FSA Youth Loan Program Benefits

Most people would agree that educating our youth about responsible money management, record keeping, and business operation are important keys to success. Programs and clubs like 4-H and FFA are the best examples of watching young people develop lifelong skills of responsibility, confidence and a sense of community. A unique program available from the local Farm Service Agency is available to qualified applicants that help our youth get started with income-producing projects such as 4-H livestock and even small businesses.

“The FSA Youth Loan Program teaches young people about the responsibility that comes with money, paying it back the bank, and how to complete a project from start to finish.”

The Farm Service Agency makes loans to youth to establish and operate agricultural income-producing projects in connection with 4-H clubs, FFA and other agricultural groups. Projects must be planned and operated with the help of the organization advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience. The maximum loan amount is $5000.

“The process for application and approval is really quite simple and streamlined.” 


Youth Loan Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a citizen of the United States (which includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or a legal resident alien
  • Be 10 years to 20 years of age
  • Comply with FSA’s general eligibility requirements
  • Be unable to get a loan from other sources
  • Conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work as outlined above
  • Demonstrate capability of planning, managing and operating the project under guidance and assistance from a project advisor. The project supervisor must recommend the youth loan applicant, along with providing adequate supervision.

For more information Stop by the local Indiana FSA office for help preparing and processing the application forms.

Annual FFA Auction has Something for Everyone

Operated by the Benton Central Ag Alumni for the Benefit of the Benton Central FFA Chapter

This year nearly 50 FFA students and over 100 volunteers will work together to make the 41st Annual Benton Central FFA Auction a resounding success. Since 1974, the public event has grown into one of the largest FFA auctions in the state – all from a combination of hard-work, volunteerism and countless hours of planning.

This year’s auction, held on March 28th, is expected to draw a record crowd. For many that attend it’s a family tradition, for others a place to buy new trees and landscaping, for everyone in attendance the common thread is community spirit and friendship.

Larry Scherer has been volunteering his time since 1974 to help make the FFA Auction a success. It’s people like Larry, our teachers, students and other members of the community that have contributed to the Benton Central FFA Auction being one of the largest in the state.

From it’s humble beginnings back in 1974, the auction got it’s start through the suggestion of Dan Kerkhoff. “It was Dan’s persistence that really got Mr. Whistler and I on-board to start the annual auction,” said Dale Butcher, “Dan, Clarence VanShaffen, Larry Scherer and the late Darlene Whistler were instrumental in our early success,” he added.

Today the auction it has grown leaps and bounds, filling the entire parking lot with quality items that everyone can take an interest in. Historically speaking, “The first year the auction was held, it took us 45 minutes from start to finish,” said Larry Scherer of Scherer’s Auction Service. Quite the change from this year’s auction which will start at 9 AM, include twelve (12) volunteer auctioneers and approximately 1,000 bidders. “In recent years, volunteers like Brody Fox and Kristy Kretzmeier have added computer systems that help us get checks out door quickly and efficiently,” commented Mr. Butcher.

Countless FFA Alumni, parents and community members come together every year, putting in hours of work to help our FFA students with this successful event. Current chapter President, Senior Kenzie Kretzmeier said, “This is our primary fundraiser for activities during the year, it’s amazing how the auction gets so much support from both the farming community and Benton County in general.”  The FFA students refer to auction week as “Spring Break in the Parking Lot” as they volunteer their entire vacation to the success of the auction.

“It’s a fun, family-friendly event that has something for everyone,” added Kretzmeier.

For the students, the auction is a time of year that they look forward to, “it’s a very fun work environment where we learn valuable skills,” says Chapter VP Phillip Voglewede.

What has the FFA Auction Helped You Learn?

“We learn how to plan, work together, and pull off a successful auction. I am interested in pursuing Management, so the auction has helped me prepare.”

Kendra BudreauJunior and Chapter Reporter

“Responsibility, timeliness and getting the job done to completion are just a few of the things we learn through this experience.”

Taylor GreenburgJunior and Chapter Reporter

“I have an interest in Forestry & Natural resources, so the auction has helped me learn about the sales side of the business. Additionally, it’s been a great experience mentoring younger students.”

Phillip VoglewedeSenior and Chapter VP

Everyone in the community is encouraged to attend and enjoy a full day of spirited bidding, food and fun.  Dale Butcher noted that, “The Benton Central FFA Auction is known as the ‘Agricultural social event of the year, it draws people from all over the state and signifies he end of winter and the start of the agricultural production season.”

