After high school, Judy Chandler married a Lawrence County farm boy who had enlisted in the military. When he mustered out, she surprised him by buying a 100-acre farm on U.S. 50 west of Bedford. She had always dreamed of living on a farm.
But four years later, the marriage ended. Suddenly a single mom with two young sons, Chandler doggedly refused to give up the farm. She was left with two heifers that wouldn't sell, 60 percent of the unpaid debt on the property, and no equipment. She rented out the farm on shares and sometimes worked two 40-hour-a-week jobs to make the mortgage payment.
Chandler says she learned a lot about farming — the “hard way.” But she wanted to learn to do everything the right way. “I fell in love with the land the minute I saw it, and I wanted to do right by the place.”
Chandler reached out to Feldun-Purdue Agricultural Center for help.
“I loved cattle,” she says. “I wanted to start over and raise cattle and hay, and do it the way it should be done.”
She credits the staff at Feldun-PAC with getting her started in cattle again. They helped her pick out some heifers and taught her how to choose a bull based on what she wanted out of the calves. Her purchases included replacement heifers sold from the Feldun-PAC herd and bulls from the Feldun-based bull test station’s semiannual sale.
“I’ve bought three bulls from the Purdue sale, and they are fantastic,” says Chandler, who raises registered Angus on her 400-acre farm. “The calves are healthy — I think they’re born running. And I haven’t had to pull a calf since I’ve had a Purdue bull.”
Chandler also took advantage of classes through Purdue Extension and worked with Purdue experts one-on-one.
“Purdue brings in a lot of educational programs in about forage, about cattle, about anything you need to know or need help with,” she says. “Purdue’s there for you. They’ve not only been helpful, they’ve been friends, too. That makes a big difference.”
With Purdue’s help, Chandler made her dream of farming come true. Now she uses her land and expertise to preserve the environment and educate others.
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