INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The ongoing drought is taking its toll on Indiana
livestock farmers as they liquidate their inventories.
Pig sales are almost double what they were last year in July and have even
caused backups in some processing centers trying to handle the flood of
farmers unloading their livestock, said Michael Platt, executive director of
the Indiana Pork Producers, during a news conference Monday at the Indiana
Many pig farmers are deciding it’s better to save on the feed-corn and sell
now, even though prices are being deflated by the spike in pork hitting the
market, he said.
"There are places around the state where there is actually a backup in the
processing because there are so many sows going to market,” Platt said.
“There are some tough decisions being made right now.”
Cattle sales also are up drastically, which could cause an increase in beef
prices toward the end of the year after farmers have liquidated their stock,
said Joe Moore, executive vice president of the Indiana Beef Cattle
The news came as state officials continued their calls Monday for Indiana
residents to conserve as much water as possible. A new map of
drought-stricken areas is set for release from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture on Thursday.
Already 50 counties are declared natural disaster areas and, along with
their neighboring 24 counties, qualify for low-interest relief loans from
the federal government. That number of counties is expected to increase
The drought is expected to continue possibly into October. And although the
state could impose mandatory restrictions on water use if the drought
worsens, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman said that’s unlikely.
Skillman said Monday that she returned from a meeting of the nation’s
lieutenant governors where they concluded Indiana is at the “epicenter” of
the drought. She also serves as the state’s agriculture secretary.
“Many states are grappling with the drought, but there is overall
acknowledgement that Indiana is the epicenter of the drought,” she said,
adding that agriculture accounts for $26 billion of the state’s gross
domestic product and 17 percent of its workforce.
Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock tried to find a silver lining to
the state’s ongoing woes: “Farmers are always optimistic. Thinking next year
will be a better year is ingrained in our genetic code.”