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Serving: IN

Indiana Farm Bureau changes location, focus at state fair

Indiana Farm Bureau Taste From Indiana Farms exhibit at Indiana State Fair
POPULAR EVENT RETURNS: The Taste From Indiana Farms program sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau returns to the 2021 Indiana State Fair in the Agriculture/Horticulture Building. This photo is from a previous state fair.
The state’s leading farm organization will have a large presence at the Indiana State Fair, but its focus is different than in the past.

The Farm Bureau Building is an iconic point of reference on the north side of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The building retains its name, and some events will be scheduled in the cafeteria and meeting area, but Indiana Farm Bureau will not host an exhibit there this year. The building will house an exhibit, but it won’t be tied to INFB.

However, that doesn’t mean Indiana Farm Bureau won’t be present at the 2021 Indiana State Fair, which runs from July 30 through Aug. 22, closed on each Monday and Tuesday. If anything, INFB is stepping up its support of Farm Bureau members at the fair — just in different ways.

“Our board of directors agreed to shift our focus at the fair early in 2020, but then there wasn’t a traditional fair last year,” explains Chelsea Poe, executive director of education and engagement with Indiana Farm Bureau. “We won’t have an active exhibit presence every day of the fair, but we will invest more heavily in supporting awards for youth livestock exhibitors at the Indiana State Fair.”

The directors realized that lots of INFB members involved in the state fair are on the south side of the fairgrounds, primarily in the livestock barns.  That’s why they decided to invest more time and energy supporting youth livestock exhibitors rather than manning exhibits in the Farm Bureau Building.

“We’re sponsoring the exhibitor experience for livestock exhibitors,” adds Becca Bonnell, youth engagement coordinator for INFB. “This is a transition year. In the future, we hope to be able to offer more activities in the livestock barns, which will help us engage with each exhibitor who wants to participate.”

For 2021, INFB is sponsoring the Supreme Drive for females in large livestock species except beef cattle, whose champion is picked earlier in the fair. In addition, INFB sponsors the Supreme Showmanship Drive during the fair. INFB is investing more heavily in awards for winning exhibitors in these competitions.

Other state fair activities

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance is the sponsor of the day for the Indiana State Fair on July 31. “We will be there with exhibits encouraging membership with Indiana Farm Bureau and our health care plans,” Poe says.

Taste From Indiana Farms was a popular program that took place on certain days in the past in the rear section of the Farm Bureau Building. Poe says that will still happen this year, but instead of being located in the Farm Bureau Building, it will happen in the Agriculture/Horticulture Building on the west side of the fairgrounds.

The 2021 Taste From Indiana Farms is scheduled to begin on Aug. 18 and continue through the rest of the fair. Just like before, fairgoers will be able to learn about a variety of products produced and marketed in Indiana, Poe says.

She notes that final details are still being worked out. Fairgoers will be educated on commodities and ingredients and can sample certain items. COVID-19 safety policies will be observed. Either way, INFB staff and Indiana Farm Bureau volunteers will be on hand to make sure fairgoers get a better appreciation for the variety of food products produced in Indiana.  

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