If you're looking for relief from he winter doldrums, invite your neighbors over Friday night for a thrilling game of Trivial Pursuit. Only use information from the 2007 Census of Agriculture, just released last week, as the 'trivial' questions and answers. Two things are guaranteed- either you will all get a good night's sleep, likely before the game concludes, or you will get so wrapped up in it that you play until dawn.
OK, maybe it wouldn't be that exciting. But some of the data from the long-awaited census just released last week does prove interesting. First, quick, name the three top corn producing counties in Indiana. No cheating, and no help from anyone else.
Jasper is a big county with lots of irrigation, so that makes sense. It's number one according to the census as far as corn-producing counties go. White County, a more logical choice since it has acre upon acre of level, black dirt, is the second most favorite place in Indiana to grow corn. Knox County, down Vincennes way in southwest Indiana, ranks third. Some areas in that county also use irrigation.
Switch cards to another Trivial Pursuit question. Ask, "What are the top three soybean counties in Indiana?" Knox is still in the picture, rated as number one for soybeans. It's in the middle of doublecrop soybean territory, where soybeans are routinely doublecropped after wheat harvest. Montgomery County in west-central Indiana ranks second, and Benton County, the land of level, black soils in northwest Indiana, ranks third.
It's a triple play for Knox- this time is ranks second amongst Indiana counties when it comes to producing wheat. Posey, in the tip of Indiana, bordered by both the Ohio River and the Wabash River, ranks first for wheat production. Gibson County, also in southern Indiana in the heart of doublecrop soybeans after wheat country, ranks second amongst counties growing the most wheat.
A rather unusual state charted in the 2007 census, and destined no doubt to the agriculture edition of Trivial Pursuit someday, is the tracking of organic farms. There is actually an increase in the number of organic farms in Indiana since '02.
Last but not least, the average age of the Indiana farmer continued to increase in the latest Census survey.