Many in our community know that farming is not just a profession; it is a lifestyle.
Agriculture in Indiana is a large and diverse industry that plays a vital role in the economic stability of our state. Many of our neighbors, friends and families get up at the crack of dawn during planting and harvest seasons and work long into the late night hours, tending to livestock and family needs in between.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it is estimated that Indiana’s agriculture industry contributed $37.9 billion in economic output and supported nearly 190,000 Hoosier jobs in 2011. It seems only fitting that we honor the men, women and families who put food on our tables and keep strong the backbone of our economy. The Hoosier Homestead Award Program, sponsored by the Indiana Department of Agriculture, recognizes families with farms that have been owned by the same family for 100 years or more.
The program began in 1976 to acknowledge the contributions these families have made to Indiana agriculture. More than 5,000 farms have been recognized since the program was established.
I am proud to say that we have a few of these farms in our community. The Hicks Farm of Ripley County, established in 1901, received a Hoosier Homestead Centennial Award for celebrating more than 100 years as a family-owned farm. The Caldwell Farm from Fayette County was established in 1813 and received a Hoosier Homestead Bicentennial Award for more than 200 years as a family business. I am proud of these families and thank them for their tireless work to keep their farms going strong and contributing to our community and state.
There are two Hoosier Homestead Ceremonies each year. One is at the Statehouse in March and the other is during the State Fair in August. The deadline for the August ceremony is May 1, so there is still time to submit your family farm. If you would like to be recognized with a Hoosier Homestead Award, visit www.in.gov/isda and fill out the Hoosier Homestead Award Application. For more information about the program, you can also email Abigail Maurer at email@example.com.
I would like to thank each and every member of the Hoosier farming community. No matter your role, our state benefits from your early mornings, long hours, dedication and perseverance. Farming is not an easy job, but without you, our state would not be the shining example of what a strong work ethic and positive outlook can achieve.
Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.