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New swine facility at Indiana State Fair passes test

The world-class Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion is getting a workout at the 2023 state fair.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

August 9, 2023

2 Min Read
A man standing on a stage behind a podium speaks into a microphone
CHRISTENING THE BUILDING: Nick Tharp, Putnam County, is president of the Indiana Pork Producers Association, which sponsors the ham breakfast that kicks off the Indiana State Fair each year. Tharp welcomed visitors to the state fair on opening day. The first day featured open hog classes in the new Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion. Photos by Tom J. Bechman

Visitors saw the new Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion a week before the Indiana State Fair opened during the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. It looked like a state-of-the-art facility for hog shows as well as other events. But what would happen when hogs were in the building? Would the atmosphere remain pleasant? Could airflow keep the air-conditioned building cool?

The first test came on opening day of the state fair, when all open-class swine breeding shows were held in the new pavilion. From all indications, odor was minimal, and both hogs and people stayed cool. The new building passed its first test with flying colors.

Barrows showed in 4-H shows during the fair’s second weekend, and the 4-H gilt show happens Aug. 13-14. The Indiana State Fair runs through Aug. 20, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

inside a large, open building hosting a swine show

The new pavilion hosted two big events to kick off the 2023 state fair. First, many gathered for the traditional ham breakfast, sponsored by the Indiana Pork Producers Association. Then, opening ceremonies were held in the new pavilion this year.

Nick Tharp, current president of Indiana Pork, took the microphone during opening ceremonies. “We’re happy to be a part of this new era with this new building,” Tharp said. “It’s certainly a world-class facility.”

Tharp farms and raises hogs with his family in Putnam County, Ind., including his wife, Beth, and his in-laws, Mark and Phyllis Legan.

Mitch Frazier, CEO of AgriNovus and chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission, agreed it was a special day. “The original swine barn opened in 1923, exactly 100 years ago,” Frazier told the audience. “Now, we’re starting new traditions and new memories in this state-of-the-art facility for the next 100 years.”

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About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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