Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Learning and Improving Everyday

The Eliason Farm has been in the same family since March 17, 1814. Doug Eliason is a 5th generation farmer and caretaker of the farm today.
Doug and Jeanie Eliason of Centerville Indiana proudly work on the farm today. The farm, historically a dairy, is now a growing seed business that produces seed soybean, wheat, oats and corn for market.


The farm’s history is rich. Joshua and Christiann Eliason traveled from Delaware to settle on new land. Joshua’s legacy lives on today, with a road named in his honor in Wayne County. He had to widen himself a trail to get his family and livestock through to their new life in Indiana.
Doug has always helped on the farm, but as he got older he did more and more work on the farm. As with any job, with advancement comes more responsibility. “I have seen myself grow up from the kid that the older siblings teased and made fun of, become the caretaker for my elderly parents and eventually take over the farm,” said Doug.
Doug runs the farm in the most efficient way possible. They use no till practices to conserve the soil and save on fuel and equipment. Also, Doug does most of his own repairs. Doing his own repairs is more than efficient for Doug, it provides a sense of accomplishment.
The Eliason family is looking to the future everyday by planning and record keeping daily. “It’s not only my back that gets a workout, my mind works hard too.” Keeping good records helps Doug stay organized, but also is important for the future generations that will take over the farm.
For the future, Doug’s motto is to “always keep learning and improving.”

Growing Generations and Grapes

Kimberly and John Doty felt the only way their small family farm could survive was to grow specialty crops and to directly market their product to the consumer, so they did just that.

The farm originally purchased 4 generations ago in 1888 has a diverse past. Being passed down on the maternal side, the name has changed several times, as well as the commodities grown. Historically, the land has produced corn, soybeans, and hay to feed cattle and hogs.
With the farm being passed down on the maternal side for generations, Kim found it only natural that she carry on the farming tradition, “I am connected to the farm and am proud of the heritage.”
The farm is located in an American Viticultural Area, which is described as a unique grape growing region because of the topography, climate and soil. The Doty’s grow these grape varieties; Chambourcin, Traminette (Indiana’s Signature Grape), Norton, Vidal Blanc, Catawba, Steuben, Cayuga White, Vignoles, Noiret and Cabernet Franc. All of the grapes grown here are used exclusively at their French Lick Winery.
Today, the farm is still changing. With 8 acres of grapes and new additions of wheat, and soon corn, the winery is good at adapting and changing. The Spirits of French Lick Distillery will be open later this summer, a new distillery, part of French Link Winery that will feature locally grown and milled grain in their products.
The Doty’s are very diverse in their operations, growing 10 varieties of grapes, wheat, and raising Katahdin hair sheep. They use technology on the vineyard for pruning and automated bottling in the winery. The distillery has a computerized control panel to “increase productivity and safety,” Kim said.
Owning their own winery has given Kim and John an independent lifestyle, where they can make their own hours and perform many different tasks. Although their job duties are always changing, the beautiful view of the White River from the vineyard is constant.
According to Kim, “The customer’s reactions to the products we make is the most satisfying part of the job.”

Kim and John will pass down the farm and vineyard to their 2 sons, Aaron and Nicholas. In the future, they hope it will carry on to the next generations.

The Farming Lifestyle of the Bishop Family

Farming is more than a job for the Bishop family; it’s a lifestyle. Bob and his wife Waneta have 3 children, one of which still works on the farm and 7 grandchildren.

