Annie Ropeik

IPBS Economy Reporter

Annie Ropeik is the economy and business reporter for the Indiana Public Broadcasting network, based at WBAA. She’s covered farming, fisheries and other industries at public radio stations from Massachusetts and Delaware to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and earned accolades from the Alaska and Delaware Press Clubs for her reporting on rural business issues. Originally from Silver Spring, Md., Annie has a Hoosier mother and a degree in classics from Boston University. She also performs a mean car concert, boasts a worryingly encyclopedic knowledge of One Direction lyrics and is a Hufflepuff.

A new study from Ball State University underscores how higher education can boost wages – especially in certain parts of the state.

Its author, at the Center for Business and Economic Researcher, says the study suggests poorer counties have lots to gain from regional educational partnerships.

Graduate researcher Nathan Law found that since the recession, it’s been easier for Hoosiers with at least a bachelor’s degree to find full-time work.

Governor Signs Bill Expanding Lead Testing In East Chicago

Apr 20, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Thursday designating parts of East Chicago, Indiana, as “areas of special concern.”

The bill indefinitely extends parts of Holcomb’s emergency declaration to expand lead testing in the city’s soil and water.

Hoosiers will see more farm equipment in the fields in the next few weeks, as spring corn and soybean planting ramps up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farmers in Indiana and nationwide to plant more soybeans than ever this year, while corn acreage looks to hold steady.

Purdue University agronomist and self-named “corn guy” Bob Nielsen says corn prices are still lackluster, with plenty in storage, and that’s driven soybean prices up.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt made his first visit to a Superfund site Wednesday, meeting in East Chicago with lawmakers and residents affected by lead contamination.

Pruitt made a short statement outside a shuttered elementary school in the USS Lead Superfund, after a closed briefing with Gov. Eric Holcomb, state and federal lawmakers, and local officials.

“And the reason I’m here is because it’s important that we restore confidence for the people here in this community, that we’re gonna get it right going forward,” Pruitt says.

Egg producers are scrambling to keep up with rising corporate demand for cage-free eggs.

For Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms, the nation’s second-biggest egg producer, that means building three huge, new, high-efficiency cage-free houses in Pulaski County – capable of churning out a million eggs a day.

Going cage-free is not as simple as setting chickens loose, or taking cages out of a conventional chicken house. It can cost up to $50 a bird, and construction can take months.

A new report from the Animal Welfare Institute says Indiana lags in enforcing humane slaughter rules at small, state-inspected meat plants – that it issues citations, but never stops production.

The Indiana Board of Animal Health took issue with that logic, saying its inspectors are doing their jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency and East Chicago’s mayor remain at a standstill over the future of a lead-contaminated public housing complex.

After Mayor Anthony Copeland doubled down on his insistence that the EPA clean West Calumet Housing Complex to a residential standard, the EPA has maintained it can’t move forward with cleanup until it gets more information from the city.

Dozens of families are still living in East Chicago’s lead-contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex, a week after the city had wanted everyone moved out.

In late March, the East Chicago Housing Authority assigned remaining West Calumet residents to temporary public housing units elsewhere in the city, as well as in Gary and Chicago.

Purdue University researchers are releasing new findings about how Indiana counties regulate big livestock farms, in hopes of determining what rules work best to help farmers get along with their neighbors.

Paul Ebner’s team at Purdue has spent years mapping out the wide range of zoning rules counties use to regulate confined animal feeding operations – known as CFOs – and their bigger, more concentrated counterparts, called CAFOs.

President Donald Trump is touting a new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers that shows record optimism among American factory owners – a rosier picture than a similar Indiana survey painted last fall.

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