Business briefs – February 2

Barbecue restaurant partners with Wooden Bear Brewing

GREENFIELD — Local caterer Grant Ford of BBQ’n Fools Catering has partnered with Wooden Bear Brewing Company, offering smoked chicken, brisket and pork as well as his award-winning sauces. With more than 600 championships to his name, Ford will serve up his dinner specials along with his sides consisting of beans, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, corn, green beans, potato salad, or chips.

Ford’s menu, along with a multitude of artisan beer choices from Wooden Bear Brewing Company, is available daily at 41 W. North Street.

County unemployment rate remains lower than state’s

HANCOCK COUNTY — The unemployment rate in Hancock County in December was 2.6 percent, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate is a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicator that reflects the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labor force, according to a press release. Indiana’s unemployment rate stands at 3.1 percent for December and remains lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent, according to a report from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Indiana’s labor force decreased by 19,191 compared to the same time last year, due to a 11,377 increase in employment and a decrease in unemployment of 30,568. Indiana’s total labor force continues to stand at more than 3.26 million.

Hancock County’s unemployment rate in December of 2.6 percent was one of the lowest in the area. Hamilton County’s unemployment rate was 2.3 percent, one of the lowest in the state; Henry County’s was 3.1 percent, Shelby County’s was 2.7 percent and Marion County’s was 3.1 percent.

USDA announces near-record year for farm loan programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency recently announced another year of high activity in its farm loan programs. Hard-working farm families across the country accessed nearly $6 billion in new credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders in 2017. At year end, FSA was assisting more than 120,000 family farmers with loans totaling more than $25 billion.

“FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, acting deputy under secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain commercial credit, to help them get started, gain access to land and grow their operations. Family farmers across America also come to us for credit when they face challenges to stay in business. We’re proud to support rural prosperity by providing credit to those who need it most.”

FSA provides a variety of loan assistance. More than 25,000 direct and guaranteed FSA loans went to beginning or underserved farmers and ranchers. More than 4,200 beginning farmers received direct farm ownership loans from FSA to make their first land purchase. And of the approximately 6,500 Microloans made in the last fiscal year, three-quarters (almost 4,900) went to beginning farmers, 1,000 went to women and 400 to veterans.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or