I am so grateful to have these families in our community, as they continue their tireless dedication to the advancement of Indiana. 
This year, the Meyer family farm was fortunate enough to receive this award. Standing with my family as they received a centennial award was a moment I will forever cherish. It gave us all an opportunity to reminisce of times spent with mom and dad and reflect on a time that seemed much simpler than today. Being able to share the Meyer family heritage and passing that down to the next generation is something my family holds sacred and will not forget.

It was a proud moment to bring my siblings, their children and grandchildren to the ceremony, explaining what the award means to each of the farms that have been honored. The next ceremony is coming up in February and will be held at the Statehouse. If you are interested in the Hoosier Homestead Award Program or would like to nominate a family for the award, I urge you to visit http://www.in.gov/isda/2337.htm to learn more. 

I want each and every farming family in our community to have the same opportunity to be recognized and share priceless family memories. I also hope that the Hoosier Homestead Awards remind us all to be thankful for our Indiana farmers and families whose constant work is the backbone of our state’s economy.

Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.