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.”