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The Quack economy -How Ducks boost Indiana's agriculture

The Quack economy -How Ducks boost Indiana's agriculture

By Andi Anderson

When it comes to poultry production, Indiana doesn't hold back. While the Hoosier State may not top the list in chicken numbers, it excels in producing meat and eggs in remarkable ways, transcending traditional poultry farming.

Despite having a relatively modest chicken population, Indiana ranks second in the nation for egg production, just behind Iowa. With Iowa's impressive annual production of 15 billion eggs, Indiana stands as the sole contender in this race, according to the Iowa Egg Council.

Indiana's ascent in the rankings is attributed to its thriving commercial duck production. The state proudly holds the top position in the United States for this poultry sector.

In previous years, Indiana's poultry farms have collected a staggering 9.5 million eggs. When you tally poultry and eggs together, they emerge as the fourth-largest agricultural commodity in the state, generating an impressive $1.18 billion in sales.

The White Pekin duck variety is a favorite among Indiana's duck breeders, endorsed by the Indiana Farm Bureau. White Pekin ducks have gained popularity not only in the Hoosier State but also across the U.S. due to their tender meat and less gamey flavor compared to other duck breeds.

Indiana's duck farming landscape includes four other common breeds: Anacona, Runner, Mallard, and Buff Orphington. Among these, Buff Orphington and Anacona ducks are celebrated for their eggs and meat, while Runner ducks are cherished for their companionship, pest control abilities, and feathers.

Indiana's ducks go beyond culinary purposes. Their feathers find utility in various household products, such as coats, pillows, and blankets, as highlighted by the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Apart from commercial duck production, Indiana is home to over 20 different types of ducks, including Wood ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwell, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, and Bufflehead ducks, according to

In nurturing this vibrant duck industry, two prominent companies in Indiana play pivotal roles. Maple Leaf, situated in Leesburg, and Culver Duck Farm, headquartered in Middlebury, jointly accounted for nearly 60% of duck product manufacturing in the U.S. in 2017, according to Iowa PBS.

Indiana's duck production doesn't just quack, it roars, significantly contributing to the state's agricultural prowess and economic prosperity.


Photo Credit: istock-zhaojiankang

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Categories: Indiana, Livestock, Poultry

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