#295. Modern Livestock Agriculture

Posted on | The Agurban

Modern Livestock Agriculture

I received a great publication by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture while speaking to a group in Covington, IN, last month. The small booklet, Indiana’s Livestock Industry – A Closer Look, includes some great information about how the livestock industry has changed in the state over the past 25 years, but also, how in many ways it has stayed the same.

Some key points include:

– The gross receipts for all Indiana livestock in 2005 were more than $2 billion.
– Indiana exported more than $346 million in livestock products in 2005.
– The value-added output multiplier for dairy production in Indiana is 2.87. That means for every dollar grossed in dairy production, local economies gross $2.87.
– The value-added output multiplier for hog production in Indiana is 1.24. For every dollar grossed in hog production, local economies gross $1.24.

In addition, some myths about agriculture were dispelled:

Myth – Large farms are bad for the community.
Fact – For every $1 of property taxes paid by agricultural land/farms, $0.40 is used in local services (American Farmland Trust).  For many counties, the best way to increase economic activity and tax revenue is to develop agriculture.

Myth – Corporate farms have taken over the family farm.
Fact – According to the most recent USDA “Structure of Family Farms” report, 98 percent of U.S. farms are still family farms. Although most farms are incorporated for tax and estate purposes, they are still run by a handful of family members.

Myth – Today’s farmers don’t care about the environment.
Fact – Farmers have every motivation to conserve and protect the natural resources they rely upon. Large livestock farms are held to a higher water quality standard as compared to manufacturing or waste treatment facilities; they can discharge nothing.

Is agriculture a driving force in your community or county’s economy? Should it be?  We’ve seen its positive impact in many communities that we’ve visited.