Thursday, January 29, 2015

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Hardin Farms

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Hardin Farms is made up of Hardin Pork, LLC, a farrow-to-finish swine operation and the individual grain farms of David and John Hardin.  Both David and John raise identity preserved (IP) corn, soybeans and winter wheat.  IP grain is frequently referred to as specialty, high-value, and premium- or niche-market grains.  They are produced with a specific end use in mind—such as human food, animal feed, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, or industrial use.

Located near Danville, Hardin Farms has been operating for three generations.  “Our family has been farming in the Hendricks/Marion county area continuously since 1827,” David explains.  “My grandfather was the one who started our focus on swine over the other livestock species. “  David and his wife, Danielle, have four young children who enjoy coming to the farm and “helping out.”

David says that he enjoys the challenges and opportunities that we face in agriculture today.  “No two years are exactly the same when it comes to growing conditions and markets.  It keeps you from getting complacent.  I also enjoy the idea that the products of my hard work are going to feeding hungry people right here in Indiana and around the world.”

Technology on the farm has advanced drastically over the years.  “Consumers or voters often don’t like to hear how farmers are more efficient, but they should.  By using farm equipment with mapping and auto-tracking capabilities, we are able to plant and harvest more acres with less manpower.  The data we derive from that equipment allows us to use less fertilizer and chemicals while producing more food.  With the hogs, we are able to use advances in artificial insemination and improved nutrition to produce more meat from fewer sows.”

“Just because farms may be larger than in the past and use technologies that may seem futuristic, the farmers’ goals are the same as they were in the past: to raise safe, nutritious, and affordable food.  Even though stories about food recalls grab media attention, food safety has never been better.  Farmers have dramatically lowered their carbon foot print over the last couple decades.  ‘GMO’ is not a bad word.  I encourage consumers to educate themselves about the facts of GMOs, not just take for gospel what the media says.”

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