Before farming full-time, Bob was well-rounded in the workplace, teaching school for 16 years, building houses, selling fertilizer and delivering feed for the local co-op. He was able to take over 1500 acres of ground and begin farming full-time in 1985 when his father and two neighbors all retired.
According to Bob his passion on the farm is to, “serve [his] community and work for the good of all mankind and give praise to God.”
Currently, Bishop Farms grows corn, soybeans, Plenish soybeans, wheat, hay, and seed corn for Pioneer. Furthermore, Bob has a beef cow herd from which they sell club calves and freezer beef. Lastly, they have a commercial trucking company that delivers seed corn for Pioneer.
“The most important crops we are growing are our grandchildren and developing a love for agriculture and a desire to continue the legacy,” Bob says.
The Bishop Farm began in 1833 on the edge of the prairie west of Leesburg settled by James Harvey Bishop. President Martin VanBuren signed the land grant deed.
Bob was, “inspired by [his] father to continue the legacy of the Bishop family in agriculture.”
Throughout Bob’s lifetime, “changes have come fast and furious.” He remembers farming with tractors that didn’t have cabs, two row cultivators, two row planters, and two row corn pickers. In years past, they have grown black and white navy beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet corn.
Now, Bishop Farms has a 24 row planter, a 45 ft. platform on their combine, air conditioned cabs, auto guidance, yield mapping, computer technology and much more. They have recently introduced drone technology, which Bob’s grandson Scott is the pilot for. It’s a valuable tool on their farm.
Agriculture will continue to change as time goes on. “Technology that we have today will be obsolete in 5 years, yes many farmers will still be doing things the same way but the progressive farmers will be adapting new technology to make their farms more competitive in the world market place” Bob explains.
There are many joys to farming but Bob’s two favorite things on the farm are, “seeing a new calf born and watching it stand and nurse for the first time” and “driving a new combine through the field for the first time and seeing the yields as they appear on the monitor.” His love for agriculture is shown on both the crops and livestock sides of the spectrum.

Brighten up Your Christmas with a Real DULL Tree!

Featured Tom and Kerry Dull both graduated from college in 1980, met on an international 4-H Youth Exchange Program and were married in 1982. Tom came back to farm full-time, while Kerry worked as a Home Economics teacher until they decided to start a family. Now, they both farm full-time.

The Dull’s have two children. Their daughter, Erin, is a physical therapist and is engaged. She comes back to the farm on the weekends to help out. Lucas, their son, is married to Dana, and they have one daughter, Eden (2). Lucas and Dana both work full-time on the farm.

Currently, the Dull’s grow corn, soybeans, Christmas trees, and pumpkins. They also have a corn maze and pride themselves in creating fun memories.
Today agritourism is a huge part of Dull Tree Farm, as they invite the public to visit their farm in hopes to, “educate them about agriculture while they have fun and spend some wholesome family time together making memories.”
Tom’s favorite part about his job is fulfilling their mission statement: “Our mission is to be the best stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us while providing our visitors with high quality agricultural products in a friendly environment where educational and memorable experiences abound.”
Historically, the farm has been passed down a few generations. The part of the farm that carries the Hoosier Homestead designation was purchased by Tom’s great grandfather in 1907. After moving through the generations, Tom will eventually inherit it also.
According to Tom he, “never had any desire to do anything else and feels honored to have had the opportunity to carry on the tradition and legacy of those who farmed before him.” Tom wants to inspire further generations to farm like his family did for him.
Although Christmas trees are a big focus now, the Dull’s have not always grown trees. In the past, when Tom first came back to the farm, they grew corn, soybeans, wheat and had hogs and cattle. They no longer raise livestock because, “trees smell better and don’t have to be fed twice a day” says Tom.
Now that the farm has changed so drastically, there is no typical day on the farm. It all, “depends on the season, the weather, the to-do list or the squeakiest wheel” says Tom.
On the farm Tom is, “making not only a living, but a life on the same soil that provided for the needs of our forefathers [which] connects all generations together.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

#FarmerSelfie is Back! Join Us At the Indiana State Fair!

The hashtag #FarmerSelfie makes it easy to help the hungry once again this year at the Indiana State Fair.

Indiana Family of Farmers brings back the hashtag #FarmerSelfie to benefit Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. In three easy steps, fairgoers can help those in need while they enjoy everything the fair has to offer. All they have to do is find a farmer, take a selfie and post a picture to social media with the hashtag #FarmerSelfie.

