Indiana ranks 14th among the states in annual farm income. In 2008 there were 61,000 farms in the state, 48 percent of which had annual sales of more than $10,000. Farmland occupied 6 million hectares (14.8 million acres), of which 86 percent was cropland. The rest was mostly pastureland and woodland. Many of the farm operators also worked off their farms on other jobs.
Corn is the leading crop grown in Indiana. In 1997, two-fifths of all cropland was planted in corn. One-half of all crop income usually comes from the sale of corn, but even this underestimates the true importance of corn, since much of it is not sold, but is instead fed to livestock. Much of Indiana’s corn crop is fed to hogs on the farms where both are raised.
The significance of soybeans has increased in recent years, approaching corn in terms of value and amount produced. Wheat and vegetables, especially tomatoes for processing, are also important crops. In addition, Indiana is noted as one of the few producers in the United States of spearmint and peppermint, grown mostly in the northwest. In 1997 Indiana ranked ninth in sales of all crops, but fourth in sales of soybeans and fifth in sales of corn.
Livestock raising is undertaken in Indiana mostly as a specialty operation, with hogs, cattle, poultry, and sheep raised on feedlots or in large buildings designed especially for ease of feeding and waste disposal. Until the 1960s, livestock were found on most farms in Indiana, but, except in the hillier areas of southern Indiana, the conversion to specialization is now almost complete. The majority of Indiana farmers no longer include animal raising within their farming system.
As a result, the fences put up to control animal movement that formerly characterized all farming areas have now largely disappeared on farms devoted to cash crop farming. Farmers specializing in hogs, cattle, poultry, or sheep buy or grow corn and soybeans for feeding to their livestock. Animals are bred in Indiana for sale to local slaughterhouses. In addition, large numbers of beef cattle and calves, as well as some hogs and sheep, are shipped from states west of the Mississippi to Indiana, where they are fattened and “finished” for market. Dairy cattle are raised mainly in northwestern Indiana and in the vicinity of major urban centers. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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