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Welcome to our 2017 Agricultural Outlook. It's a new year that will bring opportunities and challenges for agricultural industries.
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Forecasting is hard. It's a guess about the future. You try to make an informed, internally consistent guess - but the operative word is "guess." People make plans based on your forecast. And then comes the embarrassing moment when the future becomes the present and they see how wrong you were.
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Registration is open for Purdue Extension's 2017 Indiana Small Farm Conference and trade show, scheduled for March 2-4 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex, 1900 E. Main St., Danville.
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Ten Indiana school districts offered property tax referenda on November 8, to finance buildings or budgets. That was the most for a November election since 2010. More referenda are offered during elections in May, probably because 69 percent of all May referenda have passed since 2010. Only 39 percent of November referenda have passed in that time. On November 8, 2016, nine out of 10 school referenda passed. It was a November surprise. Why did it happen?
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The Indiana General Assembly revised the farmland assessment formula during its 2016 session. Let's figure out what that might do to farmland assessments and property taxes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's North Central Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education program is offering a number of grants for farmers, educators and researchers working on projects in sustainable agriculture. Individuals and groups are eligible to apply for the grants, which promote "ecologically sound, profitable and socially responsible farming and ranching," said Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension educator in Hancock County and Indiana SARE coordinator.
Purdue University's annual Indiana Farm Fatality Summary reported 28 farm-related deaths in 2015, a 10 percent increase from the 2014 total of 25. However, overall trends are still declining. Statistics were collected by the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program from news reports, Internet searches, personal interviews and reports from individuals and Extension educators.

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