June 24 and 25 may seem like a long way off, but you'll be ready for a break by then. Why not plan a two-day trip that might just result in you bringing home a few good ideas you can put to use to better manage your farm for more profit? It's a formula that's worked for decades- it's called the Indiana Farm Management Tour.
Working through the Indiana Farm Management Association, Purdue University Extension is heavily involved in picking sites and setting up the tour. The two-day event is a driving tour that's presented in cafeteria-style. You can attend as many or as few of the sites as your schedule allows. This year's farms and businesses featured on the tour are in Bartholomew and Jackson Counties.
Alan Miller, coordinator for the tour, says there's plenty of diversity included in this year's event. Traditional grain farms are included, but so is an organic farm that is just getting up and running. Several of the farms have either just brought the next generation into the operation, or are about ready to do so. Expect those relationships to be explored on the tour.
The tour will begin at the Thompson Farm in Jackson County on June 24 at 1 pm EDT. Mini-tours will feature discussions on sub-surface drainage, crop scouting, no-till soil fertility management and more. Then the tour moves to Brandt Farms, a small organic dairy operated by Justin Burbrink. The farm features grassland preservation techniques and land in the Indiana Classified Forest Program.
The tour moves to the 4-H Community Building near Columbus for dinner at 5:30 p.m and a discussion about passing the farm to the next generation at 6 p.m. Dinner that evening, lunch the next day and a tour of Irwin Gardens following the evening discussion are all free, but reservations are required. Reserve your spot by calling 812-379-1665.
Wednesday kicks off with a tour at Elsbury Greenhouses south of Hope on Indiana highway 9 at 8 am. EST. Once a grain farmer, Elsbury now serves 15,000 customers per year, providing bedding plants and other needs. Mid-morning the tour moves to Gelfius farms, a 4,000 acre farm that includes various crops, including processing tomatoes and green beans. Lunch and an agricultural outlook by Chris Hurt will take place at the farm.
The two-day event winds up at the Shane Meier farm, with an interview at 1:30 p.m. Mini-tours concluding the day include driving down production costs, building soils with cover corps and no-till, machinery selection and the computer-controlled grain drying system.
Anyone interested in lodging can contact the Bartholomew County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 812-378-2622, or www.columbus.in.us Directions for the driving tour are available from county extension offices.