Indiana is located in the Midwestern U.S., within the Great Lakes region. It ranks number 38 in terms of U.S. land area. The valleys of the state have fertile soil, especially the Whitewater Valley, known for farming. With a humid continental climate, the state has a growing season of 155 days within the north and 185 days in the southern area. The average rainfall in the state is approximately 40 inches.
Indiana is located within both the U.S. Grain Belt and Corn Belt. Corn, soybeans, melons, apples, grapes, tomatoes, snap beans, pop corn, tobacco, and mint are popular crops grown in the state. Most of the original land in the area had to be cleared of trees to create farmland. Areas of woodland remain to support the furniture-making industry within southern Indiana. The state features low business taxes and also a low union membership, making it quite business-friendly.
The river system, soil, climate, and central U.S. location have entrenched Indiana in the nation’s food system. Among key U.S. farming states, Indiana has one of the highest land area percentages devoted to agricultural production. Indiana farmers support their local governments through substantial property tax payments.
Of the most popular farming crops mentioned above, Indiana has the third largest soybean production within the U.S. The state contributes 9.5 percent of the total U.S. soybean crop and the yields have ranked among the country’s highest in recent years. Close to one-third of the soybean crop is exported worldwide.
Indiana ranks fourth in the nation for corn production for grain, with an average of 884 million acres harvested annually. Most of the corn crop is used for animal feed but an increasing amount is being designated to ethanol for development of clean-burning fuel for automobiles. A significant quantity is also used as a sweetener for products containing high fructose corn syrup.
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