What You Will Find at the Auction:

  • High-Quality Trees, Shrubs & Plants
  • Lawn & Garden tools and mowers
  • ATV’s & Recreational vehicles
  • Farm Machinery
  • Trucks, Cars, Tractors & Wagons
  • Livestock Equipment & Supplies to raise 4-H Animals
  • Tillage, Planting & Spraying Equipment
  • Local implement dealers showcasing equipment
  • And much more!

Ag teacher Amanda Mullins noted, “This year we will have overnight security to prevent the theft of items.”

How Large is the Auction?

  • +- 1,000 registered bidders
  • Bidders from Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri & Texas

Where Does the Money Go?

  •  Items of $10.00 or Less are a Donation
  • $10.01 – $100.00 are 15% Donation
  • $101.00 – $500.00 are 10% Donation
  • $501.00 – $1,500 .00 are 7% Donation
  • $1,501.00 & Up are 4% Donation
  • All Monies donated support FFA activities, events, scholarships and more.

When & Where:

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015 – 9:00 AM EST
  • Benton Central High School Parking Lot

On the Menu:

  • Full service concessions all day long
  • Coffee, Sandwiches, Chili, BBQ, Nachos, Cookies, Cakes Pies
  • Bring the whole family and make it a day


For More Information Call 765-884-1600 Ext. 2164, visit www.bentoncentralffa.com or www.facebook.com/bentoncentralffa or email amullins(at)benton.k12.in.us

An Interview with Max Armstrong

Talking shop with the ‘Voice of American Agriculture’

Max Armstrong and his Farmall H Tractor. “Interviewing Max was a real honor,” said Johnny Klemme. “He gave me some great advice as an agriculture professional and on life in general.”

Situated at the dead-end of a dirt road in North Carolina, his two Jack Russell terriers by his side and a view of his horse farm, Max Armstrong, spoke with me over the phone in his distinguished radio voice, “I’ve got to live out my childhood dream for the last 40 years.”

As a boy, growing up on the farm in Southern Indiana, the nationally-known host of ‘This Week in Agribusiness’ and the ‘WGN Radio Saturday Morning Show’ dreamed of reporting on the events, news and issues important to the Agriculture community. Now, some forty years later, he generously shared with me his good fortune, hard work, as well as the challenges and opportunities he believes we are facing in agriculture today.

“I am optimistic about the future of Agriculture,” said Armstrong, “I encourage producers, farm families, and everyone living in a rural community to promote the increasingly important role that agriculture plays in the state of Indiana.”

What excites you most about Agriculture today?

“Everyone talks about technology, and I am excited about the capabilities of producers to analyze fields with UAV’s, making better decisions with farm data, and their ability to address problems faster and more efficiently. Just as exciting is the generational shift to tomorrow’s farmer.  Years of sustained profitability have helped farming families’ position the next generation to be successful – because it’s not easy being a new or young farmer!”

Max went on to commend younger producers for their willingness to embrace technology and maintain the values instilled in them from their parents and grandparents.  “Tomorrow’s farming operation enters a time of greater competition, but with the right tools and work ethic, there is room to be successful.”

What are the major obstacles or challenges we face in Agriculture?

“More than ever, farmers, business leaders and members of the rural community should be engaged in the political process. Whether we like it or not, the Ag community voice needs to be heard. By the time you get to Washington D.C. there are precious few representing the Ag community, but at the local and state level, there is a lot of opportunity.”

Armstrong commented that spreading the message of Agriculture can easily become part of our daily routine. “Every time you see your local officials, whether at the coffee shop or annual parade, shake their hand, and remind them about the importance of the Ag constituency.”

What advice would you give to todays and tomorrow’s farmer?

“We all recognize that it’s a competitive market. But I hope and pray that we keep the ‘family to family’ and ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ philosophy alive. Building relationships is the key to success in more than just farming; you never know when the person you just met could be sitting across the table from you, in a position to help you.”

On many occasions during our conversation, we circled back to this philosophy on life. Max reminded me several times, “Take care of the people around you and you will be successful; both on the farm and off the farm.”

What advice would you give young people today?

“You get a lot of wisdom out of the classroom, but the best classroom in the world is on the knee of your grandparents and parents. Sit with your parents, and listen to what they have to say. Mom and Dad may not be a whiz with their iPad or smartphone, but their life experience is worth more than you may realize.”

