farming

A legislative study committee this week will wrap up its examination of the state’s confined animal feeding operations — barns that feed hundreds to thousands of animals, such as pigs, cows and chickens.

The hearings have drawn impassioned testimony from supporters and opponents alike. Many crop farmers say the extra income from CAFOs helps keep family farms alive. But opponents say CAFOs can pollute waterways and emit a debilitating odor.

Committee chair Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) says there is a place for large-scale animal agriculture in Indiana.

Sergio Russo / www.flickr.com/photos/xcbiker/1126553382

A Purdue researcher says technology may be the key to making the vineyard industry more ecologically -- and economically -- friendly.

Electrical and computer engineering professor David Ebert and his research team are working on software that calculates the best decisions for farmers based on information such as weather patterns, soil mapping and business trends.

Ebert says the focus is on wineries because winemaking is a more complex process than traditional farming.

courtesy Purdue University

A Purdue University graduate who wants to better commercialize African farming has been named this year’s winner of the World Food Prize.

Akinwumi Adesina is the President of the African Development Bank, a former Agriculture Minister in Nigeria and holds both a master’s degree and a doctorate from Purdue.

He’s led a push to increase yields on African farms through better use of fertilizer and spoke with President Trump about the challenge of getting the continent to feed itself at the recent G7 summit.

Uneven, wet weather is complicating the growing season for Indiana farmers.

There’s much more cash cropland this week that has too much moisture in its soil than at this time last year, according to the USDA’s latest crop progress report.

And the federal agency says the current condition of Indiana’s corn and soybeans isn’t as good as it was a year ago.

A team led by professors at Purdue University is wrapping up a six-year project with Midwestern corn farmers to help them adapt to climate change.

Useful to Useable was a $5 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Linda Prokopy, a professor of Natural Resources Social Sciences at Purdue University, says the aim wasn’t only to help farmers.

“My motivation was to really figure out how we can help farmers help themselves and help the land and help the water by having better access to information,” Prokopy says.

Robert S. Donovan / https://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/

According to the Indiana Department of Labor, the injury and illness rate of the state’s agricultural workers increased almost 30 percent between 2014 and 2015. But the numbers—from the state’s annual Survey of Occupational Illnesses and Injuries—don’t tell the whole story.

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.

Ann Fisher / https://www.flickr.com/photos/yooperann/

  Farm fatalities jumped by almost 40 percent in Indiana in 2014, according to Purdue University’s annual Farm Fatality Survey.

Two trends stand out among the survey’s data: Of the 25 farming-related deaths last year, nearly a third were from tractors overturning, and almost two-thirds were the result of some sort of machinery-related incident. Also, a full three-quarters of ag-related deaths in the state were of people younger than 18 or older than 60.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Inside a garage at a building near the Purdue University Airport sits a dump truck, full to the brim with dried corn. It’s not a grain bin, but it’s a useful stand-in for an exercise first responders from around the area are about to stage.

The EMTs, volunteer firefighters and other lifesavers have come to Purdue to learn from perhaps the world’s pre-eminent experts on grain bin entrapments.

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.

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