There will be a number of life size posters of farmers posted up around the fairgrounds. Fairgoers can find these in commodity tents, livestock barns, and around the Glass Barn.

How to participate in three easy steps:

1. Find a life size poster of a farmer (or a farmer in real life) on the fairgrounds
2. Take a selfie
3. Post the picture to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tag @FamilyofFarmers and hashtag #FarmerSelfie.

For every #FarmerSelfie picture posted, Indiana’s Family of Farmers will make a donation to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. As an incentive, fairgoers who share photos will be entered into a daily drawing for a $50 grocery gift card.

The Indiana State Fair runs from August 5 to August 21 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

Monday, July 18, 2016

TOP 10 things to do at the Indiana State Fair

The Year of the Bicentennial! It’s time to celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday and commemorate our state’s history. So what is the best way to do that? Check out the top 10 things to do this year at the 2016 Indiana State Fair! You are guaranteed to have a great time.

10. Choo Choo 

Hop aboard the Indiana Bicentennial Train located in the Family Fun Park! The Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana State Fair Commission bring you this exhibit to commemorate the Indiana Bicentennial funded by the Indiana Railroad Company and Norfolk Southern Corporation. This activity features three air-conditioned box cars exhibiting Indiana’s past, present, and future through a lens of four themes: transportation, land use, talent and community. Also when fairgoers visit, they can meet a historical train character and enjoy an activity tent where they can reflect their own Hoosier memories.

9. Jam Out

There will be a free concert each night of the fair! All you need to purchase is your ticket into the fairgrounds. 17 free stage stars will perform on the free stage, which is general admission and has no reserved seats. Popular stars like Neal McCoy, Granger Smith, Maddie & Tae, Lauren Alaina, and Laura Marano will sing on the free stage. Jam out and sing along! Find the entire schedule of entertainers and dates here.

8. Yolks on You

As many might remember, the Indiana State Fair was without poultry last year due to the two highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, strains circulating throughout 2015. The Indiana Board of Animal Health banned the showing of poultry at all county fairs and the Indiana State Fair. Well, have no fear, the chickens are back!  Be sure to check out the Poultry and Rabbit Barn and watch the show!

7. Be a Champ

Grab a bag of kettle corn and a lemon shake up, and snag a seat in the Farmer’s Coliseum to watch the 4-H Market Animal Grand Champion Drive, featuring market lambs, meat goats, barrows, dairy steers, and beef steers. See the best of the best animals in all of Indiana compete for the top five titles: Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, 3rd Overall, 4th Overall, and 5th Overall. These ambitious 4-Hers have put in hours working tirelessly with their animals! Come see their hard work pay off on Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 7 pm.

6. Chat it Up

Come to the Glass Barn and talk to farmers LIVE at 11 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm every day! Prizes will be given away at each and every chat! Throughout the Indiana State Fair, visitors of the Glass Barn will have an opportunity to video chat with Indiana farmers on their farms and ask them questions about their production practices. In addition to talking with farmers, the Glass Barn visitors can enjoy a free photo booth, learn about modern farms through an interactive computer game, play BeanGo to get a free hat, and follow the journey a soybean takes from field to table. 

5. Be Cheesy

Feelin’ cheesy? Come on into the air conditioning in the Purdue Extension Ag/Hort Building at the Indiana State Fair. Take a look at the American Dairy Association cheese sculpture. Each year, there is a different cheese sculpture created where Indiana Dairy Farmers unveil their artistic contribution to the State Fair. The cheese used to make the structure is made from milk from cattle grown on Indiana Dairy Farms. Now that’s cool! Cheese-o-Pete, you have to go! 

4. Go Hog Wild

Who doesn’t love pigs?! Be sure to visit the Swine Barn to see the world’s largest and the 2nd world’s largest boars! They’re huge! Also, check out the Grand and Reserve Grand Champion Sows and their litters of piglets. Babies and fat pigs: gotta love ‘em!

