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Harrison learns a thing or 2 about farms

SWCD returns to in-person annual dinner meeting
Harrison learns a thing or 2 about farms
Harrison learns a thing or 2 about farms
Photo by Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor. Jean Geswein, left, and Marcia Gliottone use a stuffed doll named Harrison to help educate how things like clothing, sportings goods and more, in addition to food, come from farms.
By Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

A young “boy” named Harrison, as well as those attending the 75th annual dinner meeting of the Harrison County Soil & Water Conservation District, learned that farms play a vital role in everyday lives, from food to clothing.

With the help of Harrison, a stuffed doll, Jean Geswein and Marcia Gliottone provided the entertainment in the form of a dialogue about where food is produced and how clothing is made. Harrison was down to his skivvies, with none of his favorite foods to eat or sports gear to play with because they came from farm products; the skivvies were polyester, a man-made product.

The women take Harrison to local schools to talk about the importance of farms, which Harrison initially loathed because he considered them smelly.

Michael Wolfe, chairman of the SWCD board, welcomed attendees to the annual meeting which took place Thursday evening at the Talmage C. Windell Memorial Agriculture Building at the county fairgrounds in Corydon.

“We didn’t get to have this last year due to COVID,” he said.

Harrison learns a thing or 2 about farms
Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor. Mike Wolfe, right, reads the name of a door-prize winner at the conclusion of the 75th annual Harrison County Soil & Water Conservation District dinner meeting Thursday. He is assisted by Michael Emily and Olivia Schickel, who pulled the tickets for the nearly 100 prizes.

The program included several presentations, such as the 2020 and 2021 Farmer of the Year. The 2019 recipient was Tom Luther.

Brian Churchill of Depauw received the award for 2020. He has farmed for 44 years, beginning when he was a junior in high school. Churchill now owns/leases more than 300 acres, growing popcorn, soybeans, wheat, sweet corn, ornamental corn and sunflowers.

The 2021 award was given to Jason (Jake) Blackman of near Elizabeth. He owns/leases 500 acres, spanning Harrison and Floyd counties, which are used to grow corn, popcorn and soybeans and raise sheep.

Elizabeth’s Terri Sanders received the 2020 Forestry Award. She and her family own 280 acres of land that has been placed in classified forest. Sanders and her parents, Sonny and Dona Gans, took over managing the farm when her grandmother, Doris Krull, passed away.

The 2021 Forestry Award recipient was John Adams of Depauw. His 135-acre farm has been in his family for more than 100 years. Adams grows corn and soybeans.

The 2019 Forestry Award was given to Stanley Wilkerson.

Billy Curts of Corydon received the 2020 Master Farmer Conservation Award. A farmer for more than 65 years, Curts leases/owns 450 acres, with some acreage having been in his family for over 104 years. In addition to raising Angus cattle, he plants corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and straw.

The 2021 Master Farmer Conservation Award was given to James Goldman of Depauw. He owns 158 acres and rents 300 more and farmed for 47 years before retiring; for 34 of those years, he was a dairy farmer followed by growing alfalfa hay, corn and soybeans.

In 2019, the Master Farmer Conservation Award was given to Peter J. and Joan Schickel.

FFA students who participated in soil judging and envirothon contests received their certificates. One soil judging team, from North Harrison High School, qualified to participate in national competition, which will be in Oklahoma later this year. The team is fundraising to help with expenses for the trip.

Kim Harmon, director of development with the Harrison County Community Foundation, reminded attendees about the various agricultural scholarships available through the Foundation.

The Foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, has awarded $688,000 in scholarships to date, Harmon said.

Michael Emily was re-elected to another term on the SWCD board and was sworn in the Harrison County Councilman Ross Schulz.

Wolfe expressed appreciation to the Harrison County commissioners and councilmembers for their support of the Soil & Water Conservation District.

Attendees were told that free wildlife and sunflower seeds would be available about the first of March and they were reminded about an Aer Way implement and two John Deere no-till drills that are available to rent by local landowners and farmers. For more information, call Virginia or Marla at the SWCD office, 812-738-8121, ext. 3.


Nearly 100 door prizes were awarded at the conclusion of the program, with Olivia Schickel drawing the tickets for each.

The meal was catered by Wade Sonner and his mother, Bernice Sonner.