Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch honors Hoosier visionaries during Celebration of Agriculture

INDIANAPOLIS (AUG. 17, 2017) – Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch  presented
the 2017 AgriVision Award to Beth Bechdol, Director of Agribusiness
Strategies at Ice Miller and President and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana,

and Dr. Jay Akridge, Interim Provost at Purdue University,
during the Celebration of Agriculture at the Indiana State Fair. In its
eleventh year, the award is given to Hoosier visionaries who have
demonstrated exemplary leadership to maximize the potential of Indiana

“The extraordinary vision and leadership Beth Bechdol and Jay Akridge
provide to Indiana agriculture epitomizes the spirit of the AgriVision
Award,” Lt. Governor Crouch said. “Their passion and expertise has led
to countless innovations, and they represent the very best of Indiana
agriculture. It’s an honor to present them with this prestigious award.”


“I have had the privilege of working alongside Beth and Jay for many
years and seen firsthand the tremendous contributions they have made to
agriculture, Hoosier families and the state,” said Ted McKinney, Indiana
State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Director. “They are true
visionaries, and their deep commitment to those who grow our food, fuel
and fiber is why they are more than deserving of this honor.”

Beth Bechdol is the Director of Agribusiness Strategies at Ice Miller
and President and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. Growing up on a farm in
Auburn, Ind., Bechdol has spent her entire life striving to make Indiana
a global leader in agriculture.

Her public service includes work with the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and on the Senate Agriculture Committee under Indiana
Senator Richard Lugar. She was also the first deputy director at ISDA
and was integral in establishing the agency. She was directly involved
in ISDA’s international trade efforts and coordinated several trade
missions for then-Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky

Dr. Akridge is currently Purdue’s Interim Provost and Executive Vice
President for Academic Affairs and Diversity. Akridge began his career
20 years ago at Purdue University as a faculty member in the Department
of Agricultural Economics and has since served as dean of the College
Agriculture. During his time at Purdue, he has positioned the university
to be one of the world’s leading agricultural colleges through
innovative program development, initiatives and research.

His expertise and leadership is valued by industry leaders here in
Indiana and nationwide. Akridge served on the ISDA Advisory Board from
2009 to 2015 and was part of the team that created AgriNovus Indiana. He
is also a leader in the Association of Public and Land Grant
Universities (APLU), a research, policy and advocacy organization
dedicated to advancing the work of public universities in North America.



The 2017 Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture awards were also
presented at the Celebration of Agriculture. This year, the Leadership
Award, which recognizes women in policymaking and agribusiness, was
presented to Jane Hardisty. The Achievement award, which recognizes
women who are directly involved in a home farming operation, was
presented to Carrie Vollmer-Sanders.

For a press release from Purdue Extension on the Women in Agriculture
Award, please visit


Awarded for the first time as part of the Celebration of Agriculture,
Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Farm Bureau presented the John
Arnold Rural Preservation Award to Tim and Beth Sheets. The annual
award recognizes the preservation and continued use of historic
farming-related buildings. The Sheets’ Heritage Farm in western Howard
County is home to a large gambrel roof barn with a decorative shingle

For a press release from Indiana Landmarks on the John Arnold Rural
Preservation Award, please visit

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