Women Award Recipients Praised For Dedication To Indiana Agriculture

(WEST LAFAYETTE) — Three Indiana women were honored for their dedication and contributions to the agriculture industry at the Indiana Statehouse on Aug. 20. The recipients were selected by the Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture team. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture, presented the team’s awards.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch stands with the three Women in Agriculture Award recipients, Roberta Ressler, Sara Creech and Abigail Powell, along with Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture.

The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture Leadership Award recognizes a woman in an agribusiness or policymaking position who has actively impacted Indiana agriculture. Plaut presented this year’s award to Roberta Ressler, crop protection product design and process R&D leader at Corteva Agriscience in Westfield, Indiana. Ressler leads a team of scientists and engineers who design and develop new crop protection products with an emphasis on sustainable farming. She graduated from Purdue’s College of Engineering and continues to partner with Purdue across disciplines. Ressler leads the Joint Steering Team, a partnership between Corteva and Purdue that provides opportunities for research projects, classroom speakers and other events.

“Roberta is passionate about the role of women in agriculture and often speaks to student groups and graduate students about women in agriculture,” Plaut said. “There is no doubt that Roberta has helped advance women in agriculture in the state of Indiana.”

Abigail Powell was presented the Emerging Women in Agriculture Leadership award, which recognizes the accomplishments of a high school or undergraduate student who made a positive impact on agriculture. Powell is a sophomore at Purdue majoring in agriculture business marketing and agriculture communications. Before attending Purdue, Powell was an active member of 4-H, the Triton FFA Chapter and the Marshall County community. At Purdue, she was a member of the Purdue Ag Week Task Force and helped serve at the annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry. Currently, Powell serves on the Purdue College of Agriculture Council and is in the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, where she is the Alpha Theta Chapter treasurer. Powell worked in the Marshall County Extension Office, where she assisted with the planning and implementation of countywide events. Most recently, she was an agriculture banking intern at 1st Source Bank, where she analyzed agriculture marketing trends and generated reports for local lending officers. 

“Abigail’s passion for agriculture is evident in her involvement with organizations professionally and personally. She is a great example of an emerging leader in the field who is willing to keep learning and striving to be a positive advocate for agriculture,” Plaut said.

The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture Achievement Award recognizes women who are directly involved in a home farm operation. The 2020 award was presented to Sara Creech of Hendricks County, Indiana. Creech owns and operates Blue Yonder Organic Farm, a 40-acre farm located in North Salem. She raises chickens, ducks, turkeys, sheep, cattle, mushrooms, bees and produce. Creech sells her produce and meat at area farmers markets and has a community-supported agriculture program for locals. She was instrumental in starting the Indiana chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a group that works with military veterans to provide farm educational and leadership opportunities. Recently, she partnered with a local farm family, the Indiana Farmer Veteran Coalition and the Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District to initiate Porter Farm in Danville. The farm educates veterans and community members on small farm and conservation best practices. In 2018, Creech was elected as the first female member of the Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.

“Sara has not only provided food, but educational and leadership opportunities to veterans and community members with her efforts. She is an invaluable member of Indiana agriculture,” Plaut said.

The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture awards committee was co-chaired by Lori Bouslog, an Extension educator in Vermillion County, and Beth Vansickle, an Extension educator in Madison County. The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture team provides educational opportunities and resources for women in the agriculture industry and coordinates the Midwest Women in Agriculture conference.

Information by Abby Leeds, mayer36@purdue.edu