Governor Mike Pence says that agriculture is “big business” in Indiana.

Pence met with Indiana farmers at a recent agriculture roundtable hosted by Premier Ag and the Indiana Department of Agriculture at the farm of Premier Ag customer David Stewart in Needham, Indiana.

Before answering questions from attendees, Pence spoke about the strength of Indiana agriculture.

“For 200 years Indiana has been a lot of things, but at our very core, past, present, and, let me say emphatically, our future, Indiana is agriculture. It goes to the heart of what it means to be a Hoosier,” Pence said. “It is extraordinary to think about the role agriculture plays in our state. It’s really part of a widening success story in Indiana and our economy, and we’re going to continue to work hard to build this industry.”

Pence referred to Indiana agriculture as “big business,” citing the following statistics:

  • 83 percent of Indiana land is devoted to farms and forests
  • Agriculture contributes to more than 475,000 jobs (20 percent of Indiana’s workforce)
  • The agriculture industry generates more than $25 billion toward Indiana’s gross domestic product each year
  • In 2012, Indiana exported more than $4.7 billion in ag products
  • Indiana ranks nationally in the top 5 in a variety of commodities including: First in popcorn, duck and wood office furniture; second in tomatoes and spearmint; third in chickens; fourth in soybeans and peppermint; and fifth in corn and hogs.

Pence also thanked farmers for their contributions.

“I think the greatest contribution that you and your families make to the state has to do with the values of the farm. It has to do with what it is to be men and women of character, of integrity, hard work and resilience,” he said. “That’s not only how your grow crops, but how you grow a strong state and a strong nation.  Thank you for your example. Thank you for what farming is to Indiana and this nation.”

Following the roundtable discussion, Gov. Pence visited the farm of Premier Ag customer Jeff Wilson. Gov. Pence rode in Wilson’s combine, briefly taking control of the machine as it harvested corn.

Premier Companies is a farmer-owned cooperative founded in 1923. Premier Companies is headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, serves customers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, between Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Premier Companies provides supplies and services in the agricultural and energy sectors, including liquid fuels, propane, seed, fertilizer, crop protection, retail fuel, and retail supply.