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New Data Indicates Indiana Has More Farmland, Fewer Farmers

The amount of farmland increased in the Hoosier state by 6.7 million acres between 2012 and 2017. (Steve Burns, WTIU/WFIU News)

A new study from the United States Department of Agriculture indicates fewer farmers are working more acres than in 2012.

Farm census data from 2017 shows there were 319,000 more acres of land farmed in Indiana, yet there were more than 2,000 fewer operators.

Bob White is the Director of National Government Relations for the Indiana Farm Bureau. He says trade disputes and strong yields are pushing commodity prices down making it more difficult for farmers to profit.

"When you look at the corn, soybean, and pork industry, margins have gotten so thin that you’ll see a consolidation," he says. "The only way to get a larger net profit is to increase the acreage."

White says this year’s data follows the trend of previous surveys as the market has forced existing farmers to take on more acreage.  

However, White says the survey numbers were gathered before Chinese tariffs began, so it’s not entirely clear how significant the impact current trade policies are having on Hoosier farmers.

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