Sunday, December 14, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Bill Temple Farms

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

In 1974, Valerie Duttlinger’s parents, Bill and Angie, started Bill Temple Farms, located in Spencer County.  In 1980, the operation entered into the purebred pork genetics business.  “We serve as one of the genetic nucleus farms for PureTek Genetics, LLC,” Valerie explains.  Valerie and her husband, Ben, also farm about 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans.  They have two sons, Blake, 10, and Jace, 8.

“We supply animals to packers in both Indiana and Illinois.  We also sell some freezer pork into the community as well.  From the genetics side, we touch people from all over the Midwest and the world.”

Pork genetics suppliers are farmers who raise the mother sows to sell to other farmers. Those sows are specifically cross-bred to have the best genetic characteristics that make them good mothers of large litter and produce fast-growing, lean offspring that are well-adapted to environments.

Valerie, like many other farmers, is very passionate about her job.  “Although we are in the swine genetics business, we are also in the business of feeding the world.  It is very rewarding to know that we are doing our part, not only to provide a healthy meal for people, but also through the genetics business. We are able to have an impact on more of the food that feeds the world than what we produce ourselves.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Schwoeppes

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Schwoeppe Dairy LLC is a small family-owned dairy farm in Southwestern Indiana, near the town of Saint Henry. Currently, the family milks 95 Holsteins with a few Brown Swiss mixed in for added color and interest.   “Our sons, Wyatt and Ethan, are the fifth generation to work and farm on this land,” Sam Schwoeppe says.  “It is my opinion that we do not own our farm, but we in fact borrow the farm from our children.  A farm is a legacy, and it is our responsibility to love and care for our land and nurture our animals so that we are able to pass our farming business on to the next generation in both a sustained and improved farm."

Sam is very excited that their son Wyatt is entering into the business operation. With an added person, they have new opportunities and challenges to face.  “Our cows are our partners in the dairy business.  We have to respect and take very good care of each other.  We provide a very comfortable and relaxing environment for our ’girls‘ living space.  I often joke and tell people we do not manage a dairy farm, we have a bovine spa for pampered ladies.  In addition to the perfectly balanced meals that are formulated by a nutritionist, we also have regular scheduled visits from our ’Bovine Manicurist,’ who comes to the farm three times a year to give each cow a pedicure.  The veterinarian makes house calls and gives well-cow exams, check-ups, vaccinations and the occasional prescription medication when one is sick, Sam says.

“We have loose, deep sand beds in our free stalls, so when our cows lay down to rest, it is like lying on a fresh beach.  For animal comfort, we believe in exercise and space.  During mild weather our girls are out on the pasture as much as possible.  They always have free access to fresh water and hay and are fed at regular meal times.  In the summer, we have fans blowing on the cows all the time they are inside the barns. We have sprinklers and fans for them to stand under when they are eating.  In the winter, we use fluffy sawdust and deep straw bedding to keep them warm and provide a comfortable place to rest.”

The Schwoeppes are proud member owners of Prairie Farms Dairy.  The milk from their cows is processed in Holland, Indiana which is only eight miles from the dairy farm.  “Within 48 hours of leaving our farm, our delicious, nutritious, fresh milk is on store shelves locally for your family to enjoy!”

Sam’s greatest enjoyment in farming is working with her sons.  “When I see my sons working as fifth generation farmers on our family farm, I am very proud to be a part of agriculture.  And what a great story of sustainability we are!”

She adds, “American farmers produce the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply on the earth.  Much of this food is being produced on farms that have been passed from generation to generation for over 100 years!”

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gingerbread makes everything perfect!

By Michelle Plummer of Winners Drink Milk

Ginger has long been used to help soothe tummy upset, helps with digestion and is considered an antioxidant spice.  Ginger can be used to make tea, included in spicy food dishes to help balance both flavor and digestion, and is a perfect ending to a hearty Hoosier dinner.  Ginger is the spice that comes to mind during autumn.

When I was growing up, my Grandma made perfect little ginger snap cookies.  Each one was perfect for dunking and had a bit of chewy ginger bite.  They were perfect with a jelly jar glass of milk.

