Farming patterns and practices vary from region to region within the state. The dominant type of farming is the specialized grain and livestock system that characterizes the most prosperous Corn Belt sections of the Midwest. The Corn Belt proper extends across the fertile till plains of the Central Lowland in Indiana. In this part of Indiana, hogs and cattle are fed on corn and other feed crops and on processed livestock feed. Most farmers specialize in the production of grain crops that they sell for cash. So productive and valuable is the land that many farmers cannot afford to own it or pay taxes on it. As a result, some farms are held as investments by large corporations and are rented out to tenant farmers. Family-owned farms are still the most common pattern, however, and the size of farms is increasing as less productive farmers quit and their operations merged with others.
Both tenant farms and owner-operated farms can produce annual incomes well above the national average. Prosperous farms, however, tend to be larger than 200 hectares (500 acres), in order to maximize the use of costly farm equipment.
General farming, similar to but less specialized than farming in the central and northern parts of the state, is the main pattern of farming in the hilly or poor-soiled areas of southern Indiana. Most of the farms in the south raise hogs, cattle, corn, and soybeans. In addition, tobacco is grown in and near the Ohio River valley. In this section the land is less productive and the farmers are less prosperous than those farther north. Most farmers engage in part-time work off their farms to supplement their income. In parts of northern Indiana, especially near cities, there are small farms, where dairying and the small-scale cultivation of corn, wheat, and vegetables are the chief farm activities. A number of these small farms are worked on a part-time basis by workers in nearby urban areas. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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