Indiana Agriculture Insider

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New Year's resolutions for 2019 

Celebrating the New Year is different for every Hoosier, whether it’s spending time with friends and family or staying in and watching the countdown at home. Regardless of how you celebrate, most of us reflect on the past year and set goals, or resolutions, for the year ahead. As we reflect on 2018, here are some simple resolutions you might consider in the coming year.


Consider joining 4-H and FFA

In Indiana’s agriculture community, most families participate in 4-H and FFA in some capacity, but not all. Also, you don’t have to be involved in agriculture to participate; these programs can still benefit your student and set them up for success later in life. To determine whether 4-H and/or FFA is right for you, below is an overview of each program.

4-H began over 100 years ago and is now the largest youth development program in the nation. Children in grades 3-12 are eligible, and once they become a member, they can participate in a variety of competitive projects in areas like animal science, communication and expressive arts, engineering and technological science, and healthy living.

Have children in 3rd grade or below? No worries! 4-H Mini’s is the perfect program for them. This program is non-competitive and designed to teach them collaboration and life skills. They can participate in a variety of projects like collections, forestry, sewing, space and trees.

Through Purdue Extension, Indiana has a 4-H program in every county. If you’re interested in learning more, click here. The last day to sign up for 2019 is January 15.

Indiana FFA is a student-led organization with over 12,000 members. This program provides middle and high school-aged students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, problem-solving skills and explore potential career opportunities. Currently, there are more than 200 chapters across Indiana.

Annually, 11 leadership conferences are offered to Indiana FFA members. These conferences, which are presented by student leaders, allow for a creative and fun way to help youth develop positive character traits and habits. Altogether, there are more than 200 activities to engage FFA members.

One of the FFA’s most effective and practical learning tools is the Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) program, which allows students to apply skills they learn in the classroom. Examples of SAE programs include working in a feed mill, conducting research in a laboratory, producing vegetables, or working in agricultural communications. The employer and local agriculture education instructor supervise the work experience program and monitor the progress of the student. Currently, there are thousands of SAE projects being conducted by Indiana FFA members across the state.

To learn more about Indiana FFA, click here or contact your local school administration to see if there is a program.


Visit Indiana Grown’s Monumental Marketplace

Indiana Grown is a statewide branding program that promotes products grown, raised, produced or processed in the state. With over 1,300 members in all 92 counties, the program works to support Indiana farmers by keeping dollars and food close to home and is constantly looking for new ways to reach consumers, like the Monumental Marketplace.

Indiana Grown’s Monumental Marketplace is a farmer’s market-style event held on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis every summer. The event is a celebration of all-things Indiana and works to bring together local enthusiasts and consumers with Indiana farmers, producers, artisans, chefs, restaurants, and their amazing products.

Next year, the event will be held on Friday, June 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Along with food trucks, it will include everything from locally roasted coffee and fresh baked pastries to smoked meats and homemade salsas. There will even be a variety of oils and body care products to choose from. To learn more about Monumental Marketplace, click here. We hope to see you there.


Volunteer with your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)

Indiana has approximately 23 million acres of land – 84 percent of which is farms, forests and woodlands. That’s a lot of land to conserve.

Working towards this goal, Indiana has 92 soil and water conservation districts that provide conservation-related technical assistance to landowners. This could include everything from promoting the benefits of cover crops and no-till farming to providing soil testing for local farmers, depending on the district.

These local conservation districts represent over 450 volunteers, but help is always needed year-round to improve soil health and water quality statewide. There so many ways to volunteer, so if you’re interested, contact your local SWCD today. Click here to learn more. 


Learn something new about agriculture at the Indiana State Fair

The Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center is 250 acres of events, activities and learning, but during the state fair, for those 17 days in the summer, it turns into the state’s largest celebration of agriculture. There are so many things to do and see – it’s nearly impossible to experience it all in one day.

The next Indiana State Fair takes place from Aug. 2 to 18, and we encourage you to experience and learn something new about agriculture next year. Below are just a few of our suggestions.

Little Hands on the Farm is an interactive agricultural experience and a great way for kids to learn about life on the farm. The livestock barns are a must-see and have an assortment of incredible animals. The Glass Barn is an amazing showcase of agriculture and includes everything from virtual reality farmer chats to ‘Bean Go.’

