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General Motors will invest $90 million to upgrade its Marion Metal Center in Grant County, the company announced Monday.

 

The money will pay for new, high-tech equipment at the 60-year-old facility where the company employs about 1,400 people, supplying metal parts for GM vehicles across North America.

 

It's the largest investment the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has announced since late May.

 

Andrew Priest / https://www.flickr.com/photos/aushiker/23717325825

Congress could be asked to vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as soon as September -- even while both presidential candidates oppose the trade deal, and manufacturing workers rally against it.

However, the agreement has support from most manufacturing business owners -- as well as support from another of Indiana's most trade-reliant industries: agriculture.

Courtesy John Perlich

State officials have approved the first projects for funding from the Regional Cities Initiative and could approve dozens more in the coming weeks.

The three approved so far are in the Northeast region, which is taking a different approach to the planning process than its counterparts in North Central and Southwest Indiana.

Lauren Chapman / Indiana Public Broadcasting

 

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) spoke about farming's past -- and where it's heading -- with farmers and fairgoers at the State Fair on Thursday.

The Senate Agriculture Committee member said he'll work to help farmers adapt to new technologies and market demands -- and that farmers and the public should talk to each other about those changes, too.

But first, he tried out some old-fashioned farm equipment at the Fair's Pioneer Village -- shucking corn, baling hay and sawing logs with a steam engine.

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

Things are looking up for the quality of this year's corn and soybeans in Indiana and around the Midwest.

That's according to the latest numbers from the USDA, which could be good news for farmers in a year with a bumper harvest in the forecast.

That would mean more supply for the same demand, which might cause lower prices at the grocery store -- but could also mean less money for farmers.

Sylvia Bao / http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/

The value of Indiana farmland is seeing its biggest decline since the 1980s.

That's according to Purdue University's annual Farmland Value Survey, which says the drop is mainly due to low grain prices.

Indiana farmland values have been falling since 2014, but the estimated decline this year is especially steep -- around 8.5 percent statewide, putting the cost of an average acre of land at a little over $7000.

Ryan Delaney/WFYI

Union leaders are shifting their focus to the election in the continuing fallout from Carrier's decision to move 1,400 jobs from Indiana to Mexico.

They hope their message -- that bad trade deals led to the job cuts -- will send workers to the polls in November.

In the nearly six months since Carrier's announcement, unions and politicians alike have used the layoffs to argue that free trade can hurt American jobs.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Commerce Department is using a new monitoring system to shed light on how steel moves around the world.

Industry watchers say it could drive long-term policy changes to protect American steel from the effects of foreign trade.

 

The first installment of the new Global Steel Trade Monitor ranked China first in the world for steel exports, and the U.S. first for imports.

Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

 

Craft beer now makes up a quarter of the beer market in the U.S., which means brewers are eager for ways to stand out. For some, that means buying hops locally -- even in Indiana.

It's encouraging more and more upstart Hoosier growers to invest long-term in the trendy crop.

Steve Howe is one of them. His Crown Point backyard doubles as Howe Farms. Past a pen of piglets and fluffy Scottish Highland cows, Howe is growing a tiny forest of hops.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The city of West Lafayette has hired a new development director to oversee the business investment the city will rely on to pay back the cost of its State Street overhaul.

Erik Carlson replaces Chandler Poole, who sat on the Joint Board that drew up the State Street redesign, but who left the city earlier this year to move back to his home state of Wisconsin.

Carlson has worked in economic development in Indianapolis and before that in Lexington, Kentucky, where he covered the beat as a reporter.

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