Farming is one of the biggest industries in Indiana and it’s gaining strength, says the head of the State Department of Agriculture.
The latest agriculture census backs up that assertion which shows Indiana’s agricultural production in 2017 totaled more than $11 billion. ISDA Director Bruce Kettler told Inside Indiana Business that puts the state in the top 10 nationwide for total agricultural products sold.
Kettler said that is an amazing feat considering Indiana is among the smallest states in the U.S. when it comes to available land for agriculture.
“It shows good efficiency,” Kettler said. “In the past two decades we have actually more than doubled the agricultural output in dollars in the state of Indiana. Looking at that, I think that says we’ve been able to diversify our agricultural output probably both in crops and in livestock.”
According to the numbers, Indiana had over 56,600 farms in 2017. That’s down more than 2,000 compared to five-years ago. But, Kettler said even though there are fewer farms in the state the average size of the remaining farms has gotten bigger. The average farm in Indiana is 264 acres.
The number of female farmers jumped 30 percent over the previous census, along with the number of minority-operated farms in all categories. Indiana also ranks third in the nation in the number of acres planted.