National Ag Week may have officially been last week, but it's also National Ag Month. Thanks to the Dodge Ram Superbowl commercial, all year may be the year of agriculture.
When more than 200 people attended the ag day breakfast at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin, ag's promise was never more evident. People pay $1 to represent the farmer's share of breakfast, even though Tom Dougherty, President of the county Ag Day committee, admitted it is likely less than that.
One bright spot of the morning was meeting six-month-old Rhett Kelsay, son of Russell and Liz Kelsay. Russell and his family operate a 550-cow dairy herd near Whiteland, Ind.
His father, Merrill Kelsay, was Indiana's first FFA Star Farmer of America some four decades ago. His brother, Joe, was the director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture until January 11.
Russell and Merrill handle much of the daily operation of the dairy. It features a manure system that removes solids form the manure before the waste water goes into a lagoon. Located along I-65, the system helps hold down odor during most periods of the year.
Russ is also extremely involved in operating the crop side of the business. They raise corn, corn for silage, alfalfa, and sometimes wheat for straw and for a place to spread manure. The family also operates an agri-tourism business, headed up by Russ's sister-in-law, Amy Kelsay. It offers school tours this spring, and is open on weekends in the fall for farm visits, a corn maze and much more.
While there are no guarantees, Rhett could be another generation to join the farm someday. Joe and Amy also have three children.
Long live the family farm!