by AJ Hughes in Flavor 574, June 04, 2014
Indiana is known as a state that produces an abundance of corn and soybeans, along with plenty of livestock. The northern part of the state is also home to a robust poultry industry.
Michiana is home to three long-established poultry companies: Culver Duck, Maple Leaf Farms and Miller Poultry.
"Indiana is a good location for producing ducks," said Drew Frey, director of live production at Culver Duck, headquartered in Middlebury. "It is close to feed sources. This is advantageous since feed is our No. 1 cost. The climate is also a good mix. Ducks do not do well in hot weather."
One huge advantage of a northern Indiana location, said Frey, is the proximity to major cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit, as well as good transportation infrastructure. "A lot of our product goes to the east and west coast," he said.
About 90 percent of feed fed to ducks at Culver Duck comes from corn and soybeans ― Frey said being so close to feed sources helps keep this cost low.
Miller Poultry, in Orland, focuses on chicken production, and has been processing chickens for 22 years. Miller Poultry president Galen Miller says his company benefits from low grain prices due to its location in the heart of the Corn Belt.
Miller believes the poultry industry is thriving in northern Indiana in part because of the large Amish and Mennonite community, whose members are well versed in agriculture and animal agriculture. Small-scale farmers who supply Miller Poultry can benefit from the additional income, he said, and they fit perfectly with the trend of local food.