agribusiness

Annie Ropeik/Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana has the fifth largest pig farming industry in the country, turning out 8.5 million hogs a year. But some are too small for the huge slaughterhouses that require pigs to be a certain size and condition for speedy processing.

Now, Indiana's industry to broker these smaller pigs is growing.

Nebraska-based Wiechman Pig Company opened a new facility in Delphi in late March. Inside, a big, friendly sow greets manager Jeff Petree. She's one of a couple dozen pigs he bought from Indiana farmers in his opening week.

Antony Oliver / https://www.flickr.com/photos/leithcote/

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.

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

A lot of places have claimed to be the so-called “Shrimp capital of the world,” including Brunswick, Georgia, Morgan City, Louisiana, and, most recently, Mazatlán, Mexico.

More than 2000 miles north of Mazatlán, though, shrimp farmers in Indiana are working to add the Hoosier State to that list. The state is home to a growing number of what are known as “inland shrimp farms.”

Jonathan Nightengale / https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnath/

State lawmakers and small farmers appear to have reached a compromise over previously contentious legislation regarding who can sell chickens to restaurants and other institutions.

Currently, producers slaughtering 20,000 birds of fewer annually are limited to “household consumer” sales…that means they can sell through farmers markets, at roadside stands or directly out of their operations.

Buttery Crop Goes Pop

Feb 5, 2016
Ingrid Taylar / https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylar/

After riding high for a few years on a wave of butter-flavored prosperity, Indiana’s popcorn production dropped by more than a quarter last year.

In 2014, Hoosier farmers planted and harvested more popcorn than they ever had before, producing more than 430 million pounds of the stuff. But last year, they produced only 310 million pounds.

Greg Matli, a statistician for the US Department of Agriculture’s Indiana field office, says Indiana popcorn became a victim of its own bounty.

the Indiana Insider Blog / VisitIndiana.com

Indiana is the fifth-largest pork producing state in the nation as measured in sales, producing $1.3 billion worth of pork annually. Pork tenderloins are considered by many to be the unofficial Hoosier state food. So this week’s much-talked-about report showing a link between processed meats and cancer could strike fear into the hearts of pork producers. Except...it's not.

Purdue Agricultural Economics professor Jim Mintert says one report probably isn’t going to affect consumer attitudes toward processed meats. But depending on what happens in the future, that might change.

Ben Loehrke / https://www.flickr.com/photos/benloehrke/

Agribusiness executives and researchers are describing Indiana as an area poised to become a global heavyweight in food-science research.

Elanco president Jeff Simmons says Indiana is building a roster of companies working on ways to boost food production to meet the needs of a world population projected to hit 10-billion in 35 years.

For instance, Simmons says, it’ll take a 60-percent increase in milk production to serve that many people.

Mike Loizzo / WBAA News

Experts appear divided on how much corn the state’s fields will yield this year, but there are some who are predicting record-high production.

They’re crediting this summer’s cool weather, combined with a lot of rain early in the season.

Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt says a corn surplus means lower prices on everything from cooking oil to animal feed – prices that will eventually translate into higher profits for meat producers.

"Growing Ag Leaders" pilot program includes IN

Nov 19, 2013

According to a U.S Department of Agriculture report, roughly 25,000 agriculture jobs go unfilled each year.

To address the issue, Monsanto and the National F.F.A. are partnering to encourage more students pursuing a degree in the field.

Most of Indiana is part of their scholarship pilot program, including Tippecanoe and surrounding counties.

A former U.S. deputy secretary of state thinks Purdue is “ground zero” for the expertise needed to help developing economies. Bob Zoellick says technology, innovation, agriculture and business are all needed to help emerging countries. He thinks that could help the U.S. economy too.

“The United States has actually been stagnant in terms of getting more market share abroad. We benefited from the ethanol prices and the higher prices. So, frankly, I think we also need to reorient our policies towards trying to get advantage of some of these growths in international markets.”

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