COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting its 63rd annual meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City on Tuesday, March 19, 6:30 p.m.

The agenda for the evening includes a meal, followed by an election for one of the supervisor’s positions on the five-member SWCD board. There will also be a report on the activities, accomplishments and finances of the Whitley Soil and Water Conservation District for 2018. Plus, the organization will be recognizing the 2018 River Friendly Farmer — Adlock Farms LLC.

The speaker for the evening will be Professor Peter Goldsbrough, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University. He is going to be explain “The Truth About GMOs.” Goldsbrough was born and raised in Scotland. After completing a bachelor’s in genetics at the University of Edinburgh and a doctorate at the John Innes Institute in England, he came to Purdue University as a postdoctoral research scientist in 1982.

He joined the faculty in 1984, first in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and for the last 12 years in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. His background in genetics and molecular biology led to an interest in the application of biotechnology to agriculture. He has taught an undergraduate class on this topic for more than 20 years.

There is one open position on the board this year, with two candidates running for the position. One of the candidates is Cory Studebaker, a grain farmer, who is part of a dairy operation and assists his wife with egg production chickens. Studebaker and his wife live in Richland Township and he farms with his family in Cleveland and Richland townships. The other candidate is Ashley Ferrell from Jefferson Township. Ferrell is a graduate of Columbia City High School, where she was very active in FFA. She is also graduate from Western Illinois University and is employed at Ag Plus in accounts payable and communications.

Nominations will also be accepted from the floor that evening. To be eligible to vote at the SWCD Annual Meeting, each individual must be of voting age or a representative of a firm, company or corporation that owns or rents land/property located within the district/county may vote. Eligible individuals also include owner and tenant of the same land/property as well as any owner’s or tenant’s spouse. You will need to attend the meeting to be able to vote in the election.

The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the cost of the meal is $5 per person. Reservations should be made by Tuesday, March 12, by visiting the office at 788 W. Connexion Way, Columbia City, by calling the office at (260) 244-6266, ext. 101, or by email:

Tickets can also be purchased from the board of supervisors: Gary Hoffman, Chris Frazier, Brent Emerick, Brian Johnson and Cory Studebaker; or associate supervisors: Dennis Easterday, Phil Walker, Gary Lamle, Mike Hinen, Scott Anderson, Joe Lopez, Ashley Ferrell and Stephen Boyer.