Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 7, 2012

Two local families up for Farm Bureau honors


— This afternoon, the winners of the Young Farmer Achievement and Excellence in Agriculture Awards will be announced at the Indiana Farm Bureau convention in Indianapolis.

Among those finalists are local farmers Travis and Sara Zook of LaGrange County and Orville and Jessica Haney of Kosciusko County, who were nominated for the Young Farmer Achievement Award. This award recognizes young farmers whose farm management techniques and commitment to their community set a positive example for everyone involved in production agriculture, according to Farm Bureau officials.

Farm Bureau provided the following biographies on the two families.

The Zooks

Travis and Sarah Zook of LaGrange County were raised on family farms and knew that what they wanted was to someday have a farm of their own. Travis started cash-renting a 10-acre field when he was just a teenager, and they now produce nearly 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay and have a 42-head beef herd. Travis is responsible for most of the farm’s daily operations, while Sarah does the book work and recordkeeping and helps out as needed.

The Haneys

Orville and Jessica Haney met at Purdue when he signed her up for the Dairy Club, and dairying is still a big part of their lives. With Orville’s father and brother and their families, the Haneys milk 185 cows and also produce corn, hay, wheat, beans and oats. They represent the sixth generation to raise children and milk cows on their family farm, which is on the Kosciusko-Fulton County line. Jessica also works off-farm as a nurse, and the couple has three children: Keith, Claire and Levi.

The state YFAA winner receives a $6,000 cash prize from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance; 250 hours maximum free use of one M-Series tractor (and loader, if appropriate) courtesy of Kubota Tractor Corp.; the David L. Leising Memorial Award; and expenses paid to the 2013 national convention in Nashville, Tenn. The two runners-up receive $1,000 cash prizes from Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.