IEDC Leaders Speak at Barn and Business

WINONA LAKE – Even with all the industries that have become synonymous with Indiana, 83 percent of the state is still farmland and woodland, State Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney told attendees at the second Barn and Business Breakfast Tuesday.
Agriculture production makes a $31 billion impact on the state’s economy and is part of a diversity in production that makes the state unique, he said. Indiana ranks number one in the nation for hardwood lumber production and number one for ducks, and its status as a rail and highway crossroads benefits agriculture as much as anything else, he observed.
McKinney, who is also director of agribusiness development at the Indiana Economic Development Corp., spoke at the breakfast event in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center at Grace College, held by the Kosciusko County Community Foundation and the County Farm Bureau.
He was joined by Jim Schellinger, president of the IEDC, who spoke about how Indiana’s attractive business climate has resulted in an unemployment rate of just 4.4 percent – and even lower in Kosciusko County, at 4 percent.
Kosciusko is one of the more prominent and diverse counties in agribusiness, McKinney remarked, citing Maple Leaf Farms, CTB Inc. and Egg Innovations.
“This diversity is something rich, it’s something you’ve got to celebrate. It’s what makes Indiana unique,” he said. “There’s room for both (rural and urban production), you in this meeting today are evidence of that.”