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See inside this issue for a special insert that explains the benefits of belonging. Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation Page 4 Inside: News in Brief................2 Nation & World............3 Legislative update.........5 Around IFB....................6 Communication............7 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau February 18, 2013 Issue No. 35 Soil productivity bill put on the ‘fast track’ in the House —By Kathleen M. Dutro� Public Relations Team The House Ways & Means committee has by a vote of 20-0 approved Senate Bill 319, the Farm Bureau-supported bill that will delay the application of new soil productivity factors for another year, which means the measure now goes before the full House. The Senate has already passed the bill by a vote of 48-0. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, announced in early February that the bill would be “fast-tracked” in the House. The Department of Local Government Finance has advised county assessors to begin the March 1 assessment using the new soil productivity factors, and the House reportedly hopes to get a bill to the governor before March 1 to avoid both the discomfort and cost of a remedial assessment. SB 319 was authored by Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg. It’s sponsored in the House by Reps. Don Lehe, R-Brookston; Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield; and Terry Goodin, D-Austin. The soil productivity fac- Senate starts work on farm bill —From the AFBF Public Relations Team The American Farm Bureau is pleased that the Senate has started work on the farm bill and encouraged that the measure is being given priority by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., according to a statement from AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This represents real hope for farmers and ranchers that the Senate, like last session, will aggressively move forward on a long-term farm bill to give farmers the risk management certainty we need,” Stallman said. “It will ultimately take real bipartisan cooperation to get the farm bill to the finish line, and we are confident the House Agriculture Committee will craft a compatible bill,” he added. He noted that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., need to work quickly to “build on the bipartisan work that was the hallmark of the Senate farm bill last year.” “America’s farmers deserve the policy certainty that a five-year farm bill would provide,” Stallman said. “We need a flexible, reform-minded bill that draws its key risk management tools from crop insurance provisions. We are encouraged that the process is starting early, and we look forward to working with leaders and committees from both houses and both parties to get this long-term farm bill done.” Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Huntington, IN Permit NO. 832 tor is one component in the complex formula used to assess property tax for farmland. Depending upon what county a farm is located in, the property tax savings as a result of the delay will vary from 15 percent to 45 percent and total about $57 million this year. Such an increase would create an unfavorable business climate for agriculture and place unreasonable new financial burdens farmers. Leising said in a news release that her legislation was developed after she led the General Assembly’s 2012 Interim Study Committee on Agriculture. “A large focus of this summer’s study committee meetings was the drought our farmers were experiencing,” Leising said. “This led us, as legislators, to ask ourselves what we could do to help our struggling farm families. We knew the new soil productivity fac- Reps. Bob Cherry (left), R-Greenfield, and Don Lehe, R-Brookston, discuss new soil productivity factors in a House Ways & Means Committee hearing on Jan. 24. The Senate version of a bill that would delay application of the new soil factors for a year passed the committee by unanimous vote on Feb. 11. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro tors would have a negative impact on farmers. Now it’s time to ensure farmland is being assessed using common sense and in a way that doesn’t burden those who are the backbone of Indiana agriculture – a huge segment of our overall economy.” SB 319 would also require the DLGF, with the Purdue University College of Agriculture, to submit a report on proposed soil productivity factors by Nov. 1, 2013, to the General Assembly for consideration. Indiana Farm Bureau supports SB 319, noting it could be the most important legislation for the state’s agriculture industry this year. “For the last year, this has been one of the most serious tax issues facing Indiana farmers,” said IFB tax specialist Katrina Hall. “We really appreciate Senator Leising’s diligence with this legislation. We can’t thank her enough for her detailed attention to the problems facing our farmers.” District and county woman leaders from Indiana Farm Bureau Districts 7 and 9 paid a visit to the Statehouse Jan. 29 to lobby on issues such as the soil productivity factors and other tax measures, local government organization, and the state’s right-to-farm law. Above, the group meets with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. Below, Rep. Kreg Battles, R-Vincennes, meets with a delegation outside the House chambers. Photos by Kathleen M. Dutro

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