Another group of Hoosier farmers was honored recently during the Certified Livestock Producer awards luncheon. The program is administered by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to recognize farmers who demonstrate commitment to the environment, animal well-being, food safety, emergency planning, biosecurity and being a good neighbor. One of the new certified farmers is Trent Bowman of Bowman Dairy Farms in Henry County.
“I had procrastinated very badly on the Indiana livestock certification,” he told HAT, “because when I first opened it up it was kind of intimidating. You look at it and wonder where do I start and where do I stop?”
Bowman’s diary was the first in the U.S. to be a Dean’s Dairy Certified Wellness Herd. Going through that certification after completing the Merck livestock certification process made the Indiana process a natural third step.
Bowman said the most important benefit of certification is being a respected voice when educating the public.
“There’s a lot of drive right now in this country of GMO free, organic, grass fed, and there’s a lot that people don’t understand. Being able to say you’re a certified farm and then explaining to them what process you went to, to be certified gives you more validation. It shows where you care. It shows that you do the extra mile and you do the extra process to get where you need to be.”
And to those other producers currently procrastinating?
“Call me!” said Bowman. “It’s not as hard as it looks once you get into it.” Hear the full HAT interview with Bowman:Trent Bowman
Greg Slipher, Livestock Development Program Coordinator at Indiana Farm Bureau knows the value of this program.
“In my position at Farm Bureau we’re all the time dealing with people who are reacting to misinformation, and I think part of the process that the CLPP participants go through is understanding how important it is for them to take an active role in protecting themselves and their industry through the certified livestock program.”
All certified producers receive a sign to publicly display their commitment, and Slipher says that’s more important than you might think.
“We often talk about our businesses are like the businesses in the strip mall except we don’t have storefronts. So the sign with the certified livestock program gives you a storefront to talk about your industry to your neighbors.”
Congratulations to all 14 new CLPP producers:
Jim Michalke, Lebanon
Steve Schwieterman (2 farms), Portland
Darryl & Karlanea Brown, Fowler
Mel Egolf, Churubusco
Lukus Hively, Kimmell
Tina Dirksen, Berne
Thomas Burgett, Trafalgar
Trent Bowman, Hagerstown
Monty Moss, Burnettsville
Ashton Metzger, Kimmell
Joe Mills, Crawfordsville
Bill Louck, Wabash
Jan Willem Vandelaar, Geneva