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Tours an Opportunity for Beginning Farmers to Learn
Indiana Ag Connection - 04/20/2017

Ten farm tours across the state will offer beginning farmers the opportunity to learn from experts and to network with fellow farmers at a variety of farming operations.

The events are organized by Purdue Extension as part of Purdue's Indiana Beginning Farmers program. The series begins in May and runs through mid-October.

"We hope that aspiring and current farmers will find the tours to be a source of useful information and an opportunity to meet and interact with other people who are passionate about farming," said Kevin Gibson, professor of botany and plant pathology and one of the leaders on Purdue's Beginning Farmers team.

The schedule:

May 8: Nightfall Farm (Crothersville) uses rotational grazing to raise animals on pasture. Learn about regenerative agriculture and their experiences developing a meat Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

May 23: Seven Sons Family Farm (Roanoke) produces grass-fed beef, pork, and eggs at their farm. The tour will include information on grazing systems.

June 3: The Farm Connection (Clay City) creates artisanal cheeses from their pasture-raised animals, as well as a variety of other products. The event will include information on cheese-making and developing business plans.

June 15: Clay Bottom Farm (Goshen) uses intensive growing methods to support a CSA program on less than an acre of land. Learn about their "lean farm" approach to support a CSA, supply restaurants and sell at farmers' markets.

June 24: Silverthorn Farm (Rossville) uses organic practices to produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The tour will include a session on working with restaurants.

Aug. 26: Goat Milk Stuff (Scottsburg) is a dairy goat farm that produces soaps, candies and cheeses. The tour will include information on agricultural tourism and value-added products.

Sept. 11: Little Prairie Farms (Brookston) and the Purdue Student Farm (West Lafayette) will offer two tours of small acreage vegetable farms to learn about farming practices and tools for small-acreage farms.

Sept. 27: Full Hand Farm (Noblesville) is a diverse vegetable farm. The tour will include information on the use of high tunnels in vegetable production.

Oct. 2: Aficionado Farms (Eberfeld) produces organically grown produce, herbs and flowers. Learn about their farm and Farm to School programs.

Oct. 14: Blue Yonder Organic Farm (North Salem) is a veteran-owned and operated farm producing pastured poultry, sheep and other products. Learn about poultry production and organic certification.

Registration is now open for the first five tours. Space is limited and a $10 registration fee will be charged for each event. To join a mailing list and receive updates on the farm tours and other events planned by the Beginning Farmer team, send an email message to beginningfarmers@lists.purdue.edu.

Purdue's Beginning Farmer and Rancher program was launched in 2015 to increase the number of farm start-ups in the state and provide direct, practical assistance to anyone who is new to farming, especially operators of small farms and military veterans. The project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program (BFRDP)

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