Talk to someone who knows Howard Unger, and you are bound to hear the word "respect" used many times in the conversation-respect for his management skills, respect for his volunteer leadership, respect for his character and his ideals, and respect for the career that has touched so many people. But most of all you will hear about respect for the man who, according to Sullivan County extension educator Larry Watson, "believes in family values and is concerned about the progress of future generations in agriculture. "
Unger graduated from Purdue University in 1960 with a B. S. in Animal Husbandry. After serving in the Army, Unger and his wife Sallie started their Sullivan County farm
with 20 Hereford cows and 200 rented acres. Over the years the Unger's purchased land and grew their operation that today includes 2,900 acres, of which 2,600 acres are in crops that, depending on market demand, include white corn, popcorn, green beans, dent corn, wheat and double crop soybeans. The cattle operation grew, too, to include a herd of 100 registered Simmental cows. In 1982 Unger raised the top selling heifer at the Indiana Simmental State sale, Amber On, who was a Grand Champion at the Indiana State Fair and at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, and produced two National Western Grand Champion bulls. In 1990, Unger sold the entire herd of cow-calf pairs to a single buyer, reserving only 20 replacement heifers. The present cow herd consists of 100 black commercial and 50 registered Angus cows.
Unger is active in a number of industry organizations including: Sullivan County Cattlemans Association (president, 1987-88); Indiana Beef Cattle Association (officer, including president in 1995); Indiana and American Simmental Associations; the American Angus Association; Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. (director for 10 years); Sullivan County Sheep Association; and the Indiana Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Unger was a charter member of the Hoosier Beef Congress Commit-tee and announced the show for 10 years. He was the director of the cattle barn at the Indiana State Fair 1988 to 1990.
Unger's community service activities are extensive. He served for five years as a trustee of Lincoln Christian College and was vice president of the board. He served for seven years on the Indiana State Fair Board, serving as president, vice-president and secretary¬treasurer. Unger was a member of the Purdue Agriculture Dean's Advisory Council for 4 years. He belonged to the Producers Marketing Association for four years and served as president. He is a member of the Shaker Prairie Christian Church and has taught Sunday School there for 31 years. He has served on the boards of First Bank and Trust (12 years), Southwest School Corporation (12 years, 3 as president and 3 as secretary), Open Arms Christian Home (4 years), Sullivan County Extension (6 years), and the Sullivan County Fair (10 years). Unger is chairman of the Sullivan County Community Foundation and has served on the county's Plan Commission, long range planning committee, and Land Use Development Commission. He also belongs to the Scottish Rite, Elks and LG.G.F.
Unger was Sullivan County's Outstanding Young Farmer in 1970, and in 1992 was named a Master Farmer by Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine. He hosted the Indiana Farm Management Tour in 1996. The Purdue Royal in 1996 was dedicated to him. Unger was named to the Indiana Livestock Breeders Hall of Fame in 1997.