Registration is now open for the final six farm tours offered this year by Purdue Extension’s Indiana Beginning Farmer program.
“Late summer and early fall are great times to visit Indiana farms and see how they adapt to the changing season,” said Kevin Gibson, professor of botany and plant pathology and one of the organizers of the Indiana Beginning Farmer program.
Each tour begins with a morning session where experts will lead discussions on topics ranging from organic farming to selecting the right equipment for small-acreage operations. The morning session is followed by lunch, then an interactive tour of the host farm led by the farm owners and operators.
Participants can now sign up for the following tours (all times EDT unless noted):
Aug. 26: Goat Milk Stuff (Scottsburg). Goat Milk Stuff is a dairy goat farm that produces soaps, candies and cheeses. During the morning session, Maria Marshall, professor of agricultural economics, will discuss how to market farm products, particularly value-added products. Best practices for agricultural tourism will also be discussed and demonstrated. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.
Sept. 11: Purdue Student Farm (West Lafayette) and Little Prairie Farms (Brookston). During the morning session, participants will learn how to select the right equipment for small-acreage operations. The group will then tour the Purdue Student Farm, which grows vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Following lunch at noon, the tour will move to the Little Prairie Farms in Brookston, which has a little more than acre of cultivated land as well as fruit trees and bushes, chickens and an additional acre dedicated to conservation. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.
Sept. 27: Full Hand Farm (Noblesville). Full Hand Farm is a diverse vegetable farm growing produce year-round for local restaurants and farmers markets. The morning session will focus on the benefits and opportunities of high tunnels, choosing the best site and structure for high tunnel production and managing pests that are common in high tunnels. Check-in begins at 9 a.m.
Oct. 2: Aficionado Farms (Elberfeld). Now in its fourth year of production, Aficionado Farms produces organically grown produce, herbs and flowers, serving multiple local restaurants, grocery stores and schools. Topics for the morning session include farm to school programs, selling to schools and food safety. Check-in begins at 9 a.m Central.
Oct. 14: Blue Yonder Organic Farm (North Salem). Blue Yonder Organic Farm is a veteran-owned operation producing pastured poultry, sheep and other products. During the morning session, participants will hear from a licensed certifier about the organic certification process and Sara Creech, owner and operator of Blue Yonder Organic Farm, will discuss her experience in developing a certified organic poultry farm. Check-in begins at 9 a.m.
Oct. 28: Freedom Valley Farm (Freedom). Freedom Valley Farm produces naturally cultivated vegetables for families, individuals, restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets. Purdue agricultural economist Maria Marshall will lead the morning session on developing farm business plans. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.
The cost for each tour is $10, which includes lunch. Registration is limited. For more information or to sign up, go here or call 866-515-0023.
The Indiana Beginning Farmer 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 program is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program (BFRDP).