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Purdue Extension specialist brings new perspectives to Indiana organic farming

U.S. organic food and non-food product sales reached a record high of $61.9 billion in 2020. How do Indiana farmers meet the needs of consumers and can organic practices be useful for farmers looking to reduce their inputs?

Ashley Adair, the new organic agriculture extension specialist in Purdue’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture department, wants to help answer these questions and more alongside Indiana growers.

Adair received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in natural resources and environmental science and environmental plant studies. She received her master’s from the University of Illinois studying cover crops in sustainable farming systems. Adair worked at the Purdue Extension - Montgomery County office as the agriculture and natural resources educator for five years.

“I set myself up for a career in extension early at Purdue after enjoying working with the Tippecanoe Master Gardener program as an undergraduate student. Extension is an unbiased resource for the public that supplies great information about how to farm and ultimately live better.”

In her position, Adair will meet with organic farmers and extension educators to discuss organic challenges and successes, share resources and discuss how new practices may lead to a better farm ecological unit. She plans to work closely with researchers to develop organic research across the state, for everything from grain to vegetables, to help fill current knowledge gaps.

“In Indiana, we are still learning how organic farming works and how our soils and climate affect production,” said Adair. “As we move forward with extreme weather issues and growing populations, organic farming practices can provide solutions and diversification opportunities that can be beneficial for all growers.

“I’m excited about this position and I look forward to partnering with Indiana farmers, Purdue Extension educators and researchers to help build resiliency in our local food systems.”

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