sealPurdue News

November 22, 2002

Purdue workshop aids farmers living on the 'fringe'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Lines between city and country are getting harder to define as urban sprawl creeps farther into rural areas. Unfortunately, the boundary shifts can lead to border wars between farmers and their new urbanite neighbors.

A Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service workshop aims to help country and city dwellers peacefully co-exist. "Farming on the Fringe: When City and Country Clash" takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple St., Greenfield, Ind.

Registration is $25 per person, $15 for a registrant's spouse and $50 for accountants and attorneys attending to receive continuing education credits. Lunch is included in the registration fee.

"Farming on the Fringe" addresses farmers' concerns about encroaching development, said John Mesko, Purdue Extension Hancock County educator and a workshop speaker.

"The program is designed to speak to those farmers in areas where development is running rampant," said Mesko, who serves on the Hancock County Plan Commission's Technical Committee.

"Hancock County is the fifth fastest growing county in the state, so we have a lot of farmland that is being taken up by housing and industrial development. Farmers are under pressure, both from the loss of rented land and also from the fact that, in many cases, they're farming land that is worth a lot more for houses than it is for cornfields. One of our goals in the program is to give farmers some ideas of what they can do to maximize their return in this environment."

Mesko will lead a session titled "The Rural/Urban Conflict: Can the Farmer and the Urbanite Co-exist?"

"I'm going to talk about some of the expectations and problems people can run into when there are increased traffic issues regarding people going to and from their work and getting to and from their homes, and how that impacts farmers in the area," Mesko said.

"For example, I was on my way to work recently and there was a farmer driving his combine to his field to harvest, but it was right next to an elementary school, and there were a lot of buses and parents and teachers trying to get to that school. While I think we all are in support of farmers in the fall harvest season trying to get their harvest in, it's a two-way street, quite literally. There are some things farmers can do to ease the tension, and there are things that the new homeowners and residents of the area can do to ease tensions."

Other workshop speakers include Gerald Harrison, a Purdue Extension agricultural law specialist, and Harold Gibson, a Greenfield land surveyor.

Harrison will address the following topics:

• Property rights and responsibilities.

• Liability limiting laws for the farmer and landowner.

• The Right to Farm Law in Indiana.

• Tax aspects and advantages of staying in the farming business.

• The Capital Gains Tax, Estate Tax saving features and conservation easements.

• More on the tax law of holding land to the end: federal gift, estate and inheritance taxes.

• Trading the land for other real estate or selling for an alternative investment.

Gibson, who has been involved in most of the major development projects in Hancock County since 1979, will speak on working with developers.

To register for "Farming on the Fringe," make out a check payable for the appropriate amount to the Hancock County PCES Education Fund. Along with the check send your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and occupation to: Farming on the Fringe, PCES, Hancock County Office, 802 N. Apple St., Greenfield, IN 46140-1338. Include your spouse's name, if they are registering.

The registration deadline is Dec. 3.

Indiana accountants attending the workshop are eligible for CPE credit. Attorneys can qualify for 4.5 hours of CLE credits.

For additional registration information, contact Mesko at (317) 462-1113 or by e-mail at Questions about workshop content should be directed to Harrison at (765) 494-4216, toll-free at (888) 398-4636 or by e-mail to

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415,

Sources: John Mesko, (317) 462-1113,

Gerald Harrison, (765) 494-4216,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

Related Web site:
"Farming on the Fringe" workshop agenda and registration form

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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