Purdue Extension

Hoosiers interested in and working with food systems across Indiana attended the second annual Indiana Food Summit in Indianapolis this week, where healthy food access continues to be a popular topic.

When trying to incentivize smaller retail stores to sell healthy food and produce you first have to make sure that’s what people want says Kara Lubischer, with University of Missouri Extension.

“We focus on the demand side first,” says Lubischer. “So we build up community support for the local retailer before we do anything inside the store.”

Wendell Smith / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wendellsmith/8954136170

A years-long Purdue University experiment is testing whether ginseng can be cultivated by Indiana farmers.

Ginseng, commonly used as an herbal remedy, grows wild in most of Indiana. The Purdue Department of Forestry is trying to grow the plant in what’s called a “simulated wild grow.”

Purdue Extension Forester Lenny Farlee says ginseng has been over-harvested in the past, so the department aims to add to the ginseng supply and help cultivate native growing.

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.

Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

 

It's fair season in Indiana. This means lots of 4-H activities happening around the state -- but they might not be the ones you're picturing.

Maddie Gearld and Haylee Drake are two stars of the Clay County 4-H robotics team. At this year's county fair, they showed a 3-D balsa wood frame they built from scratch.

It uses water and air pumped through syringes to make a wooden clamp lift a block onto a platform.

United Soybean Board

More wet weather didn't help Indiana farmers make up for lost time in planting corn last week -- and they weren't able to supplement with soybeans, either.

It could mean some big decisions for growers heading into summer.

Indiana planted just seven percent more of its projected corn acreage in the past week, according to the latest USDA numbers.

Annie Ropeik/Indiana Public Broadcasting

White County is on its way to passing the state's first rule for protecting a waterway from big livestock farms. It's designed to shield the Tippecanoe River Basin and its residents from pollution and farm odors.

kov-A-c / https://www.flickr.com/photos/yovac/14427821648

Freezing temperatures this week are concerning Purdue University agricultural specialists.

Peaches, grapes and wheat are especially vulnerable right now. Greg Bossaer, assistant program leader for agriculture and natural resources at Purdue Extension, says it’s possible that prolonged freezing temperatures could decrease the supply or increase the price of affected crops.

“The jury’s still out here, and it’s probably going to depend on these next few evenings,” he says.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/8227778574/

A new corn disease has been discovered in Indiana, and it’s the first confirmed case in the country.

The disease called "tar spot" is more commonly found in Mexico and Central America, but its presence in the Hoosier state should not cause any immediate problems.

Kiersten Wise, Purdue Extension Specialist for Field Crop Diseases, says a fungus causes the disease and it discolors crops in ways other pests do.

Large Crops Not Translating To Large Bankrolls For Farmers

Nov 20, 2014
David Wright / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhwright/14934151279

The truck traffic at Kokomo Grain Company is constant.

"We will process between 400 and 500 trucks a day in the 12-14 hour day at this facility," says Senior Grain Merchandiser Mike Silver.

He says all of the truckloads of corn and soybeans can add up to 750,000 bushels per day. Trucks dump the grain quickly, but a long line soon snakes around the Kokomo Grain’s entrance.

Indiana and several other Midwestern states are poised to break records with this year’s yields, so the grain elevators here are already halfway full.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has wrapped up a two-day visit to Purdue.

He says a mountain of data the school has collected on rural communities, many of them agrarian in nature, may help the government better target solutions to problems such as child poverty.

“The ability of Purdue to help us identify the common characteristics of counties and regions where child poverty is high is going to give us the ability to focus government resources more effectively at trying to address that issue,” Vilsack says.

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