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Indiana lost farmland since 2010 but crop production is up
 
By Michele F. Mihaljevich
Indiana Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana may have lost about 350,000 acres – or 1.5-2 percent – of farmland from 2010 to 2022, but the state’s production of its cash crops rose during the period.
According to an Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) inventory of lost farmland report, agricultural land was most likely to be lost in areas around the edges of cities and suburban areas. The primary cause of reduction in farmland was due to residential use, the report noted.
The report was required under legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly last year. The report was released July 1.
Yield data from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service shows the Hoosier state produced more than 597 million bushels of corn for grain in 2012. In 2022, more than 1 billion bushels were produced. For soybeans, almost 219 million bushels were produced in 2012. Ten years later, the number rose to more than 326 million bushels.
The head of ISDA said the state’s farmers are resilient.
“(Farmers) are producing more food on less acres,” Don Lamb, the agency’s director, told Farm World. “And they are feeding their neighbors and the world. They continually strive to increase their yields and protect and enhance their farm ground for their future generations. They are conscious about soil conservation and keeping valuable top soil on the ground with various conservation methods. 
“They also embrace the latest ag and bio technology opportunities. Indiana is an agbioscience hub and our farmers use the best available technology to keep their farms thriving.”
The results of the report weren’t surprising, he said, because development can be seen all around the state, and farmland is the first to be developed. He said the agency is thankful information is available to help legislators and officials make choices regarding farmland.
“It is always concerning to lose farmland,” he explained. “Indiana has such a rich agricultural heritage and agriculture provides a huge economic benefit to our state. Much of the lost land was transitioned to residential, which means we are adding jobs and making Indiana a good place to live, so that’s a good thing.
“At the same time, taking farmland out of production leads to job loss for the farmers and the people who support the agriculture industry. The production of food has an economic ripple effect on the local economy. There is also the ultimate question of how long can we continue to produce an adequate amount of food supply on fewer acres?”
ISDA has recommended to the legislature the agency complete these reports every five years to coincide with the USDA’s Census of Agriculture, Lamb said. The general assembly needs to pass legislation for future reports to be done, he said.
The next census data collection period will run from 2022 to 2027, an ISDA spokeswoman said. The census data probably won’t be released until 2029, meaning the next farmland inventory report likely will come out in 2030, she said.
The current report may be found at 
https://www.in.gov/isda/divisions/policy-and-regulatory-affairs/inventory-of-lost-farmland/.

7/9/2024