Posted March 27, 2014
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“I’m lucky to do what I wanted to do all my life: become a farmer. I’m blessed with good neighbors, good family and it’s been fun,” said London area resident Bob Higgins upon accepting the London Rotary Club’s 2014 Joe Yoder Award.
The award ceremony took place March 20 at the London Country Club as part of Rotary’s Rural Urban Day.
Since 1985, Rotary has hosted an annual gathering of Rotarians and Madison County residents involved in agriculture. The purpose is to share ideas and recognize agriculture as a major business in the area.
In 2008, Rotary established the Joe Yoder Award in memory of a club member who was equally passionate about Rotary and farming. Each year, the award goes to a resident who has made a living through agriculture, is a steward of the land and gives back to the community.
Higgins fits the criteria to a T. His family has owned and operated farms in Madison County for over a century. He is a fourth generation farmer who began his career at 18 years old and is now in his 37th year in farming. His son-in-law, Sean Meade, farms with him full-time.
“(Bob) is a true steward of the land,” said Rotarian Greg King in presenting the award. “He is passionate in his effort to preserve family farms and farmland, as well as to minimize the effects of large corporate farms on the environment and local residents. He has formed miles of waterways and installed and maintained tiles.”
Higgins also gives back to the community. He voluntarily assists the Madison County Engineer’s Office with monitoring and maintaining local creeks and ditches. He advises people who want to get into farming, lends a hand when fellow farmers fall ill or pass away, and delivers sweet corn to shut-ins.
He is a member of the state and national corn, wheat and soybean growers associations and serves on the Farm Bureau’s advisory council.
Outside the agriculture realm, Higgins has voluntarily tiled and seeded baseball and soccer fields at St. Patrick School in London and is a lifelong member of St. Patrick Church. He is a member of the Madison County Zoning Board and a past member of the Central Townships volunteer fire department.
Higgins and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 35 years. They have three daughters, three sons-in-law and eight grandchildren. Higgins has a deep desire to have a grandchild follow in his footsteps into farming.
Past Joe Yoder Award recipients are Randy Miller, Phil Eades, Bob Sommers, Mike Adkins, Autie Howard and Yoder’s son, Pete Yoder.