The Indiana Small Business Development Center, Purdue Center for Regional Development, Purdue Extension and Indiana State Department of Agriculture recently announced a partnership to launch the Agribusiness Initiative.
The initiative offers Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector access to no-cost, confidential specialty business advising and training, including financing, crop yield projections, U.S. Department of Agriculture loan packaging, value-added product development and commodity exporting, among others.
These businesses range from producers and processors of agricultural commodities to manufacturers of value-added products, machinery, technology and hardwoods.
“Small business development is big business for the state of Indiana,” said David Watkins, Indiana SBDC state director and Indiana Economic Development Corp. vice president of small business. “Entrepreneurs and small businesses are fundamental to the future growth and sustainability of communities across the state, and this partnership will focus on providing small Hoosier agribusinesses with the tools, resources and training they need to start, grow and innovate.”
Agriculture is a vital component to Indiana’s economic health, contributing an estimated $31.2 billion to Indiana’s economy each year. With more than 15 million acres of farmland, the state supports more than 94,000 Hoosier farmers and is a leading producer of corn, soybeans, hogs, poultry, popcorn and tomato products, according to a news release from the SBDC.
Indiana’s agricultural excellence also is driving exploration, experimentation and innovation as farmers and scientists work together to provide cutting-edge research that promises to move the global agriculture industry into the future.
“Over the past few decades, the needs of Hoosier agribusinesses have rapidly evolved,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the state department of agriculture. “This initiative recognizes the critical role agribusinesses, supply networks and distribution channels play in helping to ensure a strong Indiana economy.”
In addition to business advising and training provided by the Indiana SBDC, the Purdue Center for Regional Development will provide administrative support with additional advising services from Purdue Extension and the state department of agriculture.
Former Hoosier Heartland Indiana SBDC Regional Director Monty Henderson will serve as director for the initiative. Indiana agribusinesses are encouraged to learn more about and register for the program online at isbdc.org/agribusiness-initiative.
“Entrepreneurs are vital because they create new jobs, new wealth and new growth,” said Jason Henderson, senior associate dean and director of extension at Purdue University. “The partnership behind the Agribusiness Initiative is a way to leverage the extension network to connect and support entrepreneurs in every Indiana county with resources at Purdue and beyond to build stronger economic engines in the agribusiness industry.”
With its consistent leading-edge agribusiness and agricultural technology activity, the Purdue center, which currently hosts two of Indiana SBDC’s regional offices, will host the new initiative.
The combined expertise, research and outreach efforts of the Purdue center and extension complement the Agribusiness Initiative and help drive the Indiana SBDC’s goals to better serve developing agribusinesses and farms by employing and securing agricultural professionals to help bridge the advising gap.
The Indiana Small Business Development Center is a program of Indiana Economic Development Corp., which leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts. The center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.