Comment Period Extended for WOTUS Rule Page 3 Farm Bureau has New Look for State Fair Page 4 COME VISIT FARM BUREAU at the Inside: News in Brief 2 Rules & Regulations 3 Around the Farm 5 Around IFB 6 Communications 7 Around Indiana 8 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau July 17, 2014 Issue No. 55 Farmland taxes again a top priority for IFB —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Farmers need to deliver a message to their state legislators, said Katrina Hall, Indiana Farm Bureau director of state government relations. “Farmland property taxes are absorbing the profitability of agriculture,” she said, adding that unless state officials take action, the problem is only going to get worse – much worse. From 2007 to 2013, property taxes paid by farmers went up 33 percent, she said. “That’s $100 million in additional taxes from the ag sector,” she explained. But because there’s a delay in how commodity prices affect the taxable value of farmland, the increase will rapidly escalate over the next four years and so will farmland taxes. Roughly estimated, farmers now pay an average of $30 per acre. But if the trend continues, and if there’s no relief, taxes could be as high as $71 per acre for productive soils in coun- ties that have reached the 2 percent cap. “That is oppressive and it’s not sustainable for any farming operation,” Hall said. Farmland taxes will be Indiana Farm Bureau’s top priority for the 2015 legislative session, and the organization has begun an information campaign with legislators and fiscal policy thought leaders from other influential organizations. The first step was hosting an informational meeting on July 1 intended to acquaint them with the issue and advise them about the major problem with farmland taxes that is looming on the horizon. Farm Bureau is exploring a variety of remedies that will be discussed with legislative fiscal leaders in the coming months “There’s a general misunderstanding about the taxes farmers pay,” Hall said, explaining that many legislators are under the impression that farmers already receive more than their fair share of tax breaks and exemptions. Ownership remains a big issue for big data —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Whether you farm or work with farmers, “big data” has become a hot topic in agriculture. This is why the Indiana Ag Law Foundation and Indiana Farm Bureau are holding a workshop on big data for farmers on Aug. 15. The workshop will also address issues surrounding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. This also why big data was one of the topics at the recent Strategic Policy, Advocacy, Resources and Communications conference put on for state Farm Bureau staff by the American Farm Bureau Federation. “When you think about big data, you’ve got to think about the computer industry, the IT industry – they’ve dealt with big data for years,” said AFBF economist Matt Erickson. Erickson spoke at the SPARC conference, and he will also be speaking at IFB’s big data workshop. Within agriculIndiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 ture, the data is pretty much everything that’s generated from the farm, he said. “The ‘big’ comes in because there’s a lot of data generated,” he said. But even more important than the volume of data is how that data is used. What turns “data” into “big data,” Erickson said, is putting it to work. “It’s how we interpret the data, how we analyze the data, and how we put the data into action that we call ‘big data,’” he explained. Among the issues that arise from big data are how to make sure the data has value for the farmer and how to keep that data secure. But the issue that agriculture has yet to completely resolve is that of who controls the data and who owns it. As Rachelle Thibert, integrated solutions manager for John Deere, explained to the audience at the SPARC conference for state Farm Bureau staff, it’s clear that when it comes to agronomic Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Berne, IN Permit NO. 43 data, the farmer owns the data. “The challenge with that is, which farmer?” she said. “When you’ve got a situation where somebody owns the land, owns the machine, owns the crop, makes all the decisions, it’s clear: He owns the data. No questions asked. “But when all of a sudden you’ve got multiple legal entities farming together, this company owns some of the machines, this (other) company owns some of the machines, they all own a little bit of land – it’s all one family, but it’s set up, for all kinds of good reasons, as different companies – we don’t necessarily know who owns which part of that data.” It becomes even more complicated when you start contracting out parts of the operation, she said – for example, custom harvesting or chemical applications, where the applicator owns the machine but the farmer owns the land. “Once we started playing out scenarios of how farming really happens in this country, it got really, really complex,” she said. “Farmers pay a lot of taxes and pay on the same basis as other similarly situated individuals or businesses. Misconceptions create a real cloud when discussing tax burdens,” she said. The best way to correct this error is for farmers to tell their property tax story. “We will be asking members to create a profile and tell their property tax story to state representatives, state senators, and Governor Pence’s administration,” stressed Hall. __________________ The Indiana Ag Law Foundation’s workshop on big data and UAVs will be held Aug. 15 at IFB’s home office in Indianapolis. The cost is $50 for registrations made by July 14 (which is right around the time readers are slated to receive this issue of The Hoosier Farmer) or $75 for those made after that. Registration closes July 31 or when the event fills, whichever comes first. Information is available at www. inaglaw/bigdata or by calling Maria Spellman, 317692-7840. 2014 Farm Bill How Does It Affect You? Informational meetings that will let you know about deadlines, requirements and what tools are available on the marketplace. Speakers: August 20 – 9:30 a.m. Indiana Grand Racing Casino 4300 N Michigan Rd., Shelbyville Julia Wickard FSA State Executive Director August 20 – 6:30 p.m. Huntingburg Event Center 200 E 14th St., Huntingburg Dr. Chris Hurt Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University August 19 – 9:30 a.m. Honeywell Center 275 W Market St., Wabash August 19 – 6:30 p.m. The Trails Banquet Facility and Conference Center 325 Burnetts Rd., West Lafayette Register by Aug. 8 by visiting www.e-farmcredit.com/FarmBill2014 or by contacting your local Farm Credit Mid-America office at 1-800-444-FARM. Sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America, Indiana FSA and Indiana Farm Bureau.