small farms

New regulations for how big farms handle raw produce won’t affect the hundreds of vendors that sell at Indiana farmers markets.

But small-scale growers still have plenty of rules to follow.

In a trailer at the Lafayette Farmers Market, Graham Rider digs through a freezer stuffed with plastic packages of frozen meat. His family owns Thistle Byre Farm in Burnettsville.

“Here’s our thermometer,” Rider says, pulling it out from beneath totes of ground beef and lamb. “Oh, good. It’s below 20.”

Peter M. Graham / flickr.com/photos/pmgrah/106202984

To be counted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ag Census, first-time participants have to sign up by June 30. This year, small farms are receiving extra attention.

Farmers who earn more than $1,000 in revenue a year are required to complete the census, which takes place every five years. First-timers have to sign up by the end of this month to be counted.

Jonathan Nightengale / https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnath/

State lawmakers and small farmers appear to have reached a compromise over previously contentious legislation regarding who can sell chickens to restaurants and other institutions.

Currently, producers slaughtering 20,000 birds of fewer annually are limited to “household consumer” sales…that means they can sell through farmers markets, at roadside stands or directly out of their operations.