Dale Simon honored as ‘Silver Star’ winner

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Dale Simon has always loved agriculture.

From working on the family farm in Ripley County as a child to studying agriculture and ultimately sharing that love with students; Dale Simon has spent his life in farming.

“I was 16 years old, and I’m 65 now, so that’s about 50 years,” Dale Simon says about how long he’s been involved with farming. “I grew up west of Osgood and my dad was a full-time farmer there. He grew crops and raised livestock and we milked cows.”

Graduating from Jac-Cen-Del High School, Dale Simon went on to Purdue University to study agriculture education.

From there, it was on to Switzerland County.

“I took a teaching job here in 1970, and taught here until 1975,” he said. “After that I went to Madison for six years and taught there, and then I came back here and moved down here in 1981. That’s when I bought a farm here.”

The farm is located on State Road 250 near Fairview. The Simons bought the farm formerly owned by Herschel and Helen Lowe, a farm spanning 79 acres.

“Later I bought the Pavy farm, which is just to the west of me,” Dale Simon said. “I bought about 100 acres.”

Farm land wasn’t the only thing Dale Simon found here in Switzerland County.

While teaching here, he met his wife, Mary Ann, who was a “city girl” from Lafayette who was teaching English at Switzerland County Junior-Senior High School.

“She got into the farming with me and she was my right hand lady for a lot of years,” Dale Simon said. “She taught, and later she became a full time housewife and helped me with the farming.”

Mary Ann Simon passed away in March of 2013.

The couple had three children: daughter Elizabeth works here in Vevay with the Eye Care Group; daughter Gina lives in Virginia with her husband, who is in the military; and son Eric lives in Aurora. Dale Simon has three grandchildren.

For several years, Dale Simon was a teacher and farmer, putting in long days.

“I guess you could say that my first love was farming,” Dale Simon said. “I had to figure out a way to support my habit, so I took up teaching. Of course, agriculture was in my interest area, so that’s why I majored in agriculture.”

On his farm, in the past Dale Simon raised corn, soybeans, tobacco and beef cattle, pure bred pulled Herefords.

“I sold seed stock, bulls, for breeding purposes to the neighbors; and later I sold the cattle and kept the corn and soybeans. I quit raising the tobacco in 2002 when they had the buy out,” Dale Simon said.

Having retired from teaching in 1996, Dale Simon is still very active with his farming.

“I rent the Wiley farm and several other smaller farms in the county, in addition to farming the ground that I have,” he said. “I raise corn and soybeans and wheat. I have a hired hand, Eddie Haskell, who works with me part-time. We stay busy.”

As he looks back over nearly 50 years in farming. Dale Simon sees many changes.

“It’s night and day difference,” he said. “The technology is almost beyond belief as far as making it easier to farm and run the equipment and harvest the crops.”

As for the Soil and Water Conservation District, Dale Simon has always been involved in its programming.

When he moved here in 1981 he was asked to serve on the SWCD board, a position he held for about 10 years.

“Later, after I retired from teaching, I worked for Purdue as an extension agent for two years,” Dale Simon said. “And then I went back to the farm.”

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Dale Simon will be honored with the Switzerland County Soil and Water Conservation District’s “Silver Star” award for his lifetime commitment to the agricultural community at the SWCD Annual Meeting tonight (Thursday) at the Jack Sullivan Building of the Switzerland County Senior Citizens Center in Vevay.