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!