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March 17, 2008

Tours explore innovative farm systems for sustainable ag

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 2008 Indiana Farm Sustainability Tours will kick off Thursday (March 20) in Madison, Ind., and emphasize value-added processing.

Participants will visit the Ohio River Food Venture and meet representatives from the Jennings County Growers Meat Market, Thomas Winery, Satterfield Farms, and Leane and Michael's Sugarbush.

"The tours offer an ideal place to go and learn about other farm operations and organizations," said Roy Ballard, Purdue University Extension educator in Hancock County and tour co-coordinator. "Participants can interact with the owners and discover what the challenges are as well as the potential value."

One example of value-added processing is the Satterfield Farm apiary. In addition to the honey from beehives, they make candles, lip balm, soaps, lotions and gift baskets from byproducts like the honeycomb, Ballard said.

Registration is $15 per person per tour and is due seven days prior to the tour. Individuals may register for one tour or as many as they would like. A registration form is available on the Purdue Extension New Ventures Team Web site at  by clicking on the "Program Calendar" link. Interested individuals also may register online. Individuals can still register for Thursday's (March 20) tour by calling (800) 359-2968.

Sites are still being added, but the 2008 schedule includes:

* April 17, Tippecanoe County. Extending the production season and availability for local foods. Participants will visit Cooley Family Farms, Juniper Spoon, Seldom Seen Farm and Two Cookin' Sisters.

* May 15, Vermillion County. E-Marketing. Participants will visit Royer Farm Fresh Beef, Lamb and Pork.

* June 19, Location to be determined. Urban fringe marketing.

* July 24, Decatur County. Organic production and processing and transitioning to organic. Participants will visit Langeland Farms.

* Aug. 23, Monroe County. Direct marketing to consumers. Participants will visit Bloomington Farmers Market, Loveland Meats, The Chile Woman, Hart Farm and Musgrave Orchard.

* Sept. 25, Elkhart County. Agritourism. Participants will visit Fashion Farm and Knollbrook Farm.

* Oct. 18, Perry County. Woodland Products. Participants will visit Etienne's Timber Harvest.

* Nov. 20, Tippecanoe County. Christmas trees and floriculture and a farm tour celebration luncheon. Participants will visit Purdue greenhouse facilities, Dull's Tree Farm and the Beck Agricultural Center.

Check the Purdue Extension New Ventures Team Web site at  for the latest updates.

The Indiana Farm Sustainability Tours were developed to provide an opportunity for farmers and rural residents who are looking for ways to diversify their operations and want to learn from other farmers.

The tours are made possible by a collaboration of the Purdue Small Farms Team, Purdue Extension New Ventures Team, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Cooperative Development Center, Indiana Farm Bureau, and North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

For questions and more information about the tours, contact Ballard at (317) 462-1113,, or Jerry Nelson at (812) 886-9582,

Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050,

Sources: Jerry Nelson, (812) 886-9582,

Roy Ballard, (317) 462-1113,

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

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