sealPurdue News

March 3, 2000

'Ages of Agriculture' traces Indiana farm history

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Indiana's agricultural heritage is as rich as its soil. And for one memorable evening at Purdue University, the state's farming history takes center stage.

"The Ages of Agriculture: A Millennium Celebration," a one-hour dramatic performance chronicling Hoosier agriculture, will be presented at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. The program is free and open to the public.

Judy O'Bannon, wife of Gov. Frank O'Bannon, and Victor L. Lechtenberg, Purdue's dean of agriculture, co-host "Ages of Agriculture."

Mrs. O’Bannon is chairwoman of Hoosier Millennium, a statewide initiative marking Indiana's march into the 21st century. "Ages of Agriculture" is among a series of cultural events commemorating the millennial change.

"It is a fertile soil and abundant waters that first brought people to Indiana," Mrs. O'Bannon said. "This evening will help us consider that strong agricultural past and consider our role for generations to come."

"Ages of Agriculture" traces Indiana farming from its beginning a few hundred years ago to today's high-tech practices, and beyond. The program is broken up into a collection of vignettes, each highlighting a different moment in time.

The cast includes Indiana agriculture leaders and Purdue ag professors and students, all dressed in period garb.

Tom Turpin, entomology professor, is a narrator. He said "Ages of Agriculture" packs a lot of history into 60 minutes.

"We'll probably focus on the pre-European colonization here and what was going on with the Native Americans, and look at agriculture on the frontier," Turpin said. While the frontier life is often romanticized in movies and books, frontier farming was little more than a "glorified subsistence," Turpin said.

Turpin said he is excited about the educational thrust of "Ages of Agriculture." He said too few Hoosiers understand what agriculture means to Indiana. "Few of us appreciate the breadth and depth of our agricultural heritage. That's one of the reasons I got involved," he said.

Purdue agriculture student Abby Dougherty is featured in the show's finale. She'll address the future of farming. Dougherty said Hoosiers of all ages will enjoy "Ages of Agriculture."

"We should be proud of agriculture and what we've accomplished this past millennium," said Dougherty, a sophomore from Whiteland, Ind.

Along with Hoosier Millennium and Purdue, "Ages of Agriculture" sponsors and participating organizations include the Center for Agricultural Science and Heritage, Dow Agro Sciences, the Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Livestock Breeders Association, Indiana State Dairy Association, the State Fair Agricultural Building and Indiana Pork Producers Association.

Sources: Tom Turpin, (765) 494-4568;

Christy Denault, (765) 494-9505;

Writer: Steve Leer (765) 494-8415;

Other sources:

Jonathan Swain, Office of First Lady Judy O'Bannon (317) 931-3077;

Abby Dougherty (765) 463-9602;

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