Paul Flint was like many producers trying to deal with problems wrought by the summerlong drought of 2012. He had concerns and questions — plenty of both — about the condition of his crops and how to care for his 75 head of cattle.
The co-owner of Flint Farms in Daviess County in southwest Indiana, where the drought was at its worst, wondered how he would feed his cattle as the intense heat and dry weather wilted crops and led to skyrocketing feed prices.
Purdue Extension knew that he and many other producers needed help — and quickly. So Extension specialists and educators organized a series of regional meetings with crop farmers and cattle producers throughout the state to help them get a firm handle on problems and find solutions. Flint’s farm was the host site of one such meeting in August. He expected 10-15 fellow producers to attend, but more than 50 showed up. Purdue Extension beef specialist Ron Lemenager explained possible solutions to the short forage supply and escalating feed costs.
“The people at Purdue put a lot of us at ease,” Flint says. “They helped us to understand that it wasn’t the end of the world. They calmed a lot of nerves.”
A similar meeting held jointly by Purdue Extension offices in Cass and Carroll counties in northern Indiana drew 85 farmers, surpassing the 50 registered in advance. The program featured speakers who provided a variety of information, including emergency-assistance programs and how to fill out a crop insurance claim. The meeting gave timely and relevant information from experts who understood the problems of producers in their local area, says Tamara Ogle, a Purdue Extension-Cass County agriculture and natural resources educator.
“Speakers were not only qualified to talk about their topic of expertise, but they also were compassionate and sympathetic to the audience,” Ogle says.