Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers: August 15-19
The Indiana State Fair is the greatest showcase of the past, present and future of Hoosier agriculture and the Indiana State Fair – Year of the Farmer presented by Dow AgroSciences proudly dedicates your Great Indiana State Fair to the farmers who make it happen.
To honor and celebrate those who have committed their lives to innovation in agriculture, each day of the 17-day Fair will highlight a different farmer/farm family who represents a different element of Indiana agriculture. These farmers, who were selected in collaboration with Indiana agriculture stakeholders, will be featured on daily highlight sheets for the Fair as well as participate in various events and exhibits all around the Fair.
We wanted to take the time to highlight these farmers and share a bit more about what makes them love agriculture. Take a moment and get to meet the Featured Farmers that will be at the Indiana State Fair from Aug.15 – Aug. 19.
Dean Stumler – Pumpkins, August 15th
Stumler Family (L-R): Clayton, Kelsey, Anita, Dean, Calvin (kid), Leslie, Nevin Stumler
Located in Fredericksburg, IN (Washington County), Stumler Family Farms is owned and operated by Dean Stumler, his wife Anita and their and children Nevin, Kelsey, Clayton, and Calvin. Along with corn and soybeans, Stumler Family Farms specializes in producing Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins. Each pumpkin that leaves Stumlers is marked with a sticker so consumers know they are getting the quality they want and that the Stumlers work tirelessly to provide. “We strive for quality,” Anita Stumler said. In fact, they are happy if they pick 60 to 70 percent of the pumpkins each year because if a pumpkin is injured in any way, like deer damage, it remains in the field to be absorbed by the soil. Only the perfect go to market.
Starting with 20 acres in 1989, today the Stumlers farm more than 900 acres of pumpkins. When asked what it takes to be successful, Dean Stumler said, “Determination and endurance.” Anita added “You also have to love it.” To the Stumlers, agriculture is more than just crops in a field. In fact, to Anita agriculture is more than just a food commodity as she points out, “It’s not necessarily something to eat, there’s more… it’s also for enjoyment.” This can be seen in the eyes of the little kids that get to go out and carve one of the pumpkins raised by the Stumlers.
Looking toward the future, the Stumlers hope their farm continues on under the leadership of their children. Dean said, “I hope the kids continue the farm and that their kids choose to farm also; we really want to leave a legacy for our kids.” The Stumlers hope to build on the quality they’ve worked so hard to establish and to continuously grow their operation to be as successful as possible.
Dean and his family will be at the Indiana State Fair on August 15 and will be participating in a Live Chat at 2:30 p.m. in the Glass Barn presented by Indiana Soybean Farmers.
• Who: Dean Stumler
• Where: Fredericksburg, IN (Washington County)
• Type: Pumpkins
• Day: Saturday, August 15
• Fun Fact: Stumler pumpkins are shipped all over the country to places as far as Florida and Minnesota.
LuAnn Troxel – Dairy Cows, August 16th
LuAnn Troxel operates Troxel Dairy Farm in LaPorte County, IN, along with her husband, Tom and their oldest son Rudy. Running a dairy means overseeing every aspect of the dairy herd, from growing the animal’s feed to monitoring each cow’s production and health. Tom is a veterinarian, which is an advantage in keeping their herd healthy and focused on excellent animal care. Rudy’s interest in improving herd genetics also plays an important role. Their hard work 365 days a year with their 140-cow herd translates into a supply of high quality milk for consumers.
Even with the demands of running a dairy farm, the Troxels are actively involved in their community and industry, helping share the passion dairy farmers have for animals and the earth. LuAnn says, “This lifestyle is a good one for me to live my faith, and so I can see the beauty of God’s creation, I can see the circle of life every time a cow has a baby calf and then watch that calf become a productive dairy cow.” While LuAnn was not raised on a farm, she has always been involved with family businesses where it was essential to work as a team. This is very much illustrated in their farm today as they advance with new technology and partner with industry experts.
“I want dairy products that are packaged in a way that make people’s lives easier, with great taste and nutrition. By being knowledgeable and open-minded about ways to continually improve, the Troxels gratefully produce fresh and delicious milk. You can learn more about the Troxel’s on their farm Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Troxel-Dairy-Farm/300640585611
or follow LuAnn on twitter @dairylu
LuAnn and her family will be at the Indiana State Fair on August 16, talking with fairgoers in the Dow AgroSciences booth, and will be featured in a Live Chat at 2:30 p.m. in the Glass Barn presented by Indiana Soybean Farmers, as well as appear in the 6:30 p.m. evening parade.
• Who: LuAnn and Tom Troxel
• Where: Hanna, IN (LaPorte County)
• Type: Dairy
• Day: Sunday, August 16
• Fun Fact: The Troxels name each one of their calves.
Karlanea & Darryl Brown – Aquaculture, August 17th
Karlanea and Darryl Brown are paving the way for a new type of farming for Indiana: aquaculture shrimp farming. RDM Shrimp is the third shrimp farm of its kind in the United States, and the couple, along with the help of their son Levi, have been raising shrimp for five years in Fowler, IN (Benton County). During this time, the Browns have also helped launch 18 shrimp farms across the U.S., including the first one in New York. The Brown’s goal is to help start more shrimp farms and eventually make Indiana the shrimp capitol of the world, which all started with Darryl and his father’s initial dream.
