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    For a variety of reasons, Indiana is particularly challenged in the national battle against prescription drug abuse. Among those fighting back are Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County's health commissioner. So is Dr.
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    WASHINGTON Joe Andrew seems to know how to grow things.Andrew spent part of his youth living on a corn and soybean farm near Poe, in southern Allen County.
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By the numbers
•Agriculture contributes $25.4 billion directly to the Hoosier economy
•Another $7.6 billion is brought in by connected businesses, such as fertilizer, feed and equipment suppliers
•The agricultural industry supports 130,000 jobs in Indiana
•About 83 percent of Indiana’s land is devoted to farms or forests
14.7 million acres are devoted to farming and there are 4.7 million acres devoted to foresting
•Grain and oilseed farming are the dominant sectors, contributing $5.3 billion to Indiana’s GDP and supporting 84,000 jobs
•Hog production supports 16,930 jobs
•The state produced 6.5 billion eggs in 2011
•Dairy farms
produced
3.5 billion
pounds of milk
•Beef production was more than 200 million pounds
•Other animal production,
including sheep and fish, was
5.7 million pounds
•Fruit and vegetable
production was more than
880 million pounds
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette

Mooooo-LAH for state’s economy

IU study shows continued reliance on jobs down on the farm

Hall

A simple fact Indiana’s urban dwellers increasingly overlook is that the state’s 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 University’s Kelley School of Business dramatically demonstrates just how significant the role of agriculture is to Indiana’s economy, according to its author, Tanya Hall.

“I’m originally from a farm up that way,” said Hall, who grew up in Woodburn. “I’m 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 it’s 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 Indiana’s total gross domestic product – a figure that underscores the federal farm bill’s importance to the state just as that bill failed a House vote.

It’s 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.

“It’s nice to see some of the niche markets come into play,” Hall said. “One industry we are starting to see is aquaculture (fish farming). It’s a quiet industry, but its numbers are increasing. It’s going to be something to watch.”

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