Indiana State Fair Page 6 The Big Pig Adventure Page 5 INSIDE: News in Brief................ 2 Around Farm Bureau.... 3 Around IFB................... 4 Communication............ 7 Around Indiana............ 8 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 Issue No. 43 Through phone calls, emails, social media, in-district meetings, farm tours, town hall meetings and other events, farmers and ranchers used Congress’ August recess to “Bring the Heat” to lawmakers on three key issues: the farm bill, ag labor reform and waterways infrastructure. Left, Jason Sweet of Converse, Ind., gives Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, a tour of his hog operation. The tour was part of a farm visit organized by Grant County Farm Bureau to familiarize Brooks with farm issues. (Photo by Andy Dietrick) Right, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., answers questions from farmers at an event sponsored by IFB District 1. Jim and Deb Walsh hosted the event on their Fulton County Farm. Among the issues discussed was ag labor reform, the farm bill and the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro) Delegates support eliminating direct farm payments, controlling local annexations —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Indiana Farm Bureau delegates approved policy in favor of limiting the ability of cities and towns to annex farm ground, and they also reaffirmed their support for significant changes in the federal farm program – specifically, eliminating direct payments in exchange for improving crop insurance. During the delegate session, which was held Aug. 24 in Indianapolis and included representatives of county Farm Bureaus from across the state, the delegates also added policy in support of keeping farmspecific data confidential. “Annexation is becoming more and more of an issue Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 across the state as cities and towns are trying to expand their tax base,” explained IFB President Don Villwock. “One of the ways they’re doing that is annexing ag land, and we don’t think that’s right. We want to make sure our farmers have a fighting chance to say whether or not they want to be annexed.” “We are opposed to a city or town gaining control of or attempting to control property and resources outside of its jurisdiction,” the new policy says. “Any such attempt should have to be approved by a majority of landowners in the new area being annexed to include in the city or town’s boundary.” On the federal farm bill, the delegates reaffirmed Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Berne, IN Permit NO. 43 their support for doing away with all direct payments, using the dollars saved to improve the crop insurance program. “I think Indiana and Midwestern farmers think it’s time for direct payments to go away, but we also reinforced that those dollar savings should shore up our crop insurance program,” Villwock said. “That’s very critical as we’re in the final hours of trying to pass a farm bill before the end of September.” On the topic of data sharing, delegates voted to recommend changes to the American Farm Bureau Federation policy in support of legislation that would treat all farm-specific data as private property that is controlled by the farm owner/ operator. “Farmers are concerned about who owns their data,” Villwock explained. Data on many aspects of agriculture are now shared with fertilizer dealers and seed dealers, and farmers don’t have a major problem with that, he said. “But they’re more con- cerned about how that national data, the collection or aggregation of all farmers’ data, could be used by these big companies, could potentially be sold to other entities. Who controls that data?” he said. Another reason why this has become such a hot issue is that earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released personal information about thousands of livestock and poultry farmers and ranchers in 29 states in response to requests from three environmental organizations. The massive data release contained tens of thousands of lines in spreadsheets often including home phone numbers, home emails, employee contact information, home addresses and in some cases personal notes about the families. Delegates also: • Added language in support of state policies and initiatives that promote locally grown meat and produce in Indiana restaurants, farmers markets, schools and other publicly supported institutions. • Supported “initiatives to protect farms from the dissemination of misinformation regarding production practices.” • Reaffirmed Indiana Farm Bureau’s commitment to “support all areas of agriculture, regardless and size” and “grow Indiana’s livestock industry regardless of size.” Added a new section that supports “laws that protect the rights of farmers to use modern farming practices and everchanging technology available to agriculture.” • Added language in support of adequate funding for the state Board of Animal Health’s dairy inspection program, but also asking for greater notification for farmers in the event of new milk inspection regulations. • Supported allowing producers more flexibility in applying manure to frozen ground. • Supported measures that would help make highspeed Internet service available to all citizens of Indiana.