For 15 years they talked about raising tilapia, though it never came to life. After his father’s passing, Darryl almost let his vision pass as well, yet realized that shrimp would be easier to raise, so the focus shifted to shrimp. And as they say, the rest is history. Although Darryl’s father never saw the business come to fruition before his passing, the business is partly named after him in remembrance of his role of bringing the Brown’s dream to life. The Brown’s operation includes shrimp and crawfish, and currently they are producing 700 pounds of shrimp each month. The operation the Browns use runs solely on air and they coin themselves as “water guardians” as they let Mother Nature do her job and they constantly test the water to ensure a continuous 90 percent survival rate.
Having been raised in the city, Karlanea had never experienced farming until she met Darryl. “I’m not the typical farmer wife,” Karlanea explains, “Driving a tractor was harder than it looked.” Despite her initial lack of familiarity, Karlanea learned through experience by helping Darryl and his father raise their hogs, though she never actively participated in the farm until RDM Shrimp was founded. It only took one day at the shrimp farm to instill a passion for it, and she has not left since. In fact, since that first day she’s only missed two days of work and enjoys her deep love and passion for the business, sharing their shrimp farming story with school children and consumers.
Karlanea and Darryl Brown will be at the Indiana State Fair on August 17 and will be participating in a Live Chat at 2:30 p.m. in the Glass Barn presented by Indiana Soybean Farmers, and greeting fairgoers in the 6:30 p.m. evening parade.
• Who: Karlanea and Darryl Brown
• Where: Fowler, IN (Benton County)
• Type: Aquaculture— shrimp, and now crawfish
• Day: Monday, August 17
• Fun Fact: They developed their own equipment and system that runs entirely on air
Dan Wehr – Trees/Hardwood, August 18th
Dan Wehr operates Whiskey Run Farms LLC, which is located in Crawford County. Dan’s brother Stan owns land adjacent so they do most farming together. Both brothers live and own additional forested acres in Dubois County. Between them they own and farm approximately 450 acres of which 400 is forest.
Dan could be called the “Warden of the Woodland” as he is more than a tree farmer, since the operation supports forestry, wildlife and land stewardship.
On the farm, Wehr plants for wildlife and works extensively with the Department of Natural Resources, the district forester and a wildlife biologist on both wildlife and forestry management plans. He said, “The goal of the trees would be for timber, but in the wildlife management areas, it’s definitely to promote wildlife.”
Wehr has worked with trees and hardwood all his life and has supervised operations around the world, being involved with wood products used for everything from pianos, to billiard tables, to hotel furniture. He points out a person never stops learning and one of the biggest misconceptions about farming trees is that they shouldn’t be cut down. “That’s totally wrong. If you want trees to grow, you have to keep them thinned out, you have to harvest trees.”
The number one challenge Wehr said he faces is invasive weed species. “My brother made the statement that the foresters of the future really won’t be carrying chainsaws; you’ll be carrying a backpack sprayer to control the vegetation trying to take over.” Bushes such as bush honeysuckle compete with the trees and can take over if not managed properly.
When asked what he thought it took to be successful in this business, he responded, “Perseverance and a lot of hard work.”
Dan and Linda Wehr will be at the Indiana State Fair on August 18 in the Purdue Extension Ag/Hort building and will be featured in a Live Chat at 2:30 p.m. in the Glass Barn presented by Indiana Soybean Farmers.
• Who: Dan Wehr
• Where: Jasper, IN (Dubois County)
• Type: Trees/hardwood
• Day: Tuesday, August 18
• Fun Fact: Whiskey Run Farms LLC is an Indiana Demonstration Forest, which allows people to take tours through it.
Doug Morrow – Corn & Soybeans, August 19th
Morrow Family: Doug, Jacob, Will and Mary Beth Morrow
Driving up US 31 from Indianapolis to South Bend, odds are you will see corn, soybeans or wheat that is being grown by Doug Morrow and his family. Doug along with wife Mary Beth, parents Rebecca and Bill Morrow and sister Michelle and Danny Malott, operate Morrow Farms based in Marion, Indiana.
Morrow Farms is a family business that stems back to Doug’s great-grandparents. The family farming skipped a generation because his grandparents didn’t farm, but his father picked it back up. “Dad farmed, so I grew up farming, but I never really decided to be a farmer until I studied abroad in Sweden.” Morrow spent an entire class period answering questions about GMO usage in America and at the time, didn’t feel he had detailed answers. It was a turning point for him and farming is now his lifestyle. “We’ll farm forever, even if it is planting corn in the windowsill. It’s just a way of life.”
To produce top-yielding corn and soybean crops, the Morrows use technology such as top seed genetics, yield monitors and a variable planting rate. Bringing all the innovation together means working with several retailers for fertilizer recommendations, as well as insight on tillage practices. They also count on crop protection and biotechnology products from Dow AgroSciences to help them make the most of their land they are very conscious about preserving.
In their community, the Morrows help educate young children by bringing corn, soybeans and even real tractors to area schools. Mary Beth said when the children see how corn and soybeans grow in the field, and the actual tractor involved; it helps them understand farming just a little more.
Though Doug is in the early decades of his career, he points out success can always be attributed to “the ability to overcome when people tell you no, or when people tell you, you can’t do this.”
Doug and Mary Beth Morrow will be at the Indiana State Fair on August 19, Dow AgroSciences Farmers’ Day and will participate in the Indiana Farm Bureau Pancake Breakfast, attend the Celebrity Milking Contest, and will be featured in a Live Chat at 2:30 p.m. in the Glass Barn presented by Indiana Soybean Farmers.
Doug & Jacob Marrow
• Who: Doug Morrow
• Where: Marion, IN (Grant County)
• Type: Corn/Soybean – plus wheat
• Day: Wednesday, August 19
• Fun Fact: Doug is a former president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and makes many trips to Washington DC to help advocate for agriculture