To honor the rich heritage of agriculture woven throughout the state of Indiana’s 200-year history, Dow AgroSciences is proudly sponsoring the Featured Farmers program at the 2016 Indiana State Fair from Aug. 5 to 21. This is the second year Dow AgroSciences has sponsored the program.
As part of this year’s State Fair theme — Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial — the Featured Farmers program highlights 17 farm families. Each featured farmer is also the winner of a Hoosier Homestead Award, an award given to families with farms in operation for 100 years or more.
At the heart of the Featured Farmers program is decades of experience and crop diversity. Dow AgroSciences and the Indiana State Fair, along with numerous Indiana agriculture stakeholder groups like the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, chose a wide range of farmers with differently sized operations and an eclectic mix of crops and livestock to represent many facets of agriculture. This includes cattle, corn, soybeans, Christmas trees, pumpkins and even grapes used to produce wine at French Lick Winery in West Baden Springs, Indiana.
The program celebrates the diverse history of agriculture in the Hoosier state, while educating consumers on what real agriculture looks like by showcasing families who live and breathe it every day.
The Eliason family, who will be featured on opening day at the State Fair, received the Hoosier Homestead Award in 2014 after the Eliason farm reached its bicentennial milestone. The Eliason family farm is a no-till operation that grows predominantly cash crop corn, plus soybeans, wheat and oats for seed in Centerville, Indiana. What started as a small strip of land in 1814 is now an impressive operation that has withstood the tests of time and the ever-changing landscape of agriculture.
Doug Eliason, his wife, Jeanie, and their son, Dustin, now operate the farm, originally purchased by Doug Eliason’s great-great-grandfather two years before Indiana became a state. Even with this long history, Eliason family members surprisingly don’t see themselves as farmers. Rather, they see themselves as caretakers of the land, passing down their legacy from one generation to the next.
“We are just the caretakers, and when we’re gone, our children will be the caretakers,” Jeanie Eliason says.
The Eliasons are similar to the 17 families with farms that have not only survived for decades but also thrived. To read more stories of the farm families being featured at this year’s Indiana State Fair, visit IndianaStateFair.com or stop by every day at 2:30 p.m. at the Glass Barn at the Indiana Fairgrounds to meet the families in person.