Has anyone ever asked you why sows are in gestation stalls; why egg layers are in cages; or other questions about the way we raise livestock today? The 2010 Farm Tour, a two-day trip starting in Wabash, Indiana, will allow you to experience modern farrow-to-finish, dairy, egg-laying and aquaculture operations first hand. You will get an in-depth look at what techniques are being used on modern livestock farms. The goal of the farm tours is that you come away with a better understanding of the livestock industry and be able to share what you learn with others. Space is limited, register soon!

Applications must be completed and returned by Aug. 23. Applications will be reviewed and those accepted on the tour will be contacted. Expenses are covered for the tour. Download the form, complete application and either send via mail, fax or e-mail to Shelia Lingle, Indiana Soybean Alliance, 5730 W 74th St., Indianapolis, IN 46278, slingle@indianasoybean.com, fax: (317) 347-3626.

The tour includes visits to:

Four Leaf Clover Dairy
Four Leaf Clover Dairy is a family dairy operation located in Geneva, Indiana. The farm is owned and operated by members of the van de Laar – Oostdijck family, who are originally from the Netherlands and moved to the U.S. to start the operation. The dairy opened in 2007 and has since produced approximately 130,000 pounds of milk a day. The herd consists of 2,000 cows and 72 cows can be milked at a time. The dairy is located on 80 acres and currently has 21 employees on staff. The family is committed to running the dairy operation in the right way. The company is the first dairy in the state to operate using the direct load system, or pumping all milk from the cows' udders directly to a tanker trailer. Four Leaf Clover Dairy also uses computers to regulate the milking and provide medical history for each of the animals.

Liberty Swine Farms
Liberty Swine Farms is a 1,000 sow, farrow-to-finish, swine operation located in North Central Indiana. It produces about 22,000 pigs each year, primarily Landrace and Yorkshire breeds. Although swine production is their primary business venture, the farm also works 800 acres of row crops and alfalfa. Much of the farm ground has been in the family for six generations. Over the years, the farm has gone from a multi species farm of dairy cows, chickens, sheep, hogs and beef cattle, to the current specialization in farrow-to-finish swine production. Currently, eight workers are employed by Liberty Swine. The farm sits amid 190 acres of cropland and woods. Buildings are sited well off the road and planned in order to up-draft the majority of odors. The farm uses all of the manure as fertilizer for the crops raised, which becomes feed for hogs and creates a cycle of renewable resources that helps to keep production costs down and raise protein for consumers in an environmentally-friendly way.


Midwest Poultry Services
Midwest Poultry was formed in 1968 and operates as a fully integrated producer of shell eggs. Originally started as a water-powered mill, this family-owned agricultural business has been operating continuously in North Manchester by the Strauss family since 1875. The family entered the egg business with the construction of five hen houses in Indiana holding 30,000 birds each. Over its time in production, it expanded its operations to farms in Fort Recovery, Ohio; North Manchester and Mentone, Indiana; and Loda, Illinois. Today, Midwest Poultry Services continues to operate as a family-owned farm with more than 300 employees. These farms currently have six million hens in production with an annual capacity of approximately 120 million dozen eggs. With annual sales in excess of $73 million, Midwest Poultry is one of the largest egg farmers in the nation. Midwest Poultry's facilities represent the state-of-the-art for integrated shell egg farming. Midwest Poultry's various entities service the entire egg farming cycle, from the raising of pullets, feed production and shell egg production, to processing and packaging. With its primary facilities located in the central Midwest, the company has developed longstanding relationships with its customers. These relationships allow Midwest Poultry to compete on the basis of service and quality rather than relying on price alone.

Bell Aquaculture
Bell Aquaculture is a yellow perch farm located in Albany, Indiana. Sitting adjacent to land that has been family-owned for more than 100 years, the farm is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and is a leading aquaculture facility. The vision for the farm began when Chairman Michael Miller became interested in the subject of aquaculture in 1994; he dreamed of bringing the personal and local favorite yellow perch back to prominence. In business since 2005, Bell recently surpassed the milestone of selling 10,000 pounds of Bell Perch. Although the focus has moved from terrestrial agriculture to aquaculture on the land, the sense of loyalty to the community shown by its first owners is the foundation of the Bell's business today.

—From Proud to Dairy blog post