We covered a lot of ground in our conversation, from the hard work it takes to be successful in Agribusiness, not being afraid to get your boots dirty, and we even shared quite a few laughs about his iconic mustache and a our mutual interest in antique tractors.  The conversation continually circled back to Max’s philosophy and belief that we can all relate to; whatever your path in life, put in the hard work, resolve to help your neighbors, and you always get back what you put into something.

… And for those that may be wondering, Armstrong has only shaved his iconic mustache one time since graduating from Purdue in 1975. “The one time I did shave it, my wife and daughter were quick to tell me that I needed to start growing it back immediately,” said Armstrong with a laugh.


Where to See & Hear “The Voice of American Agriculture”

WGN Radio, co-host of the “Saturday Morning Show”


“The Tractor Shed” | A show dedicated to the history & restoration of antique tractors

Download “Max Armstrong’s Tractor App” for free on your tablet or smartphone


“This Week in Agribusiness” on the RFD Channel, DirecTV or DISH Network & local stations

About the Author

An Interview with Max Armstrong Johnny Klemme Geswein Farms for sale

Husband, Father, Author, Land Broker & Advisor

The Back Forty is regular column written by Published Author, Purdue Graduate and Farmland Broker Johnny Klemme. His reporting, interviews with Ag Experts and more can be found at www.PrairieFarmland.com/blog

National Ag Day Celebration on March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015, is National Ag Day and in honor and recognition of the 42nd Anniversay of Ag Day, events are planned nationwide in Washington D.C. and in agricultural farmland communities across the country. Classrooms and students will also be celebrating and promoting the importance of agriculture using this year’s theme “Sustaining Future Generations.”

Ag Day is an educational event to help more Americans understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives. Here are just a few reasons why we celebrate Ag Day in Indiana each year:

Increased knowledge of agriculture and nutrition allows individuals to make informed personal choices about diet and health.

Informed citizens will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad.

Employment opportunities exist across the board in agriculture. Career choices include:
• farm production
• agribusiness management and marketing
• agricultural research and engineering
• food science
• processing and retailing
• banking
• education
• landscape architecture
• urban planning
• energy
• farmland real estate and other fields.

  • Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, all students should receive some systematic instruction about agriculture.
  • Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing vocational agricultural studies.
  • Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans. This understanding includes some knowledge of food, fiber and renewable resource production, processing and domestic and international market

On March 18, 2015, ACA will host major events in the nation’s capital, including the Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon and the National Celebration of Agriculture Dinner. Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day to the Hill. These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true
story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. In addition to the events in Washington, D.C., on March 18, the ACA will once again feature the Ag Day essay, poster and video contests.
Visit www.agday.org for more information on National Ag Day in 2015.

Max Armstrong, A Toast to Agriculture in Benton County, Indiana

The Benton Community Foundation recently announced the 2015 “Toast to Agriculture” event featuring renowned voice of Agriculture, Max Armstrong. The spring event features a cash bar reception, dinner and updates from the Benton Community Foundation. Following dinner, everyone’s favorite radio host and TV personality Max Armstrong will speak on a variety of topics that are important to the ag community.

Max Armstrong  Max Armstrong, A Toast to Agriculture in Benton County, Indiana 08db4f8c ce6a 4cde 8b0d deff84d02aac

Guest Speaker at the event is Max Armstrong, star of ‘This Week in Agribusiness’ and ‘The Tractor Shed’

“I have admired Benton County and it’s agriculture community for years,” said Armstrong in our recent interview.

As a staple in Ag communities for over 40 years, Max Armstrong  is one of the most well known and respected American agriculture broadcasters in the country. Armstrong and Orion Samuelson are the stars behind ‘This Week in Agribusiness’ with and the Saturday Morning Show on WGN radio in Chicago. In addition, Armstrong also spotlights his passion for antique tractors on his infamous show ‘The Tractor Shed.’

When: Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM EST (doors open at 6 PM)

Where: Benton County Country Club, Fowler, Indiana | 604 West 4th Street (click for Map)

Tickets: $20.00 each

RegisterRegister for the Event Online here > or Call the Foundation at 765-884-8022

Reservations will be accepted, as space permits, until March 2nd.



