Indiana Agriculture Insider

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On June 28, more than 150 farmers, artisans and Indiana-based businesses will be returning to Monument Circle for Indiana Grown’s 3rd annual Monumental Marketplace. Located downtown Indianapolis from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., this pop-up market will feature everything from locally-grown food and drinks to homemade wares and food trucks. Attendees will be able to sip, sample and shop from an assortment of Indiana products, as well as support the farmers and businesses behind them.

The event is free to attend and open to all, so mark your calendars and come have lunch with us on the Circle.

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The results are in! This month, data was released from the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which is the nation’s most comprehensive agricultural survey. Taken every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the census includes approximately 6.4 million different pieces of information, broken down at the national, state and county levels, and covers everything from economics to demographics.

U.S. agriculture

As of 2017, the value of agricultural production for the U.S. was $389 billion. In total, the country had over 2 million farms, of which, 96% of them were family owned. Farmland totaled 900 million acres, meaning almost 40% of all U.S. land was a farm, ranch or woodland area.

Farm expenses were $326 billion with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017. Additionally, average farm income in the U.S. was $43,053, with a total of 43.6% of farms receiving a positive net cash farm income.

The average age of all producers was 57.5, up 1.2 years from 2012, and the number of farmers who have served in the military was 370,619, or 11% of all. One in four producers was a beginning farmer with 10 or fewer years of experience in 2017, and 36% of all producers were female, according to the census data.

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Indiana agriculture

In 2017, agricultural production in Indiana totaled just over $11 billion. Nationwide, this puts Indiana in the top 10 for total agricultural products sold, and, combined, these states made up more than 54% of total U.S. sales.

According to the census, Indiana had 56,649 farms in 2017, which was down 2,046 farms over the five-year period. Most of Indiana’s farms were between 10 and 500 acres, but the average size was 264 acres, up 5% from 2012. Farmland in Indiana increased to 15 million acres, or 65% of the state’s total land, and there were more than 94,000 farmers in 2017, with an average age of 55.5 years-old.

For the first time, the census collected data on military service and revealed that Indiana had nearly 7,921 farmers that were serving in 2017 or had prior service. The census also found that the number of female producers grew significantly, up 30% from 2012. Additionally, minority-operated farms in all categories also increased, and there were over 23,000 new and beginning farmers in 2017.

More conservation is happening on Hoosier farms, census data shows. Indiana farmers planted 936,000 acres of cover crops in 2017, up 57% from 2012, and Indiana ranked No. 3 in the nation in acres planted. Farmers practiced reduced tillage on 4.1 million acres, which was up 1 million from five years ago.

Other highlights found the number of renewable energy systems in Indiana more than doubled, and more Hoosier farmers had access to the internet, increasing from 65% in 2012 to 72% in 2017, mirroring national trends.

The following list includes Indiana’s top five agricultural products sold by market value as of 2017.

  1. Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas: $6.7 billion
  2. Poultry and eggs: $1.3 billion
  3. Hogs and pigs: $1.3 billion
  4. Milk from cows: $708 million
  5. Cattle and calves: $510 million

Overall, this data shows that agriculture remains the backbone of Indiana’s economy and is critical to the livelihood of thousands of Hoosier families. To read the complete census, visit, or for Indiana-specific data, click here.

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Purdue Extension and the Indiana Land Resources Council are proud to announce the development of a new document series designed to assist local governments on current and emerging land use issues.

Titled Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources, the series will be unveiled at a one day community planning workshop on August 28, which will include an overview of the series, guest speakers, breakout sessions and panel discussions.

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Farming isn’t your typical 9 to 5 job, but like most professions, there are busy seasons. In the coming weeks, farmers will begin planting their crops, which is a critical first step in providing us with the food, fuel and fiber products we need for our daily lives. They have a short window to get this done – conditions have to be just right – so this is a busy time of the year, not just for our farmers, but also our rural roads.

Planting season means more slow-moving farm vehicles will be on Indiana’s roadways. Chances are, if you live in the state, you’ve seen these vehicles before, whether it’s a sprayer or tractors pulling planters. These vehicles often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph and, by law, must have the nationally designated slow-moving vehicle sign.

While most drivers exercise caution and know what to do around these vehicles, accidents and some fatalities still occur every year. That’s why we’ve joined forces with multiple organizations to encourage all motorists to: be alert, slow down and share the road.

Most farmers will pull over for motorists when they are able to, but it may take them some time to find a safe place to do so. It’s important to be patient and cautious when passing. Likewise, when attempting to pass on the left, make sure the farm vehicle is actually pulling over and not making a left turn. Be aware of alternate routes, and always look for oncoming traffic.

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Allow plenty of time to get to your destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions. Leaving 10 minutes early helps to, not only reduce stress, but also make sure that everyone reaches their destination safely and in a timely manner. Above all, follow all of the rules of the road: don’t text and drive, don’t tailgate farm vehicles and pass only in designated passing zones.

It’s important to note that farmers have a job to do, like everyone else, and have to use the road to get from field to field. Farmers and motorists alike, let’s work together to ensure a safe 2019 planting season.

For a full list of safety tips, click here or visit The following organizations will be working together to share these safety tips during planting season: Hoosier Ag Today, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Indiana State Police.

Special thanks to Hoosier Ag Today, and Alan Kemper and Kemper Farms for creating a public safety announcement, which can be found by watching the video below or by clicking here.

You can also listen to the PSA by tuning into Hoosier Ag Today radio stations. To find a station broadcasting in your area, click here.

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Planting Season
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  • May 7
    Primary Election Day 
    ISDA Office Closed 
  • May 23
    Indiana State Fair Commission Meeting 
    Indianapolis, IN 
  • May 27 
    Memorial Day 
    ISDA Office Closed 
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