The La Porte County Row Crop Food Producers, along with La Porte County Farm Bureau Young Farmers, conducted its annual ag tour and barbecue at Parkman Farms LLC, Westville IN, on Tuesday, August 3. Started in 1976, the purpose of the agricultural tour and barbecue is to foster a greater appreciation for the county’s production agriculture and those agribusinesses that support it with a hope for a better understanding between the rural and urban citizens of La Porte County.  Roughly 165 people from non-ag businesses, academic institutions, elected officials, as well as former tour hosts and other guests participated in the tour and meal.

Multiple tours were arranged to accommodate everyone who came. There were four stops, the first stop was the excavating business. Mark explained how the excavating started and where they are now with their business. Participants also learned about the different equipment and how they operate. He also expressed gratitude to the community for being very supportive throughout the journey. The second stop was at the grain storage and drying facility. Participants learned about the storage tanks and drying unit, what could be the possible capital investment, operational cost, and benefits of having the storage unit at the farm. The third stop was the farm machinery. Mark’s son Jacob explained the use of different farm machinery and how they try to adopt more conservative practices to maintain the sustainability of the farm. Finally, Nancy Parkman showed the livestock. She expressed her love for the animals and explained how they breed and raise their animals. She also talked about the maintenance of the pastures and the market for the animals.

After the tour, guests were treated to a pork chop dinner, prepared by Row Crop members.  The menu also included fresh sweet corn and baked potatoes, fresh salad, and ice cream treats.

A short program following the meal gave a chance for Myron Schafer, Row Crop Chair, to acknowledge and thank the local financial institutions and organizations for sponsoring the meal.  He acknowledged the Parkman family, Mark Parkman thanked his family and those in attendance for coming to the event.

Row Crop scholarships were also awarded during the evening to three recipients who are studying agriculture or a related field after high school.  In cooperation with the Unity Foundation of La Porte County, which administers the scholarship endowment fund, scholarships were awarded by Maggie Spartz, president of Unity Foundation, to Garrett Eggert of La Porte; Garrett is heading into her senior year at Purdue University studying Agribusiness Management.  Megan Riley of La Porte; Megan is a third-year student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University on her way to becoming a veterinarian in 2023.  Katelyn Rudolph of Wanatah; Katelyn will be entering her junior year at Purdue University where she is studying Agriculture Education.

The Row Crop group works in cooperation with Purdue Extension – La Porte County to conduct this annual event. They also invite La Porte County’s 4th-grade students to learn about agriculture during Ag Days in January.