Indiana Farm Management Tour
Hamilton and Madison Counties
June 28 and 29, 2006

Wednesday June 28, 2006

1) Smith Family Farm ─ Madison County ─ Registration at the farm beginning at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time [EDST]). Interview at 1:00 p.m. Mini-tours starting at 1:45 p.m. on developing and marketing an agri-tourism enterprise; dairy replacement heifers as a specialized livestock enterprise; and pumpkin cropping in Indiana.

The Smiths have combined their location on the rural-urban fringe with family member expertise in agriculture and education to create a complementary ─ and growing ─ enterprise in agricultural tourism. The educational agri-tourism enterprise has provided a means of rewarding family members’ entrepreneurial and education skills at a competitive level. This is thanks to past decisions by the management, for whom careful assessment of returns to available assets, including personnel skills, has been a guiding principle for enterprise changes. Learn how the Smiths converted an 80-year tradition of milking to a profitable dairy replacement heifer operation and used the knowledge gained from a small agri-tourism-related pumpkin patch to expand pumpkin production into a large alternative crop enterprise.

2) Flanders A-Maizing Grain, Inc.; F & L Farms, Inc. ─ Hamilton County ─ Interview at 3:00 p.m. (EDST). Mini-tours starting at 3:40 p.m. on on-farm quality assurance; choosing the right business entity for your farm; and vertical tillage, residue management, and land leveling in no-till.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing farm operators is how to operate profitably in an environment where farmland values and rents continue to increase. Flanders A-Maizing Grain is a successful mid-sized, multi-generational family farm located near Indianapolis that has positioned itself strategically to address this challenge. During the visit, we’ll learn how the Flanders have chosen to pursue quality-focused production rather than quantity-focused production by having 100% of their acres under contract. Another challenge is planning for a child to return to the farm when there is limited opportunity to expand crop acreage. We’ll learn about how the Flanders planned Jim Jr.’s entry into the farm business.

3) Evening Program ─ Hamilton County

4-H Center ─ 7:00 p.m. (EDST). Visit with Heartland Growers, a family-owned wholesale green-house located in Westfield, IN that specializes in geraniums in the spring and poinsettias in the fall.

Thursday June 29, 2006

4) Shuter Sunset Farms, Inc. ─ Madison County ─ Registration at the farm begins at 8:00 a.m. (EDST). Mini-tours starting at 8:15 a.m. on strip tillage; beef production, financing swine production with FSA’s Loan Programs; contract production of popcorn and seed beans; precision farming technologies; and combine leasing.

Shuter Sunset Farms, Inc. has the appearance of a traditional operation, raising corn and soybeans and feeding cattle and hogs, the mainstays of Midwest agriculture. But a closer look reveals that innovation is being applied in each of these enterprises to add value, control costs, and reduce risks. Long-time no-tillers, Shuters are now using a strip tillage system in corn to accurately place nutrients, save soil, and increase yields. Inputs are applied precisely based on site-specific information. This year corn will replace some of the soybeans on Shuter land, prompting changes in combine ownership and their grain handling system. In their livestock operation, the Shuters have been active in promoting the Indiana Farm Fresh Beef program.Experience how the four families and three generations of Shuters keep all of these and other enterprises moving forward.

5) Rulon Enterprises ─ Hamilton County ─ Mini-tours starting at 10:45 a.m. (EDST) on the real economics of no-till; smart drainage; and preparing the next generation to be even more successful than you were.

Rulon Enterprises, a partnership, is the umbrella organization for seven different business units or profit centers. Every business unit has to make money, and every asset must pay its own way. The Rulons believe that there are tremendous opportunities in agriculture, but that the best profit opportunities in a farm business aren’t necessarily in those activities that large numbers of people can do well, like growing corn. According to the Rulons, one thing that really distinguishes them is their focus on business planning and analysis. This focus has led the partners to useful insights about what makes their business successful. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore their management philosophy. 

Lunch ─ Rulon Enterprises ─ 12 noon (EDST). Lunch may be purchased for $10 per person ($4 for children 3-12 years old). Please bring cash or a check (no credit cards). Pre-register for lunch (and an optional Beck’s Hybrids tour described below) by Wednesday June 21 by calling 1-888-EXT-INFO, or by calling Purdue Extension in either Hamilton County (317) 776-0854 or Madison County (765) 641-9514).

Dr. Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension Marketing Specialist, will update the market outlook for grains, soybeans, and livestock after lunch is served.    The tour of Rulon Enterprises ends at 2:30 p.m.

6) Join Purdue Extension Farm Management Specialist Alan Miller and Indiana Farm Management Association Director Steve Gauck for a post-farm-tour visit to Beck’s Hybrids at 3:00 p.m. (EDST).

Hotels in Noblesville, IN: Fairfield Inn, (317) 776-9900; Quality Inn, (317) 770-6772; There are also several Bed & Breakfast Inns and Campgrounds in the Noblesville area. For information call the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 776-8687. 

The 74th annual Indiana Farm Management Tour will be held rain or shine! Remember to pre-register for lunch on Thursday June 29 and the Beck’s Hybrids tour by June 21.

Map of Tour Sites