Purdue senior Kassidy Oliger accepts her award at the Celebration of Agriculture ceremony held at the Indiana State Fair. Photo: Eric Pfeiffer/ Hoosier Ag Today

The Purdue Women in Agriculture Team recognized three Indiana women at the Celebration of Agriculture ceremony recently at the State Fair. Purdue senior Kassidy Oliger received the Emerging Women in Agriculture Leadership Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of a high school or undergraduate student who has made a positive impact on agriculture.

“I’m incredibly honored and incredibly grateful to have been chosen for the Emerging Women in Agriculture Leadership Award. This is a really high honor and I don’t take this lightly. I’ve seen the people who have gotten this award before and they’re off doing really great things. So, I’m just very blessed. And I’m very blessed by the Ag Econ department nominating me and helping me to be the person that I am today.”

Oliger is studying agribusiness management and is involved in multiple student organizations, including Purdue Dairy Club, Sigma Alpha professional agricultural sorority and Purdue Agricultural Council. She was also a 10-year 4-H member and a six-year FFA member, earning her Hoosier Degree in 2019.

Going into her senior year, we asked her, “What’s next?”

“That’s a great question,” Oliger chuckled. “I love agriculture. I want to be involved in agriculture and I know that I want to be advocating for agriculture in some fashion. I’m not going back to a family farm. I don’t have a big family farm to go back to, so I plan on going into the industry. I really enjoyed my internship at Farm Credit Mid-America. I did an ag lending internship there and then I also worked for them as a co-op student during my time in high school. So, I think that finance may be the route that I go, but I ultimately still really have no idea where I’m headed after college.”

In addition to Oliger, Katrina Hall, Indiana Farm Bureau senior director of policy strategy and advocacy, was honored with the Purdue Women in Agriculture Leadership Award. The award recognizes a woman in an agribusiness or policymaking position who has actively influenced Indiana agriculture. Hall has extensively shaped Indiana agricultural policy, including by being a driving force behind large and small tax changes that support Indiana farms. She spearheaded the effort to create the Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership to help bring broadband to underserved communities and continues to help farmers and landowners gain control in local decision-making to reduce extraterritorial jurisdiction and involuntary annexation.

INFB’s Katrina Hall (right) accepts her award from Angie Abbott (left), interim director of Purdue Extension and associate dean in the College of Agriculture. Photo: Eric Pfeiffer/ Hoosier Ag Today

Hall has also helped Indiana local governments understand local tax policy changes and school referendums. She is a reliable source for partners in the agriculture industry because of her expertise in state tax and budget issues. Prior to joining Indiana Farm Bureau, Hall worked at the Indiana State Board of Tax Commissioners as the director of the budget division.

Bethany Gremel, Beck’s Hybrids director of culture and brand experience and a member of the Beck’s leadership team, is the 2023 Women in Agriculture Achievement Award winner. This award recognizes women who are directly involved in a home farm operation. Gremel remains active in her parents’ farming operation in Howard County by assisting with strategy, operations and finances. She is the seventh generation to be involved in farming on the Kingseed side of her family and the third generation on the Cates side. Gremel recounts learning to shuck sweet corn and riding tractors from a young age, with her farm responsibilities only growing from there.

Bethany Gremel (right) accepts her award from Angie Abbott, interim director of Purdue Extension and associate dean in the College of Agriculture. Photo: Eric Pfeiffer/ Hoosier Ag Today

Off the farm, Gremel uses her passion for helping others in the agriculture industry through her efforts at Beck’s Hybrids. She created an industry-leading onboarding program for employees, a talent management program and helped create a leading education and training department for Beck’s. Gremel also has oversight of the human resources and education departments as well as the commitment rewards department, safety department, agronomy/research/practical farm research department, and the travel and events department. Gremel is a graduate of the 2012-14 Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program cohort and a member of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana.

The Purdue Women in Agriculture awards committee was co-chaired by Beth Vansickle, an Extension educator in Madison County, and Bec Wicker of Rushville, Ind. The Purdue Women in Agriculture Team provides educational opportunities and resources for women in the agriculture industry and coordinates the Ag Women Engage Conference.

Source: Purdue University News Service

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