Agriculture and Natural Resources

Complied by Diane Turner - Hamilton County Educator

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March 4-5, 2016 - Registration Now Open

“Nearly half of Indiana farms are less than 50 acres, and we have seen an increasing number of small and medium-sized farms established in the past several years,” said James Wolff, Extension educator in Allen County and conference organizer. “The conference is an opportunity to gain practical knowledge about vital production and marketing topics, as well as to build relationships with other farmers, vendors and experts.”

Registration is now open for Purdue Extension’s 2016 Indiana Small Farm Conference, March 4-5 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds. The conference is designed for anyone interested in or currently operating a small or medium-sized farm.

Conference sessions are organized by themes. On March 4, presenters will focus on restoration agriculture, vegetable production, flower farming and farm financing. On March 5, topics will be livestock production, on-farm energy and equipment, fresh produce and farm management.

The Purdue Extension Small Farms Team is offering a series of daylong pre-conference workshops March 3. Topics are direct marketing, woodland management, starting and sustaining a small farm in Indiana and hops production. Participants will also have an opportunity to tour This Old Farm, a sustainable beef and pork production facility in Colfax, about 20 miles southeast of Lafayette.

Cost is $60 to attend a pre-conference workshop and $120 for the conference itself. Those who register before Feb.14 pay $50 for a workshop and $100 for the conference.

The Hendricks County Fairgrounds are at 1900 E. Main St., Danville. Registration is available through Purdue’s The Education Store. For more information, click here.

Purdue Poultry Encourage Growers to Keep Birds Warm, Dry in Winter

Producers who raise pastured poultry and want to maintain egg production this winter should keep their birds as warm and dry as possible, experts from the Purdue University College of Agriculture say.

A good first step is to provide indoor accommodations for the flock. "Producers should insulate housing, provide heat, make sure water is kept unfrozen and keep hens inside on extremely cold days to avoid frostbitten combs and wattles," said Patricia Hester, professor of animal sciences.

Providing shelter has a number of benefits, said Delaware County Extension educator Michael O'Donnell, a pastured poultry producer. "The most important thing for laying birds when it's cold out is to have an area where the birds can get out of the elements so they can get to dry bedding, be able to roost up and not have a draft running through their area," he said.

Click here to the entire AgAnswers article.

Purdue Agricultural Economics Report - 2016 Ag Economy Outlook

We have an exciting new option this year! You can now watch short video summaries of 2016 outlook articles direct from the authors or choose to read the print version by following the following link. Click here for the December 2015 edition

In this issue:

  • The U.S. economy looks favorable for 2016. The FED seems ready to increase interest rates. How much could they increase in the coming year?
  • Ag export sales have fallen sharply for both grains and animal products. Our forecast says export sales will weaken again in 2016. That may put downward pressure on farm incomes. Find out why?
  • Is the new Farm Bill doing its job? One objective was to have larger government farm payments when farm incomes decline. Farm incomes are down. So, is the Farm Bill doing its job?
  • Are you interested in the 2016 outlook for dairy, hogs, cattle, grains? We have an outlook article for that!
  • Read about prospects for 2016 crop margins in our just updated Purdue Crop Cost and Return Guide. Compare your costs to these budgets. Learn how input costs and returns have changed over 10 years.
  • These tight economic times have the financial position of many Ag firms headed in reverse. Learn about the importance of managing cash flow and be sure to catch our tips for working with your lender!
  • Land values and cash rents: Purdue says they started down in 2015. What about 2016? Which way? How Much?

Upcoming Training Events and Opportunities

Click on the link below to view all the PARP programs listed across the state.

Farm Cash Rent Program - January 15, 2016 - Lebanon, IN

Purdue Extension educators Curt Emanuel in Boone County, Diane Turner in Hamilton County, and Angie Tilton in Hendricks County are pleased to offer a hands on workshop to help farmers evaluate their current situation and to provide farmers with some tools available to assess whether they can afford to rent ground at a loss and for how long.

Under the current Agriculture Economic environment, it is unlikely that farmers will be able to rent ground at prices which will allow them to make a profit, at least in the short term. However profit is not the only factor in deciding whether to rent farm ground or not. In particular, maintaining control of ground so you have it when things get better is a major factor.

Purdue Ag Economists Jim Mintert and Michael Langemeier will talk with farmers about assessing their financial status and their capacity to rent ground. Feel free to bring a laptop and we will help you to load the tools and then walk you through the spreadsheets after the main program.

Be sure to register today for the workshop scheduled on Friday, January 15 from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Boone County Fairgrounds in the Farm Bureau Community Building. Call 765-482-0750 to register.

About Diane Turner

Diane is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for Hamilton County, Indiana. Her responsibilities include support for commercial agriculture producers, homeowners, and coordinating the Master Gardener Program. Feel free to call or email her with questions.
It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action Institution. This material may be available in alternative formats.