THORNTOWN, Ind. — Indiana agriculture and hospitality were
highlighted when a group of Canadian agriculture professionals visited the
Hoosier state for two days.
Indiana was one of several stops on an eight-day North
American study tour for the 27 participants from Ontario’s Advanced Agriculture
The 19-month program for those actively involved in
Ontario’s agriculture and food industry offers opportunities to participants to
learn more about the industry.
On June 8 and 9, the tour visited the Indiana State Fair,
Dow AgroSciences, the National FFA Organization headquarters, Elanco Animal
Health and Dull’s Tree Farm.
It was at Dull’s Tree Farm in Thorntown where visitors met
host families, learned about Indiana agriculture and saw how corn, beans and
Christmas trees are raised.
Lucas and Dana Dull, son and daughter-in-law of Dull’s Tree
Farm owners, Tom and Kerry Dull, gave a tour of the family business and talked
about how it has grown over the years.
The Dull family grows corn and soybeans in addition to the
Christmas tree operation. The business has grown to include a gift shop, wreath
making, a bed and breakfast and, most recently, pumpkins.
Guests were able to ask questions about the operation and
see how the business has grown.
Rob Black, CEO of the Rural Ontario Institute, has been
involved with the leadership program since 2006.
Visiting Indiana was a way to connect with current members
and graduates of the program and gain skills needed to become leaders, he said.
The goal is to provide participants with skills, knowledge
and perspective needed for the future and to learn about trends in the
agricultural industry and rural society, as well as the role of the government
and the political system.
“We’re here to learn, whether we’re talking to a government
official, farmer or producer or an agribusiness leader like at the tree farm,”
After a tour of the farm, Ted McKinney,
Indiana Department of Agriculture director, spoke about Indiana agriculture.
“A lot of people think corn and
soybeans when it comes to Indiana agriculture, and they’re right, but it’s much,
much more,” McKinney said.
“An exchange like this on any level is
good,” he said. “Although we share a lot of agriculture programs and spirit, it
is still an exchange of ideas that allows you to grow and learn.
“Indiana agriculture is booming from our perspective, and to
be able to talk to industry leaders and stay at the homes of people from the
Indiana program is great,” he said. “We can stay in a hotel at any time, but to
stay and learn at the grassroots level is a great opportunity.”