Purdue Extension holds regional meetings on drought
By Keith Robinson
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension is scheduling a series of regional meetings across Indiana to help crop and livestock producers manage their way through the financial and operational consequences of the drought.
The meetings being held at locations throughout the state enable Extension specialists and other agricultural experts to help farmers by providing information about situations they face in their area.
"Drought conditions vary around the state, so we can plan meetings that address the big questions that farmers have right now,” said Jim Mintert, assistant director of Purdue Extension.
A meeting held jointly by the Cass and Carroll county Extension offices in northern Indiana underscored the interest among producers; 50 people signed up for the meeting, but 85 showed up. The program featured speakers who provided information on a variety of topics, including emergency assistance programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and how to fill out a crop insurance claim.
A beef cattle nutritionist gave producers advice on forages, including drought-damaged corn, to feed their cattle amid shrinking feed supplies. Eight farmers brought corn stalks to the meeting to have them tested for nitrates so they could determine whether the substance was safe to feed to cattle. Results of six tests showed the nitrate levels were too high.
The meeting was successful because it gave timely and relevant information from experts who understood the problems of producers in their area, said Tamara Ogle, agriculture and natural resources Extension educator in Cass County.
"Speakers were not only qualified to talk about their topic of expertise, but they also were compassionate and sympathetic to the audience," Ogle said.
The meeting also was an opportunity for producers to meet with each other and discuss both similar and unique problems as well as solutions.
"The speakers got people talking," she said.
Producers can check with their local county Extension office for the closest meeting to them. Meetings also are being added to Purdue Extension’s Drought Event Calendar at https://ag.purdue.edu/extension/eden/pages/drought.aspx#calendar as they are planned.
The next meetings are Thursday (Aug. 9) at 11 a.m. at the Vigo County Fairgrounds, 3901 S. U.S. Route 41, in Terre Haute, and at 7 p.m. at the Benton County Government Annex, 410 S. Adeway, in Fowler. Speakers are listed on the Drought Event Calendar.