Montgomery County, IN | Certificate of Distinction: 1989
Kessler, 75, a native of Montgomery County, earned a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry at Purdue in 1936, and a master’s degree in agricultural economics two years later. He is an owner of Kessler Farms which produce livestock and grain. A one-time extension economist, he studied at the University of Chicago on a Farm Foundation Fellowship. He has provided leadership in a variety of professional organizations and government activities. As chairman of the Indiana Hog Cholera Eradication Committee, he led the state’s efforts to eradicate swine cholera, and received the 1978 Merit Award from the National Livestock Conservation Institute for his success. He served as chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Indiana Livestock Breeders’ Association and the Indiana Farm Bureau Livestock Commodity Committee. He helped change the Indiana Livestock Sanitary Board to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, and is leading efforts to establish a National Center for Enhancement of Animal Health at Purdue. He received the Indiana Pork Producers’ Association’s Meritorious Service Award in 1970. He was president of the Indiana Farm Management Association, and a charter member of the Indiana Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He is a member of the Purdue Farm Policy Study Group, and was a member of the Advisory Committee on Grains for three U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture. Kessler has served as a Purdue trustee 15 years, and served as the group’s representative to the 4-H Club Foundation. Kessler is a member of the board of directors for the 4-H Foundation. He has served as president of the Montgomery County Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association, and director of the Alpha Gamma Rho Scholarship Foundation. He was a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee and, with his wife, Jane, Is a member of the President’s Council. For six years he served as a director of Indiana Vocational Technical College Region IV. He has been a director of the First National Bank and Trust Co. of Crawfordsville for 25 years. He was named Prairie Farmer Master Farmer in 1972 and a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1980. He is a member of the Indiana Livestock Breeders Association Hall of Fame and has received the Meritorious Service Award from the Indiana Pork Producers’ Association.