ABA Honors Ag Banking Leaders with Annual Awards

ABA today announced the recipients of its Bruning and Blanchfield Awards, the association’s premier awards presented for contributions to ag banking. This year’s Bruning Award will be presented to Joseph Kessie, senior vice president and commercial regional manager of Lake City Bank in Indiana.

Kessie was raised on a small livestock and grain farm in northern Indiana. After graduating from Purdue University, he worked as an ag lender for the Albion Production Credit Association and the National Bank of Warsaw before joining Lake City Bank as vice president of commercial banking in 1997. In his 24 years at Lake City Bank, Kessie has managed the bank’s entire agribusiness loan portfolio and led the institution to become one of the largest ag lenders in Indiana.

He currently serves on the board of the Farm Financial Standards Council and previously served as the 2017-2018 chair of ABA’s Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee. In addition to several community leadership roles, Kessie is a founding committee member and current president of Huntington University’s agricultural studies advisory board.

Winning this year’s Blanchfield Award—which is presented to a non-banker for contributions to ag and rural banking—is Joe Cornely, a celebrated farm broadcaster and owner of Farm Media Productions, who has spent four decades telling the stories of America’s farm industry. Cornely has worked with ABA since 1992 to produce news stories during ABA’s National Agricultural Bankers Conference, and his stories from the conference have aired annually on more than 700 radio stations across the country. The awards will be presented during the upcoming Agricultural Bankers Conference, Nov. 14-17, in Cincinnati, Ohio.