, | Certificate of Distinction: 2011
Mark Townsend believes in public service and exhibits that belief in everything he does. He is the manager and part owner of Townsend Farms, a 2,400 sow operation and 2,200 acre crop farm in Grant and Blackford counties. Mark graduated from Purdue with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and went on to do graduate studies at the University of Illinois.
As many know, farming can be an unpredictable profession. Since 1979 when Mark became the manager there has been cyclical market turmoil and record low prices in the swine business. Many other Indiana hog farmers decided there were better, less challenging ways to earn a living and exited the business. However, Mark and Townsend Farms persevered to be one of the few remaining independent hog producers in Indiana. This is a testament not only to Mark’s dedication to agriculture but also to his management and leadership skills.
Along with his duties on the farm, Mark has made an effort to impact agriculture in other ways. In the 1990’s he served on the Indiana Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development. Mark was a key contributor to the development of the strategic plan for Indiana agriculture. Mark was also appointed in chairman of the state committee of the American Stabilization and Conservation Service. In this position, his personality and compassionate leadership approach helped people work together . He built relationships with each employee in the ASCS state office that became the hallmark of his service there. He has also served on the Indiana Pork Advocacy Coalition and graduated from the third class of the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program.
Mark has become an integral part in his community since returning from his graduate studies. He is on the For Blackford County Board of Directors, a group that serves as a catalyst for new projects to improve Blackford County. Additionally Mark has served as president of the Blackford County United Way Board of Directors and of the Grand-Blackford Mental Health Center Board of Directors. Mark has also been a member of the Purdue University Board of Trustees twice; once as a student and again in 2004. Now Mark has chosen to take on a new challenge by becoming a member of the Blackford County School Board.