Commercial Agriculture Programming

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Purdue Extension - Boone County

1300 E 100 S

Lebanon, IN 46052



Commercial Agriculture Programs and Services

Programming designed for farmers involves some regular programming while others, such as meeting to cover a new farm bill or discuss current weather conditions such as a drought, are designed to meet a current need. Some of the "standard" ongoing programs are described below.


Conservation Agriculture

We work closely with other local members of the Indiana Conservation Partnership, particularly with the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Fall 2021 cover crop plots

One of our most significant efforts has been the establishment of the Boone County Conservation Education and Demonstration Area. Since 2015 the Boone County Board of Commissioners have graciously allowed us to use about 10 acres of county-owned farmland as an educational area to promote the adoption of environmentally-friendly farming practices by Boone County and Area Farmers. This area has been planted to continuous no-till since fall, 2015. Since that time we have planted cover crops in 40-foot wide strips, selecting varieties that someone just beginning to work with cover crops may find useful. Each year we have held two field days using this area. To date we have held 10 field days with a total of 235 attending.

Since 2015 cover crops planted in the state of Indiana have increased by 27.7%. This is great but in Boone County 75% more acres were planted to cover crops in 2021 than six years earlier. We think this is partly Cereal Rye cover cropbecause we have a publicly accessible area where farmers can see cover crops growing and witness how the use of cover crops over time can improve soil structure, health, and productivity.

Additional information on the Boone County Conservation Education and Demonstration Area, as well as information on the benefits of cover crops, can be found at the website and blog we we use to detail the project, The Ten Acres.


Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

A UAS is more commonly known as a drone, or sometimes an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV. Purdue Extension has been working with UAS for the past several years. At the Boone County Extension Office we have been using a small UAS, a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, to fly farm fields, scout for weeds and other pests, survey conservation practices and, perhaps most importantly, educate farmers on the uses of UAS.

Nitrogen deficiencyThe image on the left shows Nitrogen deficiency in a Boone County corn field, identified through a July, 2020 drone flight.

Purdue Extension has developed a UAV Technology Program with the primary purpose of training people in order to received their FAA Part 107 Certification. A Part 107 certification is required if anyone will be flying a drone for commercial purposes. We hosted this program in Boone County in March, 2021 with 12 attending.

In August we used a small UAS to aerially seed cover crop strips in our Conservation Education and Demonstration Area. We seeded half of the strips this way on August 27 and used a drill to plant the other half on September 30. We are interested to see what sort of differences we see in cover crop growthAerial seeding with a UAV and development between the two different planting methods and dates.

Additional information on the use of UAS and Purdue Extension programs can be found at the Purdue Extension UAV Page.


Pesticide Applicator Trainings

We provide regular Private Applicator Recertification Trainings, or PARP Programs. The next PARP program will be held on Monday, August 15th at the Bane Welker Training Center in Lebanon and will be sponsored by the Indiana Corn & Soybean Boards. Contact the Purdue Extension Boone County Office to register. You may also check the list of PARP Programs maintained by Purdue Pesticide Programs.

At the county level we do not do initial certification training for either Private or Commercial Applicators. Those programs are managed by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist. Additional information on Pesticide certification is available at these links:

Private Applicator Initial Certification

Private Applicator Recertification Programs in Indiana

Indiana State Chemist Pesticide Section


Other Agriculture Programs

We offer agricultural programming in a variety of other areas. We also are available to respond to questions and, if necessary, refer your question or issue to another Purdue Extension Staff member.