And open up their farm they did. Kendall and Tammy Culp of Rensselaer in Jasper County hosted nearly 200 Thursday night who learned about crops and technology on a modern farm and then dined on Jasper County food. Culp told HAT the idea has been simmering for years but it materialized after a challenge earlier this year.
“Actually at Commodity Classic in San Antonio one of the speakers challenged the participants there at that conference to step out of their comfort zone and open things up and let people see what you do first hand on your farm, how you produce your animals, how you raise your crops. Another part is we wanted to dispel some of the myths about GMO’s and we want to highlight technology that’s being used on our farm today. The third thing is we wanted to talk about the impact agriculture has to Jasper County’s economy.”
The impact is significant, especially given Jasper County’s ranking as number one in Indiana in value of agricultural products.
Neighbors and local business and elected leaders were on the farm and learned about modern farming at 3 separate stations, including crops and technology. Culp even had his brother travel up from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Ken Culp explained animal care and hog and cattle feed rations.
Indiana District 5 State Senator Ed Charbonneau from Valparaiso enjoyed what he said was a very valuable evening.
“You can never learn enough about agriculture and what’s going on, and no matter how much you think you know, there’s a lot more unless you’re running a farm day to day yourself that you just don’t think about. This has been a tremendous learning experience for me, and I own a farm. I just can’t imagine how significant these kinds of events are for the agricultural industry to educate the general public about their business.”
Charbonneau is the chair of the Environmental Affairs Committee.
Adam Barten from the nearby IBEC ethanol plant was at the crops station to provide more detailed information about ethanol production and its co-products.
“An event such as this where you not only have farmers but also important members of the local community, it’s great to go more in detail. Everybody has a general idea what ethanol is and what it’s used for, but it’s great to be able to explain in depth the co-products of ethanol and the benefits it provides for the community as far as tax money and jobs and revenue. All of our corn is locally purchased. So it’s great to be around people who may not realize everything that goes on there.”
Culp said the idea started out as a family project but was expanded once the Indiana Soybean Alliance came on board as a sponsor and designated the Culp event as the prototype for several future events around the state. Applause at the end of the event, which was not polite but enthusiastic, suggests this prototype was a solid model for future hosts.