Winners of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award competition were announced at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 103rd Convention closing general session.
Jacob and Jill Smoker, Indiana Farm Bureau members from LaPorte County, won the award and are now the winners of a new Ford vehicle, courtesy of Ford. In addition, they will receive paid registration to the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference, which will be held Feb. 25 to 28 in Louisville.
“We’re still processing the fact that we’ve been selected for all of this,” Jill Smoker said.
The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.
The Smokers got the opportunity to compete at the national level because they won the Indiana Farm Bureau Achievement Award at the annual INFB State Convention in December.
“We’ve had learning sessions the past couple of days with all the contestants for the Achievement Award, and there’s an incredible number of qualified candidates throughout this country,” Jacob Smoker said. “It was great to network with them and learn about their operations, as well.”
“Indiana Farm Bureau is so proud of what Jake and Jill Smoker have accomplished,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “Their dedication to Indiana agriculture and the hard work they’ve put into their application sets a great example for other young farmers in our state.”
The runner-up in the Achievement Award contest is Ryan MacKay of Massachusetts. He will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH. Roger and Amanda Scott of Virginia won third place, receiving a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH, as well as a $2,500 Investing in Your Future cash prize, courtesy of American Ag. In addition, they will take home $1,850 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise, courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker. Fourth-place finalist Chad Bell of Illinois receives a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH.
“Thank you to Indiana Farm Bureau for all the trust they put in us,” Jacob Smoker added. “We’re grateful to the county leadership and state leadership that allowed us to compete at this level. It’s something we’ll never forget.”