IBJNews

Indiana officials look to boost agriculture research

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state's agriculture department under new Gov. Mike Pence is planning a push into the science behind food production by trying to build a network of university and commercial researchers for what's being called an Agriculture Innovation Corridor.

Pence included the initiative in his State of the State speech, and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann said she has started talking with leaders from Purdue University and elsewhere about its prospects.

The concept comes from a report released last summer by BioCrossroads, an Indianapolis-based life sciences investment and development group supported by numerous companies and foundations.

That report highlighted what the group believes is an opportunity for Indiana to attract and encourage companies developing agriculture innovations. It points to the agriculture-related research being done at Purdue, along with existing companies such as Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences and Eli Lilly and Co.'s Elanco Animal Health.

"This is really an effort to try to be sure that we're in the very forefront of an initiative that we really can lead because we've got the right natural resources and the right companies here," said BioCrossroads President David Johnson, a former adviser to the late Democratic Gov. Frank O'Bannon.

While agriculture no longer has the over-arching impact across Indiana that it once did, some 680,000 jobs — about 19 percent of the state's workforce — in 2010 were tied to farm and farm-related businesses in rural communities, according to the BioCrossroads report.

The state hopes to boost the agriculture research initiatives while continuing its traditional promotion of farming and crop and livestock markets, said Ellspermann, who heads Indiana's agriculture agency as lieutenant governor.

"Connecting the dots between the business community, the startup community and the technologies is critical," she said.

BioCrossroads provides a possible guide for the Agriculture Innovation Corridor with its work encouraging medical-related research. The group has raised about $150 million in venture capital over the past decade for life-sciences companies, Johnson said.

"Where the state really helps is to make the policy receptive and to make the economic climate here one that really promotes that kind of growth," he said. "Then the private sector often brings the investment dollars to make it happen. I think that would probably happen here, too."

Ellspermann said some sources of state money would already be available if needed to help spur certain ventures. But she said whether additional funding will be sought for research facilities or other projects might not be known for a couple of years as business plans are developed.

The state agriculture department under former Gov. Mitch Daniels pushed for the construction of ethanol plants in the state and promoted increased hog production. While the Pence administration hasn't set such specific goals, it has been supportive on farmland tax concerns and other matters, Indiana Farm Bureau spokesman Andy Dietrick said.

The Agriculture Innovation Corridor could help the state's farmers, especially if it opens up new technologies and innovations sooner, Dietrick said.

"It is a very competitive business and farmers want to be on the front end of that," he said.

Republican state Rep. Bill Friend, who owns a hog farm in northern Indiana's Miami County, said he believed Indiana has an opportunity to attract more high-skill jobs in agriculture research.

"Technology has to keep improving as our population increases," Friend said. "We're not making any more land to raise crops on, so we have to have higher yields in order to feed the growing population not only in our country, but around the world."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

  4. GOOD DAY to you I am Mr Howell Henry, a Reputable, Legitimate & an accredited money Lender. I loan money out to individuals in need of financial assistance. Do you have a bad credit or are you in need of money to pay bills? i want to use this medium to inform you that i render reliable beneficiary assistance as I'll be glad to offer you a loan at 2% interest rate to reliable individuals. Services Rendered include: *Refinance *Home Improvement *Inventor Loans *Auto Loans *Debt Consolidation *Horse Loans *Line of Credit *Second Mortgage *Business Loans *Personal Loans *International Loans. Please write back if interested. Upon Response, you'll be mailed a Loan application form to fill. (No social security and no credit check, 100% Guaranteed!) I Look forward permitting me to be of service to you. You can contact me via e-mail howellhenryloanfirm@gmail.com Yours Sincerely MR Howell Henry(MD)

  5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.

ADVERTISEMENT