Inside: Members lobby on Capitol Hill Page 4 News in Brief................ 2 Around IFB............... 3, 6 Communication............ 7 AFBF News................... 8 Ag Day in Indiana Page 5 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau april 8, 2013 Issue No. 37 Continuing resolution saves some ag funding, but doesn’t negate sequestration cuts —By the AFBF PR Team & Kathleen M. Dutro IFB Public Relations Team Congress has passed the “continuing resolution” that funds the government through Sept. 30 at current spending levels and President Obama has signed the measure. “Continuing resolution” is defined in the U.S. Senate glossary as “Legislation in the form of a joint resolution enacted by Congress, when the new fiscal year is about to begin or has begun, to provide budget authority for Federal agencies and programs to continue in operation until the regular appropriations acts are enacted.” But what does this particular continuing resolution mean for agriculture? American Farm Bureau budget specialist R.J. Karney said the legislation also offered full spending bills for defense, military construction and veterans affairs, homeland security, commerce-justice-science and agriculture. “What the full appropriations bill allows is full funding of programs for the Department of Agriculture. Funding for food safety, for rural development programs, for a few nutrition programs and ag research. These are all critical components to the department’s mission,” said Karney in an interview for AFBF’s Newsline podIndiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 cast. “What the CR did not do was give the secretaries of these departments the flexibility to combat the sequestration cuts,” he said, which total $85 billion. “That lack of flexibility is going to prohibit secretaries from moving funds within the department to try to scale down the effects of the sequestration cuts.” But Congress did add a special provision to prevent those cuts from furloughing meat inspectors, Karney explained. “Furloughing meat inspectors would have had a negative effect for both livestock producers and for consumers. This would have prevented plants from doing their daily operations. They need a USDA meat inspector to continue the process of getting the meat out to the consumers.” Congress passed the continuing resolution bill on March 21 and it was signed by the president on March 26. The deadline for passage of the measure was March 27. To hear the full interview with Karney, visit AFBF’s online newsroom, www.fb.org/index. php?action=newsroom. home, and click on the link for “Newsline.” Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Huntington, IN Permit NO. 832 Debbie Denton of White County makes a bid in the silent auction held during Spring Conference, which was held March 8 and 9. The silent auction earned nearly $3,000 for the Ag Education & Promotional Development Grant program, while a live auction held the evening of March 8 earned more than $4,700. For more photos of Spring Conference, see page 3. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro Bill that brings reorganization law in line with IFB policy to be considered by full House —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team As this issue of The Hoosier Farmer was going to press, Indiana Farm Bureau lobbyists were reporting that some progress had been made on bills addressing local government reorganization. Senate Bill 343 makes several changes to the government modernization law, including a requirement for a separate vote tally of those inside and outside the city limits when a merger of a county and city is being considered. The bill, which has already passed the Senate, was passed on March 26 by the House Government & Regulatory Reform Committee. Once the bill gets through 2nd reading, which was expected sometime the week of April 1, it would be eligible for a final vote. Indiana Farm Bureau policy values the rural representation and access to officeholders provided by the current county commissioner system. SB 343 greatly improves the government reorganization law in terms of transparency and procedural fairness, the public policy team said. Members are asked to contact their representatives and ask them to vote yes on SB 343. Katrina Hall, IFB tax and local government specialist, testified at the hearing in support of SB 343. Joining her were representatives from Vanderburgh County Farm Bureau, who in November successfully defeated a merger referendum involving Vanderburgh County and the City of Evansville. Only one person testified against the measure. After much committee discussion, the bill passed by a vote of 12-0. Meanwhile, the full House was expected to vote on April 1 on SB 475. This bill has been stripped of its original language that focused on the option of a single county executive for Allen County, and it now authorizes only a study committee. As amended, SB 475 urges the legislative council to assign to a study committee the topic of allowing counties to change the executive and legislative structure of county government by placing all executive powers in a single county executive, instead of a board of commissioners and all legislative and fiscal powers in a county council. If assigned to a study committee, the final report is due to the legislative council by Nov. 1. In other General Assembly news, the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved an amended version of SB 373 (authored Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, and sponsored by Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy), the bill that will make it illegal to videotape, photograph or otherwise record agricultural or industrial operations on private property without the owner’s consent. Immense pressure has been put on legislators by groups who oppose the bill, including animal rights organizations, organized labor and media. Not much time remains in this General Assembly. April 10 is the last day for third reading of House bills in the Senate, while April 15 is the last day for third reading of Senate bills in House.