Legislative Priorities for 2014 Pages 4, 5 Young Farmer Conference is Jan 24, 25 Page 3 INSIDE: News in Brief.....................2 Around IFB........................3 Rules & Regulations........... 6 Around AFBF.....................7 Around Indiana.................8 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau NOVEMBER 25, 2013 Issue No. 46 Preliminary soil productivity results reveal unanticipated increases —Edited by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Newly modeled soil productivity factors were presented to the Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy on Nov. 13. Katrina Hall testified on behalf of Indiana Farm Bureau members. “Members are strongly urged to take a look at the results and provide feedback if they think their new soil factors are unreasonable,” Hall said. They are available on IFB’s public policy website, www.ifbstayinformed.org. The new factors are a result of a study jointly performed by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance and the Purdue School of Agriculture. SB 319, which was passed by the General Assembly in February, charged the DLGF and Purdue with conducting the study. These factors are a part of the formula that determines the assessed value of farmland for property tax purposes. Purdue developed the new factors using the “Diderickson model,” which was also used 35 years ago to determine the original soil productivity factors. These SPF factors are used to distinguish the value of soils from the “average.” The Diderickson model evaluates corn yield changes based on 14 soil characteristics that are considered to improve or impair yield. It uses data from the USDAIndiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 NRCS soil survey database and assumes management techniques and strategies at a level required for crop production – basically, average production practices. It also assumes that drainage is in place for wet soils. While the DLGF/Purdue study showed that the range of factors only moved from a range of 0.5-1.28 to a range of 0.5-1.31, the change to soil productivity factors within most counties had a wider variance. Of the 6,387 soil types across the state, 1,076 saw no change and 176 went down. The remaining 5,135 increased. This high number of increases was not anticipated. The study shows that 2,261 soil types increased between 10 percent and 30 percent – an obvious reason for concern. Since the comparison of the new factors and old factors was provided just two days before the commission meeting, Hall asked for additional time to share the results with IFB’s farmer members. “I believe that farmers working with soils each day are the ones who would be best able to gauge whether or not the proposed factors are reasonable,” she said. Purdue agronomy professor Philip Owens, who conducted the study, also asked for more time to see why so many soils showed more change than was anticipated. The DLGF/Purdue report and tables showing old facNon-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Berne, IN Permit NO. 43 Indiana Farm Bureau hosted a continental breakfast at the Indiana Statehouse on Nov. 19, also known as “Organization Day,” the day on which the General Assembly gathers to plan for the next session, which begins in January. Shown here (from left) are Justin Schneider, IFB senior policy advisor; IFB President Don Villwock; Katrina Hall, IFB state government relations director; and Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro tors and new factors for each county can be found on IFB’s www.ifbstayinformed. org website. Member comments on the proposed fac- tors that include specific references to the soil types should be emailed to Hall, email@example.com. Legislation will again be needed to address the soil productivity factor issue. Refer to IFB priorities on page 5 of this issue of The Hoosier Farmer for more information. EPA administrator meets with Indiana ag leaders to discuss RFS and conservation —By Kyle Cline National Policy Advisor Public Policy Team Newly confirmed EPA administrator Gina McCarthy made a stop in the Hoosier state on Nov. 16 at Kelsay Farms in Whiteland as part of her Midwestern agriculture tour to see farming up close and hear first-hand accounts about the innovations being implemented by ag leaders and the challenges they face. Senator Joe Donnelly was also on hand to host the administrator and discuss the concerns of farmers and industry leaders, including the EPA’s proposed decision to reduce the amount of renewable fuels required to be blended in our overall fuel supply. The EPA proposal would cut nearly 3 billion gallons of biofuel that was originally mandated to be blended into the fuel supply. Conventional biofuel would be cut to 13 billion gallons per year from 14.4 billion, a decrease that represents nearly the entire amount of ethanol cur- rently produced in Indiana. The proposal also reduces cellulosic biofuels to 17 million from 1.75 billion. Farmers, ag leaders and biofuel interests at the meeting responded by indicating the significant economic consequences for farm families and rural communities all across the Midwest as well as the nation’s energy security. Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock also noted the link between the economic benefits of ethanol and increased conservation practices. “Ethanol has given farmers the ability to be better stewards of the land because they have had the income to invest in new innovative conservation tools and practices”, said Villwock. “With this decision, you have effectively shot the golden goose for agriculture.” In response, McCarthy highlighted the current challenges with the “blend wall”: lack of infrastructure, lack of flex-fuel vehicles, and lack of information as primary reasons for the lat- est decision. However, she asked for the help of farmers and ag leaders. “The latest announcement is a proposal and we want input, we want to understand how it impacts the market, how it impacts your community,” said McCarthy. Donnelly commented that, “We need to tell ag’s story on ethanol, fight the bad information on ethanol effects on cars and the environment, and challenge the oil companies.” Other issues discussed at the meeting included conservation compliance and nutrient reduction and management. “Conservation farming keeps nutrients in the soil and protects the waterways and environment. I am concerned about potential rules coming from EPA on what we can use for nutrients and how we manage them,” said Roger Wenning. The EPA is seeking input on the proposed RFS decision and its impacts. Farmers are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-692-7845 for more information or for assistance.