Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, talks about his love for farming on National Agriculture Day. McKinney said that he “woke up with a tingle in his spine” because he was so excited about all that agriculture has to offer.
Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, talks about his love for farming on National Agriculture Day. McKinney said that he “woke up with a tingle in his spine” because he was so excited about all that agriculture has to offer.
INDIANAPOLIS — Agriculture enthusiasts met March 25 in the Statehouse to talk about what farming means to Indiana.

Ted McKinney, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director, said National Agriculture Day is all about being thankful for and celebrating food and agriculture.

“Indiana is a pretty great place to raise dairy, pork, poultry and other products,” he said. “We are at the epicenter of helping address the growing need (for food). Each American farmer feeds about 144 people.

“Agriculture is the U.S.’s No. 1 export. New technology means farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before. For me, that’s what this day is all about.”

Agriculture involves all types of growers, from organic to conventional farmers, and there is room in the market for everybody, McKinney said.

The National Agriculture Day celebration also signified the start of a new tradition: the Statehouse Market. Food trucks will visit Robert Orr Plaza each Thursday to offer workers downtown a variety of fresh, local foods.

Ten food trucks — including Edward’s Drive-in and The Flying Cupcake — offered foods ranging from pizza to pork tenderloins.

Several food truck workers and managers said they work closely with area growers to buy ingredients.

“I think most food trucks are tied closely with agriculture,” said Tyler Wald, owner of Spice Box. “It gives us good food and is good for farmers locally.”

“Agriculture is the ability to sustain our life,” said Jermaine Roseman, cook at the Some of This, Some of That food truck. “It’s simple.”

Before bundling up to face the snow outside and grab some lunch at the food trucks, several other speakers talked about agriculture at the Statehouse.

State FFA President Allie Abney read a proclamation from the governor. Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann shared some statistics about Indiana agriculture.

“The role of ag in Indiana is often understated,” Ellspermann said. “Eighty-three percent of Indiana’s land is devoted to farms and forests. Agriculture-related industries employ almost half a million Hoosiers, or 19 percent of our workforce. That’s amazing.”