Agriculture News

January 19, 2018

Get a jump on spring planting at Indiana Small Farm Conference

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – As much of the Midwest shivered during a mid-January blast of arctic cold temperatures, organizers of the 2018 Indiana Small Farm Conference and trade show were looking forward to the warm sun of spring.

“Planting season will be here before you know it,” said Michael O’Donnell, Purdue Extension organic and diversified agriculture educator and one of the event organizers. “If you are a beginning farmer, small-scale or diversified producer, attending the Indiana Small Farm Conference is the perfect opportunity to learn about new trends in production, marketing and other vital topics before the 2018 growing season gets underway.”

The conference is March 1-3 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds in Danville. Registration is now underway on the conference website at

O’Donnell said there was still time to register for the conference at a reduced, early-bird rate. For those who sign up through Feb. 5, cost is $75 for one day, $135 for two days and $190 for three days. Admission for children age 12 and younger is $20, $35 and $45. After Feb. 5, the cost will be $90, $162 and $228.

“It’s especially important to sign up early if you are interested in participating in one of the daylong workshops that open the conference,” he noted. “Space is filling up fast.”

The daylong workshops are offered March 1. Topics include Regenerative Farming with Livestock and Agroforestry Systems, Farm Viability and Financial Management, and On-Farm Food Safety for Fruit and Vegetable Growers: Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training. There will also be an off-site farm tour focusing on four-season vegetable production using hoop houses and other methods.

Educational sessions March 2-3 will cover topics ranging from urban agriculture, crop diversification, disease management, weed control and specialty crops to farm finances, marketing and employee relations.

The March 2 keynote panel will include:

* Greg Gunthorp, operator Gunthorp Farms in LaGrange, discussing small farms, small processors, rural development, sustainable operations and antibiotic-free animals.

* Martha Hoover, owner of Patachou Inc., an Indianapolis-based group of 12 locally-sourced restaurants, and founder of the Patachou Foundation to provide healthy meals to Indianapolis children living in a food-insecure environment.

* Chef Tyler Herald of Patachou, Inc. Herald is responsible for menu development, ingredient sourcing and overall kitchen management for all Patachou locations.

The keynote speaker for March 3 is Chris Blanchard, host of the Farmer to Farmer      

podcast. Blanchard has more than 25 years of experience as a farmer and educator and provides consulting and coaching for farmers, food businesses and institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

More than 50 vendors are expected for the trade show, demonstrating products and services specially designed for small-scale and beginning farmers.

“This is the most comprehensive agenda we’ve offered,” O’Donnell said. “And of course participants will have numerous opportunities to network with Extension educators, other farmers, expert speakers and vendors.”

For more information, visit the Indiana Small Farm Conference website at Follow the conference on Twitter and Instagram at @SmallFarmPurdue or on Facebook at @PurdueExtensionSmallFarms, #PurdueSmallFarms. 

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-8415, 

Source: James Wolff, 260-481-6826,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Shari Finnell, Manager/Media Relations and Public Information,  
Agriculture News Page

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