DeKalb County will celebrate Ag Day on Tuesday with tours of K.D. Carnahan Farms west of Butler.

All counties in northeast Indiana can celebrate the contributions of agriculture to our region.

The 2017 Census of Agriculture, released last week, shows that the five counties in our region had a total of 5,068 farms in that year.

Sales of agriculture products from those farms brought a total of $712 million to DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties.

LaGrange County far outpaces its neighbors in most categories of agriculture, but every county leads in at least one measure of farming.

In one of the most impressive statistics, LaGrange County sold 7.3 million meat-type chickens in 2017 and had more than 900,000 layer hens.

When it comes to grain production, Noble County set the pace for corn with 12.6 million bushels. DeKalb County led the way in wheat production with just short of 700,000 bushels.

Despite having the fewest farms, Steuben County had the largest average farm size at 255 acres.

Whitley County’s farms were the most valuable with an average value of $1.6 million.

Although the number of people employed full-time in farming may have declined over the decades, agriculture remains a vital part of life in northeast Indiana.

We encourage local residents to recognize the value of their farm neighbors. Our state and local leaders should continue to encourage the success of agriculture in Indiana.

Education adds job security for Hoosier workers

While all Hoosiers rely on farm products, and our state economy depends heavily on agriculture, most of us don’t work on farms.

All of us need education to work more effectively, and that’s why we should pay attention to a report delivered last week by Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education.

Lubbers’ goal is to reduce the number of Hoosiers with no training beyond high school — which currently stands at 1.5 million.

That doesn’t mean everyone has to go to college. The number of graduates enrolling in college has declined from 65 percent to 63 percent in the past two years.

Skills training beyond high school can be crucial, however. Studies show that the more education workers have, the safer they are from losing their jobs due to automation.

Lubbers’ annual report delivered some good news:

• More students are earning college credit in high school, 62 percent compared to 47 percent four years ago. That saves money, reduces students’ debt loads after graduation and helps them earn diplomas in shorter time spans.

• Remediation rates are down. Only 12 percent of Indiana students now need remediation when entering college, compared to 28 percent in 2012. That also saves money and prevents colleges from wasting time on skills that should have been gained in high school.

Indiana needs to continue working to offer a diversity of training options for everyone that are affordable and conveniently located.

OUR VIEW is written on a rotating basis by Dave Kurtz, Grace Housholder, Michael Marturello and Steve Garbacz. Publisher Terry Housholder is also a member of the editorial board. We welcome readers’ comments.

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