INDIANAPOLIS – History, tradition and family are three things held dear by Decatur County farmer David Miers.
At Wednesday’s Farmer’s Day at the Indiana State Fair, all three converged as Miers, joined by his wife Mary, received the Arnold Award for Rural Preservation, an honor that recognizes the continued use and meticulous upkeep of historical buildings related to farming.
The award, according to a press release, was presented to David and Mary in the presence of Lt. Governor Sue Ellsperman. The ceremony was also attended by Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock and Indiana Landmarks’ President Marsh Davis. Indiana Landmarks is one of the largest private preservation groups in the United States.
The Mierses were nominated for the Arnold Award by Judy Rust, who serves as president of the Decatur County Alliance for Preservation (DeCAP).
“They have a very strong sense of history and where they come from,” Rust told the Daily News Thursday. “They’re connection to their past is very strong.”
That connection spans six generation of Miers family farming. David and Mary live in a home built in the late 19th century by Morgan Lewis Miers, David’s great-grandfather.
The farm itself was established in 1824, and has changed hands to family members down the line ever since.
“I’m honored to literally be planting seeds on the same ground my forefathers did almost 200 years ago,” David Miers told those in attendance at the state fair ceremony Wednesday morning. “I’m very honored to carry on the tradition of the Miers family.”
And what a tradition it’s been.
The farm, under David Miers’ watchful eye, has won its seed corn contractor’s highest yield award 21 times since 1989. The Miers farm spans 2,000 acres owned by David and Mary which contain seed corn, seed soybeans and seed wheat, in addition to land rented from others. There are also 120 acres set aside for the federal Conservation Reserve Program, which are joined by approximately 3,000 walnut trees growing on the property.
The Miers family, aside from farming, has historically been known for being active community members, another tradition carried on today by David and Mary.
David’s ancestors also helped forge his love of tradition and history.
“I think it goes back to the way I was brought up and our family heritage in the community,” Miers said. I’ve always had an interest in historic preservation, and it obviously shows here on the farm.”
And despite its deep historical significance, the Miers farm manages to marry modern technology with old fashioned sensibilities. David and Mary make use of GPS devices and crop yield mapping in order to make the most of each harvest. These technological advances take place on a plot of land that houses a century-old concrete block pump house and garage and other historic buildings. That interesting dichotomy of tried and true tradition merging with 21st century advances is, perhaps, another charm of the Mierses’ vaunted home.
Judy Rust called the Miers farm “an intriguing place,” adding even more compliments to the décor crafted throughout the home by Mary Miers.
“Mary has done an amazing job of bringing old pictures, memorabilia, toys, fashion, photographs, deeds – all sorts of wonderful things – and she has incorporated those designs into her home. It’s just beautiful - really, really beautiful.”
By taking home the Arnold award Wednesday, the Mierses can now proudly display it on their celebrated property, which is located near Burney in Decatur County.
The award came as a bit of a surprise to David and Mary who had been notified of their nomination by Judy Rust back in April.
“We’d really forgotten about it until about a week ago,” David recalled Thursday. “When we got the call, we were pretty excited.”
Despite their statewide recognition, David and Mary remain humble in the face of all the recent attention.
“As we live our daily lives, we sometimes forget what we’ve been given,” David Miers said. “We’re very proud and excited to have been selected and to have received this award.”
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056