Peas and FAQs – Indiana Agriculture is Big Business

Peas and FAQs – Indiana Agriculture is Big Business

Did you know that over the last 20 years the value of Indiana’s agricultural sector doubled?

No matter where you are in this state, you’re never very far removed from the agriculture industry. It’s an important and often overlooked part of our economic profile that’s been quietly growing all around us for years, leaving us with all kinds of questions about its output.

New data suggests that Hoosier farmers are among the most productive and efficient in the country. In the latest Census of Agriculture, which is conducted every five years, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that Indiana regularly reaps a huge economic harvest from farm production each year.

The census is nation’s most comprehensive agricultural survey and shows trend data on a variety of topics ranging from production to economics to farmer demographics. The available data was from calendar year 2017 and was released in spring of 2019.


Those Must’ve Been Big Seeds… to Reap $11B

Nationwide, Indiana ranks in the top 10 for total agricultural products sold. All ten of the top states, when added together, make up 54 percent of total U.S. sales. This is huge when you consider the U.S. is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of food.

The census reported that 2017 agricultural production in the U.S. was valued at $389 billion, of which, more than $11 billion came from the Hoosier state.

“The value of agricultural production has more than doubled over the past two decades in Indiana,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “This census sheds light on Indiana’s agricultural footprint, historically and economically, and we can use this data to support farmers and drive our strategic efforts in the state.”


Answers to Your Deep-Rooted Economic Questions

The census contained a detailed breakdown of all the different factors that make up the agriculture industry in Indiana. We’ve gathered answers to some of the biggest Hoosier agriculture FAQs to give you a sense of all the productivity that’s been taking place.


How much do farms earn?

Net farm income was $50,171 in 2017, above the national average of $43,053. This was a slight decline from $52,861 in 2012.

8,700 farms produced $250,000 or more, which was more than 87 percent of the total value of production.

38,900 farms made under $50,000, representing 2.9 percent.


What were Indiana’s main products?

The top 5 agricultural products, by market value as of 2017, were:

  • Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas: $6.7 billion
  • Poultry and eggs: $1.3 billion
  • Hogs and pigs: $1.3 billion
  • Milk from cows: $708 million
  • Cattle and calves: $510 million


How many farms/farmers do we have? 

Indiana had 56,649 farms in 2017, which was down 2,046 farms over the five-year period since 2012.

There were more than 94,000 farmers with an average age of 55.5 years-old, younger than the national average of 57.5.


How big are these farms?

Most of Indiana’s farms were between 10 and 500 acres but the average size was 264 acres, up 5% from 2012.


Have minority-operated farms grown?

Yes. Minority-operated farms in all categories increased and there were over 23,000 new and beginning farmers.


Have we been losing or gaining farmland? 

Farmland in Indiana increased to 15 million acres, or 65% of the state’s total land.


Are farmers modernizing their operations?

Yes. The number of renewable energy systems in Indiana more than doubled during the census period.

Also, more Hoosier farmers now have access to the internet, increasing from 65% in 2012 to 72%, mirroring national trends.


Big Business in Things that Grow

The release of the new census was almost immediately followed by two significant investments from agriculture-related operations. Cormo USA Inc., a Swiss company that turns corn field waste into sustainable products, announced that it plans to invest $29.5 million to establish its first U.S. production plant in Indiana and create about 250 new high-wage jobs over the next few years. Also, the nation’s largest family-owned retail seed company, Beck’s, announced its plans to invest $62 million into its operations and add about 56 new jobs.

All of that shows us there’s not only been recent growth among Indiana farms themselves, but also among other companies connected to farming. So, it’s no wonder why state officials were quick to point out the industry as the “backbone of Indiana.” There’s big business in things that grow, and our state is one of the best at it.

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