Women's contributions to agriculture lauded at Ind. state fair

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Purdue Extension recognized the leadership and achievements of two Indiana women by honoring them with its Women in Agriculture awards.

The annual awards, presented Wednesday (Aug. 14) at the Indiana State Fair, recognize innovative women who have made significant contributions to Indiana agriculture.

"We need to spotlight women who are committed to the success of Indiana agriculture," said Danica Kirkpatrick, engagement program manager for the College of Agriculture and co-chair of the awards committee. "We look for hard-working women who are dedicated to their communities and the industry. These recipients are very deserving of this recognition."

The Leadership Award, given to a woman in an agribusiness or policymaking position, was presented to veterinarian Marianne Ash of Lafayette. As the director of Animal Health Programs for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, Ash plans and coordinates state-level responses to animal health emergencies and disease outbreaks.

She has pioneered disease traceability and biosecurity work in Indiana, spearheading new software programs such as the USAHERDS database, which was created to help protect animal health, public health and the economy in the event of animal health emergencies and other disasters. Ash also acts as a link between the Board of Animal Health and producers and recently worked with swine operations in their effort to control porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

Her other leadership roles include serving as a board member of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, a chairperson of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association's Committee for Disaster Preparedness and Public Health, an adjunct professor at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the U.S. secretary of agriculture's Advisory Committee on Swine Health Protection. She previously served as a member of the Purdue Extension Agrosecurity Team and the U.S. Animal Health Association's Committee on Foreign and Emerging Diseases.

The Achievement Award, which recognizes women directly involved with a home farming operation, was presented to Deborah J. Jordan of Jordan Farms, a 3,000-acre family-owned grain farm and farrow-to-finish swine operation in Richmond. Jordan's work includes keeping records for the 1,200 sows, weaning more than 500 piglets a week, administering vaccines and monitoring herd health.

Jordan is also the District Six Farm Bureau women's leader, advocating for Indiana agriculture across the state and supervising educational activities for women's programs in eight east-central Indiana counties.

A mother of five and former elementary school teacher, Jordan volunteers for the Wayne County Farm Bureau's "Ag in the Classroom" program and educates more than 500 students on how food is produced. After budget cuts reduced local Extension educator positions, Jordan stepped in to coordinate the "Chick It Out" program, which delivers incubators and fertile eggs to elementary classrooms in Richmond.

Jordan has also served as founder and leader of a 4-H club and Parent Teacher Organization president for Garrison Elementary School. She is a member of the Wayne County 4-H and Extension boards, Extension Homemaker Club, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council. Jordan volunteers at the Preble County Pork Festival and Wayne County Conservation Days.


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