Indiana Agriculture Insider

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Op-ed: Indiana is a leader in biosciences

Our world is interconnected and constantly changing. From the cars we manufacture to the food we produce, innovation continues to define and shape how we operate as a society and impacts every industry – agriculture especially.

For centuries, Hoosiers have undertaken the vital responsibility of feeding families all across the globe, a noble cause fraught with many challenges. To meet the demands of a rapidly growing world population, today’s farmers are being asked to produce more food on less land while minimizing their environmental footprint.


The agricultural community, as it’s done for generations, has had to adapt and innovate in order to address this growing global concern, which has given rise to a high-tech, robust industry that’s pushing the limits of modern science and unlocking the full potential of Hoosier ingenuity.

Make no mistake about it, Indiana is at the center of agricultural innovation and a leader in agbiosciences – the intersection of traditional agriculture, life sciences, and science and technology. Agbiosciences contributes $16 billion to Indiana’s economy and employs 75,000 Hoosiers in good-paying jobs.

To raise awareness about this critical sector, AgriNovus Indiana, Gov. Eric Holcomb and members of the agricultural community have joined forces to tell Indiana’s agbiosciences story, which is one of innovation and research, of family-owned businesses and globally-traded companies, of entrepreneurs and researchers – all creating tomorrow’s solutions today.

It might be hard to believe that the technology coming from Indiana is addressing problems on a global scale, but it’s true. Our life sciences industry alone produces $10 billion in exports and is ranked in the top five nationally.


We are leading the way with more than 80 innovative companies and more than 740 patents in the agbiosciences sector. Many of these patents are developing from agricultural programs at universities or at cutting-edge agriculture companies that are commercializing new technologies daily. This includes major players like AgReliant Genetics in Westfield and Elanco Animal Health in Greenfield, but it’s also small, family-owned businesses like Whiteshire Hamroc in Albion and Farbest Foods in Huntingburg.

These businesses and many others have launched and grown rapidly in Indiana as a result of our world-class business climate, high-tech assets, natural resources and transportation infrastructure. We also have strong collaboration, something not all states share. Entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders and local and state government come together daily to collaborate on building the optimum environment for businesses to grow and add Hoosier jobs.

Indiana will continue our leadership in agbiosciences because, under the Holcomb-Crouch administration, our state is taking innovation, technology and entrepreneurship to the next level. We do that by focusing on Hoosiers, the ideas they’re developing and the resources they need to make those ideas a reality.

As Indiana enters its third century, Hoosiers are advancing the latest technology and innovation to continue to face the global challenges of tomorrow. We’ve got the environment, the institutions, and the talent, and we are open for business.

Indiana is done being modest. Agbiosciences is part of our state’s identity and a fundamental part of our future – and the future of the world. Now is the time to tell: If you’re looking for the future of agriculture, you’ve found it in Indiana.

Jim Schellinger
Indiana Secretary of Commerce

Ag census data goes beyond the farm

Soon, producers across the state will receive their questionnaires for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the survey is the only source of comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. That’s why its impact goes well beyond the farm gate.


For example, input from the census helps inform leaders, researchers and communities on future agricultural planning and decision making. Data collected will impact how resources are directed to agricultural research, conservation programs, disaster relief and education, to name a few. 

Results from this census will help policymakers at the state and local level determine how best to support rural infrastructure projects, like road improvements and broadband expansion, which are vital to all Indiana producers.

Additionally, local economic development organizations use the data to determine how they can leverage the agricultural resources in their communities to bring in a new operation or expand an existing one, creating jobs and new opportunities.


While producers will receive their census forms by mail this December, they can complete the entire questionnaire online. The web version of the form is user-friendly and automatically calculates totals and skips questions that do not pertain to that operation. New information that will be collected includes data on active duty and military veteran farmers, as well as expanded questions about marketing practices.

Census responses are due by February 5, 2018. The results will be available later that month in aggregate form as to ensure that no individual operation or producer can be identified as required by federal law.

Filling out the census is an opportunity to tell your story, so make sure you're counted this year and that your voice is heard. 

For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit

10 tips to help you care for your farm-grown tree 

The holiday season is officially here, which is a time of celebration, togetherness, and, of course, good food. While every family has their own, unique holiday traditions, one that most families across the U.S. share is picking out and decorating the family Christmas tree.


However, did you know that growing a Christmas tree is extremely labor intensive and requires annual care? In fact, it can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of typical height, but Indiana’s 265+ tree growers continue to overcome their challenges because they know countless families are depending on them to carry on their family tradition.

That’s why this year, in order to help you maintain the quality of your farm-grown tree, below are 10 helpful tips provided by the National Christmas Tree Association:

1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.

2. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.

3. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.

4. Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.

5. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake. 

6. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.

7. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.

8. Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.

9. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set. Do not overload electrical circuits. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

10. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is very dry, remove it from the house. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace. Visit the Tree Recycling page to find a recycling program near you.

      ICTG Annual donation


      ISDA would like to give a special thanks to Yakey Tree Farm of Fishers, as well as the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association, for donating fresh, Indiana grown trees every year to various state agencies! Visit to learn more or find a tree farm near you!


      December 14
      What’s N Your Fields - Fair Oaks Farm

      December 15
      What’s N Your Fields - Noble County Public Library

      December 21
      Indiana State Fair Commission meeting - Indiana State Fairgrounds

      December 25-26
      Offices closed - Christmas


      Corn and soybean farmers looking for an edge to advance on-farm production have a valued opportunity to attend one of four free regional workshops, titled What’s N Your Fields. Hosted by a collaboration of agricultural organizations including the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council, each workshop will feature a keynote speaker and cover a variety of topics ranging from nitrogen application to cover crops to soil sampling and testing.

      In addition to strengthening on-farm production, attendees will hear unique insights from technical leads, researchers and farmer-peers for ideas they can implement on their own operation. They will also leave with a better understanding of INfield Advantage, a farm management program that provides participants personalized, field-specific data coupled with local aggregated results.

      First launched in 2010, INfield Advantage began with 15 producers who enrolled 39 fields. Today, the program includes more than 400 producers with over 1,000 fields enrolled.

      What’s N Your Fields includes lunch. Space is limited, so advanced registration is required. The following list provides details for each workshop.

      Thursday, December 14, 2017
      When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (CT)
      Where: Fair Oaks Farm, 856 N 600 E, Fair Oaks, IN 47943

      Friday, December 15, 2017
      When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET)
      Where: Noble County Public Library, 104 Ley St, Avilla, IN 46710

      For more information and to RSVP, click here or contact your local Soil & Water Conservation District office. The Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Purdue Extension, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and Indiana’s soil and water conservation districts sponsor these events.


      Free workshops aim to give farmers an edge

      Indiana Lands National Agritourism Convention

      Indiana State Poultry Association helps Hoosiers in need

      Wabash County Hog Farmers Donate Pork to Local Pantries

      Sample some of Indiana's best coffee roasters all in one event

      Lt. Governor promotes agritourism at local business

      Purdue Extension honors outstanding service to the state of Indiana

      Clean Water Indiana Grants Awarded to 25 Counties

      Farming community helps family after tragedy

      Indiana Christmas trees headed to troops overseas


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