Ruth Lohide is ‘Volunteer of the Year’ for Indiana Farm Bureau

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Indiana Farm Bureau held its 2016 Spring Conference on Friday and Saturday, March 4th-5th in Indianapolis, and one of the highlights of the conference was a great honor for a Switzerland County woman.

Ruth Lohide of near East Enterprise was honored as Indiana Farm Bureau’s “Volunteer of the Year” at the conference. She was chosen from a field of 10 finalists, each representing one of the state’s 10 Farm Bureau districts. Each of Indiana’s 92 counties has a Farm Bureau organization, which are then divided into 10 Districts. Switzerland County is in District 10, which also encompasses Ohio, Dearborn, Jefferson, and Ripley counties.

Lohide was honored for her leadership and work with the Ag in the Classroom program.

“We go into the kindergarten rooms and do the reading program,” she said. “We’ve been doing it since 2008 here in Switzerland County. We go once a month, read a book; serve a snack; do a craft. Those types of things. Counties all over the State of Indiana do this program.”

The honor included a plaque, which states: “…For your dedication, leadership, and exceptional commitment to educating Hoosier youth and families about the importance of agriculture through the Ag in the Classroom program.”

The award was signed by Randy Kron, President of Indiana Farm Bureau; and Isabella Chism, 2nd Vice President and Chair of Women’s Leadership Committee for Indiana Farm Bureau. In presenting the award to Ruth, Debbie Jordan, Indiana Farm Bureau Education and Outreach Coordinator for District 6, called he a “True advocate for agriculture.”

Each of the 10 District winners was honored at the conference with the “Reaching Out” award; with the Volunteer of the Year being selected from those. The “Reaching Out” award honors Ag in the Classroom volunteers who go above and beyond to educate youth about agriculture.

In addition to Ruth Lohide, the “Reaching Out” award winners were Jennifer Richter, Fulton County, District 1; Cindy Berning, Allen County, District 2; Pat Burkhalter, Clinton County, District 3; Sharon Dillman, Miami County, District 4; Ginny Rodgers, Boone County, District 5; Beth Vansickle, Madison County, District 6; Becky Butt, Clay County; District 7; Susann Wendel, Franklin County, District 8; Judy Gumbel and Ken Meyer, Pike County, District 9.

Her work with Switzerland County Farm Bureau is just a small part of the tireless efforts Ruth Lohide puts into her volunteer work here in the county.

She is active with the Switzerland County ‘Relay for Life’; is a volunteer with her church, New Liberty Baptist Church near East Enterprise; is the county secretary for the Homemakers clubs here; and is a past member of the Community Foundation of Switzerland County. She is also a past member of the Switzerland County Fair Board.

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More than $6,000 was collected to benefit the National Guard Relief Fund thanks to attendees at Indiana Farm Bureau’s 2016 Spring Conference. The money – $6,039, to be precise – was earned through the silent and live auctions held during the conference.

The annual event is organized and coordinated by the Indiana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, and it’s an opportunity for Farm Bureau members to get together before the hustle and bustle of planting season starts to learn, have fun and honor some important volunteers.

Also recognized during the conference were Wabash and Steuben County Farm Bureaus, each of which won an ag education and promotion development grant.

Announced during the conference were the 2016 Agricultural and Cultural Exchange (ACE) ambassadors: John and Marybeth Feutz of Gibson County and Nick and Julie Wenning of Decatur County.