3. Meet a Farmer

Farmers have been around forever, right?! At least most farm families have been in Indiana farming for a LONG time! In celebration of the Year of the Bicentennial, IFOF challenges you to find a farmer around the Indiana State Fairgrounds and take a picture with them using the official hashtag #FarmerSelfie. You can take a picture with a poster of a farmer, a sign with a farmer on it, or even with 1 of 17 featured farmers. Then, post your picture on all of your social media handles! For every #FarmerSelfie posted, IFOF will make a donation to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry! At the end of each day of the fair, Indiana Family of Farmers will be a drawing for a winner that will get a $50 gift card to Kroger! So, be sure to find a farmer take a #FarmerSelfie and post it online! Having fun and feeding the hungry! What could be better than that? 

2. Happy Birthday Indiana

In celebration of the Year of the Bicentennial at the Indiana State Fair, the Indiana Arts Building features several exhibits showing Indiana’s rich history and culture. Visit this building that features art, photography, crafts and displays with Bicentennial themes of 200 years. Celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday! Also, the building features 16 watercolor prints by 1st lady Karen Pence; a few include the Cardinal, Indiana State House and a typical Indiana front porch.

1. Have a MOOvelous Time

Visit the Dairy Bar right across from the Plaza, a beautiful addition to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, for a Peanut Butter milkshake and a Smokin’ Hot Grilled Cheese made with Sriracha and smoked cheddar cheese, both new in 2016 at the Dairy Bar. Also enjoy a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry shake or hand-dipped, fresh ice cream. Everyone loves ice cream to cool them down on a hot day at the Indiana State Fair. Mozzarella sticks are another fan favorite! Mmm Mmm good!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Media Release: Indiana’s Family of Farmers Celebrate National Ag Week

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 14, 2016) – Indiana’s farmers and ag leaders are doing their part this week to help Hoosiers understand the important role agriculture as we celebrate national Ag Week 2016 with the theme of “Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” Ag Week is March 13-19 and Indiana’s Family of Farmers is commemorating the week through sharing stories and facts about the many ways Indiana’s agricultural community stewards the environment.

Follow along with Indiana’s Family of Farmers on Facebook at and on Twitter using @FamilyofFarmers.

“Agriculture has been a vital part of Indiana’s history since the state’s establishment 200 years ago,” said Joe Steinkamp, president of Indiana Soybean Alliance and farmer from Evansville, Ind. “The agricultural community continues to play an important role not only in Indiana’s economy and culture, but also the stewardship of Indiana’s natural resources and environment.”


