Sonny Perdue speaking
STATE FAIR SURPRISES: You never know who you will see at the Indiana State Fair. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, at the microphone, visited in 2017. Behind him is Randy Kron (blue shirt), an Evansville, Ind., farmer and president of Indiana Farm Bureau Inc.

3 families round out Featured Farmers program

These three farm families get their special days near the end of the Indiana State Fair.

Before the 2018 Indiana State Fair concludes, three more Indiana farm families will be honored as part of the Featured Farmers program sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.

In all, 17 ag families will be featured during the fair, representing everything from goat cheese to sweet corn to traditional farming and sheep production. The Indiana State Fair is Aug. 3-19 in Indianapolis.

Here is the lineup for the families who will be featured during the final days of the fair:

Aug. 17: Kristy Kikly and Mike Hoopengardner, Caprini Creamery
This Henry County couple stepped out in good faith seven years ago and built a goat dairy from scratch near Spiceland. They surprised Board of Animal Health officials by asking them to come out and talk before they even began construction of their milking facility.

Today, Kristy Kikly and Mike Hoopengardner milk around 70 goats and make cheese on-site, all in one facility. They operate as Caprini Creamery, selling goat cheese at farmers markets in Broad Ripple and Garfield Park and to various restaurants, primarily in Indianapolis.

“We continue to have good demand for our product,” Kikly says. “There are people who really appreciate being able to get the type and quality of goat cheese which we produce.”

 
GOAT CHEESE: Kristy Kikly and her husband, Mike Hoopengardner, started a goat dairy from scratch and sell goat cheese made on their farm all around Indianapolis. Their business is called Caprini Creamery.

Aug. 18: Susan and Mark Zody, Narrow Gate Horse Ranch
Mark and Susan Zody operate a traditional family grain farm near Kokomo with Mark’s dad. However, Susan says that’s not why they were selected to be featured at the Indiana State Fair. She is also a founder of Narrow Gate Horse Ranch, a unique facility in Kokomo.

“There is nothing traditional about it,” Susan says. “Our goal is to use horses to teach lessons to at-risk kids. They can learn lessons from horses, coupled with discussions which go along with it.

“You’ve heard of therapeutic horse ranches, primarily for children with disabilities. That isn’t really what we do. We focus on kids who are in or likely will be in trouble.”


HORSES HELP KIDS: Horses help teach lessons at Narrow Gate Horse Ranch near Kokomo. The children who come to sessions there are primarily at-risk kids. Susan Zody (left) and Scott MacDonald (in the pen) both work with the kids.

Aug. 19: Monica and Morgan Wehr, Wehr Farms
Sisters Monica and Morgan Wehr operate a 50-cow beef herd and raise hay near Connersville. Their primary help right now is Monica’s fiance, Mitchell Pohlar.

“Our father passed away in 2017, and my sister and I decided to keep the farm operation going,” Monica says. “Most of our cows are Charolais and Angus cross. We usually sell our calves to one buyer. Our goal is to grow our operation.”


SISTER POWER: Morgan Wehr (right) and her sister Monica Wehr run a 50-cow beef herd and hay operation together. Monica’s fiance, Mitchell Pohlar (left), helps. The Wehrs’ grandmother Pat Wehr is also pictured.

To read about the other Featured Farmers families, check out this story and the links within it.

 

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