The HSUS Indiana Agriculture Council
Local farmers, producers and other agriculture professionals join with The HSUS to foster better animal welfare and environmental stewardship
Meet the members of the HSUS Indiana Agriculture Council, part of our growing system of state agriculture councils.
James D. Benham
Jim Benham began farming 40 years ago on the family farm just south of Versailles, Ind. Today he farms full-time with a grain operation on 2,300 acres.
For 12 years, Jim held a position on the South Ripley School Board of Trustees. He is a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Olean, where he has served both on the church council and as its president for two terms. In the past he has served as the Telamon Corporation's director for Indiana, helping with the Head Start programming for Indiana and managing $60 million in grants.
Jim has been the president of the Indiana Farmer's Union for the past nine years. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Farmer's Union, in addition to serving on its budget and audit committee. He is also an advocate for rural family farms in Washington, D.C. Jim is a loving husband of 42 years, a proud father to three daughters and sons-in-law, and a devoted grandfather to six grandchildren.
Peter T. Eshelman
Upon graduation from Williams College in 1976, Pete was drafted by the New York Yankees and then began his business career in the Yankees' front office.
There, he turned George Steinbrenner's idea to insure players with multi-year guarantee contracts into a successful business career. Over 25 years, he founded two specialty insurance businesses that are now part of public companies.
At age 50, Pete began his third career as a farmer and restaurateur. With his wife Alice and brother Tim, Pete owns Joseph Decuis, located in Roanoke, Indiana.
Over the past 17 years, Joseph Decuis has grown from a private corporate dining facility to a "farm to fork" culinary business, which today includes an award-winning gourmet restaurant, a gourmet retail store, an inn and a farm dedicated to producing food—primarily Wagyu beef—for the restaurant. Now when he's "dressed for the office," Pete's not in a coat and tie; he's in jeans and boots.
His favorite quote is, "There is no limit to the good a man can do if he doesn't care who gets the credit."
Greg Gunthorp, along with his wife and three kids, owns and operates a pasture-based farm in northeast Indiana, one of the largest such operations in the U.S. His family has raised pigs on pasture for at least four generations, and his farm has hosted visitors from all over the world. Gunthorp has spoken on pasture-based pig production at most of the major small farm and sustainable agriculture conferences. He is a board member of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association. He served on former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman's Small Farm Commission as well as a small-farm advisory panel to President Clinton.
Cheyenne R. Kenin
Cheyenne R. Kenin resides in southwestern Indiana on a small farm that she shares with her "zoo" of rescue animals. She is an ardent animal lover with a particular passion for equines. About five years ago, Cheyenne co-founded an equine rescue with a friend and neighbor, and she continues to play an active role in that heart-driven endeavor to this day.
In addition to rescuing horses, Cheyenne has saved feral cats and kittens from urban areas; rescued, rehabilitated, and placed American bulldog puppies; assisted in breaking up dogfighting rings and assisted in a rural veterinary clinic. Cheyenne has invested her entire professional life in sales and marketing. She currently works for the Indiana Farmers Union, where she has the opportunity to network with a number of like-minded organizations. The HSUS is one of the organizations that she firmly believes in and supports.