Marlene Werry, Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program adviser, and Rob Black, CEO of Rural Ontario Institute, speak with Lucas Dull about his family’s operation. Werry and Black were among nearly 30 Canadian visitors who traveled to Indiana for two days during an eight-day study tour. The group visited Dull’s Tree Farm to learn about the business.
Marlene Werry, Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program adviser, and Rob Black, CEO of Rural Ontario Institute, speak with Lucas Dull about his family’s operation. Werry and Black were among nearly 30 Canadian visitors who traveled to Indiana for two days during an eight-day study tour. The group visited Dull’s Tree Farm to learn about the business.
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 Leadership Program.

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,” Black said.

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.

Black agreed.

“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.”