Quotes from Indiana agricultural organizations:
·         “Farmers care deeply about the land, the animals, the water and the air for which they are responsible. Every farmer wants to leave his or her little piece of this Earth in better shape than he or she found it. It’s our legacy, and we know how priceless it is.” Randy Kron of Evansville, Ind., president of Indiana Farm Bureau
·         “Indiana farmers are dedicated to feeding this growing world population. This dedication is equaled only by their commitment to protecting the land that makes it possible.  As stewards of a healthy planet, they care for the soil that provides us food, fuel and clothes.” Jane Hardisty, Indiana NRCS State Conservationist
·         “Though each farmer’s conservation plan is unique, managing for soil health is one of the most effective ways to improve the environment while increasing crop productivity and profitability.  Implementing this approach not only results in healthy soil that reduces erosion, requires less nutrient inputs, manages the effects of extreme weather, and reduces nutrient and sediment loading to streams and rivers but it also optimizes the farmer’s inputs, sustains outputs and increases resiliency.  Likewise, farmers who work towards healthy soil on their farm will ultimately have a positive impact on climate change when incorporating cover crops and no-till into their conservation plan.” Jane Hardisty, Indiana NRCS State Conservationist
·         “Indiana’s pig farmers are using the best practices to ensure safe, affordable pork for consumers to enjoy.  Pig farms use less land and energy than ever before.  Many modern pig farms also specialize in a particular time frame of a pig’s life cycle to provide the best care possible.” Jason Slaton of Atlanta, Ind., president of Indiana Pork
·         “Agriculture has been a vital part of Indiana’s history since the state’s establishment 200 years ago. The agricultural community continues to play an important role in Indiana’s economy and culture, but also the stewardship of Indiana’s natural resources and environment.” Joe Steinkamp, president of Indiana Soybean Alliance and farmer from Evansville, Ind.
·         “With such diversity, Sennett Cattle Company has flourished in an environment of scrutiny and is able to be sustainable due to environmental and stewardship practices. Implementing rotational grazing, manure management, wildlife habitat restoration and minimum/no-till planting practices, has allowed them to be economically sustainable.” Clark Sennett of Waynetown, Ind. was the recipient of the National Environmental Stewardship Award given by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: The diverse cattle/farming operation also consists of a fenced wooded acreage and ponds to provide valuable habitat for wildlife.
·         “Among many programs at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the most predominant effort related to ‘Stewards of a Healthy Planet’ involves our Division of Soil Conservation. They work very closely with the Indiana Conservation Partnership, who are both raising the bar to improve overall water quality and soil health in Indiana. Countless families, as well as our economy, rely on Indiana’s natural resources, so we must remain good stewards of the land to ensure that those resources exist for future generations.” Ted McKinney, Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture

About Indiana’s Family of Farmers: Indiana's Family of Farmers was formed in 2009. Its purpose is to bring awareness that Indiana's farmers are among the top producers of grains, produce and meats you eat every day because we believe that quality farming means quality food that is good for you, your families and the environment. Learn more at

Friday, January 15, 2016

I am Indiana Agriculture: Bruce Lamb

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Bruce Lamb, DVM of Milford, Indiana in Kosciusko County is a 1976 graduate of Purdue University and is also the proud father of four Purdue University graduates.  He and his wife Beth of 38 years live on a farm and raise Registered Angus cattle and hay.  They also have three grandchildren.  Prior to his job with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH), Bruce was a large animal veterinarian at Milford Large Animal Clinic where he also served as co-owner for 27 years, was a consultant for Progressive Pork Concepts for 5 years, and was the owner of Northern Lakes Food Animal Veterinary Service.   For the past 12 years he has worked as field veterinarian in District 2 and is also the Director of the Johne’s Program and Cattle Specialist for BOAH.

As Director of the Johne’s Program and Cattle Specialist, Bruce’s job responsibilities include: regulatory issues, including testing and monitoring for regulatory diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, avain influenza, PED virus, and foreign animal diseases.  He also investigates milk and meat drug residue violations, animal welfare and abuse cases, and other investigations.
Bruce didn’t grow up on a farm directly, but he had a close connection.  “We lived 2 miles from my grandparent’s farm and I spent as much time there as possible.  I was a 10-year 4-Her and went to the farm to train and raise my calves for the county fair.  I took a lot of 4-H projects and tried to take advantage of everything the Indiana 4-H program offered.  The 4-H program was also an influence in my career and college choice.  My wife, Beth, grew up on a farm and showed cattle, as did all four of our children.”
“When I was a freshman in high school, my grandfather took me to a career night sponsored by our local veterinary association.  He knew I liked animals and thought I might be interested in going to the meeting.  I loved being on the farm with my grandfather.  He raised beef cattle, hogs, and chickens.  Whenever he worked with the animals, I was there.  After high school graduation, I was fortunate to get accepted to Purdue.  I applied to Veterinary School and the rest is history.”

