Indiana is commonly known for their Amish farms and horses along with other agricultural offerings. But are people aware that the state also hosts a growing number of deer and elk farmers?
The Indiana Deer and Elk Farmers’ Association (IDEFA) is the official state group representing those who raise these favored hunting stock.
The organization was formed for the purpose of promoting the raising of elk and deer and encourages a friendly exchange of ideas and practical information. One of their primary goals is to be a collective voice in governmental issues, particularly in regards to conservation.
They are especially proud of the passing of SB109 on March 22, 2016, which makes it legal to own and operate hunting preserves with restrictions and guidelines. The group worked over 10 years in support of the law through their various committees and volunteer efforts.
Their biggest fundraiser is the Spring Benefit Auction and annual meeting where the members come together to share information, gain additional knowledge through a myriad of speakers, enjoy the fellowship of other farmers, promote the organization to the general public, and raise money for the group for their various projects.
The afternoon began with activities for the children including a cornhole tournament and a bouncy house. A preview of the auction items was open to the public as well as the donation dinner of fish and chicken tenders, french fries, salad, and drinks. Ice cream was the dessert of choice to complete the meal.
The donations included sporting goods, home décor, toys, and camping supplies with the number of entries over 100. A silent auction was held with additional items to appreciate and purchase. Some of the more unusual pieces were a rocking deer (similar to a rocking horse), a smoker, handmade rustic furniture, and semen from specimens owned by the members. A gun raffle was another opportunity to support the organization.
The speakers presented on the most current updates to laws and regulations in relation to the topic of the evening. Travis Lowe represented the North American Elk Breeders Association while Shelly Chavis encouraged keeping up with the state laws through the State of Indiana Board of Animal Health. She serves as a field veterinarian. A legislative update was shared as well.
The group maintains a Facebook and website, offering information on various aspects of the raising of elk and deer. Providing stocker bucks, collecting antlers and selling venison products are a few of the reasons for the operations.
The organization also has several committees to help with fundraising, legislative updates, membership, budgeting, and a high quality newsletter. For more information about this unique livestock industry, www.indianadeer.com is available on the Internet.