Farm Bureau conducts meetings


Farm Bureau recently conducted two meetings in Jackson County.

The Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. District 10 spring meeting was March 30, while the Jackson County Farm Bureau Inc. annual business meeting was March 31. Both were at Pewter Hall in Brownstown.

District 10 spring meeting

Melba Loyd, district educator and outreach coordinator, called the meeting to order, and Marjorie Bishop, Jackson County president, welcomed the group to Jackson County.Sharon Schafer, Jefferson County education and outreach coordinator, led the pledge to the American flag, and Karen King, Clark County education and outreach coordinator, gave devotions.

Speaker Rick Kuster of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance told members of new products and new ways to save on premiums. Some of the questions he asked the group to consider were: How much should I insure my house for? Do I need replacement costs or actual cash value? What gaps are frequently missed by the client? What personal property limitations are in the coverage?

He said if you don’t know the answers to these and other questions, you should probably talk to your insurance agent.

After lunch served by Pewter Hall, Margo Brewer talked about the Jackson County History Center. Fairly extensive genealogical resources are available there, and new items are being added every week.

The center has the first all-metal threshing machine. The pieces were sent to Vallonia, and three people from International Harvester went there to assemble the machine.

Each April, almost all Jackson County fourth-graders visit the center to see firsthand how life was in pioneer times. Between 650 and 700 children learn from the 30 or so volunteers.

One aspect is about going to school. The boys sat on one side and the girls on the other. The novelty of sitting on a backless wooden bench wears off pretty quickly. Students also are amazed to see a phone booth or a television without a remote.

Brewer said all money for the center comes through donations and fundraisers, including a barbecue cookoff in May.

Robert Schickel, District 10 director, said “My Member Deals” can save members money. One example is the $500 discount for a new GM product.

Brad Ponsler, regional manager, thanked Farm Bureau members who worked to get Senate Bill 308 passed. This bill will save farmers money on their property taxes.

Allison Hines, regional manager, helped with door prizes of flowers, pineapples, spices and baking supplies.

After the meeting, members toured the history center and Robertson Genealogy Library.

A former teacher said the school was a multipurpose log building used not only as a school but also as the church and town meeting place. The wood fire would have helped heat the cabin, but it would not have heated the room evenly. By a 1789 ordinance, the teacher lived with families of the students.

In the Ball Museum, visitors saw old washing machines, refrigerators, stoves and some items that no one really knew what they were.

The genealogy library has more than 350 separate family histories.

In the circus wagon, which belonged to the Timberlake/Silverlake family from Owen Township, there are clown shoes, old circus posters, an outfit that belonged to a trapeze artist and narrow beds that were scrunched into the sleeping area.

In the Heller Museum, tour guide Dorothy Empson Richards showed the large collection of Native American artifacts that she had helped gather from the Empson farm.

The livery barn contains hundreds of items, including a restored John Deere wagon from Union Hardware.

Farm Bureau members came away from the tour with the smell of wood fires clinging to their hair and clothes but with a better understanding of earlier life in Jackson County.

Annual business meeting

Marjorie Bishop welcomed the members and guests. The Rev. Stephen Wood offered a Psalm reading and a prayer before Pewter Hall served a buffet.Speaker Arann Banks of the bicentennial celebration torch relay committee showed a video of Purdue University’s designing of the torch that will be used to run through all 92 Indiana counties from Sept. 9 through Oct. 15. About 1,800 torch bearers will have the ability to take selfies that can be shared with everyone.

Jackson County only has three hours to get the torch from Brownstown to Freeman Field in Seymour and past as many schools as possible, so different kinds of transportation will be used to fit this time frame. GPS in the torch will allow everyone to follow its progress.

Mary Kovener, craft and hobby leader, led the pledge to the American flag. Olga Otte, secretary/treasurer, read the 2015 minutes.

The county’s education and outreach coordinator introduced essay winner Libby Wischmeier of Immanuel Lutheran School. She read her essay, telling what she has learned about 200 years of farming in Indiana.

Marcia Monroe, county vice president, explained the policy change the county board had suggested. Members voted to change wording so utilities and municipalities must have a public hearing before land can be used by these groups. Monroe also asked members to fill in surveys to be more involved in Farm Bureau. She especially asked people to volunteer to dip ice cream at the county fair.

Election committee chairman Melvin Bishop introduced the slate of officers proposed by the board: Education and outreach coordinator, Brenda Ault to replace Carolyn Shoemaker, whose term of office expires in October; secretary/treasurer, Otte; and craft and hobby leader, Kovener.

The township board members, state convention delegates and alternates were read. Several townships still need board members.

The 50-year members were honored with clocks. They were Lloyd Kerkhof, Walter Kiste, Dorothy Ward, T. Lewis, Waldron Rust and Richard Brackemyre. Doris Kovener also was honored for her many years of work on the county board.

Schickel thanked members for their hard work at the Jackson County Fair. He introduced Young Farmer winners Tom and Jamie Schilmiller. He reported on the passing of Senate Bill 308. Members were welcomed to come to the signing of the bill, which was April 8 in Indianapolis.

Loyd thanked the members for inviting her to the meeting and also recommended the history center.

Steve Cissna, Farm Bureau Insurance agency manager, invited people to see the renovations done on the Seymour office. He recognized the hard work of his staff: John Crane, Patty Martin, Jackie Hare, Lisa Cooper, Kim Davis, Meghan Bartells, Stephanie Richards and Jim Hoffman.

Hines recognized the work of the board members and helped Shoemaker hand out door prizes of gas gift cards.

Marjorie Bishop thanked Dave McIntire for the sound system, Pewter Hall for the meal and accommodations and Farm Bureau members for their participation and support.

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