Stan Poe, Franklin, bristled when Max Armstrong commented that Poe had eight decades of experience. Poe and the audience viewed photos of Poe’s operation and heard Armstrong’s voice describe it during the Master Farmer ceremony earlier this summer. Poe and five others were inducted as Master Farmers.
Armstrong, the longtime farm broadcaster from Princeton, wasn’t present physically, but his voice boomed across the room all the same. And when “eight decades” came out, Poe knew what he would talk about when he got to the microphone.
So Poe doesn’t like to be described as having eight decades of experience. But he will turn 82 soon. And yes, the right guy is in the photo. If you don’t think he looks a day over 65, you’re not alone. He welcomed his first grandchild earlier this year, and still serves on the Indiana State Fair board. He works on the farm every day.
“I attribute it to eating lots of lamb and drinking plenty of iced tea,” Poe quips. The truth is, he’s taken advantage of all these years of good health to promote agriculture and help train future agriculturists.
“I couldn’t be in FFA because our small high school didn’t offer agriculture classes,” Poe told FFA members and parents at the Franklin FFA spring banquet. “But you should be proud of your blue corduroy jackets. Whenever I see blue jackets, I know the youth wearing them are learning leadership skills for the future.
“I was active in 4-H. Back then it worked out that I could be a member for 12 years, and I enjoyed every minute. The 4-H program still offers an opportunity for youth to learn and develop skills that will serve them well in the future.”
Poe and his family support youth in FFA and 4-H whenever they get the chance. Dozens of high school and college livestock judging teams visit their farm to practice on their way to Louisville, Ky., or Indianapolis for national contests.
“We welcome them with open arms,” Poe says. “It takes some time, but it’s just another way we can help younger generations get ready for the future.”
Poe recalls helping bale hay when it took two people, not just one, to ride and tie bales. Today, on the same farm, one person makes either big square or big round bales in a fraction of the time, riding in an air-conditioned cab.
Agriculture has changed, but one thing has remained constant, Poe believes.
“We need to encourage our youth to become interested in farming and animal agriculture,” he says. “It was true yesterday, and it’s still true today.”