Mark Legan didn’t waste time in his letter of nomination for David Hardin as an Indiana Master Farmer. “I have known David Hardin for approximately 35 years, and I have always respected David’s dedication and passion for agriculture, not only at the farm level but his involvement and commitment to the betterment of his community and the agriculture industry as a whole.”
That’s high praise coming from Legan, who operates a large swine operation in Putnam County, Ind., and was named a Master Farmer in 2006. Legan notes that David and his father, John, tapped as a Master Farmer in 1984, have managed and operated a diversified and efficient farm operation together for the last 20 years.
“They utilize technologies such as variable-rate fertilizer and seeding, cover crops and no-till in the cropping operation, and artificial inseminations and ‘all in, all out’ production in their farrow-to-finish hog operation,” Legan says.
“Not only does David understand issues affecting his farm, and agriculture in general, but he can articulate the issues to rule- and policymakers so they understand the impact as well,” he adds.
Josh Trenary, executive director of Indiana Pork, also sees this side of Hardin. “David’s ability to explain agriculture policy is made more credible with his measured approach,” he says. “Not one to allow any particular political philosophy [to] color every policy position, David takes each issue on its own merits and thinks about what is best for the farmer. … [David] is always ready to make time for any agricultural organizations seeking to utilize his expertise, and our industry is the better for it.”
Randy Kron, a farmer near Evansville, Ind., was named a Master Farmer with wife Joyce in 2021 and is president of Indiana Farm Bureau. He is uniquely qualified to appreciate what Hardin has accomplished.
“David’s willingness to get involved and provide input and leadership to help agriculture has created a long list of roles he has served in over the past several years,” Kron says. “He has served on numerous state-level Indiana Farm Bureau committees, including our 2018 and 2023 farm bill task forces and the state livestock and animal care policy advisory committee.
“David is truly one of our most knowledgeable and thoughtful leaders in livestock and trade issues. … David is truly a leader who has taken the time to get involved to help make agriculture better.”
Marshall Martin, a retired Purdue University ag economist who was also assistant dean of agriculture, got to know David as a student in his ag policy class. That began a large web of events where Martin’s and Hardin’s paths crossed, giving Martin a good view of what Hardin brings to the table.
“David is a person of integrity,” Martin says. “I have observed David in many situations as he carefully listens to others before he shares his own analysis of the situation.
“David, his family and employees operate a successful crop and hog operation, are engaged in their local community and manage their farming operation in an environmentally sensitive fashion.”
Kevin Still is CEO of Co-Alliance, a large co-op headquartered in Hendricks County. He also offers his appraisal of David Hardin. “David and his family have been progressive leaders in the local, regional and national agriculture community. … David has been a great partner of Co-Alliance over the last several years. He is a leader with a great business mind, always challenging the norm.”