If you take the time to attend a farm tour, you probably feel like you better learn something to justify it. Jim Mintert, director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and one of the key organizers of the 2017 Indiana Farm Management Tour, believes he can convince you that time spent at this event will be worth the effort.
The two-day driving tour begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT on June 22 at Scott Farms in Carroll County and continues the next day in Howard County. You can attend any and all stops. The evening program on June 22 is the Master Farmer banquet in Delphi. You must have reservations turned in by June 16 (today) to attend the banquet. Email [email protected].
In the following interview with Indiana Prairie Farmer, Mintert explains why he believes your time will be well spent on the tour.
The spring was late and some people still have fieldwork to do. Unless it rains, why should a farmer give up a day to come to the tour? Fortunately, many Indiana farmers have caught up on fieldwork recently. Nearly every tour participant will take home one or two good ideas from the tour that they can implement on their own farm operation. Experiences shared by farm families on the tour can also help other Indiana farmers avoid making management choices that could lead to problems down the road.
These are established farms. If someone hasn’t been farming as long, what can they hope to take home from the tour that might help them? Tour participants will have an opportunity to see how successful farm business managers have adopted different managerial and production styles that fit their locale, family and employees, and take home some good ideas to implement on their farm in the future. Each of these farms has multiple generations involved in their operation, and tour participants will have an opportunity to learn about keys to success from each generation.
Can you outline highlights farm by farm for readers? Sure. Scott Farms [June 22] has a long history of producing waxy corn, and [they] have been innovators with cover crops, variable-rate technology and, more recently, drones to improve their crop management. Tour participants will come away with some good ideas regarding cover crop management and implementing precision ag technology.
Neil and Tom Mylet run a very streamlined corn and soybean operation that’s very efficient with respect to both labor and equipment. Tour attendees can take home some good management tips to help streamline their own operation. Neil will demonstrate his smartphone grain unloading app, which can be adapted to work in many modern grain systems. It makes it possible to run your unloading system from a truck or tractor cab. The Mylets’ tour stop will also provide an opportunity to view the new Tribine Harvester with its unique high-capacity, articulated harvester architecture that includes a 1,000-bushel grain tank.
Friday morning [June 23] in Howard County at Kirkpatricks,’ see a farm with an emphasis on food-grade corn and soybeans raised for seed. Kirkpatrick Farms was an early adopter of precision ag technology and will share experiences with technology adoption. You’ll also have an opportunity to tour the Kirkpatricks’ innovative facilities, which include a new fuel storage center and a fertilizer storage facility. Purdue’s Fred Whitford and Brian Kirkpatrick will lead a discussion regarding design of their facilities.
At Maple Farms, you’ll learn how the Maples’ focus on communications within the family, with their staff members and with their landlords has helped them be successful. This tour stop will also include sessions focused on the Maples’ approach to transition planning and strategic planning for their farm’s future. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to view Maple Farms’ new shop facility and take home good ideas for improving your own service facilities.