Andy Allen, the Batesville Farm-City Banquet master of ceremonies and Kiwanis Club of Batesville president, noted, “As we gather here again this evening, we are reminded of the many diverse backgrounds, skills, interests and, above all, work ethics vital within a successful community. As principal of Batesville High School, I find particular value in our current students witnessing firsthand the very essence of a community event and recognizing the responsibility they will inherit to keep Batesville, Ind., a community without rivals in regards to values, family, agriculture, business, education and civic pride. As we progress through the program tonight, we will see many displays of preparation, hard work, achievement and commitment to Batesville.”
The 54th annual dinner Nov. 12 at the Batesville Middle School Commons was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Batesville, Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Batesville High School FFA chapter.
Mayor Rick Fledderman said, “This is a longstanding tradition in our community. It’s great to see such a large crowd here tonight.” In fact, there were 187 guests, 14 FFA members and one adviser, said FFA Secretary Hayley Huntington.
FFA officers conducted a short business meeting after the turkey meal. Guests learned the chapter currently has $20,612 in savings, according to Treasurer Chad Emsweller. On Nov. 1 – a late Halloween – members collected 338 items that were donated to the Batesville food pantry. FFA will ask the school board to approve an overnight trip to the 2014 national convention in Louisville, Ky. Vice President Megan Doll proposed selling fruit at the banquet because “it will help promote healthy eating habits in our community,” and members approved the idea. Area residents who want to participate in the fruit fundraiser may contact FFA adviser Cassie Mumaw soon at 934-4384.
Former Batesville High School agriculture teacher Louis Ferringer, whose FFA soil judges placed second and third nationally, recounted how he began the first local Farm-City Banquet. “In 1954, President Eisenhower, in his State of the Union address, initiated the concept of a Farm-City Week program.” The first banquet, organized by the U.S. secretary of agriculture and sponsored by Kiwanians, took place in October 1955 at a USDA research farm in Maryland.