Thursday, April 29, 2010

“Bean” planning to do educational outreach on your farm???

One of the two main crops grown in the US is Soybeans. (For those of you not familiar with what a soybean plant looks like: they are the shorter, bushier appearing plant you’ll see this summer as you drive around the country side. As opposed to corn which grows tall and has a tassel on top.) Last year US farmers planted 77.5 million acres to soybeans. While you may think soybeans are only grown for animal feed you should know that soybeans and soy oils are daily being researched and developed into renewable alternatives for the production of energy and chemicals. Did you know soy oil is used in crayons, candles and jet fuel? The soy oil is used in place of petroleum oil which helps conserve fossil fuels. In the state of Indiana more than 28,000 farmers grow soybeans, and yet I felt the need to explain at the beginning of this blog post what a soybean looked like because there are a lot of people out there who may not know what a soybean is.

The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) offers grants to Indiana farmers who have projects that would educate and communicate a positive message about agriculture in their area. This grant would fund projects that would reach out to the non-ag community; and engage them with opportunities to learn more about farming practices. Producers could develop websites, host farm tours, food drives, school kids and more as an effort to explain their production practices and their way of life. These types of farm outreach programs are important as people understand where their food comes from and how fortunate we are to have such a safe and affordable food supply.

This ISA grant is available to organizations and individuals; applications are accepted on an on-going basis, however you need to apply at least one month prior to the projects start date. Funding will not exceed half of the estimated costs associated with the project and the application can be found at

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