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When Visiting State Fair, Chat with Featured Farmers

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For the third year different Indiana farmers and commodities are being featured each of the seventeen days of the Indiana State Fair. Presented by Dow AgroSciences, the Featured Farmers chat about their operation each afternoon at 2:30 in the Glass Barn. It’s fitting in the year of the Wonderful World of Food that the farmers who grow that food are featured. Elaine Gillis, from a soybean farm family featured on the first day of the fair, told HAT it was an honor to be selected.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” she said. “I don’t think we knew what to expect or how we got here. There’s a lot of big shoes to fill from previous years’ Featured Farmers, so we’re excited to represent soybeans today and hopefully we’ll represent soybean farmers all over very well.”

Elaine’s husband Craig Gillis added, “We’re excited to be here at the fair today and enjoy everything and represent farmers around Indiana.”

Gillis said they farm in “Delaware County just north of Muncie about twenty minutes. We farm in Blackford, Jay and Delaware Counties where we raise corn and soybeans for our operation.”

Craig’s brother Joe is enjoying his 40th year at the Indiana State Fair.

“This is all new to me here,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting this at all, but it’s been a great honor and a great privilege to represent Indiana today.

Over those forty years attending the fair Joe feels it’s always “a great family experience. You can come down here and do anything you want. 4-H is very popular obviously, and all the food and all the fun and other things that go along with it.”

Elaine, who is on the board of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, hopes consumers attending the fair get an understanding that agriculture is a community effort.

“What we grow and produce on the farm does go back into the community, and we’re all working together to help each other. So, as we come out here to ride rides, or look at exhibits, or look at animals or eat the fried food that’s here every day, all of that connects back to agriculture. And we as a family farm are proud to be able to provide that to our state and our communities.”

The featured foods, farm operations and counties for all 17 days are:

  • Deep Fried Food (August 4): Gillis family, Blackford County
  • Melon (August 5): Horrall family, Knox County
  • Popcorn (August 6): Scott family, White County
  • Salsa/Ketchup (August 7): Eck family, Shelby County
  • Eggs (August 8): Krouse family, Kosciusko County
  • Pork Burger (August 9): Foster family, Hancock County
  • Funnel cake/wheat (August 10): Campbell family, Johnson County
  • Cheese (August 11): Kuehnert family, Allen County
  • Beef (August 12): Mahan family, Rush County
  • Ice cream (August 13): van de Laar family, Adams County
  • Apples (August 14): Kercher family, Elkhart County
  • Mint (August 15): Lambert family, Starke County
  • Corn Dog (August 16): Evans Burbrink family, Vigo County
  • On-A-Stick Day/hardwood (August 17): Leibering Family, Spencer County
  • Turkey leg (August 18): Humphrey family, Washington County
  • Pickles (August 19): Lawler family, Hancock County
  • Honey (August 20): Graham family, Morgan County

“Food is the number one reason people attend the State Fair, so what better way to celebrate than by honoring the Hoosier Farmers who produce the food we eat,” said Cindy Hoye, Executive Director, Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center.