If you haven't met Jay Hawley, the farm management tour this year is worth a trip just to do so. The ambassador for agriculture and his family will host the first stop on the 2013 Indiana Farm Management Tour, June 26. His farm is located near Kirklin in southern Clinton County.
The tour begins with lunch at Hawley's farm. He's known to some these days as Grandpa Jay. A few years ago he started Grandpa Jay's Pork, and markets meat locally from the farm, at Farmer's Markets, and also through his own distribution route. He has about 60 stops on the route.
Hawley decided to start the retail meat business coupled with cooking pork for some events when he gave up some farmland a few years ago. Going into local meat sales was his way of diversifying his operation and maintaining the necessary income stream.
Hawley is one of the vendors in the Indiana Statehouse Farmers Market which occurs one day every week near the Statehouse in Indianapolis. He not only sells frozen pork, but cooks and sells fresh pork sandwiches, too. It's timed so that people working downtown can visit various food trucks and market stops over their lunch hour. He has also served up barbecued pork at other farmers markets in the past.
Hawley has long been an advocate both for agriculture and for the pork industry in Indiana. He still maintains a sow herd on his farm, and also grows crops. Both the governor and lt. governor visited his farm earlier this year while on a goodwill economic tour of north-central Indiana.
For more details about the driving tour, contact your local Extension office. Reservations are requested for the lunch count at Hawley's Farm. You must reserve tickets for the evening Master Farmer banquet that is part of the tour by June 19 through the Purdue Ag Alumni Association. Tickets are $25 per person.