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Indiana Celebrates 150 Anniversary of USDA With Two Special Events

IN USDA LeadersLieutenant Governor Becky Skillman attended two events at the Indiana NRCS State Office held in celebration of the 150 Anniversary of USDA on May 21, 2012.

Twenty five key women leaders in agricultural and natural resources held a luncheon for the Lieutenant Governor to congratulate her on her many successes and thank her for her service to the citizens of Indiana for the last eight years. Since 2005, Skillman has worked hard to promote Indiana as the best place to live work and play, while managing five state agencies. Under her leadership the State Department of Agriculture was formed, moving Indiana forward as a national leader in innovation, production, and commercialization of food, fuel, feed and fiber. Each member of the group expressed their appreciation for her invaluable service, her impact on agriculture and our natural resources, and her ability to bring people together in collaboration, and wished her the best in her continued journey. The Lt. Governor will continue to work for conservation after her tenure, agreeing to serve on the board of the newly created Bicentennial Nature Trust.

After the luncheon, seventy-eight state office USDA employees celebrated the 150th Year Anniversary of USDA. The ceremony began with opening remarks by Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, giving an overview of how the Department was created. Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman followed with a heart-felt speech recognizing Indiana’s USDA agency leaders and acknowledging the accomplishments of the USDA employees here in Indiana and their service to Hoosiers. Skillman commented on the successful partnership efforts in conservation and agriculture, the importance of rural development to our quality of lives, and the importance of financial assistance to strengthen our rural and agricultural communities. She presented each agency head (Ronie Griffin, Risk Management Agency; Paul Neumann (acting or Phil Lehmkuhler), Rural Development; Jane Hardisty, NRCS, and Julia Wickard, FSA) with a proclamation signed by Governor Mitchell E. Daniels proclaiming May 15th United States Department of Agriculture Day in Indiana and recognizing USDA’s contributions to the strength and health of the nation and our families. Julia Wickard, State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency presented Skillman with a plaque signed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, thanking her for her dedicated leadership to agriculture and rural development in Indiana. Hardisty presented Skillman with a plaque to recognize her leadership in conserving and protecting Indiana’s natural resources. A group photo of all USDA employees, agency heads and the Lieutenant Governor was taken. Agency leaders then took the podium sharing past successes and their vision for the future of USDA here in Indiana. Each leader thanked their employees for their public service to Indiana’s citizens. Employees were invited to view the ‘Secretaries of Agriculture - 30 Leaders; 150 Years’ video as they enjoyed cake and punch.