Speaking on a personal note, it was a pleasure to be asked to speak the Newton County Farmers group last week during their March meeting. It happened to coincide with many Ag Day celebrations going on around the state. About 30 people from Newton County gathered to share fellowship, food, a few yarns, and discuss the state of agriculture. It's obvious agriculture is alive and well in Newton County. The meeting was held just outside Brook in the southeastern part of Newton County.
Hank Coussens Jr., Kentland, headed up the meeting. He is also chairman of the Newton County Soil and Water Conservation District.
During dinner, he related that many people in Indiana were blessed with good crops. They caught rains in a band that extended in a narrow strip across the state through Kokomo and on to the east. Yields were better in some parts of the county than others, however, he noted. Overall, the sentiment was that they felt fortunate compared to many farmers in the southern half of the state, where the effects of the drought and heat were brutal.
The Newton County farmer's group operates through the Newton County Extension office. The group meets three times per year, usually in January, February and March. They invite informational or entertaining speakers to shed light on a different aspect of agriculture. One subject that came up during my visit was cover crops, and whether or not it would become a trend. The consensus was that it all depends on how well people can handle cover crops this spring. If they handle them successfully and like the practice, it will likely grow.
Dan Ritter, County Extension ag educator for 11 years, was in attendance. He recently resigned to accept a position with a seed company. He worked in the chemical and seed industry before becoming an Extension educator. He has also been a columnist for the Indiana Certified Crops Advisers columns in Indiana Prairie Farmer, and will likely continue to be in the future.