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Spotlight on Youth - February 6, 2019

INFB selects Compost Stew as 2019 Book of the Year

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The 2019 Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) Book of the Year is Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth, written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. The annual Book of the Year selection is a part of INFB’s Agriculture in the Classroom program, a grassroots agricultural outreach program for school children in Indiana.

Farm Bureau staff and professional educators selected this year’s book to increase understanding, build awareness and develop a positive public perception of Indiana agriculture through education. A statewide campaign, led by the INFB Women’s Leadership Committee, to promote the book in every county is underway.

Compost Stew is an alphabet-based story detailing a recipe for making rich, earth-friendly compost. The book, intended for grade-school children, is an introduction to composting and serves as an educational tool to reinforce the importance of soil enrichment.

If you’re involved in education and are interested in learning more about how you can incorporate INFB’s 2019 Book of the Year into your curriculum or student programming, contact your county Farm Bureau.

32nd Hoosier Beef Congress recognizes young producers

(photos in 6448)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Hoosier Beef Congress (HBC), the largest single state prospect cattle show held in the United States, took place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Nov. 30-Dec. 2. For more than three decades, it has played an integral part in developing a passion for the beef industry and agriculture in Indiana's youth.

For many, it is a proud family tradition, as many of the parents of today’s junior participants also showed at this event when they were young. On Nov. 30, almost 600 young exhibitors did their best in the Showmanship competition.

More than 90 cattle were put through the Breed and All-Star sales the following morning. The Junior shows saw about 1,200 cattle sorted over two days by the three judges.

The live streaming of the HBC continues to grow in popularity for those who cannot be there in person. The videos of the 2018 HBC Showmanship and Junior Shows have been archived and are available for viewing at

The top five heifers were: Supreme Champion Heifer-Chianina belonging to Baily Tomson of Westport; Reserve Supreme Heifer-Commercial, Houston Ferree of Sullivan; Third Overall Heifer-Sim Solution, Clint Main of Seymour; Fourth Overall Heifer-Maintainer, Baily Tomson; and Fifth Overall Heifer-Commercial, Spencer Goettemoeller of Winchester.

The top five steers were: Grand Champion Steer-Crossbred belonging to Hadley Hendrickson of Farmland; Reserve Champion Steer-Simmental, Chase Harker of Hope; Third Overall Steer-Crossbred, Ross Howard of Monticello; Fourth Overall Steer-Charolais, Maggie Johnson of Churubusco; and Fifth Overall Steer-Chianina, Cordon Selke of Frankfort.

Trees to Textbooks invests in Ohio schools, communities

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sixteen rural Ohio school districts and their corresponding counties and townships will share more than $2.3 million from the sale of timber from Ohio’s state forests, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The Trees to Textbooks program is a great avenue for local schools to benefit from the natural resources that can be found in their own backyards,” said DNR Director James Zehringer. “Our state forests are crucial in helping to provide the resources that help our students and communities succeed.”

Through the program, a percentage of the revenue generated from state forest management activity goes to the county, township and school district in which the activity took place. To see which local communities received Trees to Textbooks funding, go to

The Division of Forestry has been distributing timber revenues to counties and townships since the early 1980s. In 1999, the "Trees to Textbooks" program was started, and since that time, more than $31 million has been shared with Ohio school districts and local governments. This year, a total of $2,312,003.04 was awarded to 16 rural Ohio school districts and their local governments.

Culver’s support of agricultural education surpasses $2 million

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. — As the average age of a farmer rises to 58, Culver’s wants to ensure younger generations have access to agricultural education so they’re able to maintain our country’s future food supply. In 2018, the restaurant chain reported it donated $465,000 to agricultural education programs, including FFA.

The donations are part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project, an initiative that supports agricultural education programs that teach smart farming. In 2018, Culver’s efforts to raise money and awareness for the importance of agriculture included:

•Scoops of Thanks Day – a special day of giving where guests receive a scoop of Fresh Frozen Custard in return for a donation of $1 or more to local ag education programs – raised more than $111,000

•Restaurants and the Culver’s Support Center in Prairie du Sac came together to donate nearly 100 blue jackets to deserving ag students

•Culver’s FFA Essay Contest awarded a total of $15,000 in funds to three FFA chapters to help them participate in educational events

•Individual restaurants and their guests raised more than $200,000 for local ag education programs through fundraisers, donation canisters and sales of wall decals

FFA chapters bring A-game for Pioneer Big A Challenge

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Fifteen Iowa and Illinois FFA chapters will showcase their creativity in the Pioneer brand A-Series soybeans Big A Challenge, with their masterpieces displayed at the 2019 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.

A judging panel selected the top 15 chapters in the collaboration between Pioneer and FFA that focuses on the next generation of soybean varieties and the next generation of growers. Each chapter will bring a unique perspective to decorating a 7-foot Big A statue, highlighting A-Series soybeans’ cutting-edge science and game-changing yield potential while celebrating local communities.

The 15 finalists, which will compete to win up to $2,500 for their chapter, are: Atlantic (Iowa) FFA; Clay City (Ill.) FFA; East Marshall FFA of Le Grand, Iowa; Farmington (Ill.) FFA; Maroa Forsyth (Ill.) FFA; Massac County FFA of Metropolis, Ill.; Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn-Remsen-Union FFA of Marcus, Iowa; Mount Ayr (Iowa) FFA of Iowa; Mulberry Grove (Ill.) FFA; Newell-Fonda FFA of Newell, Iowa; North Tama FFA of Traer, Iowa; Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA of Sibley, Iowa; Stewardson-Strasburg FFA of Strasburg, Ill.; Wayne FFA of Corydon, Iowa; and Wilton (Iowa) FFA.

FFA chapters were selected based on an essay highlighting how A-Series soybeans benefit farmers, and a sample design of their statue. Chapters will decorate the statues through May, with the top three winners awarded prize money – $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second and $1,000 for third – at the Farm Progress Show.

The public also will vote for their favorites on the Pioneer Facebook and Twitter pages, with the winning chapter receiving the People’s Choice Award and a special prize for its members. Follow #FFAseries on Facebook and Twitter to see the creativity of these chapters.