Indiana Agriculture Insider - ISDA's Monthly Newsletter

January 2016 Issue

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Indiana Hardwoods Continue as National Leader

Indiana continues to rank high nationally in row crops and livestock production, but did you know the Hoosier State also leads the nation in the production of wooden office furniture?

Forests cover 4.7 million acres and have increased over the years despite the growing population and development. Eighty-four percent of Indiana’s forest land is privately owned and is heavily populated with oaks and hickories (71.7 percent) and cherry, ash, tulip poplar and other hardwood trees (13.6 percent). In 2011, approximately 85 billion board feet were harvested from Indiana’s forests despite a slump in prices in the past few years.

More than 35,500 jobs are linked to logging, sawmill manufacturers and furniture production establishments throughout the state.

With nearly 95 percent of the world’s consumers and two thirds of the purchasing power located outside of the United States, expanding into the global market place provides Indiana hardwood manufacturers with more opportunities to increase their markets.

Mike Seidl, ISDA’s hardwood program manager, has a strong focus on international markets and can help Indiana businesses navigate the exporting process. Working in conjunction with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and the Hardwood States Export Group (HSEG), Mike attends various international trade shows in China, the Middle East, Brazil, India and Turkey. Trade leads are collected and directed to the hardwood export companies that include logs, lumber and veneer. More than 800 qualified trade leads were collected between 2011 and 2015 and have resulted in an overall increase in business for the hardwood community with approximately $800,000 of new business in veneer, lumber and log sales in 2015.

ISDA’s focus on international markets and the economic development of various agricultural industries remains strong and the economic development team is a great resource available to assist companies and individuals interested in expanding their businesses. 

Mike Seidl working with importers at the Sylva Wood Show in Shanghai, China.

Fantastic Food Fest

The Indiana Grown initiative had a very exciting month by participating in the Fantastic Food Fest, Indiana's largest food and beverage event that took place Jan. 16 and 17 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Over 50 Indiana Grown members participated in the event and were able to showcase their great products in front of roughly 8,500 consumers! 

Open from 11am to 6pm, the aisles were packed both days with happy consumers who were able to sample a variety of delicious treats. The Fest also featured demonstrations, shopping, cooking classes, workshops and presentations from local and celebrity chefs like Ted Allen and Hugh Acheson. In addition, Marsh and Kroger both had buyers and representatives on hand to make connections with Indiana Grown members for potential purchasing for their stores. 


This was also a big weekend for the media, and reporters from WTHR, RTV6 and Fox59, to name a few, attended the event and conducted interviews with several members of Indiana Grown.

ISDA staff members were also on hand both days and met with the Indiana Grown producers as well as members of the public to share information about the program. On many occasions, the producers told the staff members how great the turnout was and that they enjoyed participating in the event. Ultimately, we're calling the first-ever Fantastic Food Fest a huge success.

Further information about the show itself and specific exhibitors is available on the show’s website at    


Social Media in Agriculture

In today’s 21st century economy, social media has become a business and communications necessity, especially in the agriculture industry. It is a great way to share information, tell your story, develop a community and build relationships with a more diverse audience instantaneously. In fact, by its definition alone, social media is: a form of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content, according to Marriam-Webster. So, why is social media so important?

First, social media lets people know who you are. Before Facebook and Twitter started growing in popularity, people would just visit company’s website to learn about their organization. If people had questions, for example, like where is their food is being processed or grown, they would just call the producer or email them using the contact information listed on their site. Nowadays, it’s becoming more common for people to check social media first, before ever visiting a website. If they want to learn about a company or their history, through social media, they can just read what they have posted and develop their opinions based off of that.

Next, social media gives you a voice and can be used as an educational tool. Many misconceptions exist today that not only impact the agriculture industry, but every industry. Social media provides an excellent platform to clarify any misinformation that exist as well as keep the public informed about important industry updates, reaching a broad audience within seconds. Basically, it allows you to tell your side of the story.

