Indiana has established itself as a destination of choice for direct foreign investment in manufacturing during the past couple of decades, but the state has never waivered from its historical status as an agricultural powerhouse. And while the Hoosier state may be best known for corn and soybeans, the lndiana poultry industry stands as a key driver of agribusiness and continues to grow its economic impact.
Overall agriculture contributes $31 billion to Hoosier GDP annually, supports 107,500 jobs and puts the state 10th in the nation for products sold from its approximately 60,000 farms-validating yet another industry wherein indiana's motto as "A State that Works" rings true.
The Indiana State Poultry Association (ISPA) reports that the poultry industry's specific contribution to the Indiana GDP is more than $4.25 billion. And, when supplier and indirect impact are included, that number is five to six times that amount. The industry also accounts for 7,000 poultry producing and processing jobs.
As the member organization representing both large- and small-scale farms and operations in the industry, ISPA's mission is to ensure food safety and animal caree as well as to produce eggs and poultry products that are safe, economical, and wholesome sources of protein.
That mission is carried out each day as lndiana's poultry industry produces for a growing and hungry population coast to coast in the United States and around the world. And, the state boasts some impressive production numbers-statistics from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture show that Indiana's national rankings include: No. 1 in Duck Production, No. 3 in Egg Production and No. 4 in Turkey Production.
lndiana provides an ideal landscape for the industry with abundant land and highly accessible infrastructure.The state ranks No.1 in the nation for cost of doing business according to CNBC'S ranking of "America's Top States for Bwiness 2016" and 8th nationally on the "Best State Tax Climate Index." Indiana boasts more than 14 million acres of cultivated farmland and ranks 5th nationally in corn and soybean production, giving the poultry industry direct access to one of the key components of its supply chain.
Powering the industry in southern and central Indiana are the 18 electric distribution cooperatives that are member/owners of Hoosier Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative, which serve the approximately 480 farms and 22 various processing plants associated with the poultry industry in their territory.
The nature of the industry means that it relies heavily on its power cooperatives for a consistent and efficient electric supply according to ISPA Executive Vice President Paul Brennan.
"Properly running ventilation, feeding systems and lighting are critical to health and vitality of the animals, and that power is equally important in the processing plants to maintain operations that require precise temperature controls and no unexpected down time for equipment," said Brennan.
"We are committed to the poultry growers and processors that make up such an important par't of southern lndiana," said Harold Gutzwiller, Manager of Economic Development and Key Accounts at Hoosier Energy. "We are constantly looking for ways to proactively meet the needs of this industry and to help them lower their cost and increase their profitability through energy efficiency measures."
Brennan added that utilities are an important piece of a vast collaborative network that exists in Indiana, which is probably one of the best examples of a state working together to support an industry.
"We have an unbelievable support system that is ready at a moment's notice to assist us. This system is incredibly important, as we've seen instances of avian influenza threaten our state and surrounding areas," said Brennan. "Multiple local and state health and veterinary agencies are on call around the clock; lndiana State Police are available to transport testing samples; the Indiana Department of Transportation ensures that routes are open; the state diagnostic lab is efficient in processing our tests; and local universities even open space to us to use as command centers if needed. Indiana is truly a state that works, and a state that works together."
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