sealPurdue Ag and Natural Resource Briefs

June 1998

Promote your farm with a good resume

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Well-maintained farmsteads speak for themselves, but farmers are finding that's not enough when they're trying to impress a potential landlord who lives miles away. Farmers in that position probably need to write resumes, says Purdue University agricultural economist Craig Dobbins.

"Farmers have always promoted themselves, but they did it by making the fields look good and mowing the roadsides," Dobbins says. "As agriculture has become more industrialized, and distances between farmers and landlords have gotten bigger, there's more need for them to promote themselves on paper."

More than half of Indiana cropland is farmed by renters, and the percentage is rising. That's true across the Midwest. To rent more ground, farmers often must impress either absentee landlords who live hundreds of miles away or the farm management agencies who represent them.

Dobbins suggests that farmers start now to prepare resumes for next fall, because it could take a while to do the job right.

"Writing a resume may sound easy, but it's not when you have to get information from your head onto a piece of paper," Dobbins says. "Expect to go through several drafts."

Your resume might include:

  • A mission statement -- Tell where you are headed and what makes your farm operation unique.
  • Objectives -- List your environmental and economic goals.
  • Experience -- Tell how long you've farmed, where and how many acres. Describe off-farm experience. List any work with special technologies or specialty crops.
  • Market strategy -- If you work with a market adviser, say so. Describe your strategy and give average prices you've received, if they're above the average for your area.
  • Equipment -- List major pieces of equipment you own.
  • General biographical information -- Tell where you grew up. Give your educational background. Describe your family. List membership in community organizations.
  • References--You don't need to give names, but offer to supply names on request.

When you've finished writing, have other people look it over.

"Local ag lenders, Extension educators, machinery dealers or other people who run ag-related businesses know what to look for and can give you good feedback," Dobbins says.

And when you've got that final, polished piece, don't overlook other opportunities to trot it out.

"These documents can go in with loan packages or to prospective business partners to show that you approach your work in a professional manner," Dobbins says. "After you leave the room, they still have something that helps them remember you."

CONTACT: Dobbins, (765) 494-9041; e-mail,

Purdue Agriculture prepares for Farm Progress Show

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- With the 1998 Farm Progress Show only four months away, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service specialists have the foundation in place for the agricultural extravaganza.

An estimated 300,000 to 350,000 visitors will travel to Tipton County for the three-day event Sept. 29-Oct. 1 near Windfall, Ind. One of the largest farm shows in the country with 600 vendors, the Farm Progress Show is an 80-acre tent city that suddenly appears each year in the middle of Midwest farm fields. The show is organized by Farm Progress Companies.

The Purdue presence will include an animal sciences tent, a mock house, agricultural production and research exhibits, and a career tent for students considering college.

The production agriculture highlight will be a precision farming exhibit that incorporates a geographical information system, soil tests and other variables in a computer-aided crop management system. The project is led by Purdue agronomy professor Lee Schweitzer, who has been collecting data in the Farm Progress fields most of the year.

"We'll be able to talk about what works, what doesn't work and what needs work in precision agriculture," said David Petritz, Extension agriculture and natural resources program leader.

There also will be evaluation plots for soybean cyst nematode resistance, biotechnology exhibits and a stage for crop marketing presentations and other topics.

Academic advisors from the schools of Agriculture, Consumer and Family Sciences, Veterinary Medicine and university admissions will be available to talk about careers in food and fiber industries as well as majors and fields of study at Purdue.

The Breaking New Ground Resource Center will use a scale model farm to demonstrate barriers and solutions for farmers with disabilities. An aquaculture fish tank and a butterfly house also will be on display.

Consumer and Family Sciences specialists will have a 24-by-20 foot house with exhibits on retirement financing, selecting the right day care, home security and nutrition information.

Farm animals will be on display at the Purdue animal sciences tent. The Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the School of Veterinary Medicine also will have displays.

New this year is a walk-through tour and seminar where Purdue forestry specialists will show landowners how to get the most out of forest, both for timber and wildlife. The tour will take place on a privately owned woodlot adjoining the show site. Buses will take participants from the Purdue tents to the tour.

CONTACTS: Petritz, (765) 494-8494, e-mail,; Schweitzer, (765) 494-4789

Data base of disaster information available on Web

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Information about how to prepare for and recover from natural disasters is available on the Internet through a new program by land-grant universities.

The Extension Disaster Education Network, or EDEN, is a multistate effort to help county officials improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. EDEN has established a Web site,, which has information on a variety of specific topics, such as:

Flood cleanup information.

  • Preparing homes for common disasters.
  • Safe food handling during power outages.
  • Emergency management for business and industry.
  • Helping children cope with disaster.
  • Checklist for people with mobility problems.
  • Applying for federal disaster relief.
  • Agricultural problems and how to solve them.

In addition, the Web site has links to major disaster resources on the Internet, such as the Web sites for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and the National Hazards Center.

Pat Skinner, Extension associate in environmental programs at Louisiana State University and a national coordinator for EDEN, says the program grew out of the need for information during the Midwestern floods of 1993. "It began as a regional group to share information, and it has become a national venture. Our purpose is to share ideas and information about disaster mitigation and recovery."

Skinner says the Web site can be used to find state Extension office disaster educators, not just published information. "The state Extension agent can help locate useful information for the citizen and can help interpret information retrieved from out of state as to its local applicability," she says.

According to Steve Cain, communications specialist at Purdue University's Department of Agricultural Communication and co-coordinator of the EDEN project in Indiana, EDEN is designed to reduce the impact of disasters by coordinating information available from various land-grant universities and putting it into the hands of people who can make a difference.

"When a disaster strikes a community, people need information right now," Cain said. "It may be information on how to keep food safe, how to care for pets or livestock, or how to reclaim their home. EDEN was produced by an association of land-grant universities that can provide that type of information based on research. In the past, we've relied on overnight delivery or faxing of information to key people in a community. Today, those people can access critical information via the EDEN Web site."

Cain says that although the EDEN data base was created for use by Cooperative Extension Service educators and agents, it was put on the Web so that it would be available to anyone. "There are many people in communities -- firefighters, emergency management personnel, animal care providers -- who can benefit from this data base of information," he said.

CONTACTS: Skinner, (504) 388-6999, e-mail,; Cain, (765) 494-8410; e-mail,

Compiled by Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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