Food & Agriculture
Northeast Indiana’s rapidly growing concentration of food and agriculture businesses represents nearly the entire food-delivery chain, giving companies located here—and those looking to move here—marked advantages. The industry is diverse and well-supported by an abundance of cost-effective, readily available natural resources. Food and agriculture manufacturers in Indiana have access to more than 80% of the U.S. population within a 24-hour drive time.
Top Facts about the Food and Agriculture Industry in Northeast Indiana
- Northeast Indiana’s food & agriculture industry produces over $2 billion each year in farm products.
- More than 4,660 jobs in the food manufacturing sector exist within the 11-county region. Between 2016 and 2019, there was a 22% increase in establishments within the sector.
- Indiana is home to AgriNovus Indiana, an initiative to fuel growth in Indiana’s agbioscience economy through talent development, entrepreneurship and business growth.
- Indiana is one of the top five states in the nation for corn, soybean and ice cream production. Indiana is also nationally ranked as:
- No. 1 in Duck Production
- No. 2 in Popcorn and Egg Layers
- No. 3 in Spearmint, Tomato and Egg Production
Food and Agriculture Talent
- The FWCS Career Academy serves Northeast Indiana, including 17 high schools, with a broad array of career and technical programs.
- Through Huntington University’s Agricultural Studies Program, students can earn a degree in Agribusiness, Agricultural Education, Animal Science, and Crop Science & Agronomy.
- There are more than 200,000 graduates from Tier 1 and Tier 2 universities within 200 miles of the region.
- Purdue University ranks No. 9 worldwide for its agriculture and forestry programs and No. 15 for university-issued patents.
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“By operating our own plant and working directly with dairy COOPs in the Midwest, we’ll further reduce operating costs and pass those savings on to our customers so that they can save money. This facility is an example of how we are always finding efficiencies within the supply chain to deliver everyday low prices and high-quality groceries," said Tony Airoso, senior vice president of global food sourcing for Walmart.
Source: Development Counsellors International (DCI), 2021
Source: Emsi 2020
Around the Region
From pickles to ice cream, Northeast Indiana is home to many connected and well-supported food-processing industries.
- Our significant row crop and livestock operations exist to support major grain and processing firms.
- We have a strong position in the dairy industry, including eggs, milk, and ice cream production.
- We specialize in snacks; our major specialty products include marshmallows, pretzels, cookies and pickles, and fine chocolates are well established in the region.
- Northeast Indiana is home to Maple Leaf Farms, the largest duck processor in the nation, and Red Gold, a major tomato processor.
- 5-Hour Energy’s parent company, Living Essentials, opened a new $25 million facility in Wabash in 2012.
- Gunthorp Farms is a family-owned business that specializes in pasture-raised pigs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys sold directly to the finest restaurants in Midwest cities, including Chicago; Detroit; Indianapolis; Bloomington, Indiana; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Agritourism, is growing—thanks to companies such as Joseph Decuis, known for farming the exclusive Wagyu beef—and is uniquely supported by a strong Amish population.
- Food warehousing and distribution are also prevalent throughout Northeast Indiana.
- We regularly collaborate with AgriNovus Indiana, the state’s agbiosciences initiative focused on advancing the sector as a nationally recognized leader in the development of new, innovative products and services. Specifically, AgriNovus Indiana focuses on the creation and support of new companies as well as branding and targeted promotions to elevate the sector in key areas such as plant science and crop protection, animal health and nutrition products, value-added human food and nutrition products, and agtech.
In addition to these thriving industries, Northeast Indiana Regional Food Network cultivates opportunities for new and existing businesses, nurtures entrepreneurial growth, and enhances the quality of life in the region.
Northeast Indiana and the Fort Wayne area also boast an abundance of major agricultural products. These include:
- Indiana is ranked No. 5 in the nation for its corn production.
- POET Biorefining and Green Plains each operate ethanol plants in the region using this corn supply.
- Indiana is ranked No. 5 in the nation for its soybean production.
- Bunge operates a large soybean-milling operation in Decatur.
- Star of the West operates a soft-wheat flour mill in Ligonier that supplies many of the region’s bread and snack-food operations.
- Wal-Mart, the nation's largest grocer, operates a 250,000-square-foot facility milk-processing plant in Fort Wayne.
- Indiana is also ranked the No. 5 ice cream producer in the nation, with Edy’s operating in Northeast Indiana.
While there are many unique features of Northeast Indiana’s welcoming business landscape, one major asset is the region’s abundance of excess water capacity to support the needs of food-processing companies. If you’re looking for a place to relocate or plant your business, we also feature a large supply of certified shovel-ready industrial sites that have the infrastructure in place. The infrastructure includes:
- Water and sewer capacity
- Highway and rail access
- Competitive electric and gas rates to support new food-processing projects
Interested in learning more about Northeast Indiana's Food and Agriculture industry? Contact us for access to more data and to discuss opportunities and incentives our region offers.Contact Us