Our next station was livestock. Culp family farms raise pigs and beef cattle. Dr. Kenneth Culp III, a professor at the University of Kentucky, shared with us their operation. The family buys the young pigs when they are just over a few weeks old from a farrowing operation. They feed them out for five months, then they are taken to market for meat. He explained the differences in the feed the pigs and cattle eat. Pigs need their feed ground up finely, while cattle can eat more course food. Cattle have 4 stomachs that the food travels through and the food breaks down, while pig's are not as complex. Ken explained how his cows are brought into heat on Memorial Day weekend and artificially inseminated. Some of the cattle are surrogate mothers and have embryos implanted. He passed out a flyer with a variety of interesting farm facts of American agriculture and some specific to Indiana. Even more specific to our county, Jasper County is #1 in agriculture sales among Indiana counties.
Our last station was about corn and soybeans, which are the two major crops produced in Jasper County, presented by Stuart and Kayla with Vision Ag. Kayla, who is Kendell's daughter, explained that the break even point for a corn farmer is $3.60 a bushel, which is just higher than the current market price. Adam, from IBEC, the ethanol producer at Pleasant Ridge, shared with us how much corn the plant uses each year. This corn is turned into alcohol from the starch and the rest is a by-product called DDG, dried distillers grain. These DDG's are mixed with other ingredients for livestock feed. We also talked about GMO crops. Round up ready corn and soybeans have improved agriculture practices and are produced this way. These are created by agriculture scientists, inserting genes from species into the DNA of another. By improving our crops and planting GMO crops, the need for herbicides and pesticides are decreased. American farmers are feeding an ever growing population and feeding more on less ground to produce. Kayla shared that today's American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide, while in 1960, that number was 25.8 people. Jasper County currently has 615 farms and is first for corn production in Indiana, among other things. A flyer was also handed out at this station listing some of the numerous uses of corn and soybeans.
After the 3 presentations, was the dine portion of the evening. The dinner consisted of food produced in Jasper County. We enjoyed pork from Culp Family Farms, sweet corn and melon from Gilmore Green Acres, green beans from our farm Walker Farms, tomato slices from Luttrell's, and homemade blueberry pie with blueberries from Van Kley Blueberry Farms. The dinner was under a tented area in the Culp's beautiful yard.
Kendell shared some closing statements after the dinner. Science is the root and has an important role in modern day agriculture. Agriculture today is different that it was generations ago and is always changing and improving. People are becoming more interested in where their food comes from and how what is happening in agriculture affects will affect them. He shared with us that in the drought of 2012, four television crews, including 2 from over seas, interviewed him as a typical American farmer as they were interested in what was going on in Midwest agriculture and how it was affecting their food prices. Kendell also shared that they are partnering with IBEC to use the DDG to feed their pigs and have for the local food pantry. He also talked some of property taxes and although they have decreased for most people, they are on the rise for farmers as the value of land has increased greatly over the last decade. He shared that there are 3 generations of Culps farming the land and that they work with 160 different businesses through the farm, most of Jasper County.
As the sun was setting, the event was coming to an end. The FFA members were thanked for helping with the event. The attendees were thanked for coming out and "dine & discuss" agriculture overall and in our community. Every couple left with a cooler bag of pork burgers from Culp Farms, dozen eggs and garden fertilizer from Rose Acres, mint oil from Kanne Farms, mint candy from Dobson Farms, and popcorn from Con Agra, all items also produced in Jasper County.
This was a great event to learn about modern day farming and the importance of agriculture in Jasper County, which was the reason for the event. It was very informative for promoting agriculture in our area. Thank you Culp Family Farms and Indiana Soybean Alliance for putting on this event, we had a great time!
This post was sponsored by Indiana Family of Farmers.