Indiana Agriculture Insider

New headerHeader 2

50,000 pounds of poultry products donated to Hoosier food pantries

ISDA was proud to once again participate in the Indiana State Poultry Association’s (ISPA) annual poultry donation. This year, over 25 tons, or 50,000 pounds, of Indiana poultry products were donated to food pantries across the state, and over the next several weeks, poultry producers will be delivering these products to their local pantries, which will provide thousands of highly nutritious meals for Hoosiers during the holidays.

Poultry event

Ted McKinney, ISDA Director, accepted the donation and was joined by Paul Brennan, ISPA Executive Vice President, John Elliot, CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, and ISPA representatives during a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse. Gleaners, which distributes food to hungry Hoosiers, was hand-selected by Governor Mike Pence to receive the poultry products that were displayed during the ceremony.


This year marks the 69th ISPA poultry donation, a tradition that highlights the generosity of ISPA, as well as its members. Although a larger donation is made during the holidays every year, it represents only a small portion of the total amount that the poultry industry donates statewide. In fact, more than 1.2 million eggs and 470 tons, or 940,000 pounds, of poultry meat and egg products have already been donated this year alone.

Indiana's poultry industry contributes over $4.25 billion dollars annually to Indiana’s economy and accounts for more than 7,000 jobs. According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Indiana nationally ranks No. 1 in duck production, No. 3 in total eggs produced and egg layers inventory, and No. 4 in turkeys raised.

Visit to learn more about the Indiana State Poultry Association.


ISDA hosts trainings for livestock producers

ISDA will hold four trainings this winter across the state for Hoosier livestock farmers interested in joining the Certified Livestock Producer Program.

“Every livestock producer should join the program to help promote the integrity of animal agriculture in Indiana,” said Rob Ewing, Certified Livestock Producer and program mentor. “The agribusiness contacts we gain, in addition to the wealth of information on all of the various topics, are extremely valuable in making our farms safer and building relationships with others in agriculture."

Dairy cows

In addition to attending a one-day training, producers enrolled in the program will develop biosecurity and emergency plans, meet with their local fire department, participate in their industry’s animal wellbeing program (Beef Quality Assurance, Pork Quality Assurance, F.A.R.M., etc.), and complete various self-assessments about their farm practices.

Applications can be found by clicking here. To register for one of the trainings listed below, return the application to Kimmi Devaney at or by mailing it to One North Capitol, Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204, at least four days prior to the scheduled training:

  • Dec. 14, 2016 in Columbia City, Ind. (Whitley County)
  • Jan. 28, 2017 in Greensburg, Ind. (Decatur County)
  • Feb. 15, 2017 in Monticello, Ind. (White County)
  • Feb. 21, 2017 in Loogootee, Ind. (Martin County)

Visit to learn more about the Certified Livestock Producer Program.

Green line

Hoosier farmer takes home Red Gold Stewardship Award

David Keesling of Keesling Farms, located in Middletown, Ind., received the 2016 Red Gold Stewardship Award. Now in its eight year, the goal of the award is to highlight the practices already utilized by conservation-minded tomato growers, along with spurring others to embrace such practices as part of their own farm management. Keesling was recognized during a ceremony held at Red Gold’s corporate headquarters in Elwood, Ind.


Unique to how most farmers get their start, Keesling graduated from Tristate University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Although he had a passion for farming, Keesling worked in the automotive manufacturing industry for nearly a decade and was only able to farm part-time, renting land and working with his father on the weekends. It wasn’t until 1987, however, that Keesling decided to pursue his life-long dream of becoming a farmer and began planting corn and soybeans in Middletown, Ind.

Ten years later, Keesling added tomatoes to his rotation and eventually became a Red Gold grower. Today, his farm consists of roughly 2,000 acres; 200 of which are tomatoes on a three year rotation. While he added no-till soybeans in the late ‘90s, this was his first year trying cover crops, a conservation practice designed to improve overall soil health. To further sustain the land, he uses soil and tissue testing to verify nutrient application rates as well as GPS to ensure correct placement.

As the second place winner, Keesling Farms received a $500 scholarship and the ability to deliver an extra half truck load of tomatoes per day during harvest.

ISDA’s role in the competition is to serve as an independent evaluator, which includes judging and scoring. For more information about the Red Gold Stewardship Award, visit


December 6
Hypoxia Task Force meeting

December 8-10
Farm Bureau State Convention, Fort Wayne

December 14
Certified Livestock Producer Training, Columbia City

December 15
State Fair Commission meeting

December 23
Closed - Washington's Birthday

December 26
Closed - Christmas Day

Green line


ISDA's Indiana Grown initiative is currently in the process of conducting a social media campaign, known as the: Indiana Grown Holiday Sale. Every day from now until December 25, we will be posting exclusive discounts and sales, offered by members of Indiana Grown – using the hashtags: #ShopIndiana and #IndianaGrown. We encourage you to like our Facebook page @Indiana_Grown and support the campaign!

Green line


Soil & Water Conservation Districts awarded grant

Program helps support veteran-owned farms, businesses

Indiana Poultry Producers Making a Difference with Donations

ISDA hosts trainings for livestock producers

ISDA Invests in Soil Conservation Division

McKinney among Purdue Extension award winners

Indiana Grown Homegrown By Heroes boosts Hoosier veterans through farming

Green line


Evans Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm


Evans Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm is a large, full-service "choose and cut" Christmas tree farm in Hendricks County, less than 20 miles from I-465 on the west side of Indianapolis. They also have a large wholesale wreath department with many shapes and sizes available. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. starting the day after Thanksgiving until December 21. 

Green line


Mint Brownies

Mint brownies

4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 ½ tsp peppermint extract with a couple drops green food coloring
4 ozs unsweetened chocolate, chopped
20 Tbsp butter, divided (total of 2 ½ sticks)

In the microwave, melt unsweetened chocolate and 1 cup butter, stir until smooth. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla for 1-2 minutes until light. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add flour, beat until just combined.  Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool.

Mix powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter, milk, peppermint extract, and green food coloring. Spread atop brownies and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Melt remaining chocolate chips and butter. Spread on top, and refrigerate until serving. 

Green line


Indiana State Department of Agriculture 
One North Capitol Avenue, Suite 600 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317.232.1362 FAX