As we look back on 2020, it started with optimism for Indiana farmers. After dealing with trade headaches in 2019, the Phase I trade deal with China was signed in January and the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement was set to take effect July 1. Then, just as planting season was underway in March, COVID hit.
In April, the two largest meat processors in the state, Tyson Foods in Logansport and Indiana Packers in Delphi, had to temporarily shut down due to COVID. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch says those closings were a big blow and brought farmers a lot of angst.
“I know that (Indiana State Department of Agriculture) Director (Bruce) Kettler implemented weekly calls with BOAH and with our ag stakeholders to be able to stay on top of the situation and worked with the Department of Health to reopen those industries, ensuring that the food supply chain was not be disrupted. And we fared well in Indiana compared to other states.”
While the coronavirus brought many challenges, farmers enjoyed suitable weather for both planting and harvesting and are now enjoying higher commodity prices to close out the year. Crouch described 2020 as “interesting” for Hoosier farmers.
“While farmers were certainly challenged, they went about doing the business that they do and they continued to stay focused on what it was that agriculture is all about and that is feeding Hoosiers, feeding our nation, and feeding the world.”
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler added that 2020 did bring growth to Indiana’s ag business sector.
“You look at things like Advanced Agrilytics, the Elanco Animal Health announcement, Taranis on the ag tech side is coming to Indiana. So, we continue to have businesses that invested here.”
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, let’s look ahead to 2021 with Lt. Governor Crouch. How does rural broadband fit into the new state budget? Tune in tomorrow to find out.