• Volume 18 Number 2
    Spring 2009

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1.
Tom Budd,
BS '56 (deceased)
 Lebanon, Ind.  •  Profiled: Fall ’92

Farm journalist

Tom Budd died in September 2005. Here he is remembered by Steve Cain, himself an Alumni Profile subject who is featured on
Page 2. Tom Budd

Tom Budd always supported students in general, and me in particular.

He was a mentor for me from an early age when he attended Ag Communicators of Tomorrow functions at Purdue while I was a student majoring in agricultural communication.

Tom and I talked a few times, and he said that the Indiana office of his magazine would expand and that I should talk with him after I graduated. By 1979, they weren’t quite ready to hire another writer, but Tom and his boss, Al Bull, talked me into hiring on to manage the Farm Progress Show in 1980 (Iowa) and 1981 (Illinois). It was after the 1981 Farm Progress Show that I went to work as a writer for Indiana Prairie Farmer.

As show manager, I depended on editors of the magazines to help with anything and everything involved in carrying off the annual three-day show. Tom was eager to roll up his sleeves and help with whatever needed to be done. He wasn’t afraid to do the dirty work, even though he was the magazine’seditor. That always impressed me and the folks on my crew.

But it wasn’t until I actually moved to the Indy office and began to work for Tom that I realized how important he was to Indiana agriculture. Born and raised in Indiana, he knew the culture and what it meant to be an Indiana farmer.

He took his role as chief editor of THE Indiana farm magazine very seriously. He demonstrated that over and over again in his very sharp editorials, in which he imparted his vision for Indiana agriculture.

As a young journalist, I quickly decided that I wanted to be like Tom Budd, so he became an important mentor to me. He and I had many debates about what Indiana farmers wanted in “their” magazine. At the time, the magazine conducted one or tworeadership studies per year. We had specific statistics on what farmers read, page by page. It included who saw the photos, who read the headlines, photo captions and the beginning of the story, and even details on how many people quit reading a story before they got to the end.

I remember that Tom fretted over those readership numbers as if they were a personal assessment of him, but I believe they made Indiana Prairie Farmer the best it could be. And in those days, IPF was what Tom Budd made it.

From 1981 to 1987, he and I became great friends, or maybe it was more like Tom became a father figure to me in the industry.

With Tom, everything was always top-shelf. In 1984, he gave me a hanging garment bag as a gift. Twenty-five years later, I still use that garment bag when I travel, and with each use I fondly remember Tom Budd as a great boss, mentor and friend.

Cain isn’t the only student Tom Budd helped. Each year, Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine gives a $500 scholarship in his name to an outstanding student majoring in agricultural communication. “Tom Budd was a caring individual who especially liked to support youth,” says Tom Bechman, publisher of Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine. “He was proud of his profession and wanted to see it continue.”