As development moves in, area agriculture producers face growing challenges

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When Rob Richards heads out to his farm fields along State Road 37, he makes sure he is leaving well before rush hour when thousands of cars are headed to or from work and that his tractor isn’t competing for space with traffic headed to an Indiana University game.

Richards’ family farm is on State Road 37 in White River Township, but increasingly he’s had to plant his corn, soybeans and wheat in Morgan and Owen counties because shopping centers and subdivisions have replaced what used to be tillable acres in Johnson County.

The land his family planted in White River Township has decreased in size by about 16 percent in the past five years because of development, he said. Of land that Richards farms, he owns about 5 percent but leases the rest, he said.

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