Peru, IN | Certificate of Distinction: 2005
Harold Wilson has been a successful grain and hog farmer in Miami County for almost 60 years, and while doing that has had a tremendous positive influence on his home community and many agricultural organizations. Wilson graduated from Purdue University with a B. S. in Agricultural Economics in 1951. He served four years in the U.S. Army, then returned to the farm and took over as principal manager, as his father had passed away while Harold was a student at Purdue. A consummate manager, Wilson’s farrow-to-finish hog operation has remained essentially the same size for 30 years, yet the data collected and analyzed by his feed company consistently ranks it among the most profitable in their database.
Wilson has been an ardent conservationist. He served 16 years on the board of the Miami County Soil and Water Conservation District, and for 8 years on the board of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, two of them as president. From 1972 to 1975 he served on the National Association of Conservation Districts board, and for three years was on U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s Soil and Water Advisory Committee. For 20 years, until 1991, he was on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Soil Conservation Board, and served six years as its chairman. He served 12 years, until 2004, on the Miami County Farm Bureau board of directors and is currently director of policy development and a delegate to the state convention. He helped organize the Miami County Pork Producers, and he was a principal creator/implementer of Miami County Ag Industry Day which brings together the local business and agricultural communities to learn about and gain appreciation for each other’s positions. He’s an active supporter of the Miami County 4-H Fair, and has been the swine show announcer for decades. Other community activities include service on the boards of: Dukes Memorial Hospital (6 years); Peru Civic Center (6 years); and Peru Trust Company (17 years). He served on the Peru Community School Board for three years, two as president. He is a trustee of Erie United Methodist Church, where he’s been active for more than 60 years. He is a certified lay minister in the United Methodist Church, and was District Lay Leader for 10 years. He continues to be a delegate to the annual North Indiana Conference of United Methodist Men.
But Wilson’s true passion is for Purdue, and particularly Purdue Agriculture. He has always sought out Purdue expertise to improve his management practices and efficiencies, as well as his physical facilities. In the mid 1990’s he allowed his swine herd to be a teaching opportunity for the School of Veterinary Medicine. As a volunteer for Purdue, he has been tireless. He served 12 years on the local Purdue Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (P-CARET), and was president of Area VIII P-CARET for two years. He was on the board of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association for 16 years, and was president from 1998 to 2000. He is a long-time member of the association’s seed committee, and served for 10 years on the board of the Ag Alumni Seed Improvement Association. He also served a two year term on the board of the Purdue Alumni Association. In 1984 he received Indiana Prairie Farmer’s Master Farmer Award, and two Indiana governors, Governor Bowen in 1979 and Governor Orr in 1988, have named him a Sagamore of the Wabash.