Indiana agricultural commodities showcased at State Fair

Three organizations offer different food but strive to reach the same goal of educating the public.

Posted: Aug 9, 2021 10:19 AM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) — The Indiana State Fair is the perfect time to showcase everything Indiana has to offer, including commodities.

The Indiana Dairy, Indiana Pork and Indiana Beef Cattle Association strive to educate the public about Indiana's agricultural commodities through the food they offer

"Indiana Pork is in its 53rd year of having pork tents here at the Indiana State Fair. We have three tents,” said the Director of Communications for Indiana Pork , Jeanette Merritt. “We will sell thousands and thousands of pork burgers, BBQ sandwiches and pork chops as we go through the 18 days of the Indiana State Fair."

The Indiana Dairy Association represents all dairy farm families in Indiana, which adds up to 750 dairy farms.

The Director of Communications for the American Dairy Association, Brooke Williams, says the dairy bar has been a huge hit at the fair for years. 

“We have been here in some capacity since 1941 and it started out as a place where people could come and grab an ice cold glass of milk and now we've greatly expanded our menu,” said Williams. “We really want to showcase so much of why it's so important for these dairy farmers to work every single day of the year."

The Indiana Beef Cattle Association also has a tradition of providing food at the Indiana State Fair.

“Every year we come out to the state fair and cook ribeye steak sandwiches, smoked beef brisket and we cook a big juicy steak burger,” said the Executive Vice President of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, Joe Moore. “The Indiana State Fair food tent is the Indiana Beef Cattle Associations’ largest fundraiser.”

All three associations use the Indiana State Fair as an opportunity to educate the public on where the delicious food comes from.

"It's really important for a lot of families to understand that this comes from farm families here that are probably right down the street from you,” said Williams. “So it starts with just putting a face with the food that you're eating and understanding how hard it is that these dairy farmers work to provide such delicious food that's a part of everyone’s everyday lives."

Williams, Merritt and Moore want forgoers to understand where their food comes from and understand the story behind it.

“We really want people to understand what goes on farms and very few people farm anymore, so when they drive by a pig barn they don't really know what's going on that farm,” said Merritt. “So understanding why farmers raise pork and that you can come here and eat a product that's safe, affordable and was raised by a Hoosier farmer is really important to us.”

Merritt says the Indiana Pork Organization represents all pig farmers in Indiana.

“We support nearly 3,000 family-owned farmers all across the state and the millions of pigs that we raise here in the Hoosier State,” said Merritt. “We're responsible for research, education and promotion of our product and we encourage people to go to the grocery store and buy pork.”

Merritt says Indiana Pork also conducts research with Purdue University regarding raising hogs in Indiana.

"Coming to the Indiana State Fair and eating a Indiana pork burger is a tradition for many families,” said Merritt “So having our pork tents here gives people the opportunity to come and try the product and then maybe go home and make it themselves."

Moore says its important to showcase Indiana commodities, especially in times like this.

"Unfortunately our society is moving farther and farther away from the agriculture every year,” said Moore. “As we disassociate ourselves with agriculture, we become less familiar with what goes on the farm."

Next time you eat a pork burger, grilled cheese, or ribeye sandwich, think about the farm family you're supporting.

"We want people to understand what happens on a farm,” said Merritt. “We want people to trust their farmers and to enjoy the product as well."

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