Monday, December 29, 2014

Essay Contest Asks “What Are The Benefits of Indiana Agriculture?”

Hoosier students have the chance to give their thoughts on how agriculture helps the state in an essay contest sponsored by Indiana’s Family of Farmers.

“What are the benefits of Indiana agriculture?” is the essay theme. Students are encouraged to look at how farming plays a positive role in the environment and economy of the state.

The contest is open to any Indiana student in grades 4-12. Entrants are divided into groups by grade, 4th-6th, 7th-9th and 10th-12th. The word limit for 4th-6th graders is 250; 7th-9th graders are limited to 450 words and 10th-12th graders may write up to 600 words. Entries are evaluated against the Indiana Department of Education’s ISTEP writing rubric.

All entries must be made electronically through a link on the IFoF website, The deadline is Feb. 6.

One student per grade group will be recognized as the winner and receive $250. IFoF will recognize winners at the Statehouse during the organization’s Ag Day Celebration, March 18, 2015.

For more information and a complete list of rules, visit the IFoF website,

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Fosters

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Meggie Foster and her husband, Dallas, live in Greenfield along with their two daughters, Reagan, 4, and Ruby, 1.  Dallas and Meggie are proud to be raising their daughters on their family farm.  Meggie works full-time off-farm for Indiana Farm Bureau where she works with young farmers and women’s program leaders.  She explains that, in their free time, they love to spend time with their family, travel and attend cow shows.  Meggie grew up on a registered Jersey farm in central Ohio and still owns a small herd of registered Jersey cows.

The Fosters farm in Hancock County and Rush County as well as Meggie’s family farm in Marion County, Ohio.  “Dallas is the fifth generation to farm in Indiana, and I am the sixth generation farmer in my family.  Dallas’ family raised purebred hogs and sheep for many years before transitioning to commercial hogs in the mid-1990s.  Beginning in the 1920s, the Foster family traveled the country showing purebred sheep and swine, hosting hog sales at the home farm in the 1980s, inviting special guests such as Vice President Dan Quayle and Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz.  Dallas’ father liquidated the hog herd in 2005, and Dallas and I began our farming operation the following year.  We have grown our farm from a 50-sow, single-site farm to a 600-sow multi-site operation today.”

Meggie looks back on her childhood and feels blessed to have had the opportunity to grow up on a farm.  “While my classmates played video games, I was outside playing with the pony, the dogs or my pet goat.  I have always loved animals and exploring outside.  I absolutely loved feeding the baby calves and working alongside my dad, milking the cows.  I feel blessed that I grew up on the farm learning the meaning of responsibility--caring for the land and the animals.  I hope to instill the same sense of responsibility in my girls.”

When asked what she feels is one of the biggest challenges farmers face today, Meggie has a hard time narrowing it down to just one.  “Farmers face challenges every day, wondering if we will get too much rain or not enough to grow our crops.  The considerable over-regulation of livestock farms by government agencies and volatility in the grain and hog markets are additional challenges.  In addition, the growing distrust by consumers has many farmers concerned about the future, but I’m confident that farmers will make mindful and sustainable adjustments in production to continue to provide enough healthy food to feed the world.”

With many consumers being about three generations removed from the farm, Meggie wishes that they could all have the opportunity to meet the farmers behind their food.  She wants consumers to know that food is not raised in a factory; food is grown by family farmers across the country.  “Animals are raised with caring hands and hearts.  I want the consumers to know the generations of family farmers who have inspired improvements in how we farm and that those improvements created the efficiencies that allow farmers to provide the best care possible to their livestock and to spend just a little more time with their families.  I want them to know how many farmers woke up earlier than usual to milk the cows before their kids woke up on Christmas morning to unwrap Christmas presents.  I want them to know that farmers are just like you and want a healthy and safe food supply more than anyone.”

When four-year-old Reagan was asked what is her favorite part of living on a farm, her reply was, “Riding in the tractor with my daddy, especially when he lets me drive!”  Meggie echoes that sentiment by saying, “I feel very blessed to raise our girls on the family farm.  I want our girls to grow up with a good work ethic as demonstrated by their dad; and learn responsibility through caring for their own animals in the 4-H program.  I want our girls to discover the joy in farming and also understand how to learn and grow from challenges along the way.”

