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Inside: Drought recovery: Fruit Crops Page 3 IFB Almanac Pages 4 & 5 News in Brief................ 2 Around Indiana............ 3 Around IFB................... 6 Rules & Regs................ 7 Education..................... 8 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau June 24, 2013 Issue No. 40 Senate passes farm bill; debate moves to the House —By Kathleen M. Dutro IFB Public Relations Team & the AFBF Communications Team A bipartisan farm bill is advancing through Congress, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. However, AFBF said, if the House farm bill makes it through Congress and is sent to the White House, senior advisors to the president are expected to advise him to veto it, due to the $20.5 billion cut in federal nutrition assistance programs that will be spread out over 10 years. The Senate-passed farm bill also cuts nutrition aid, but only by $4 billion. The Senate passed the bill, titled the Agriculture Reform, Jobs and Food Act, on June 10 by a vote of 66-27. Just two days later, House Speaker John Boehner announced his support for the legislation. “With his statement of support for the farm bill today, Speaker Boehner is giving all Americans, including the farmers who feed them and those concerned with nutrition programs, real optimism that Washington can get important work done in 2013,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. Both of Indiana’s senators, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Dan Coats, voted in favor of the bill. AFBF policy supports strengthening crop insurance and offering farmers a choice of program options to complete their safety net. In addition, AFBF supports providing programs that encourage farmers to follow market signals rather than make Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 planting decisions based on government payments. “We appreciate the Senate’s decision to protect and strengthen the federal crop insurance program and not reduce its funding, as well as the approval of a commodity program that provides farmers varied safety net options,” Stallman said. “This approach to farm policy will encourage farmers to follow market signals rather than basing planting decisions on anticipation of government farm benefits. Most importantly, the program will be viable because the Senate stood firm on a budget savings level of $24 billion.” As of The Hoosier Farmer’s June 17 deadline, House debate on the bill was expected begin as early as that week. “Spirited debates on federal nutrition programs and dairy policy are anticipated,” AFBF said. For more on Farm Bureau’s position on the farm bill, fact sheets and more, visit FBACT Insider, www.fbactinsider. org/issues/farm-bill. Livestock farmers hope for a better guest-worker program —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team What agriculture really needs from immigration reform, according to two Indiana livestock farmers, is a guestworker program that works. David Hoar, who operates a 1,050-sow hog operation in Washington County, and Mike Yoder, who milks around 380 cows in Elkhart County, said they are hoping for a guest-worker program that is effective and allows into the country enough legal workers to fill agriculture’s needs. “We need to acknowledge that we do not offer enough visas for agricultural workers,” said Yoder. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a 2012 survey found that 71 percent of tree fruit growers in California were unable to find enough employees to prune trees and vines or pick crops. This is a problem for all facets of agriculture. Figures for 2012 from the USDA’s Economic Research Service show that 44 percent of hired farmworkers work in livestock. Hoar and Yoder said they used to use locals as workers – but that is no longer practicable. Hoar has four non-fam- ily employees working in his hog operation, one “English” and three Latinos, plus three hired employees to tend his 2,000 acres of row crops. He started using immigrant workers about 12 years ago. “The guys that I’ve got are in place because I can’t get the English to do that job,” Hoar said – and this despite the fact that his workers earn more than $30,000 per year. Yoder, who has six fulltime employees (mostly Latinos, but also two Tanzanians he found through a company called Global Cow) plus a farm manager, said he used to use the local Amish as his workforce pool. However, even the Amish now prefer jobs with weekends and holidays off, something that isn’t possible on a dairy farm. For a while he experimented with workers from the local work-release program. That was a “mixed” experience, he said. The problem with many potential employees is that they have no experience working with animals, and that’s something that’s very difficult to teach. “I can train people to milk in a couple of days,” he said. “But being able to handle cows, know when a cow is sick, that’s something that requires quite a bit of experience.” The Latinos he hires “have a set of skills that’s really hard to find in the U.S. right now.” “A 1,500-pound cow looks really, really big to somebody who didn’t grow up on a farm and the biggest animal they’ve ever seen is their schnauzer,” Yoder added. “There is a certain amount of animal husbandry,” Hoar agreed. Yoder and Hoar said that what they really need from immigrant labor reform isn’t so much a path to citizenship – most of his employees want to work here for a while and then return to Mexico to be with their families, Hoar said. What they need, they said, is a better guest-worker program that allows more workers to come into the country legally so they can work, earn money for their families, pay taxes, pay health insurance and come out from “under the cloak,” Hoar said. “In our county right now, we have about 8 percent unemployment, but we cannot find enough workers for one reason or another,” Yoder said. “We need to acknowledge that we need workers, and we need skilled workers.” District 1 Farm Bureau took its members out to the ballgame for its annual summer meeting – specifically the South Bend Silver Hawks vs. the Dayton Dragons. The meeting was held just prior to the June 15 game in South Bend, and the district honored its scholarship winners and 4-H tenure winners. Shown in the photo to the right (from left) are Deb Walsh, Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Huntington, IN Permit NO. 832 District 1 woman leader; Todd Wottring, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance district sales manager; district scholarship winner Kayla Bailey; district winner Michael Day; and District 1 Director Larry Jernas. Not pictured is the state scholarship winner, Garrett Corning. At left, Nathaniel and Whitney Ness and their two children enjoy the game and a beautiful evening in South Bend. Photos by Kathleen M. Dutro

The Hoosier Farmer - 40

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