The Featured Farmers program continues at the Indiana State Fair. For 2017, there is also a featured food item each day, and a host farm family that produces that food item or ingredients that go into making it.
Dow AgroSciences sponsors the Featured Farmers program. Each family has their picture displayed on banners, gets a special tour of the fairgrounds, and makes an appearance at the Glass Barn operated by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Meet the first five farm families that kicked off the fair.
Here is a look at the four families that will serve as hosts on days six through nine at the Indiana State Fair.
Aug. 9: Dallas and Meggie Foster, Greenfield
Yes, the Foster family raises pork on their farm. It’s the same farm where U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly held a listening session on the farm bill a few weeks ago.
“Our farm consists of a 400-sow, independently owned, farrow-to-finish operation and a grain operation in Hancock and Henry counties,” Meggie Foster says. She adds that they started the operation on a part-time basis in 2006 while Dallas worked as a full-time manager at a nearby hog operation.
Now Dallas is full time at their farm. They market more than 10,000 pigs per year. Meanwhile, Meggie grew up on a dairy and grain farm in central Ohio. The couple’s daughters, Reagan and Ruby, would be seventh-generation farmers if they someday choose to farm.
Meggie FosterFAIR BUNCH: The Foster family raises hogs and will host the Indiana State Fair on the day when pork burgers are the featured food item. From left are Dallas, holding Ruby; Reagan; and Meggie.
Aug. 10: Chris and Jennifer Campbell, Franklin
Jennifer Campbell figures they were asked to host the day funnel cakes are featured because they grow wheat. Flour is a key ingredient in funnel cakes, a state fair favorite. The Campbells also grow corn and soybeans.
They operated a farrow-to-finish operation until recently, Jennifer notes. Now they buy 3-week-old pigs and finish them out. Their family includes Casey, Emi Lou and Cole.
Dow AgroSciencesFAMILY FARMERS: Chris and Jennifer Campbell (center) are flanked by Chris’ parents, Larry and Judy Campbell. They grow wheat, corn and soybeans, and finish hogs. The Campbells will host the state fair on Aug. 10.
Aug. 11: Nathan and Sarah Kuehnert, Fort Wayne
There is no better family to represent cheese than a family with a dairy operation. The Kuehnerts milk about 360 Holsteins, with about 700 head total on the farm.
“We’re the fifth generation, with the dairy herd going back about 120 years,” Nathan Kuehnert says.
The operation today includes his grandpa, Melvin; his dad, Alan; and his brother, Stan. About 250 of the cows are milked with robots, Nathan notes. “It’s working out really well for us,” he says. “However, to make it work, it takes management, and you really need someone around who understands technology so you can keep everything running smoothly.”
Dow AgroSciencesMILK PRODUCERS: Meet the Kuehnerts. From left (back) are Stan, Carol, Cindy, Alan, Sarah and Nathan. In front are Andrew, Kennedy, Brittany, Allie, Bryar, Dolores and Melvin. This dairy-farming family will host the state fair on the day cheese is featured.
Aug. 12: Brad and Sarah Mahan, Rushville
Since the food of the day is beef, that leaves how you celebrate it at the fair wide open. You could try a Hoosier rib-eye; the new Cattlemen’s Choice, sold only at the Indiana Beef Cattle Association tent that features a rib-eye and brisket; or you could probably find beef on a stick.
Representing beef as the farm family of the day are Brad and Sarah Mahan, Rushville.
“We feed out about 200 feeder calves per year,” Brad explains. “We also raise corn and soybeans.”
Brad and Sarah are joined by Brad’s parents, Tom and Colleen, in the beef business. The Mahans also operate a custom tiling business.