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Banquet honors Shelby County's agricultural history, present and future

The agricultural community of Shelby County gathered Wednesday night at Horseshoe Indianapolis Racing & Casino to honor the past, present and future of the industry.

Scott Gabbard, Purdue Extension Director of Shelby County, hosted the event that featured Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, the director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, Bruce Kettler, and keynote speaker Peter Goldsbrough, a retired professor from Purdue University.



Gabbard presented Kate Spegal (photo, right) and Kiara Heagy (photo, left) as the 2022 scholarship recipients.

Spegal, the daughter of Todd and Allison Spegal, will graduate from Triton Central High School in 2022 and plans to attend Purdue University to study Animal Science.

Spegal is a member of the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council, Mentor/Mentee Program and Spanish Club. She also competes for TC’s soccer and track and field teams.

Heagy, the daughter of Mandy Swain, will graduate from Waldron High School in 2022. She plans to attend Purdue University where she has been accepted into the pre-veterinary program.

Heagy is a member of the National Honor Society, FBLA and FFA. She currently works at Top Dog Boarding Kennel.

Past recipients of the scholarship are:

  • Ethan Wendling and Hannah Everhart (2021)
  • Emma Engel and Abigail Gabbard (2020)
  • Stewart Douglas and Broc Kissell (2019)
  • Abigail Eck and Danille Bassett (2018)
  • Hannah Leap and Luke Schonfeld (2017)
  • Justin Platt, Brooke Settles and Katie Settles (2016)
  • Laura Crosby and Ben Swinford (2015)
  • Sara Monhollen and Kathryn Peterson (2014)
  • Joshua Crafton and Andrew Zobel (2013)
  • Sarah Everhart and Melanie Lewis (2012)
  • Brandon Fix and Kylie Verseman (2011)
  • Alexis Zobel and Anthony Comstock (2010)
  • Cody Hurst and Abby Nortrup (2009)
  • Rebekah Nortrup and Michelle Steinbarger (2008)
  • Whitney Carson and Jacob Tobias (2007)
  • Megan Fix and Anna Verseman (2006)
  • Mary Fix and Matthew Tobias (2005)
  • Kimberly Chapman and Bradley Muldoon (2004)



The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bruce T. Batton (photo), who did not realize he was being honored until he arrived at the banquet room.

Batton is a lifelong farmer and Shelby County resident. He graduated from Morristown High School where he was involved in FFA, student government and athletics.

Batton married Wanda Canada in January of 1967 and they started their farm with milk cows, beef cows, corn and soybeans. By the mid-70s, the focus narrowed to corn and soybeans.

Batton worked with his father, Roger, and brothers, Bill and Brian, to comprise Batton Farms. At one time, the family farmed over 4,000 acres in Shelby County and Hancock County. During this time, the family was closely aligned with Funk Seed Corn where they conducted test plots and hosted Funk’s Field Days.

Batton started the girls softball program in Morristown and kept score for boys basketball games for over seven years. He has served on the Shelby Eastern Schools board, been the Morristown Alumni President and served on the Hanover Trustee Advisory Board.

He continues to foster the future of farming by hiring high school kids to work on the farm. He teaches them how to operate the machinery, exposes them to farm techniques and mentors them to gain an appreciation for farming.

Batton is the seventh recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, joining Harold Tennell, John Carson, George Crosby, Edwin Yarling, Darrell Linville and Gerald Gray.