Between Chicago and Indianapolis, just off Interstate 65 is home to one of the leading agri-tourism destinations in the world, Fair Oaks Farms.
Fair Oaks Farms is located in Fair Oaks, Ind., and has been doing farm tours of its dairies since 2004. The original land was purchased in the late 1990s and the farm has since grown into a 27,000-acre farm encompassing 11 dairies with 32,000 cows.
Just this past year a pork operation was added that also host tours. The Pig Adventure houses 2,700 sows that can be seen from the second floor via many different glass viewing areas. In all, the farm is expected to produce between 80,000 and 90,000 piglets per year.
Getting that live view of animals and being able to do an array of other activities has attracted a lot of visitors over the years, says Jamie Mitchell the Adventure Center manager at Fair Oaks Farms.
"Annually for all of our facilities including our café, our adventures, we see about 400,000 visitors each year," relates Mitchell. "The heart of the experience includes two bus tours, one going out to our working dairy farm and another going out to our Pig Adventure."
Visitors can view cows and sows giving birth at both facilities, while also having the chance to ask questions about animal agriculture practices.
"It's absolutely incredible, people leave here with big smiles, and jaws open like they can't believe what they just saw," says Mitchell.
She adds that many school tours come to the farm from urban areas where students may have never seen a live farm animal.
"It's really a great place to work, to show people where there food comes from," concludes Mitchell.