State gives Simon family farm Centennial Award

Members of the Simon family celebrate receiving the Hoosier Homestead Farm award Friday, Aug. 9, at the Indiana State Fair. Pictured are (front row from left) Lane Simmons, Maggie Simmons and Worth Simmons;  (second row from left) Lisa Gilbert, Mary Simon, Deborah Simmons, Aaron Simmons and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch; and (back row from left) Director of Indiana State Department of Agriculture Bruce Kettler, Matt Gilbert, Steve Simon and Dwight Simon. The Simon farm is located near Roanoke.
Members of the Simon family celebrate receiving the Hoosier Homestead Farm award Friday, Aug. 9, at the Indiana State Fair. Pictured are (front row from left) Lane Simmons, Maggie Simmons and Worth Simmons; (second row from left) Lisa Gilbert, Mary Simon, Deborah Simmons, Aaron Simmons and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch; and (back row from left) Director of Indiana State Department of Agriculture Bruce Kettler, Matt Gilbert, Steve Simon and Dwight Simon. The Simon farm is located near Roanoke. Photo provided.

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler presented 96 farming families with the Hoosier Homestead Award, setting a new record in the program’s 40-year history. Those honored included the Simon family of rural Roanoke, whose farm, begun in 1919, qualifies it as a Centennial Award farm.

The award was presented Aug. 9 at the Indiana State Fair.

To be named a Hoosier Homestead, the farm had to be kept in the family for at least 100 consecutive years, and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 in agricultural products per year.

Since the program was established in 1976, more than 5,600 families have received the award.

“The vast majority of farms in Indiana are family owned and operated,” Crouch said. “They are the foundation we rely on as a society, which is something we must never take for granted. It was an honor to recognize these families at the great Indiana State Fair.”

Families were eligible for three different award distinctions. Based on the age of the farm, they received the Centennial Award for 100 years, Sesquicentennial Award for 150 years or Bicentennial Award for 200 years of ownership.

The Bicentennial Award was presented to five families during Friday’s ceremony.

“Seeing so many generational farming families all in one place was truly humbling,” Kettler said. “They are the lifeblood of our state, and recognizing their legacy and perseverance today was a tremendous honor.”