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Lessons Learned at Farm Management Tour

Lessons Learned at Farm Management Tour
Mini-sessions help attendees delve into various subjects.

The Indiana Farm Management Tour earlier this week visited five farms, each with some unique lessons and tips to share. This year's tour, sponsored by the Indiana Farm Management Association and the Purdue University Ag Economics Department, went into southwestern Indiana, stopping in Sullivan, Daviess and Knox Counties.

It was also the first year that the Indiana Farm Management Tour and the Indiana Master Farmer program joined forces. Master Farmer awards were presented during the evening program of the tour. A panel discussion revealed management tips that help these master farmers, all unique, grow their varied businesses.

Here's at least one thing gleaned at each farm tour stop.

Unger Farms- Corn is king in this operation. They don't waste inputs, but they don't skimp on them either. Feeling that their niche is growing corn, they do what they can to shoot for as high of corn yields as possible, even in corn after corn situations. They also keep spraying in-house, paying Adair, Del and Tammi's daughter, by the hour to handle all chemical and fertilizer applications.

Melon Acres- The Horrall family has a visible melon outlet on US 41, but the farm is much more complex than a melon stand. They raise well over one hundred acres of asparagus, package melons and other vegetables for wholesale shipment, and now grow vegetables in high tunnels, a fairly recent practice in the vegetable production industry. How to handle labor, especially migrant labor, was one of the key topics discussed at this farm.

Boyd Farms- Tom Boyd and family operate a large grain farming operation, a grain elevator, and a trucking business. Managed by a son-in-law, the trucking business has grown to 100 trucks. "What we've found is that if one segment of the business isn't doing as well, another segment or both other segments do well, and bail it out," Tom says. "It's a good situation for us.

Dennis Carnahan and Sons- There's nothing complicated about this large grain operation- just sound decision making on crop inputs, land rental and equipment decisions. Dennis and his older brother, and now his son, know when hard work pays off, and are willing to do what it takes to get the crop into and out of the ground properly. If it doesn't make sense, they don't do it!

Villwock farms- Here's an operation unique for at least two respects. First, as president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Don is gone a large amount of the time. He relies on Jason Misiniec, a long-time employee for management help as well as labor. They're also grooming Scott Williams, another valuable employee, to grow in his responsibility in the business. Second, since their farm was displaced by a utility just a few years ago, they had the opportunity to build a new shop and grain facility. Both are filled with ideas that might spur thinking for your own operation.  

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