You can read more about Meggie and their farm by visiting Meggie’s blog:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Caring for Cows in the Winter

By Jackie Barber of Winners Drink Milk

 I love winter and I love snow, but as anyone who has ever driven on bad winter roads knows, snow and ice can make simple tasks much more difficult.
snow cows 2
Dairy farming is not ever a simple task, but harsh winter weather certainly makes it more difficult. Farms get their milk picked up every day or every other day, so impassable, snowy, icy country roads can have a big impact on when the milk truck comes. If the milk truck isn't able to make it to the farm, state law mandates that the milk is discarded. This makes sure that the milk in your stores is very fresh.

Farms are always in danger of power outages in the winter time--if the power is out, the cows can't be milked. (And the cows definitely want to be milked!) In really cold weather, the milk lines or the water pipes in the milking parlor may freeze. Milk, of course, freezes at a lower temperature than water, but the water is necessary to keep the parlor squeaky clean. Thawing out the pipes can add a lot of hours to farmer's day.

The cows themselves are generally not too bothered by cold weather. They grow shaggy coats in the winter and generally have a nice warm barn to relax in. Cows also generate a lot of body heat by their normal digestion. A group of cows together in a building is way better than a space heater!

The baby calves have a little harder time with the cold--just like human babies. Young calves don't have a lot of body fat and aren't ruminating (that's the digestive process to break down grasses and grains that older cows do). Just drinking milk doesn't generate the body heat for a baby that chewing her cud does for a older cow. So, farmers adapt. Baby calves get lots of deep straw bedding in a protected area--either in a draft-free barn or a little house called a "hutch"--to keep them warm. For newborns or on especially cold days, baby calves can wear "calf jackets" which basically look like a tiny horse blanket (or an oversized Paris Hilton-style dog costume).

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.”

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Baking Season is Here!

By Danielle Sovinski of Winners Drink Milk

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…holiday baking season is here! I always look forward to the holiday season when I can indulge in preparing festive holiday cookies or crowd-pleasing desserts. Knowing that I love to bake, my family always requests that I bring the dessert for our big holiday meal. Sometimes I’ll stick to an old favorite like pumpkin pie, other times I’ll pick out the most intricate cake from my favorite cooking magazine.

Cooking for a crowd can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if guests have special dietary concerns. Entertaining guests with lactose intolerance? No problem, those that are lactose intolerant may still be able enjoy many dairy products, including lactose-free milk, hard cheeses, and yogurt. Consider incorporating these naturally lactose-free cheeses in your recipes or setting them out as an appetizer with your favorite crackers.
  • Asiago
  • Parmesan
  • Mozzarella
  • Gouda
  • Hard Cheddar
  • Blue Cheese
  • Swiss
Looking for dessert ideas? Serve your favorite holiday cookies with lactose-free milk or add cocoa mix and heat it up for delicious hot chocolate. Or try this lactose intolerant-friendly Cottage Cheesecake. Packed 9 grams of protein per slice, this delicious and nutritious dessert is sure to impress!  Check out for more recipe ideas and information about Lactose Intolerance.


Cottage Cheesecake
  • 8 oz graham crackers, crushed
  • 8 oz almond meal
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 32 oz lactose-free, low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c Greek yogurt, reduced fat
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 lemon, juiced (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. For crust, combine graham crackers, almond meal, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and melted butter in food processor. Press desired thickness into bottom of cheesecake pan; bake for 10–15 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  4. Combine cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour in food processor; purée until very smooth. If desired, lemon juice can then be added to the mixture.
  5. Bake approximately 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, then remove from pan and serve.

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.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Kakasuleffs

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

George Kakasuleff is the third generation to farm his family’s Hamilton County grain farm.  The farm was started by his grandfather in the 1950s.  His wife, Carly, grew up in the suburbs with no farm experience, but she feels it is very important to give their son Vince, and any future children, the opportunity to be the fourth generation to work the land.

George has a degree in agronomic business and marketing .  Carly has a degree in informatics which proves to be very helpful on their farm as technology plays an important role in the operation.  Grain monitors ensure quality in the new on-farm storage and spreadsheets help with marketing and purchase decisions.

Controlled growth is one of George’s long-term goals.  In the last few years, he has purchased acreage, increased rented acres, began custom farming, and started growing seed corn for a major Midwestern seed company.

The Kakasuleffs stay active in their community by participating in Hamilton County and Indiana Farm Bureau activities and are active in their local Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall Comfort Food

By Sarah Correll

Fall is a time for cozy sweaters and warm food. The ladies of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends are serving up some of their favorite dishes- and sharing the recipes with us!

Creamy and warm, this Sour Cream Noodle Bake from Morgan of Stories of a First Generation Farmwife is sure to be a big hit!

This soup from A of A Latte with Ott,A is freezable and made for the crockpot!

This Pizza Casserole from Leah of BeyerBeware is kid-friendly and quick to make!

