By Stan Maddux
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A thing or two could be learned when the doors open to the public at some of the most well run farms in Indiana. The annual Purdue Farm Management Tour is scheduled for two days next month in the southwest part of the state.
The first stop is scheduled for July 8 at 12:30 p.m. at the Koester Brothers Farm, 11751 Diamond Island Road outside Wadesville. The tour will continue July 9 at Kron Farms, 17245 Owensville Road outside Evansville, at 8:30 a.m., and at 1:30 p.m. at Seib Farms, 6801 High School Road near Poseyville.
Jim Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, said the goal of the annual tour dating back to the 1930’s is highlighting well-managed farms so producers learn what can be done to improve their operations.
Mintert said each of the farms on this year’s tour have implemented new technology and started transferring the operation to the next generation of family members. He said the farms have also prepared the next generation to be successful and became more efficient in terms of cost of production.
The key to successful farm management, and how the management of each operation adapted to the ever-changing agricultural economy and evolving circumstances of their families will be shared at each location.
“That always an interest to producers to learn more about the process, the challenges they faced and how they resolved them,” Mintert said.
Mintert said the tour, canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, is held in a different part of the state each year to give as many farmers as possible a chance to attend.
He said more information can also be learned because of how the challenges and solutions from one area to the other can vary.
“Each farm in Indiana is unique in some aspects so we highlight different farms so that people realize there are different ways to resolve the challenges that farms and farm managers face,” Mintert said.
According to Purdue University officials, Ray, Duane, Dale and James Koester operate a crop and dairy farm diversified to maximize profitability and hedge against risk.
Seib Farms has long cooperated with agribusiness suppliers and other experts in the industry to conduct on-farm research. The operation also started using cover crops to capture and store carbon on the farm before the greenhouse gas escapes into the air, Purdue officials said. Mark Seib has also served in leadership positions for soybean associations at the state and national levels.
According to Purdue, Randy and Joyce Kron are first-generation farmers and their son, Ben, is now a partner in the operation. The farm features a recently built shop and various types of precision technology.
Randy Kron has also been president of Indiana Farm Bureau since 2016.
“Most of these farmers have made significant investments in their facilities in recent years so it’s an opportunity to look at those investments,” Minter said.
As part of the tour, the annual Master Farmer Reception will be July 8 at 3:30 p.m. at the New Harmony Inn and Conference Center. Mintert said four master farmers and their families chosen for this year will be honored.
The recipients will also take part in a panel discussion moderated by Mintert on what they’ve done over the course of their careers to make them successful. “It’s always an interesting discussion,” he said.