Governor Mike Pence and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann continue to emphasize economic development and creating jobs. That includes making it easier for ag businesses in Indiana to expand, or for ag businesses elsewhere to relocate to Indiana.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture plays a key role in that process. In fact, so much so that Ted Mc Kinney, director of ISDA, just took on more responsibility to promote economic development for agriculture. He works closely with the Indiana Economic Development Commission.
"We have all the ingredients for Indiana to be a great class for ag businesses to succeed," Mc Kinney says. The role of ISDA is to work with IEDC to make those ingredients turn into either more ag businesses here, or expansion of current Hoosier ag businesses.
McKinney cites three reasons why Indiana is attractive for ag businesses. First, the state has a triple A bond rating, and healthy reserves instead of a debt problem.
"The second is geography and logistics," he says. "We're located in a good position in the U.S. for agricultural businesses, and we have interstates and easy access to major air freight terminals. These are all pluses for Indiana in attracting businesses."
Also, most areas within Indiana are still receptive to ag businesses, including livestock enterprises, McKinney notes. There are a few exceptions where specific counties are taking a hard look at confined feeding operations. But overall the climate remains favorable.
"There is actually a fourth advantage that we have that is more of an intangible," McKinney says. "It's simply the Hoosier spirit. Attitudes are different and generally more welcoming in the Midwest. People thinking about relocating businesses here pick up on that quickly."
McKinney says he looks forward to continuing to work with IEDC, and to being able to help bring more ag businesses to the Hoosier state.