INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Farm Bureau joins the Agriculture Council of America in celebrating America’s farmers and agribusiness professionals on National Ag Day, March 14. Indiana’s economy remains reliant on the agriculture industry to supply jobs and make significant contributions to the state’s economy, despite a challenging year for the industry.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Indiana ranks 11th in the nation in agriculture sales, contributing an estimated $31.2 billion in sales to Indiana’s economy each year. Roughly $10 billion of those sales are of actual agriculture products sold by Indiana’s farmers, such as crops, meat and dairy products. More than $4.6 billion of those agricultural products are exported around the world.

But despite many industry successes, 2018 was a challenging year for many in the agriculture industry. Indiana is the fifth largest U.S. producer of soybeans and hogs and both commodities suffered due to low prices in 2018.

According to the USDA, net farm income has fallen nearly 50 percent from its peak in 2013, making 2018 a particularly challenging year for agriculture professionals. Because of the drastic decrease in farm income, farm debt has also been on the rise over the last five years, increasing by 30 percent since 2013.

“Despite the challenges, agriculture remains an economic driver of Indiana, supporting more than 107,000 Hoosier jobs,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “There are many career opportunities in agriculture, whether you’re farming or supporting our farmers through one of the state’s many agribusinesses.”

Indiana’s farmers are known for their production of corn and soybeans, but Indiana agriculture is diverse. According to the USDA’s national ranking, Indiana ranks number one in duck production, number two in popcorn and ice cream production, and number three in tomatoes, eggs and spearmint.

INFB represents more than 72,000 Hoosiers that are involved in agriculture.

To celebrate this year’s National Ag Day, individual county Farm Bureaus across the state will host community events of all kinds. The majority of events are focused on educating elementary school children about the importance of agriculture in Indiana. 

“On Ag Day, we celebrate the many contributions agriculture makes, not only in our local communities across Indiana, but the entire world,” said Isabella Chism, chair of the ACA and INFB’s 2nd vice president. “Agriculture is an essential part of Indiana’s economy and we appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products of all kinds”

This year marks the 46th anniversary of ACA’s National Ag Day.