I tried to make them, and they all ran together- not my finest culinary moment! I moved to gingerbread men, but soon realized- it took too much time to roll out, cut, bake, and decorate to finally enjoy the tasty treats. I am not a patient cook!

Alas, what I have found is the love of cake- two bowls, one beater, easy to make, with the aroma of ginger, clove, cinnamon and molasses perfuming the house while the oven does its magic to transform a pourable batter into a warm and comforting treat.

Powdered sugar is one way to decorate this bronze orb (I bake mine in a Bundt  pan), but I like the flavor of lemon with ginger a bit better, so I make a glaze of Greek yogurt, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest (don't measure, just make the glaze to taste).

Cider- Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Yogurt Glaze

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 cup grated apple
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt cake pan
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with a knife
  4. Combine flour with next 5 ingredients and sift into a large mixer bowl.
  5. Combine next 5 ingredients in a second bowl; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat until well blended. Fold in grated apple.
  6. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees fro 55 minutes or until a woden skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto cooling rack and cool completely.
  8. Make Glaze:
  9. Combine powdered sugar, yogurt, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Add a bit of milk here is glaze is too thick. After cake is cooled; drizzle glaze over cake OR serve on plate next to a slice of cake.

Friday, November 21, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Steeles

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Chris and Marah Steele of Adams County started farming in 2005 on the same land Chris grew up on.  In addition to their farm, Chris is a salesman for a multi-state tire distributor.  Marah was a Kindergarten teacher until their second child was born.  Now she manages the household and the agri-tourism operation. 

Chris and Marah turned their dream of farming into a diversified operation that includes pumpkins, a corn maze, soy candles, a market, freezer meat, special activities and crafts, and a concession stand, as well as corn and soybeans.   They have three children, Carter, 7, Cooper, 5, and Mayah, 3.  While the fall activities on Steele Family Farms are open late September through late October, they sell freezer meat year round.

Chris and Marah are active in Farm Bureau, having served on the State Young Farmer Committee as well as in other positions at the county and state levels.  They are also both active in their community, church and Boy Scouts.

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Schafers

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Matt and Kristen Schafer and their son, Lucas, operate Schafer Farms near LaCrosse along with Matt’s father, uncle and brother-in-law.  While Matt went to college to keep his options open, his plan to come back to the family farm never wavered.  He makes most of the crop planning and day-to-day management decisions on the farm.  The Schafer family raises corn, soybeans, seed corn, cucumbers, green beans and some wheat. Their farm also includes a beef cattle feedlot.

Kristen is a teacher who now stays home to care for Lucas and is also involved on the farm.  She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and now manages the farm’s website and social media.  Her upbringing and background allow her to provide a unique perspective of life on the farm. 

There is always room for growth on Schafer Farms.  “We want to continue to grow,” says Matt.  “But it has to be done the right way and for the right reasons.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Let’s Talk Turkey

By Sarah Correll

It’s the middle of November, and Thanksgiving is nearly here! I’m so excited to be reunited with family, appreciate what we have and, of course, eat some great food. The ladies of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends have shared some great turkey information, and I’m rounding it up here.

Marybeth of Alarm Clock Wars starts at the beginning in her series on how turkeys are raised on her friend Katie’s farm.

Leah of Beyer Beware is giving away a turkey and sharing some great recipes in this post.

Marybeth reminds us not to rinse our turkey here.

And, finally, she shares how to roast the perfect turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 7, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Fruetches

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Craig and Mindy Fruechte are sixth generation farmers in Adams County.  They have two children and both have jobs outside of the farming operation.  Craig has a degree in agribusiness and works for AgriStats in Fort Wayne, while Mindy has a nursing degree and is a case manager at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.  Their 1800-acre farm produces corn, soybeans and alfalfa.  They share ownership of much of the equipment with Craig’s father and they exchange labor with him during busy times on the farm.

The Fruechtes are very active in their community, volunteering for Farm Bureau, their county fair, their county pork producer organization, Extension and their church.  Craig and Mindy are no longer in the hog business, but they wanted to give their children the opportunity to care for livestock, so they raise livestock for freezer meat and showing.  While the Fruechtes are busy with their farm and off-farm jobs and raising a family, they still manage to find time to educate their children, coworkers and the community about agriculture.