agriculture

Indiana is partway into a record-setting cash crop harvest – but months of uneven weather conditions have put some farmers behind.

The state’s soybean crop is 42 percent harvested as of this week, about the same as average. But the corn crop lags at just 24 percent.

Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen says wet weather earlier this year forced some farmers to plant late or replant their crops, and cool August temperatures lengthened the growing season.

Indiana’s top agricultural official will become the nation’s first undersecretary for foreign agricultural trade.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Ted McKinney to the newly-created Department of Agriculture post Tuesday.

In a statement, USDA secretary Sonny Perdue says McKinney will “wake up every morning seeking to sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets.”

Scott Meyers / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/89022304

The Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission appears poised to approve new rules governing where self-storage facilities may be built and what happens inside of them.

The APC will consider a proposal at a meeting this week which would bar such facilities from being built on land currently zoned for agricultural use.

County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh helped spearhead the ordinance and says it comes out of a permit denial for land next to a creek on the far eastern edge of Lafayette.

A Purdue University professor is getting nearly half a million dollars from the USDA to study how food policies creating new labels and certifications can affect prices and consumer choice.

The research received $483,000 from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture this month. It seeks to answer questions about things like GMO label requirements.

As Indiana farmers hurry through planting season – the corn crop is nearly three-quarters planted as of Monday, with soybeans nearly half done – they’re also watching big changes at the USDA.

The department is reorganizing its trade and rural development programs, while the White House takes aim at those issues in its own way.

Indiana’s corn and soybean growers are getting seeds in the ground this week – but more rain on the way could put farmers in a difficult position.

As of Monday, 56 percent of the state’s projected corn crop and 23 percent of the projected soybean crop have been planted.

Congress is once again considering a bill to help pay off more student debt for veterinarians in high-need, rural areas.

The proposal has stalled in committee for the past several years – but advocates for Hoosier vets say it’s needed now more than ever.

Indiana’s two USDA-designated veterinarian shortage areas cover most of the west central part of the state – two districts made up of 17 counties, centered around the cities of Lafayette and Brazil.

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.

An older audience of Indiana Farm Bureau members heard a younger perspective at their annual conference in Indianapolis this past weekend – from the head of millennial engagement at agribusiness giant Monsanto.

Vance Crowe told Hoosier farmers they should rethink how they communicate about the food system.

Crowe is one of many recent hires at Monsanto tasked with changing the public narrative about GMOs, industrial agriculture and other controversial issues.

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