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* Purdue Agriculture

August 24, 2007

Purdue ready to assist agricultural entrepreneurs

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Indiana farmers can earn a living without raising corn, soybeans, cows and pigs, and Purdue University can show them how.

Purdue offers an array of resources for enterprising producers who want to branch out into non-traditional agricultural businesses, said Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension educator in Hancock County and co-chairman of Purdue's Ways to Grow and Beyond committee.

"Purdue is expanding its resources for farmers who want to diversify their farm operations and those who are not currently farming but would like to start an agricultural enterprise," Ballard said.

"Lots of people want to start agricultural enterprises. They might be interested in such things as agritourism, bed and breakfasts, wineries, orchards, small fruit production, aquaculture, direct marketing of specialty livestock and vegetable production for farmers' markets - enterprises that don't usually come to mind when one thinks of agriculture."

The Purdue Small Farm Team offers advice and technical support for agricultural entrepreneurs considering business ventures. For more information, contact Steve Engleking, co-chairman of the Small Farm Team, at (260) 499-6334.

Another valuable resource for agricultural entrepreneurs is Purdue's New Ventures Team. New Ventures helps producers and others develop their business and product ideas and business plans to turn ideas into reality. The group maintains a Web site at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/newventures/.

"We have representatives all over the state," said Jerry Nelson, New Ventures co-chairman. "They include county Extension educators who have been trained by the New Ventures Team to provide face-to-face consultation.

"We emphasize the creation of business plans because entrepreneurs will need those when they seek financing."

New Ventures is a co-sponsor of the Indiana Farm Sustainability Tour and Tri-State Organic IP Video Series - programs that highlight innovative and growing agricultural industries.

"We have a tour on Sept. 20 at farms near Ladoga and Clay City, Ind., focusing on keeping family members on the farm," Nelson said.

Upcoming organic video series programs include "Organic Poultry Production" on Sept. 20 and "Introduction to Organic Markets and Certification" on Nov. 15.

For more information on the tours and video programs, contact Nelson at (812) 886-9582, jnelson@purdue.edu.

Other Purdue agricultural enterprise resources farmers might find helpful include the INVenture Business Planner, the Indiana Resource Guide for Agritourism and the Purdue Extension Means Business Web site. INVenture is a free Web-based business-planning tool located at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/planner. The resource guide can be downloaded at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extbusiness/stories/
IN_Resource_Guide_2007.pdf
. Purdue Extension Means Business is located at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extbusiness/.

The Ways to Grow and Beyond committee provides technical assistance to farmers in southeast Indiana who wish to diversify. Committee members come from Purdue Extension, Historic Hoosier Hills Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), White River RC&D, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service, Small Business Development Center of Madison, Ind., USDA Cooperative Development Service, and Jennings County Growers.

To learn more about Ways to Grow, contact Ballard at (317) 462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu

Sources: Roy Ballard, (317) 462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu

Jerry Nelson, (812) 886-9582, jnelson@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Note to Journalists: Other farm-related story ideas are available on Purdue Agriculture's Farming 2007 Web site at http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/farming

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