Not only does Bruce have a love for animals, he also enjoys working with the farmers who raise them.   “I like farm animals.  More importantly, I like helping livestock owners keep their animals healthy and their operations profitable.  I like working with people, especially people involved in agriculture and animal agriculture.  They are genuine and hard working.”
“Society considers veterinarians as credible professionals.  That trust and credibility has given me the opportunity to develop a platform and inform others about the importance of animals and animal products in our diets and in our lives.  There’s a lot of misinformation in the media and I like to do my part to talk about the benefits of animal agriculture.  Agriculture and animal agriculture are more than businesses; they define you and become a way of life.”

Monday, January 4, 2016

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Stewarts

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Andrew Stewart of Greensburg is the fourth generation to operate the family farm.  He and his wife Darci live in a house on the cattle farm with their three children: Matthew, 11; Haleigh, 5; and Ella Kate, 4.  Andrew attended Purdue University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics in May of 2006.  Before graduation, he received an offer to work for Farm Credit Mid-America in their office in Louisville.  He worked there for 5 years and was able to gain some valuable insights and experience that he was able to put to use on their farm operation.

"My great grandfather, Arthur, started farming in the early 1900s.  He sold his first bag of seed in 1918 and there has been seed sold under the Stewart brand ever since.  My grandfather John and great uncle Gilman bought the first Angus cows in 1955.  My cousin, Josh Gunn, and I are the fourth generation to farm the family farm.”
Stewarts farm commercial corn, seed beans, seed wheat, alfalfa hay, and have a herd of 200 registered Angus cows.  Andrew’s main responsibility on the farm is managing the cow herd.  “Stewart Select Angus is a performance seedstock operation that is focused on raising high-quality breeding bulls for the commercial cattleman.  A seedstock operation is one that sells breeding stock (bulls, heifers, and cows) to commercial producers along with other seedstock operators,” Andrew explains.  “Being a performance herd means that we measure our cattle in almost every way possible to help them be more predictable and profitable for our customers.  We measure birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, hip height, and so ultrasound measurements to determine ribeye area, intramuscular fat, rib fat, rump fat.  All of these measurements and more factor into the profitability of the bull for each buyer.”
The cows at Stewart Select Angus are on pasture for 10 to 11 months of the year.  “We have an annual herd test for our cattle the first part of December where we give annual vaccinations and draw blood from each cow to check for certain diseases.  This is just like me going to the doctor for an annual checkup.”
Most of the year, the cows get a mixture of several different forages in the pastures, including grass hay, alfalfa hay, wheat silage, corn silage, and clover.  In the fall, the cows can graze on corn stalks after the corn has been harvested.   “During this mid-gestation time frame of the cow, when the calves have already been weaned, they will be able to pick through the field and find enough nutrients to meet their needs.  The bulls that I develop will get a mix of corn, corn gluten pellets, and soybean hull pellets to help them develop into sound breeding bulls at 15 months of age.”
Stewarts have 200 cows that give birth every year.  In addition to those 200 cows, they will raise approximately 60 bulls on the home farm, 20 bulls at two different sites in Indiana and Montana, 60 replacement heifers, and almost all of the 200 calves that were born that year.  On April 1, they will have about 520 head of cattle of various ages to take care of at home and another 20 off-site.
“We bale straw and corn stalks to bed the barns that our cattle are in routinely to make sure it is fresh.  When the temperature gets colder and the cows will need more energy to keep their body heat, we adjust their feed and give them an additional 10 to 15%.  Cows will actually perform better in 40-degree temperatures than 80-degree temperatures, because of their hair coat.  When their hair coat gets wet and it is windy, they will require more energy to keep their body heat constant.”  An enclosed shed with small pens for birthing  helps baby calves get off to the best start without having the added stress of the cold.
Andrew says his favorite part of his job is seeing a new calf being born.  “Since I start calving around Christmas time, it helps to remind us of God’s gift of Jesus and the power of all His creation.  Being able to have our kids grow up on the farm is also something that I love about my job.  The farm teaches them many things such as responsibility, hard work, problem solving, innovation, and many more.”