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Honoring Indiana's rich agricultural heritage: A Hancock County family's story

Greg Troy
Posted at 8:54 AM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-29 08:54:20-04

HANCOCK COUNTY — Greg Troy is proud to be a farmer — like his father and grandfather before him.

“They raised hogs. They milked cows. They had chickens. My dad said they always had plenty to eat during the depression," Troy said.

For 103 years, his family lived, worked and thrived on a plot of land near Pendleton.

Though, the types of farming changed over time.

“By then we had quit milking. Back in 1958/59 the government had declared that anybody who milked had to have a stainless steel cooler and that was quite an expense," Troy said.

In 1972, Troy and his wife took over the farm.

The couple raised beef cows until about 10 years ago.

“I sold the cows in 2014, but I’m still raising corn, beans and wheat," Troy said.

The 73-year-old estimates he pulls in 220 bushels per acre of corn, 65 of beans and 120 of wheat annually.

“If you farm long enough, you have witnessed every up and down there is," Troy said. "As far as weather, climate change, politics. And there is a fraternity and a camaraderie of dealing with other neighbors who’ve experienced very similar things that you have. All the ups and the downs.”

The Troy family is one of 59 selected for this year’s Hoosier Homestead Award, which recognizes Indiana farms that have been owned by the same family for 100 years or more.

The awards started in 1976 to highlight the contributions family farms make to the economic, cultural and social advancements of Indiana.

Regan Herr with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture says in the past 45 years, more than 6,000 farms have received the honor.

“You have to have at least 20 acres that have been in your family for 100 years or, if you have less acres, as long as you produce something that’s worth $1000 and you can prove that to us," Herr said.

Indiana is the ninth largest farming state in the nation, according to the ISDA.

“Agriculture is a huge part of our state. It’s worth $35 billion year over year," Herr said. “Encouraging families to stay here in Indiana. Put down roots and maybe in 100 years we’ll award them as well.”

There are two Hoosier Homestead ceremonies a year — one in at the Statehouse in March and one at the State Fair in August.

There are three categories: 100, 150 and 200 years.

The deadline to apply is coming up Monday, April 1.