What’s your favorite fall food?

Friday, October 24, 2014

I am Indiana Agriculture: Kirk Thornburg

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life
Kirk Thornburg is a 4th generation farmer who resides in Richmond with his wife Lori and daughters, Macy and Kinzie. Kirk grew up on the family farm located near Greensburg in Decatur County and his father still farms the land today.  "I currently manage a 2,800-sow farm for Country View Family Farms located in Randolph County near Lynn.  Country View Family Farms is a division of The Clemens Food Group, and all hogs are harvested at Hatfield Quality Meats in Pennsylvania.  The pork is marketed primarily in the Northeast corridor of the U.S.   I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2005, and am currently enrolled at Purdue University as a graduate student and a candidate for a Master of Science degree in communications.”

Kirk is currently President of the Indiana Pork Board where he has been a member and served on several committees since 2010.  Kirk was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as a National Pork Forum delegate in 2014.

The one thing Kirk loves most about farming is “the sense of accomplishment I get from understanding that what we do helps to feed the world, and being able to educate others as to what farmers do to feed their families and others around the world.”

“The methods we use to produce crops and livestock today, including pork, use modern technology to produce more food, more efficiently, and more environmentally friendly than ever before.This technology is allowing us to produce the most affordable, most nutritious and safest food we’ve ever produced.  I have had the pleasure of speaking to Richmond High School students on several occasions to teach them about modern pork and food production in general, as well as demonstrating how pork can be prepared.  This is truly something I enjoy."

Friday, October 10, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Emiley Gaskill Doing What She Loves

Emiley Gaskill and her husband, Randy, live in Adams County.  They have three sons: Aaron, who works for Helena Chemical Company; Brandon, a service man for Oracle Pork; and Craig, who is a manager over 10,000-head of wean-to-finish hogs. 

Randy and Emiley are also the proud grandparents of 2-year-old Gaven who, Emiley says, “Is the apple of my eye.”  

The Gaskills are proud supporters of 4-H, having all completed 10 years in the organization.  They are also members of the National Junior Swine Association. “Our family raises and shows swine for exhibition.  We show at county, state, and national levels. We currently breed 30 sows to raise piglets to sell to other young people who want to show them. We have had success in and out of the show ring as we have built relationships with other swine exhibitors, and have gained important knowledge and life skills that have made our show pig business what it is today.”

“We follow the advice from our veterinarian on the health and well-being for our pigs and the National Pork Board’s PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) program to ensure that, on our pig farm, the pigs are kept healthy and safe,” Emiley explains.  “We care about the kind of care our pigs receive after they are sold, so we work with families on educating them on proper pig care and handling, nutrition, and want our pigs to do well for them."

Her favorite part of farming is the long nights they spend as a family in the barn when the “mama pigs” are giving birth.  “We want every pig to get off on the right start from the very moment they are born.”

Emiley also serves on the Indiana Pork Producers Association Board of Directors and is the chair for the youth show pig committee, where they hope to engage more young people in pig farming.  She also gives speaking presentations through the National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street speaker’s bureau. Emiley serves as a PQA Advisor to help other pig farmers by educating them on good production practices and getting their farms assessed for certification.

“I feel it’s very important for pig farmers to be advocates for our industry, because no one knows it better than us, and if we aren’t out there sharing how and why we do the things we do, then someone else might tell consumers things that simply are not true. We raise and feed our family the same quality of pork that consumers find in the stores, so we want to make sure it’s the very best.  I love what we do and want to share what I love with everyone!”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup with Cheesy Meatballs


frost close up on leaf2The temperature dropped, just after a wonderful stretch of beautiful warm weather in late September. 

Can you guess what happens next?  

If you guessed people dig out the cold weather comfort food: chili (no doubt), soups and crock pot creations, then we are on the same page.  

I thought about taking a poll to see how many people made chili that first weekend when the temperature plummeted.  I’d bet more than you realize.  Maybe I’ll ask that incredibly nice lady greeting me at my favorite grocery superstore.  

But I digress, back to comfort food, ah yes.

Sure enough at my house they requested Italian Wedding Soup with homemade cheesy meatballs.  This is a simple soup with great tasting meatballs.  It’s a pleaser for all in my household because it’s different than what is usually on the menu and my picky eaters love it as well. There is nothing worse for me than to make something that only some of us are excited about. It just gives you a great feeling to know that everyone will enjoy their dinner that evening. The recipe calls for 1 ½ pounds of ground turkey for the meatballs however, I alter my meatballs a bit by using 1 pound of ground turkey and ½ pound of sausage. It gives the meatballs a great flavor. I’m sure you will find a way to make it your own. 

