Indiana and Region
Technical Assistance for Production
Purdue University Beginning Farmer Website – visit this website to find a tremendous number of national, regional and Purdue Extension websites, publications and resources on farm production. Technical assistance levels from beginner to advanced farmer. Information on podcasts, Veteran farmer programs, and upcoming Purdue Extension events are available from this site.
Natural Resources Conservation Service - NRCS can develop a conservation plan, a roadmap for identifying concerns and practices to address them. Financial assistance is also available to help pay for conservation practices. Additional benefits are available to Small and Organic Farms; Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning and Limited Resource Farmers; and Military Veteran Farmers. Ensuring productive lands in harmony with a healthy environment is our priority. Indiana NRCS employees service every county out of the USDA Service Centers, and work closely with the local county Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Indiana Soil and Water Conservation – districts in all 92 counties serve private landowners, helping with conservation and good land stewardship.
Farmer Organizations and Conferences
The National Young Farmers Coalition – Indiana Chapter
Purdue University Extension Indiana Small Farm Conference (every year, early March)
Purdue University Extension Horticultural Congress and Trade Show (every year, mid-February)
Fruits and Vegetables - If you grow produce and sell to ‘wholesale’ buyers, such as a restaurant, food service or grocery, you need to register with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Food Protection Program. The ISDH also recommends you take the Food Safety Training program offered through Purdue University Extension.
Home-based Vendors (HBV) - This presentation outlines market terminology and home-based vendor foods that can be sold direct to consumer. More information about the ISDH regulation of farmers markets can be found here. This is an overview from when the HBV Rule was passed in 2009.
Scales - At some farmers’ markets, you must have your scale inspected and tagged each year by your local Weights and Measures officer. Learn if your market requires this, what scales are allowable, and who can inspect your equipment.
Raw Milk - Purdue University Extension publication on Raw Milk Frequently Asked Questions.
Wild Mushrooms – Must be inspected every farmers market day for correct identification. The ISDH has a list of certified inspectors.
Fish and shellfish – Learn more about marketing your fish and shellfish as well as the regulations on sales of fish in Indiana. At farmers’ markets, fish must be sold live to the consumer from a tank.
Invasive plants that may not be allowed for sale at farmers markets maintained by the Indiana Invasive Species Council.
Business and Marketing
Create your business plan using the INVenture Business Planner from Purdue University Extension. This online tool will ask questions about your business, much like online tax accounting tools. In the end it will create a draft business plan that you can download. You can store your information online and return to the business planner to make your plan more complete.
Horticultural Marketing – Purdue University resource for farmers market price reports and access to specific technical assistance for market growers.
Everyone in Indiana has access to the Indiana Small Business Development Center and the advisors and resources they offer. Find your nearest office and schedule an appointment to discuss your farm business plan or questions you might have about finances and business planning. The US Small Business Administration has a great website on what a business plan is and the structural components along with different styles and functions.
If you are considering forming a cooperative of farmers, contact the Indiana Cooperative Development Center for technical assistance, network building and annual conferences that address issues of the day for cooperative businesses.
Point of sale information is an excellent way to help educate consumers on new fruits and vegetables to help make the sale. The Purdue Extension FoodLink is a great resource of tools and online information for you and your shoppers at market.
The Indiana Grown marketing program is free for any farmer or market to join. Supported by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, it is a great marketing tool for your farm business, enabling you to connect with buyers and to increase brand awareness among market shoppers.
The Indiana Office of Tourism Development supports destination marketing for farms and food businesses that support locally grown and raised foods. Learn more about the Honest to Goodness program and the database of information on their site.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is a tremendous resource for farmers who sell in local and regional markets. The Local and Regional Food Sector site will link you to their extensive resources.
The National Farmers Union Beginning Farmer Institute develops leadership and farm management skills in beginning farmers and encourages them to apply those abilities in their community organizations. Farmers Union employs educational sessions, business tools, and professional speakers in a structured setting that includes on-farm experiences and tours of cooperatives.
The American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers program includes both men and women between the ages of 18-35. The objective of the Young Farmers & Ranchers program is to provide leadership in building a more effective Farm Bureau to preserve our individual freedoms and expand our opportunities in agriculture.
Farmers Market Resources
Farmers Market Coalition – great online resources for markets, vendors and others to learn more about best practices. Membership available, but not required to access resources.
Michigan Farmers Market Association – online resources and annual trainings for market managers on management and SNAP food assistance programming.
Farm Commons is a national resource where farms can access knowledge and legal services specialized for local food farmer needs. Farm Commons also fosters the discussions and connections that build a strong legal backbone for the local food farm community. Visit their site to create a custom legal to-do list for your farm!
If you are concerned about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and how it affects your farm, visit the Purdue University Extension website, SafeProduceIN. This FSMA flow chart is a great way to find out if your farm business is affected by this federal and state regulation.
The USDA has organized the funding available along the local food supply chain into this PDF with links to more information for the grant and loan programs. This is an excellent, visual way to find out if there is a federal grant program for you and your situation.
Prosperity Indiana is a member-based organization that advocates for particular topics at the state and national level. Visit their site to find out what their priorities are and find your elected official’s name and contact information for your district.
Hoosier Farmers Markets – Association of direct marketers including: farmers, farmers markets, farm stands, agritourism operations and on farm markets. Fee-based membership to access resources.
The Indiana Farm to School Network is a resource for farmers, schools, distributors and educators to connect and build resources for Indiana schools to purchase food that is locally produced and connect students with the farmers and information about how and where food is grown. Learn more on this website to build another local market for your farm business.
Indiana has a number of Food Councils and they may work to support local farmers and food businesses. Connect with them to grow your markets, or to find ways that you can improve the local food system.