The Indiana Farm Bureau building and Normandy Barn have a wealth of agricultural information, or you can learn all about watersheds on the Pathway to Water Quality. Then, you can bring the family to the Indiana FFA Pavilion to play a round of mini-golf and learn about FFA and agriculture. You can also go back in time at Pioneer Village and see a sawmill in action. On your way out of the fairgrounds, make sure you stop by the Indiana Grown Marketplace in the Agriculture Horticulture Building for some amazing agricultural products made in the state.

Regardless of what you see, the Indiana State Fair is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience for you and your family. That’s why we encourage you get out and explore the fairgrounds next summer, or check out some of the events that happen year-round. For fair details, please click here.

Upcycle your Christmas Tree 

The stockings and lights have been taken down; the gift wrap has been put away; and now, the last thing you have to do is take down the Christmas tree. But, what do you do with it? Many waste removal companies have a Christmas tree pick up day or schedule, but if you would like a few ways to ‘upcycle’ your tree this year, we’ve got a list for you!


Make rustic coasters

Didn’t get those new coasters you wanted for Christmas? That’s ok! If you have a handsaw, cut the tree trunk into ¼ inch pieces, sand them down and stain or coat them in polyurethane. Let them dry for a day, and you have a beautiful coaster. Click here to see the full instructions from 


Turn needles and twigs into mulch

It’s never too early to start prepping your garden! You can use a wood chipper, but with a pair of sheers and a little bit of free time, you can have a box of natural mulch in a few hours. Simply trim the branches from the trunk of the tree. Then snip the needles and twigs into 1 inch sections and save until spring. Once the snow melts for good, you can use the mulch in your garden beds or as natural garden paths. Click here to learn more.


Create a bird habitat

Christmas trees make a great natural habitat and provide shelter for wintering birds or other wildlife. If you’ve got the space, simply place your tree along a fence row or tree line, grab your binoculars and enjoy.

If you’re just looking to get rid of it, click here for a link of DNR county disposal locations or contact your local waste removal service. Above all, it’s important to remember, if you’re using machinery or heavy equipment, make sure you’re wearing the proper safety gear and taking precaution.

Making your voices heard

After the New Year begins, Indiana lawmakers will return to the statehouse for the 2019 legislative session. Along with agricultural issues, this year is a long session meaning, budgetary and fiscal bills will be up for consideration. It’s important to stay up-to-date and get involved when it comes to issues that are important to you and your family. However, it can be challenging to know where to begin, so here are some of the basics.  


The Indiana General Assembly is comprised of two legislative bodies – the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are a total of 50 Senators and 100 Representatives. Legislators will gavel in on Thursday, January 3, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. Lawmakers are expected to wrap up by the end of April.

Once bills are filed, they must be assigned to and pass out of a committee before it can go to the full House or Senate for consideration. Below are links to help you navigate the General Assembly and this year’s bills.

State lawmakers

  • To find your legislator, click here.
  • To contact your legislator or get the latest news, visit their website by clicking here for the House Republicans or here for the House Democrats; or by clicking here for the Senate Republicans or here for the Senate Democrats.


  • For a full list of bills introduced for 2019, click here.
  • To search for bills by subject matter, click here.
  • For a list of bills pertaining to agriculture, click here.
  •  For a list of important dates and legislative deadlines, click here.
  • For daily actions taken by the General Assembly, click here for the House or here for the Senate.


  • For a full list of committees, click here.
  • For the committees pertaining to agriculture, click here for the House or here for the Senate.
  • To find out when committees meet, click here for the House or here for the Senate.
  • For a live video stream of the legislative session or committee meetings, click here for the House or here for the Senate.



January 1
New Year's Day
Office closed

January 3
First day of the legislative session
Indiana Statehouse
January 4
Indiana State Fair Board Meeting 
Indianapolis Marriott East  
January 17
Indiana State Fair Commission Meeting
Fairgrounds Administration Building

January 21
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Office Closed

January 24-25
Agribusiness Council of Indiana Annual Conference 
French Lick, IN

January 29-31
Gulf Hypoxia Task Force Meetings
Baton Rouge, LA




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EPA Grant To Address Regional Water Quality Issues

Bringing local food to school lunchrooms

Purdue works to flip switch on rural 'Internet darkness'  

Boost soil health this winter

National FFA Convention Staying in Indy Through 2031

Indiana Small Farm Conference Feb. 28-March 2 

Season of service: FFA state officers share what the holiday season

Rural Broadband Study Finds Huge Returns for Indiana


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