Crops for Midwest Indiana
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Terry Dawson
Posted on: August 07, 2006

I am not a farmer, but a minority in the midwest Indiana area, I have 55 tilable acres. I was a future farmer of American student. Thought you would get a laugh there. I want to know what I can plant in my zone that grows natural, has high earnings per acre, and is different than beans, corn, wheat? I want to learn a high price crop like maybe catnip, canola. I have qualified for a $95,000 grant, and a loan. What should I do? Planting, soil, harvesting are done by our local farm professionals that currently rent the land for corn, and beans cycles. I hope this was something different, and interesting to you. I want to learn how to be broker for herbs, necessary for beer and liquor some day, is my dream!

I’ve done a number of farm plans for Indiana, and sell a number of crops from that region. It has a fine history of alternative agriculture. That’s probably what you need now, a business plan to start this journey. This year alone, there will a need for 60,000 new farms for North America, but who is going to train them?

Farming is almost as demanding as physics. You must a master at a number of skills, so it is not a career thing. And, the major emphasis is to have third world countries grow the crops, while our emphasis now is on high tech production. Welcome to the New World Order concept of this, the loss of the small farm communities.

Chances are if you did not grow up on a farm, you probably will have very tough time getting it all together and working correctly. 15 years ago, a neighbor or to might be able to assist or give some directions. But now, most don’t even know their neighbors. So there you have in a nutshell. It will be very rough struggle, far more than 15 years ago.

The markets exist, and can be addressed competitively. But the skills and savvy - like when to turn your crop so it does over-dry and burn. Even the best alfalfa farmers blow it once in a while, cutting the crop just before a rain. Don’t get me wrong. I was just like you, wanting to go back to the earth and grow things for myself. I did it, so you probably can also. But just realize it is going to very difficult, more so now than ever before.

Let’s start with my paper Mid-West Crop Recommendations, at

I have been doing this for so long I have probably written a booklet on every State and Province within North America. You should also read my book "The Potential Of Herbs As A Cash Crop. That will give you a good overview of specifics, to include marketing and cottage industries.

Over the years, I have posted a number of good articles at

and then go to and read my booklet "Getting Started." This will help you develop a budget and overall game plan. That’s enough to get you started.

Then, if you want me to do one, I could build you a basic farm plan, based on specific resources and skills you might have. I haven’t done these for almost two years, but I have done them for more than 25 years. I did so many of them I got to boilerplate parts of the4 plan, like the "Mid-West Crop Recommendations" paper.

By the way, the floral business plan outline at might work well for you, and the Chicago markets.

It was originally was given as a two-day workshop in Aims, IA in 1987 (Acres, USA), and then used in the Trinity Alps for more than 207 growers, each with two-acres only for Wal-Mart in 1992. This is a good concept, works well, and has been proven.

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