A big shout out and THANK YOU to the Benton Community Foundation for making this event happen!!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Qualified Appraisals on Farms & Land

Public vs. Private Land Auctions, let us help with the Pros and Cons  Qualified Appraisals on Farms & Land land auctions indiana farmland

Call 765-427-1619 for Land Valued Appraisals

The appraisal of farmland in Benton, Newton, Warren, Tippecanoe, White  and Fountain counties is a service that requires third party assistance. At Geswein Farm & Land we provide quick turnaround on price per acre and farmland values and work with independent land appraisers to assess value of farmland in West Central Indiana.

We can help you with:

  • Land Value Consulting
  • Licensed Appraisals
  • Letters of Value
  • Broker Opinion of Value Statements

Call 765-427-1619 for information on a farmland appraisal or valued price per acre

If you need a farmland appraisal in Fowler, Kentland, Boswell, Otterbein, Attica, Williamsport, Goodland, West Lafayette or surrounding city or county, please contact us for more information.

Yellow Book Appraisals & Specialty Land Apprasing

Do you have specialized needs for a yellow book appraisal to me the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions (UASFLA)? Known as as Yellow Book appraisal work, our network of specialized appraisers can help you with unique requirements included FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) appraisals and other state, county or federal agency requirements.

 Call 765-427-1619 for information on a Yellow Book Appraisal of farmland in Indiana.


Benton Community Foundation

Whether you’re passionate about education, agriculture, youth recreation, 4-H or helping the local fire stations & EMS, the Benton Community Foundation is a conduit for supporting your local community in more ways than you can imagine. Local farm families, citizens and business owners contribute every year to a lasting legacy that improves the quality of life for everyone in Benton County, Indiana.

Private donations provide the majority of support to the foundation in the form of planned giving or donation checks. Whether it’s $10.00 or $10,000, the Benton Community Foundation can help make your charitable gift last for generations providing a lasting impact on the place you call home.

“The foundation is truly supported by the generosity of our local citizens & families,” said Ashley Bice, Executive Director. “The people of Benton County have created an atmosphere of giving that is making a real difference in our schools and our communities.”

5 Ways You Can Make a Lasting Difference

  • Planned Giving

    Whether a donor uses cash, stock, real estate,personal property, life insurance or a retirement plan,the benefits of funding a planned gift make this type of charitable giving very attractive to both the donor and the charitable cause you want to support via the Foundation. A planned gift could include a testamentary gift, gift annuity, beneficiary on retirement accounts or life insurance. Support one of the existing 60 funds within the Foundation or create your own to create a lasting legacy in the community for a cause you love.

  • Donations

    Tax deductible donations in the form of check or cash are very common at the Foundation. No matter the denomination, the lifetime value of a cash donation goes a long way toward supporting your local community. A gift of appreciated stock can also be a terrific asset to gift, avoiding the capital gains tax.

  • Memorial Gifts

    When a loved one passes away, memorial contributions can be made to the Benton Community Foundation and support any cause that you or your loved one believes in. With over 60 funds available, these include education, agriculture, community grants, scholarships and more.

  • Endowments & Legacy Giving

    An endowed gift of cash, farmland or other assets provides long-term & ongoing support for Benton County that will last for generations. Endowment minimums are $5,000 and are structured so that the principal is kept intact while the investment income is available to support the needs of the community that you feel are most important. An endowment of $50,000 could produce annual grants of $2,500; a great way to help sustain a small organization! What better way to leave a lasting legacy than by supporting the community in which you have prospered.

  • Apply for a Grant

    Are you working to better the local community and need financial assistance to pull it off? Looking for support to bring your generous idea to life? Applying for a grant at the Benton Community Foundation is a step in the right direction. Each year the foundation gives back several hundred thousand dollars to organizations, groups and citizens who are making a positive impact on people’s lives.

“What a man does for himself, dies with him. What a man does for his community lives long after he’s gone.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Benton Community Foundation header

3 Myths Busted about the Foundation

Is the Foundation Tax Supported?!?

No! The Benton Community Foundation is NOT tax supported, the funds made available for grants and scholarships are made possible by the generous donations of local families through cash donations, planned giving, land and even corn or soybean donations through the local elevator.

Does All the Money come from Lilly?!?

No! While the foundation is very proud and appreciative of past and current support of the Lilly Endowment, these monies represent a small portion of the Foundations ability to help the local community. The general funds (from private donations) help pay for school supplies, books, adult scholarships, community grants and more.

Do You have to be Rich to Support the Foundation?!?

No! In fact, the majority of dollars that the Foundation receives are from private donations in the form of a check or cash. There is no minimum level of donation required, anyone who believes in supporting their local community is welcome to become a friend of the foundation.