Since 1919, Indiana Farm Bureau has worked alongside Indiana’s farmers to protect their lives, land, equipment, animals and crops. As the state’s largest general farm organization, Indiana Farm Bureau is a farmer’s strongest advocate. Farm Bureau’s grassroots membership works constantly to protect a farmer’s very right to farm, because agriculture is vital to Indiana’s economy.
Agriculture brings jobs, capital investment and wealth to both rural and urban communities. It contributes $25 billion to our state’s economy, and 16% of our workforce is represented by Hoosiers who make their living associated with farming and agribusiness. There are 61,000 Indiana farms, and all but two percent of those are family farms that more than likely are multi-generational.
Indiana farmers are committed to growing the very best food for Hoosier families every day. That dedication to family, animals and environment upholds a proud Hoosier tradition of meeting the nutritional needs of the world through the meats, milk, fruits, vegetables and more produced from one corner of the state to the other, all the while fueling our local economy.
While each farm is unique and every farmer has a different story to tell, the data paint a clear picture of how strong Indiana’s agricultural heritage really is. According to the latest statistics from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture:
- Indiana ranks fifth in the nation in corn production. Last year Hoosier farmers marketed $3.28 billion worth of corn for grain. Indiana farmers also sold $2.27 billion dollars worth of soybeans last year. Nationally, Indiana ranks 4th overall in soybean production.
- Indiana’s pig farmers contributed $3 billion to the state’s economy last year. Pork producers spend over $465 million in local, rural economies on farm operation-related expenses. Indiana is the 5th largest producer of pork in the nation and markets almost 8 million hogs per year.
- Indiana has more than 19,000 premises registered for cattle production with a total 960,000 head of cattle. Cattle production supports farm retail stores, pharmaceutical companies, equipment dealers and feed suppliers in almost every county in the state. Twenty-nine cuts of beef labeled as lean by the USDA provide the #1 source for protein, zinc and vitamin B-12 in our diet.
- Indiana has 2,000 dairy farms that produce 329 billion gallons of milk per year. The average herd consists of 83 dairy cows, and more than half of Hoosier milk is produced from herds of less than 500 cows. Indiana ranks 2nd in the U.S. for our low-fat ice cream production and 2nd in production of regular ice cream.
- Indiana is number one in the nation country in commercial duck production. The state’s poultry industry also ranks second nationally for chicken egg hatching and third in the U.S. for egg layers (chicken that lay eggs). The Hoosier state ranks sixth in the U.S. in turkey production, providing 5.9% of the turkeys for the whole country.
- USDA estimated farmers’ markets are a $1 Billion industry. Nationally, farmers’ markets have grown 111%, and Indiana has experienced a 222% increase in the number of markets with more than 120 established farmers’ markets across the state.
- Indiana has 287 certified organic farms, covering 14,143 acres. According to the most recent USDA estimates, U.S. certified organic cropland doubled between 2002 and 2007, to 1.3 million acres. Growth in retail sales has equaled 20 percent or more annually since 1990. Organic products are now available in nearly 20,000 natural grocery stores nationwide.
But numbers only tell part of the story of Indiana agriculture. Indiana Farm Bureau’s 80,000 farmer-members continue the proud Hoosier tradition of hard work and dedication that puts safe and affordable food on the table, both here and abroad. When you sit down to enjoy your next meal, remember to give thanks not only for the hands that prepared it, but also for the farmers who grew it.