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National Agriculture Day is March 21, but Indiana always likes to go the extra mile to support farmers, so the whole month of March is Ag Month here.

So why do we need a whole month to celebrate? Well, because farming in Indiana is big deal!

If you need someone to say it more eloquently than me, check out Paul Harvey’s famous “So God Made a Farmer” speech (in the form of some light commercialism as a Dodge Ram truck commercial):

If you’re interested in why I think it’s important, here are my top ten reasons:

  1. According to the USDA, Indiana is home to 57,500 farms, averaging 256 acres per farm.
  2. Indiana has 1,100 dairy farms, home to over 174,000 dairy cows.
  3. The dairy cows in Indiana are amazing animals–each cow produces an average of 2,623 gallons of milk each year (and that’s including the [at least] two month vacation cows get when they are “dry” and not milking)!
  4. Indiana is a top producer nationwide of soybeans (fifth), corn (fifth), dairy (14th), pigs (fifth), and ice cream (second).
  5. Indiana ranks 10th among all states for the value of our agricultural products, which are enjoyed right here in Indiana, around the the country, and even around the world.
  6. Indiana farming and agriculture creates 245,000 jobs.
  7. Every year, Indiana farmers produce $11.2 billion worth of farm products– crops or livestock.
  8. Indiana is second in popcorn production–producing 151 million pounds of shelled popcorn each year.
  9. Indiana is also home to a lot vegetable and tomato production–37 thousand acres of vegetables in 2012.
  10. Farming is the lifeblood of rural Indiana and small towns across the country. 83 percent of Indiana’s land mass is either farmland or forest, so Hoosier farms affect us all–economically, socially, and on our Sunday drives.

This Indiana agriculture month, pop a bag of popcorn, cook a pork chop, fry an egg, and raise a glass of milk to the hardworking farmers.