Indiana Cornfield
Indiana Cornfield

Indiana Popcorn Farmers Affected by the Pandemic Too

It’s harvest time in Indiana, but did you know that Indiana ranks as the nation’s number 2 producer of popcorn?   With movie theaters struggling because of the pandemic, I asked popcorn farmer, and Preferred Popcorns Indiana Operations Manager BRIAN CHURCHILL to join me on “The First Day” to talk about how Hoosier producer’s are faring this year.

Brian has planted popcorn for over 40 years in Indiana.  “It’s a specialty crop that I can usually make a few extra dollars per acre.  There’s less volume of product coming off the field and it’s easier to transport.  It’s a fun crop to grow!” 

This year, even with a drought, Indiana popcorn farmers have done very well!  “Yields have been good, not as good as our soybean yield, but because it was hot and dry, it’s been better than average”, says Brian.

Because of COVID, the US movie theater industry has been hoping that a future big time movie would save its devastated business.  What has that done to the popcorn growers, particularly for our Popcorn farmers in Indiana?   Churchill says, “People stayed home and watched a lot of movies over the summer and microwave sales more than doubled!  People not consuming popcorn at the movie theaters definitely made a huge impact,”

Until Hollywood releases some new movies and more people feel more comfortable going back into the theaters, It may be a couple more months.  A percentage of the popcorn grown in the US is exported to other countries.  Asia has already opened again and export sales are doing very good.

Brian feels optimistic about the future for popcorn farmers. “Acreage was up again this year, and when theaters open back up, we may be short of popcorn again, and that would be a blessing!” 

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