Note: Online registration deadline is February 27. After February 27th, anyone registering as a walk in will not be included in the meal count for lunch. There will still be a registration cost but no meal will be provided.

Indiana Small Farm Conference

The 2020 conference at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds & Conference Complex, Danville, Indiana begins with a series of daylong workshops on Thursday, March 5. Two workshops are being offered: Livestock and Poultry Production 101: A Beginner’s Guide and Finding Balance and Growing Your Farm: Holistic Goal Planning for Small Farms,  and two off-site tours: Agriculture in Urban Environments (sold out) and Take the Next Step to a Livestock Enterprise.

Breakout sessions on March 6-7 will cover topics ranging from vegetable and livestock production to farm management and marketing. Participants will have an opportunity to network with Extension educators, expert speakers, other farmers and vendors. Check back for a complete list of speakers.

The Small Farm Trade Show takes place on March 6-7 where more than 50 vendors will showcase their products and services. The Small Farm Poster Session on March 7 will feature research and programs on local foods, diversified agriculture, and small farm production and education.

Lunch is included with your registration.  Catering will be provided by Lali Hess and the wonderful staff at The Juniper Spoon, using ingredients sourced from Indiana farms and food businesses.

We have booked a limited block of rooms for attendees at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, Avon and the Baymont Inn & Suites, Plainfield.

The 2020 Small Farm Conference program is available here. Hard copies will be available to attendees at the conference

The 2020 Indiana Small Farm Conference is generously sponsored by:

Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Champion Sponsor

North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE), Platinum Sponsor

Indiana University-Sustainable Food Systems Science, Platinum Sponsor

Indiana Farmers Union, Platinum Sponsor

Indiana Farm Bureau, Gold Sponsor Ecocert ICO, Silver Sponsor
Purdue Online, College of Agriculture, Silver Sponsor
Co-Alliance, Bronze Sponsor Safe Produce Indiana, Bronze Sponsor
Vermont Compost, Bronze Sponsor Store It Cold, LLC, Seedling Sponsor

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Find out about our different sponsorship levels.

Thursday, March 5 – Workshops

8:00-9:00: Conference Registration

9:00-5:00 with Networking Luncheon at Noon

Workshop 1: Livestock and Poultry Production 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you interested in raising livestock or poultry of any size, from small scale and 4-H to large production? Livestock 101: A Beginner’s Guide will cover aspects of livestock and poultry production in order to raise healthy livestock and poultry for personal use or as a commercial business. During this workshop, you will learn about animal nutrition, reproduction, and well-being; the purpose of different species; marketing; budgeting; processing; laws and regulations; resources for further knowledge on raising livestock.

Workshop 2: Finding Balance and Growing Your Farm: Holistic Goal Planning for Small Farms

Have you ever found yourself in a mid-season crunch, scrambling to make a decision due to changes in weather, crops, or markets? Farmers make decisions that affect their businesses all year long, but when decision-making fatigue sets in, decisions don’t always align with the individual’s or farm’s goals. Whether you are a beginning or established farmer, developing and adapting your goals is important to the long-term success of your farm. In this interactive session, you will begin digging deeper into your own vision for your business by evaluating personal values and goals, and how they relate to your farm business so that you can improve daily decision-making effectiveness.

Farmers Market Forum-2020: We are pleased to join in meeting space partnership for the Farmers Market Forum-2020, sponsored by the Indiana Cooperative Development Center, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana State Dept. of Health WIC, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Grown Program, and Purdue Extension. More information can be found here or by reaching out to Deb Trocha ( or 317692-7707). Register HERE for this event. Please note that this event is separate from the Indiana Small Farm Conference, and registration does not allow access to the Small Farm Conference events.


Thursday, March 5 – Farm Tours (space is limited; dress appropriately as tours will be outside during certain portions)

Tour 1: Agriculture in Urban Environments

This tour is sold out. Visit a variety of urban agriculture enterprises in Marion County. Learn about their products, production methods, challenges and future plans. You’ll hear from farmers with a variety of backgrounds about what has made their operation viable in the urban growing spaced. Sites that are being planned:  South Circle Farm managed by the Mad Farmers Collective; CRG Grow, Cunningham Restaurant’s own greenhouse; and Garcia’s Gardens.

Note: this tour will depart from and return to the Marion County Extension Office. Please wear closed-toed shoes, and dress appropriately for adverse weather conditions.