  Italian Wedding Soup with Cheesy Meatballsitalian wedding soup 


1 ½ lb. ground turkey 
¾ tsp. Salt 
¼ tsp. Pepper 
3 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley 
1 egg 
½ cup bread crumbs 
¼ tsp. hot sauce 
½ tsp. Garlic powder 
½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese 
16 oz. of small bow tie pasta 
2- 32oz. containers of Chicken stock 
1 package of baby spinach

  meatballs cooking 

Combine turkey and all ingredients except pasta, chicken stock and spinach and mix well in a large bowl. Roll into medium sized meatballs. Brown meatballs in skillet with 2 tbsp. olive oil. While meatballs are browning, pour chicken stock in large pot and bring just to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook pasta in separate pan to al dente. Once meatballs are browned transfer to large pot of chicken stock. Add spinach and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Lastly add cooked pasta. Serve and enjoy!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Maple Family Farms

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Denny Maple and his wife Rita have been married for 41 years.  Their corn and soybean farm and wean-to-finish hog operation is located in eastern Howard County.  “Our farm was started in the early 1900s by Rita’s grandparents,” Denny explains.  “My father-in-law continued farming until the early ‘70s when Rita and I continued to grow the farm to what it is today.”

Denny and Rita are the proud parents of Bart, a Purdue-trained construction engineer who lives in Texas with his family, and is part owner and president of a construction company; Ryan, a Purdue graduate in mechanical engineering, who lives in Lafayette with his family, where he works for Cat; and Tiffany, who lives in Hanover, where her husband is a visiting professor of Physics at Hanover College.  Tiffany has a degree in elementary education.

“I grew up on a grain and livestock farm with three brothers and one sister and all we knew was hard work and farming.  There are two times that are really important and satisfying to me, and that is in the spring at planting and in the fall at harvest.  Planting is so important in getting the crop started and having a good stand so you have a chance for a good crop.  Then in the fall, at harvest, to see everything come together with a good crop--although sometimes that doesn’t work out that way--with bad weather.  Harvest is really the most important; whether harvesting grain or harvesting livestock, it’s time that you measure how well you did.”

As the current president of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC), Denny says that his duties include sharing the Council’s story and how ICMC’s efforts work to support corn farmers and identify new uses for the farming staple.

“Every generation we get further and further from production agriculture and how farmers produce food and how we care for the land and livestock.  As world population continues to grow, it’s our job to produce a more high-quality and safe food for this population to eat.  It’s sad that we allow special interest groups to tell our story when they don’t really know our story of how we care for our land and livestock to produce the best and highest quality food in the world.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Smith Family Farms

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Smith Family Farms is located just a few miles west of Pendleton. Jennifer and Neal Smith are the sixth generation to farm the family farm that was established over 100 years ago. Their sons: Mitchell, a sophomore at Purdue, Nathan, a senior at Pendleton Heights High School, and Miller, a seventh grader at Pendleton Heights Middle School make up the seventh generation. The Smiths, along with Neal’s parents Mike and Linda, farm about 2500 acres of corn, soybeans and hay. They milked approximately 100 Holstein calves until 1999 when they converted the dairy farm to a beef farm. Now they have 100 cows. They raise the calves to sell for freezer beef or for show calves.The Smith's cattle are grass and grain fed and raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.

The Smith children are definitely familiar with the show ring. “Our boys are very active in the National and State Junior Shorthorn Livestock Shows. Our beef recipes have won the National Junior Shorthorn Cook-off for the last four years,” Jennifer explained. “It is one of our kids’ favorite contests. The teams consist of four kids each. They have a recipe that they must prepare while explaining what they are doing, plate it and present it to the judges to taste.”

If you would like some locally raised beef, Jennifer invites you to visit them at Pendleton, Saxony, or Noblesville farmer’s markets on Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., or you can buy directly from them. They are also in the process of opening a meat market in Pendleton. “I wish the public would understand that they have the safest and cheapest food supply in the world,” Jennifer says.

In addition to the corn, soybeans and hay, the Smiths also have 25 acres of wholesale pumpkins and a U-pick pumpkin patch for field trips. Smith Family Farms combines fall fun and Ag education. The kids can navigate their way through the corn maze, visit the petting zoo, ride ponies, go on a wagon ride and enjoy the other various entertainments while learning all about agriculture. There is also a prairie maze, which is a maze in the soybeans that is geared toward younger children. Visit them on Saturdays and Sundays beginning the last Saturday in September from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Smith Family Farms is located at 7055 West 675 South, Pendleton, Indiana 46064. You can also visit their website for more information.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Favorite Fall Activities


By Winners Drink Milk


What is the first thing you think of when you think of fall? The color? Smell of the air?
While on vacation, I looked around at the tropical beauty and wondered if I was missing something living in Indiana. Then, I was reminded of the incredible fall season. I love the vivid colors, the crisp air of fall and throwing on a sweater to venture outdoors. Fall is perfect for discovery!

