agriculture

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.

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.

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.

Why New GMO Labels Might Not Tell The Whole Story

Jul 25, 2016
Joe Hren/Indiana Public Broadcasting

Fabi Calvo pays pretty close attention to what’s in her food. She’s careful when she’s at the grocery store, not just because she’s allergic to milk, but because she cares about what she’s eating in general, something many of us can relate to.

Congress recently approved legislation that requires food labels to list genetically-modified ingredients or GMOs.

You would think it’s as easy as just looking on the packaging to see what’s in the food you’re eating. For example, the number of calories can clearly be seen on a nutrition label.

Phil King / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pkingdesign/4897188234/

 

Indiana livestock producers and lobbying groups are objecting to a possible higher standard for animal treatment on organic farms.

Some worry the proposed federal regulations could be a gateway to higher costs for all farmers -- organic or not.

 

The proposed changes aim to make sure certified organic cows, chickens, pigs and other animals are raised and killed more humanely.

Bob Nielsen / Purdue University

They say that Indiana corn should be knee-high by the fourth of July.

With changes in how we farm, that isn't really true these days -- but agronomists do say the crop is on track for a strong 2016 harvest.

The self-titled "corn guy" of Purdue University, Bob Nielsen, says the Cass County cornfield where he was scouting a few days before the holiday looked green and healthy -- though:

"It's not knee-high by the fourth of July -- it's head-high," he says.

Annie Ropeik / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana is adding more large-scale hog farms every year. They're good business for farmers, but some neighbors say they can be bad for property values.

It’s an argument people are having across the state, especially in small towns, like Hope -- population: 2,200 -- in Bartholomew County.

 

It's where Nancy Banta's family has lived for almost 200 years. She heads up the gravel driveway to her farmhouse, where rocking chairs on a white-washed wood porch look out over a cornfield, and a wind chime hangs over the creaky screen door.

Bureau of Economic Analysis / U.S. Department of Commerce

Indiana led all the other states in GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2015.

The state’s gross domestic product rose 3 percent – with manufacturing and agriculture driving most of that increase.

 

The GDP measures how much was spent on goods and services produced in-state. Indiana’s late-2015 increase from $338.7 million to $341.2 million in GDP was top in the nation, with neighboring Ohio coming in second.

United Soybean Board

Farmers will soon have one place to store and share all the data they need to do business --  from crop yields to soil samples.

The Agricultural Data Coalition's new service is modeled after an online banking system.

The group of farm service companies and land grant institutions hopes it will refine workflow across a broad business network, where reliance on data has grown with technology.  

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