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.

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The USDA is estimating that American farmers may plant more corn this summer than they have in years.

 

But with the news that China will begin selling off its huge corn stockpiles, economists say prices could suffer.

Indiana accounts for 2.6 percent of the national increase. Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt says the state increase came from fields that went unplanted last summer due to floods.

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Mississippi-based Hancock Fabrics is going out of business, shutting down its four Indiana stores and nearly 200 more.

The fabric and crafts retailer filed for bankruptcy in February, but no company came forward to buy its $280 million in retail assets.

Hancock Fabrics' Indianapolis, Carmel, Fort Wayne and Clarksville locations will hold clearance sales over the next few months before closing down. They employ about 40 people total.

 

Annie Ropeik

In the coming months, Subaru needs to add hundreds of workers at its huge Lafayette plant. But it hasn't been easy for the car-maker or other manufacturers to hire people with the right skills.

So they're teaming up, with trainings starting in April, to create a new workforce from scratch.

Lafayette's Subaru of Indiana Automotive, or SIA, is the only Subaru factory outside Japan. Inside, 5,000 people are turning chunks of steel into cars.

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After nearly two years of increases and a historic spike last fall, grocery prices have started to drop in Indiana.

 

That's according to the Farm Bureau's latest spring survey, which has looked at the price of a basic basket of groceries in spring and fall for nearly 30 years.

 

The survey adds up the average cost of a "market basket" of 16 items, including milk, eggs, meat and produce. This spring, that basket totals $52.61.

Ryan Delaney/WFYI

 

Steelworkers rallied outside the Carrier factory in Indianapolis Wednesday to protest plans to close the heating and air conditioning plant, sending 1,400 jobs to Mexico.

That announcement was caught on video in February and has drawn national attention. But analysts say the dramatic footage isn't the only reason Carrier is standing out.

 

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A new milk bottling plant outside Fort Wayne will be among the largest in the nation, and the state is hoping it's just the beginning of much-needed growth for Indiana's dairy industry.

The state made dairy processing a priority almost exactly a year ago. The goal? Use more of the milk that’s produced, and increase its value before it's shipped away. A first step -- the 250 thousand-square-foot Walmart plant, announced last week and set to open in 2017.

Officials aren't saying yet just how much raw milk it'll turn into bottles of white and chocolate.

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