Many take a trip to the pumpkin patch; craft decorations or head out to Friday night football games. I feel like I haven’t experienced fall until I go hiking to view the spectacular fall foliage. And who can resist sitting around a campfire eating kettle corn and roasting marshmallows, then nestling in a pile of hay with a warm blanket on a hayride.


Another must for me is the Riley Days fall festival in my hometown.  But in the spirit of fall, there are dozens of other discoveries in Indiana. For instance, Did you know Indiana has hundreds of waterfalls? Or train rides that include a Wild West staged robbery? In Indiana you HAVE to conquer a corn maze. Consider visiting our dairy farmers where corn mazes and milking parlor tours are all in one location. Bonus, right? Consider these two- Northern Indiana, south of Indy.


For you adventurist’s try going for a hot air balloon ride. If you help crew, you might get a free ride! Have you been waiting to try a zip line adventure? How about saddling up for horseback riding! Scenic Brown County has some great horse trails. Whatever you fancy, I have learned that you can find beauty right where you are, if you just look for it. In Indiana, I am thankful to experience this season and all the rich blessings this state reveals to all who search for them. Happy autumn.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Don’t Be a Chicken, Try a New Chicken Recipe!

By Sarah Correll

September is Eat Chicken Month! Chicken is a great source of lean protein, not to mention a delicious part of many meals! The Real Farmwives of America and Friends have shared some delicious chicken recipes. Which one are you most excited to try?

Cris shares the secret to making great stuffing in this crockpot recipe!

Wings take a fun twist in this recipe from Marybeth.

Liz adds protein, and flavor, to a white pizza with this recipe.

Cheese, ham, and chicken are all included in this recipe from Leah- and this version is low-carb, too!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Mahans

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

This article is a little different than the others I have written, because instead of interviewing someone else, I get to tell you a little about our farm.  My husband, Brad, and I farm along with his parents, Tom and Colleen, in Rush County.  Brad is the fifth generation to work on the family farm.  We have three daughters, Brittney, 8, Melaney, 5, and Jody, 22 months, whom we try to involve in the day-to-day activity on the farm as much as possible.  Brad also has a sister, Lauren, who works off the farm at an accounting agency.   

We raise corn and soybeans and also have a feeder-to-finish cattle operation.  We purchase the cattle weighing 400 to 500 pounds and feed them out to a finished weight of 1200 to 1300 pounds.  The cattle are fed a well-balanced diet of corn, corn silage, hay and supplements, which act as vitamins to help keep them healthy.  We want the consumers to be satisfied with the meat they purchase, because we aren’t just farmers, we are consumers as well.  We eat what we raise and take pride in delivering delicious meat to dinner tables everywhere.

Brad and his dad are the only two operators on our farm.  We don’t have any outside employees, but during planting season Colleen drives the tractor to till the ground before planting and, during harvest, she drives the combine when needed.  I am a stay-at-home mom and manage to stay pretty busy chasing kids around.  While I look forward to the day that I can work on the farm with my husband, right now my main duties on the farm involve delivering meals to the fields during spring and fall, helping move equipment from field to field, and driving to town to pick up parts to fix the ever-dreaded break down.

Farming is 7-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year.  Farmers never get a day off.  I grew up on a dairy farm, and I remember taking only one extended vacation.  On Christmas day, we would have to wait for my dad and brother to get in from doing the morning chores before we could open our gifts.  My mom may tell you differently, and I’m sure I begged her several times about opening just one gift before they came inside, but I didn’t mind it.  I learned at an early age that that was life on the farm.  I admire Brad for how hard he works day-in and day-out. 

I feel one of the biggest misconceptions about farming is that farmers don’t care about their livestock or the land.  This past winter, when we faced several days of subzero temperatures and people were advised to stay inside, Brad and his dad were out braving the elements to make sure the cattle had water, feed and fresh, warm straw.  If we take care of them, they take care of us.  We want to preserve the land for the next generation.

You can follow along with our life on the farm by visiting my blog: You can also find me on Instagram: farmmomof3, Twitter @SarahMahan3, and Facebook: This Farm Family’s Life