A simple fact Indianas urban dwellers increasingly overlook is that the states economic well-being remains firmly rooted in farming. Many communities, including in Allen County, are agricultural communities. Allen County is home to 1,649 farms and includes 254,136 acres of farmland.
A recent study from the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana Universitys Kelley School of Business dramatically demonstrates just how significant the role of agriculture is to Indianas economy, according to its author, Tanya Hall.
Im originally from a farm up that way, said Hall, who grew up in Woodburn. Im very much aware that there is a disconnect. People are getting further and further away from the farm. The report is meant to bridge that disconnect and remind all Hoosiers how important agriculture is to Indiana.
She said the report is also meant to give an updated and more complete picture of the agricultural sector.
People tend to have an image of farming how it was in the 1940s. Today the reality is very different. Farming is very technically advanced, Hall said.
One reason the report is so important is its very difficult to obtain a whole picture of the agricultural industry, she said. You see little snippets from various parts of agriculture, but not the whole.
Farming is about 5 percent of Indianas total gross domestic product – a figure that underscores the federal farm bills importance to the state just as that bill failed a House vote.
Its also interesting to hear how much each type of producer within the farming industry contributes. Corn remains king in Indiana, but some surprising up-and-coming agricultural industries are growing in economic importance.
Its nice to see some of the niche markets come into play, Hall said. One industry we are starting to see is aquaculture (fish farming). Its a quiet industry, but its numbers are increasing. Its going to be something to watch.