November 10, 2008

Farm tour's final stop emphasizes sustainability in horticulture

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The last stop for this year's Indiana Farm Sustainability Tour will be Nov. 20 at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, where Kerry Dull, who has planted 25 acres of Christmas trees for more than a decade, will talk about her family's tree farm and direct marketing efforts.

This tour has a seasonal theme including Christmas trees and Poinsettias. Dull said the success of Dull's Christmas Tree Farm is dependent upon visitors having a good experience at the farm. In addition to selecting and cutting a tree, visitors can create a wreath, stay in the Stone Cabin Inn, do holiday shopping and snack on festive foods.

"We hope that participants are able to become more aware of the fact that Christmas tree farming is more than just planting the trees and harvesting them eight years later," said Dull, who is a co-owner. "Besides just planting the trees, we have to maintain their upkeep, market our business, do research and harvest the Christmas trees.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 10 a.m. and ending around 3 p.m. Participants will tour Purdue's horticulture and greenhouse facility with more than 100 Poinsettia cultivars, where sustainable cultural and production practices are incorporated. Roberto Lopez, Purdue Extension floriculture specialist, will share information about the National Poinsettia Cultivar Trials. Purdue is involved in the trials, which were established to bring a thorough body of research and information to poinsettia growers across the country.

Steve Weller, Purdue Extension horticulture specialist, also will provide an overview of Purdue's efforts in horticultural sustainability.

Lunch will be held at the Beck Center where Jay Akridge, interim dean of Purdue Agriculture, will recognize those who helped make the 2008 Indiana Farm Sustainability Tours a success.

During this stop of the tour, the main focus will be on sustainable horticulture and what Purdue is doing to help, Ballard said.

After lunch the tour will head back to campus for a tour the newly renovated horticulture and landscape architecture facility. Registration, due Nov. 17, costs $15 per person, which includes lunch and resource materials. Individuals can register at  or by contacting Ballard at (317) 462-1113,

The Indiana Farm Sustainability Tours are sponsored by Purdue Extension, Purdue Small Farms Team, Purdue 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 contact Ballard at the above telephone number and e-mail address or Jerry Nelson at (812) 886-9582,

Writer: Ashley Bechman, (765) 494-8402,

Sources: Roy Ballard, (317) 462-1113,

Kerry Dull, (765) 494-2722

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

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