Mike Beard owns and operates Meadowlane Farms, a diversified family farming enterprise in Clinton County that includes 1,000 acres of commercial grain production and a 30,000 head per year contract hog finishing operation. A graduate of Rossville High School, Beard received his B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in 1968.
Beard began farming in 1972, taking over his father’s dairy operation. In 1987 he sold the cows and transitioned to a 450-sow farrow-to-finish operation. Later he added a 4,000 head contract finishing unit, and in 2003 completely transitioned to contract finishing. He’s known as an excellent record keeper and analyst, and as an innovator in his farming practices. Beard fertilizes his 1,000-acres of cropland almost completely with manure, and, instead of using his grain only to feed the hogs, aggressively markets his crop to create another profit center in his operation. In 2002, Beard formed Meadowlane Waste Applications, a custom manure hauling and dragline application operation, in partnership with his son David and son-in-law Chris Pearson, who are also actively involved in the farming operations.
Beard has been a leader in agricultural advocacy and policy activities, serving local, state and national organizations, including five years (1995 to 2000) on the Purdue Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (P-CARET). As president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau since 1998 he has launched three major programs: Agstravaganza, a one-day educational expo that draws more than 1,000 people; Farm Education Conservation Camp, a two-day program that reaches all 4th grade students in Clinton County; and Farming the Courthouse, an educational program for officeholders and decision-makers. All three programs have been Indiana Farm Bureau (IFB) state program award winners, and Farming the Courthouse was recognized nationally in 2006 by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Beard has also served as president of the Clinton County Extension Board (1995-2000), the Indiana Pork Advocacy Coalition (2005), and has served on the boards of Ross Township (1993-2005), AgMax Cooperative (1995-2000), Livestock Services of Indiana (1995-2000), Indiana Pork Producers (2002-present), Clinton County Pork Producers (2002-present), Indiana Soybean Board (2004-present) and the Clinton County Soil & Water Conservation District (Associate Supervisor 2002-present). He is also a member of the newly created Indiana Odor Elimination Task Force and was elected to the Clinton County Council in 2004. He and wife Pam were selected to travel to Brazil in 2005 as IFB Agriculture Cultural Exchange (ACE) Ambassadors, and he traveled with Lt. Gov. Skillman’s agricultural trade mission to Central America in 2006. Since 1987 he has served East Side Christian Church in many roles from Sunday School teacher and superintendent to Deacon, Elder and Chairman of the Church Board.
Beard’s honors include receiving the State Leadership Award from the American Milk Producers, Inc. in 1976, and the Dairy Award from Indiana Young Farmers in 1979. In 2002 he received Indiana Prairie Farmer’s Master Farmer Award.