Tour 2: Take the Next Step to a Livestock Enterprise

Join this tour and gain a perspective of how This Old Farm and Dandy Breeze Creamery developed and began their processing business of livestock products. Throughout the tour, participants will learn about utilizing marketing skills to engage various clientele, and see how value-added products can benefit your farm revenue. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to obtain an understanding of how these businesses utilize their products attributes to reach consumer demand. The tour will also include discussion on livestock production practices. Participants will also have a chance to tour the facilities and farms with time to ask questions.

Note: this tour will depart from and return to the conference complex, and is limited to 24 attendees. Please wear closed-toed shoes, and dress appropriately for adverse weather conditions.

Friday, March 6

Keynote SpeakerJean-Martin Fortier

Keynote Address: How Small Farms are Changing the World in a Big Way. What if the agriculture of the future was small-scale, ecological, nourishing for communities and providing a life of meaning and pride for the farmer? What if all we needed to feed the world was food grown with care, by and for people who care? And what role can you play in this global movement? In this moving talk, you will discover inspiring stories and solutions from people who are making a difference, all over the world.

We are excited to announce that our keynote speaker on Friday, March 6 will be Jean-Martin Fortier, The Market Gardener. Jean-Martin Fortier (JM) is a farmer, educator and best-selling author specializing in organic and biologically intensive vegetable production.

His award-winning book, The Market Gardener, has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to re-imagine ecological human-scale food systems. His message is one of empowerment in order to educate, encourage and inspire people into pursuing a farming career and lifestyle. Along with his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches, Jean-Martin is the founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized 10-acre micro-farm in Quebec, Canada.




8:00-8:45 | Conference Registration

8:45-9:45 | Breakout Sessions

10:00-11:00 | Breakout Sessions

11:00-12:00 | Trade Show Break

12:00-1:30 | Networking Luncheon

1:30-2:30 Breakout Sessions

2:45-3:45Breakout Sessions

3:45-4:45 | Trade Show Break

4:45-6:00 | Keynote Session

6:00-7:30 | Evening Reception

Trade Show is open from 11:00am-7:30pm

Saturday, March 7

Keynote SpeakerDarby Simpson

Our keynote speaker will be Darby Simpson of Simpson Family Farm, located in Martinsville, Indiana.

Living on his family’s seventh generation farm, Darby began his own farming enterprise in 2007 after reading “Pastured Poultry Profits” by Joel Salatin. Over the past 13 years, he’s grown the operation, which he started with less than $1,000.00, to one that has produced as many as 3,000 broilers, 125 turkeys, 60 hogs, and 20 beef per year. In 2018, the farm produced and marketed over $200,000 of product including poultry, pork, beef and hay using less than 75 acres.

In his Keynote Session, Living Your Farming Dream: From Imagination to Reality, Darby will share what began as a dream after reading a few books by Joel Salatin quickly became a “side hustle” with only 50 broiler chicks and less than $1,000 to invest. Within three years, this new found business grew into a full-time occupation that eventually produced over $2000,000 in direct market sales during 2018. While his story is inspirational, Darby will also share with you some realities about farming full-time and running your own business. And as Darby has personally learned over the past year, it is also important to be flexible with your expectations and be willing to redefine them when life happens.

Learn more about Darby and the Simpson Family Farm at:



8:00-8:45 | Conference Registration

8:45-9:45 | Breakout Sessions

10:00-11:00 | Breakout Sessions

10:00-12:00 | Trade Show Break and Small Farm Poster Session

12:00-1:15 | Networking Luncheon

1:15-2:15 | Keynote Sessions

2:30-3:30Breakout Sessions

3:30-4:30| Breakout Sessions

Trade Show is open from 8:30am-1:00pm


For specific description information regarding our Youth Track Sessions, please access the schedule here.

During the Youth Track session, the Small Farm Conference welcomes Michael Claycamp for the inaugural Youth Keynote address. Michael is the owner of Aquapon, LLC. During his keynote, Using your 4-H/FFA Experiences to Create a Career for Yourself, Michael will share how he developed his business plan, and the goals he set and achieved to create his own business. Join us in the Conference Rooms on Saturday, Marcy 7 at 1:15 pm. Learn more about Aquapon, LLC at

Value Added Food Safety Focus Groups: Research focus groups participation for produce growers to share thoughts about value-adding business and home-based vendor law during these times on both days. Qualified participants will receive $100 as an incentive for participation. Join us in the Conference Room F at 10 a.m to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Contact Han Chen at to learn more and sign up.