With 5 more families joining the ranks of Indiana Certified Livestock Producers this summer, and 26 more in the process, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture program is growing. Kimmi Devaney is the program manager for ISDA. To what does she attribute the growth?
“I chalk that up to producers realizing the importance of getting out there and really telling their story in the community, so not only to those people you already know but the people closest to you, your neighbors that you may not know, the emergency personnel. They’re people that if there is a fire or other kind of emergency you hope they’re on board. And of course there’s your veterinarian.”
Hog producers Mike and Nancy Cline of Tipton County were certified this summer and it was Nancy’s idea to do it.
“After we considered it and talked about it we decided that it would be a good thing to do basically for public perception to help put a positive phase and a positive light on agriculture to show the general public, the consumer, that the type of food product they’re getting is good and that we are doing our jobs well.”
Her husband Mike added, “I think locally what you’re saying to your neighbors is that you’re trying to go above and beyond what is already required by the state or the federal government regulations that we already abide by or follow. So you’re saying you’re going above and beyond that, but then you’re also saying to the consumer that buys our products that we’re doing the best we can and that we’re constantly improving and trying harder to do even more to make ourselves better and make our product more appealing to the consumer.”
Abbie Herr is part of the Herr Dairy Farm in Noble County which was certified this year as well. She says being in the program allows her family to meet and learn from other livestock producers.
“I think that it will benefit us in the long run,” she told HAT. “We’re going to connect with the other producers like swine, and there’s a deer farm that’s also involved in it. So it’s nice to connect with different people across the state of Indiana.”
She said it’s an honor to be a certified producer and the Farm Bureau Insurance discount they receive is nice too.
Nancy Cline said the actual process is very beneficial to producers because of the self-assessment.
Devaney at ISDA says they’re planning at least one training in February and considering some industry-specific trainings this winter because of association requests. For details email her at KDevaney@isda.in.gov.