Everyone wondered how the Indiana State Fair and Dow AgroSciences would carry out the 2015 fair theme "Year of the Farmer." Recent state fairs have featured corn, soybeans, tomatoes, even trees. But how do you build a fair around vibrant farmers?
Now we know. The Year of the Farmer program, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, puts the spotlight on one farmer each day.
Kenda Resler-Friend of Dow AgroSciences says it's the Indiana-based company's way of showing support for farmers and the Indiana State Fair.
Resler-Friend says the goal was finding representatives from all facets of agriculture. The people you'll meet range from corn and soybean growers to shrimp farmers. They come from all over Indiana.
Here's a glimpse of the first family who will be the face of the 'Year of the Farmer' on opening day.
Valerie Duttlinger and family, Gentryville
On Aug. 7, Year of the Farmer representatives at the Indiana State Fair are Valerie Duttlinger and family, Gentryville, Spencer County.
Who better to host opening day, which begins with the annual ham breakfast, than a hog farmer? Valerie, her husband, Ben, and their family operate Pure Tek genetics and own 700 sows.
It's more than just a commercial hog operation. Pure Tek Genetics is an LLC – the Duttlingers work with another Indiana swine operation, Whiteshire Hamroc, Albion, focusing one of their sow herds on research development and marketing.
Whiteshire Hamroc raises some pigs for medical uses. "We're only involved in developing genetics and marketing," Valerie says. Her family is not involved in the pigs for medical uses side of the business, she adds.
"Our goal at the State Fair is to tell people what we do and why we do it," she concludes.
Your best chance to see them at the fair will be in the Glass Barn sponsored by Indiana Soybean Alliance. There will be a live chat with the host family around 2:30 p.m. EDT.