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Southeastern Indiana Farmer Training Initiative


A mentor is not just a contact, but a mentor is someone who cares and is willing to think about your context and situation.  The SIFTI mentor relationship is developed between our students and experienced farmers through regular meetings, visits to mentor farms, and through email and phone contact.  Our mentors are compensated for their time, and are available to students for questions, advice and support.


Eric and Ryan Callahan

Eric, Ryan and their family run Lobenstein Farm in Brookville, IN.  Together the family grows 400 acres of row crops, 25 acres of produce, bedding plants for sale, and they manage beef cows, sheep and laying hens.  In the high season they are selling at 10 farmer’s markets every week, and they sell at 2 of those markets year round.  Find out more about Lobenstein Farm.

Matt Nobbe

Matt runs Five Oaks Garden Center and has become a knowledgeable resource for the Batesville community – “I’m a resource because I won’t lie to you, but will tell you how it is and what you need to do about it.”  Matt has gardened his whole life, getting his start in his teens as a gardener for the Hillenbrand family.  Matt opened Five Oaks in his thirties, and on top of his work with the garden center also raises pumpkins, corn (and corn meal), popcorn, wheat (for milling) and a big garden.  Find out more about Five Oaks Garden Center.

Mentors Wanted!

We want you!  We are looking to add more mentors for our program – if you are an experienced grower and would enjoy helping a new farmer get started, please contact our program director for more information.

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