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Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Purdue University cut the ribbon Monday on a $15 million plant research center that's the first of its kind in North America.

Researchers at the new Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center will study the growing habits of cash crops at the school's 1,400-acre research farm.

Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

More than 250 Indiana Farm Bureau members met in Indianapolis Saturday Aug. 27 to finalize the the organization’s 2017 positions on agricultural policy – from land use and environmental protection issues, to education and rural development.

  The delegates from each county farm bureau spent about five hours voting on line edits to their official stances. That included adding support for Indiana’s right to farm law, and for a balance between state funds for rural development and money for more urban-centric programs like the Regional Cities Initiative.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

In the crossroads of America, it's pretty easy to get around by driving or flying. But if you want to take the train, your options are limited.

Now, public-private deals such as the Hoosier State train are trying to change that.

Proponents of more rail service hope the Indianapolis-to-Chicago line so far will help prove their point to lawmakers.

On a Friday morning, the Hoosier State train is snaking north between Dyer and the Illinois state line. About 90 passengers sleep in their seats, eat breakfast in the dining car or use free WiFi.

GM

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.

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