Indiana Small Farm Conference Committee

 The Purdue Small Farms Team formed several years ago to support the growing number of small and alternative farming operations. The committee is a collaborative effort, engaging researchers, educators, and farmers to help foster this diverse community.

The committee meets a few times throughout the year to discuss current and future initiatives addressing small and alternative farming operations.

One major initiative the committee has been addressing is the creation of an annual conference to bring together farmers, educators and researchers to create a supportive network for those engaged in this field and an opportunity to share knowledge. In 2013, we had the first Indiana Small Farm Conference in Dannville, which had over 200 attendees, 5 tracks, and 45 sessions. We look forward to continuing this annual event, and hope it will continue to provide a chance to build this community.

Member - Small Farm Conference Committee

Small Farms Team Coordinator & Extension Educator

Michael O'Donnell
Department/County:  Organic and Diversified Agriculture

Areas of Interest: Organic agriculture, soil health, cover crops, vegetable production, pastured poultry and eggs, agronomy

Michael O’Donnell is the Small Farm Team coordinator and Indiana Small Farm Conference chair. He is the Purdue Extension Organic and Diversified Agriculture Educator. Originally from West Lafayette, IN, he earned B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Purdue Extension in 2012, he worked at Moody Meats, Lone Pine Farms in Montgomery County, IN. He and his family operate Pinehurst Farm, a small diversified farm in Daleville, where they raise vegetables, eggs, and pastured poultry.

Address:  100 W. Main Street Muncie, IN 47305
Phone:  (765) 284-8414

Assistant Program Leader, DFFS

Tamara Benjamin
Address:  625 Agriculture Mall Drive West Lafayette, IN 47907
Phone:  (765) 496-1930

Indiana SARE Coodinator & Extension Educator

Roy Ballard
Department/County:  Hancock County & Indiana SARE Coordinator

Roy Ballard is the Purdue Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources for Hancock County. For the past 8 years and for Floyd County for the 14 years prior to that, Roy has had the pleasure of working with a very diverse clientele from farmers producing tobacco, corn, soybeans, hog and cattle to those with niche markets in vegetables, fruit, agritourism, mushrooms, flowers, botanicals to name just a few.

During his Extension career Roy has dedicated much of his time to assisting small farm owners who desire to diversify their existing operations with new enterprises and new marketing systems and with beginning farmers seeking ways to keep their acreage productive, profitable and personally rewarding.

Increasing access by the consumer to Indiana grown and value added products is a priority of Roy’s work in Extension.

Roy holds a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education from Purdue University and a Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Indiana University. He has used this training to instruct Vocational Horticulture students for 12 years and to help farmers and other rural landowners to remain sustainable in the face of substantial change in the rural community.

Roy also serves as the Indiana Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Coordinator. In that role he works to increase awareness of Indiana Educators and the public on current and emerging issues in and pertaining to Sustainable Agriculture through support of related workshops, webinars, conferences, tours, field day and other means of educational outreach. He also provides support to farmers and others who are interested in seeking appropriate sources of grants and loans to start, expand or diversify a farm enterprise.

Roy is a beekeeper and a gardener in his time away from the office.

Address:  802 North Apple Street Greenfield, IN 46140-1338

Extension Educator

Amy Thompson
Department/County:  Monroe County

Areas of Interest: Beginning farmers, fruits, vegetables and season extension

Amy Thompson has been a Small Farms team member since 2006. She enjoys working one on one with farmers and helping them connect to resources and addressing issues on their farms. She has coordinated a number of training events on season extension, soils, flowers and fruit and vegetable production.

Address:  3400 South Walnut Street Bloomington, IN 47401
Phone:  (812) 349-2575
Andrew Westfall
Department/County:  White County
Address:  12 N 25 E, Reynolds, IN 47980
Phone:  (219) 984-5115
Ashley Holmes
Department/County:  Montgomery County
Address:  400 Parke Avenue, Crawfordsville, IN 47933
Phone:  (765) 364-6363
Diane Turner
Department/County:  Hamilton County
Emily Toner
Department/County:  Marion County
Address:  Discovery Hall Ste. 201, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46205
Phone:  (317) 275-9269
James Wolff
Department/County:  Allen County
Address:  4001 Crescent Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46835
Phone:  (260) 481-6826
Jodee Ellett
Department/County:  Purdue Extension

Jodee Ellett is the Local Foods Coordinator for Purdue Extension. She was hired in the beginning of 2013 to coordinate issues pertaining to local foods. She addresses campus issues such as creating a Purdue Food Hub and presenting to classes interested in learning more about local food. She is developing educational and outreach resources for Extension including a website, workshops, trainings and tours to support county offices and Educators. Jodee works with state-wide partners such as the Indiana State Departments of Agriculture, Health, Education, and the Indiana Cooperative Development center on programs such as Farm to School, Good Agricultural Practices and Indiana Grown. She is available to work with growers and buyers of local food, but she also works with post-harvest businesses to address issues in processing, packaging and storage of local food. Her main focus is to rebuild the local food system in Indiana, providing hands-on community development, programming, education and outreach for individuals, groups and communities looking to coordinate their local food initiatives and take advantage of this opportunity.

Karen Mitchell
Department/County:  Tippecanoe County
Address:  3150 Sagamore Pkwy S, Lafayette, IN 47905
Phone:  (765) 474-0793
Phil Cox
Department/County:  Vermillion County
Address:  703 W Park St, Cayuga, IN 47928
Phone:  (765) 492-5335
Sarah Hanson
Department/County:  Johnson County

Areas of Interest: Animal behavior and sustainable farm culture

Sarah Hanson works on the website content and marketing for the Small Farms Conference.

Address:  484 North Morton Street Franklin, IN 46131
Steve Engleking
Department/County:  Lagrange County

Areas of Interest: Small and beginning farmers

Steve Engleking is the Purdue Extension Educator of Agriculture and Natural Resources in LaGrange County where he has served since 1995. LaGrange County is the center of the second largest Amish settlement in the United States with approximately 19,000 Amish residents in the county. LaGrange County has 2419 farms (#1 in Indiana) with an average size of 84 acres. In addition, the county has the most farms that are certified organic with 52% of all certified organic farms in Indiana. As a result, Steve has focused a majority of his work in the area of small farms and has been instrumental in developing a “beginning farmer” educational program for Indiana small farmers. He has helped to establish and also co-chairs the Purdue Extension Indiana Small Farm Conference. Steve enjoys teaching and helping people improve their lives through his Extension work.

Address:  114 W. Michigan Street, Suite 10 LaGrange, IN 46761
Phone:  (260) 499-6334

Purdue Extension, 615 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-8491

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