Lastly, and most importantly, social media is a great way to interact with your audience, your community and develop relationships with the public. Recently, ISDA Press Secretary DyNishia Miller attended the Soil Water Conservation District Annual Conference and gave a presentation about the importance of using social media in agriculture. She discussed some of the basics of using social media, best practices, pitfalls to avoid, analytics, tips and tricks and why it’s so important to agriculture today. One of the key takeaways from her presentation was that social media is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to market your organization as well as an excellent tool to keep the public informed and to tell your story.


National FFA Week 2016

National FFA Week is an opportunity for individual chapters and state associations to amplify their impact in their schools and communities, and this year is celebrated from February 21 – 27th. During the weeklong festivities, chapters host a variety of different events that highlight program successes, promote FFA within their school, and provide social recreation. These activities might range from a Greenhand Degree Ceremony and teacher appreciation breakfast to euchre tournaments and school-wide dress up days.

FFA week

The Indiana FFA Association will kick-off this year’s FFA week by hosting a Page Day on Monday, February 22nd, at the Statehouse. Members from around the state will be paired up with their senator or representative to experience the legislative process. Additionally, during that day a joint resolution will be passed recognizing FFA Week throughout Indiana.

The seven Indiana FFA State Officers will commemorate the week by traveling around the state and participating in various events with local chapters. Each officer has been assigned a specific region of the state and will focus their attention to the schools within that area. In total, the state officers should be able to visit over 100 of Indiana’s 204 chapters. Additionally, the officers have a goal to spread the mission of FFA through nearly 30 TV, Radio, and Newspaper interviews around the state. 

FFA week (2()
The Indiana FFA 2014-2015 State Officer Team on the House Floor for FFA Page Day 2015.

Featured in this Newsletter:

Indiana Hardwoods Continue as National Leader

Fantastic Food Fest

Social Media in Agriculture

National FFA Week 2016 


Avian Influenza

For the most up to date information on Avian Influenza, visit the Indiana State Board of Animal Health's website.


Key Dates:

January 31-February 3
NASDA Winter Conference, Washington DC

February 6
Purdue Ag Fish Fry, Indianapolis


ISDA in the News:

Indiana farmers plow less, save soil

Best Boy grows its business 400 percent thanks to state program

ISDA gets new communications chief

Ag Group Looks to Harvest High-Tech Future

New Agribusinesses Coming to Indiana in 2016

Hoosier Producers in Statewide Spotlight


ISDA Reminders

Bicentennial  Torch Relay Torchbearer Nominations - deadline January 31, 2016

Purdue Extension Farming Together Series: Planning for Retirement and Estate Management

 Wabash:  REMC Building, January 26-27, 2016

 Danville: Hendricks County Extension Office, February 2-3, 2016

• Evansville: Vanderburgh 4-H Center, February 9-10, 2016

 Rensselaer:  Jasper County Fairgrounds, March 1-2, 2016


Indiana Grown Recipe of the Month:

Tomato Soup with Spinach and Tortellini


1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth 
1.5 (46 ounce) can Red Gold® Fresh Squeezed Tomato Juice
2 (28 ounce) cans Red Gold® Whole Peeled Tomatoes, or 4 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (9 ounce) package cheese tortellini 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper grated Parmesan cheese

In a soup kettle combine the beef broth, to the tomato juice and juice from tomatoes.

Tear tomatoes with fingers to create large chunks and add to broth. Add thawed spinach, tortellini, garlic and black pepper.

Cook for 35 minutes to blend flavors. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.


Indiana Agritourism Destination of the Month:

Huber Winery in Starlight, IN

Situated on more than 550 acres of farmland, Huber Winery is home to more than just their great wines. They also grow many fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees, pumpkins and grapes. Additionally, they have a children’s farm park, farm market, cheese shoppe, ice cream factory, and much more.

Contact ISDA:

Indiana State Department of Agriculture 
One North Capitol Avenue, Suite 600 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317.232.1362 FAX