Anybody who speaks about how to improve ag relations with urban folk says you need to tell your own story. Stockwell Farms, Hudson, in Steuben County, will do that this weekend with an open house at the farm. The event is planned for 1 to 5 p.m. EDT.
Laura Stockwell, a Purdue senior in the College of Agriculture, says her father, Kevin, hatched the idea, and asked her to carry it out. His motivation was to let community members see their operation. The Stockwells milk 450 cows, and expanded a couple of years ago. They operate in a 5-stall, double herringbone parlor, milking 10 cows at a time, and keeping the parlor occupied 24 hours a day.
"His other motivation was to let our urban neighbors who live in the county come out and see what a farm is like, especially a dairy farm," says Laura, who was an Indiana FFA state officer in 2008-2009.
"We're going to offer farm tours, and have dairy products available for people to try," she says. "We will also have activities for the kids who come."
The American Dairy Association, through its Indiana affiliate has been very supportive, Stockwell says. She's publicized the event locally, but hopes people will come out from a wide area to experience what a farm is like for an afternoon.
Extension groups around Indianapolis held similar farm tours for nearly two decades, but no longer continue the activity. There were typically five farms on that tour, and people could choose which one to go to. Some of the farms drew crowds of nearly 3,000 people.
"We don't know what to expect, but we'll be ready for whomever comes," Stockwell says. "We want our neighbors to have a chance to see our operation, but we also want people who don't live on farms to bring their kids and get a better idea of what we do."
The farm is located at 6205 South, 600 west, Hudson, Ind. You can learn more about the Stockwells and their event by searching 'Stockwell Farms Inc.' on Facebook.