Farmer-soldiers continue work in Afghanistan
County programs with ‘Impact’
Inside: News in Brief................ 2 AFBF News................... 3 Around IFB............... 6, 7 Around Indiana............ 8
The Hoosier Farmer
A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau
January 29, 2013 Issue No. 34
AFBF delegates support expanding crop insurance —By Kathleen M. Dutro IFB Public Relations Team & the AFBF PR Team
Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock discusses the effect of Internet sales taxes on local businesses during the annual AFBF delegate debate. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
Voting delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 94th annual meeting expressed support for a reform-minded farm bill that includes a strong, flexible crop insurance program offering risk management protection for grain, forage, tobacco and specialty crops as well peanuts and rice. Delegates also said AFBF should work for programs that provide emergency assistance for livestock and tree producers not covered by federal crop insurance programs. “We support the availability of crop yield and revenue insurance for all producers of all crops, livestock and poultry in the country,” the policy now states. “New risk management programs should be developed to supplement or
be an alternative to current crop insurance programs.” At the delegate session, which occurred on Jan. 15, the final day of the threeday convention, 362 voting delegates representing every crop and livestock sector in the 50 states and Puerto Rico deliberated on policies affecting farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and profitability. The policies approved at the annual meeting will guide the nation’s largest general farm organization in its legislative and regulatory efforts throughout 2013. Dairy policy was another topic discussed at length. Delegates asked the AFBF board of directors to appoint a task force to consider regional differences within the dairy industry and the need for a strong risk management system. That task force will then make policy recommendations back to the board for further action and consideration.
Several policies that originated with or had been strongly supported by Indiana Farm Bureau’s delegate body were inserted into the new policy. Among these: • Support for allowing the collection of sales taxes on Internet sales by outof-state sellers. Delegates expressed concern about the advantage that Internet retail sellers have over local merchants because most customers don’t pay taxes on Internet sales, and they also noted that states lose revenue from such sales. • Changing the calculation of crop insurance T-yields to reduce the effect of disaster years on those yields. The language now proposes eliminating the years in which an area was under a disaster declaration or at minimum using an Olympic average. More details on the new policy can be found on the AFBF website, www.fb.org.
PARP sessions, other workshops available during Spring Conference —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team
Indiana Farm Bureau hosted its annual legislative kickoff meeting on Jan. 8, and the meeting featured a luncheon that was attended by 95 of the state’s 150 legislators – an exceptionally high percentage. Among those in attendance was Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who also serves as the state’s secretary of agriculture and rural development. Among the legislators was Rep. Tim Brown (shown at left), R-Crawfordsville, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. With him is Kevin Underwood, director of IFB District 3. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206
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Hands-on workshops figure prominently into the first day of the 2013 Spring Conference agenda. Fred Whitford, coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs, is offering sessions approved for Private Applicator Recertification Program credits during Spring Conference. “The Tractor Hitch Pin: A Critical Component in Implement Control” will take place at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, March 8, and “Measuring Herbicides: An Often Overlooked Step in the Application Process” will take place at 4:30 p.m. that day. To receive PARP credit, participants must attend both sessions. Bring your private applicator card, a photo ID and $10.
To sign up, register for Spring Conference at www. infarmbureau.org/springconf and choose the appropriate sessions when prompted. Also offered during the pre-conference workshops on March 8: • At 2:45 p.m., Jolene Brown will present “If We Huff and Puff, Will We Blow Your House Down?” Brown’s workshop explores how to create a strong family business by understanding the influencing factors and work styles of different generations. • At 4:30 p.m., attorney Wayne Walston will present the legal side of estate planning, including the eight most common mistakes, eight myths of Medicaid, planning with trust and an overview of a littleknown and under-used program: veterans benefits.
2013 SPRING CONFERENCE
• Also at 4:30 p.m., Michelle Mayer, Indiana Attorney General’s Office director of outreach services, will share “Protect Yourself from Scams and ID Theft.” Mayer will cover the most common scams and ways to make sure you don’t become a victim. For more information on these workshops and the rest of Spring Conference, visit www.infarmbureau.org/ springconf. Spring Conference runs March 8-9 at the Indianapolis Marriott East.
NEWS in brief The sap is running in southern Indiana, which means it’s almost time for the 2013 National Maple Syrup Festival in Medora. The event is held over the first two weekends in March. Activities begin at the Medora Community School building, after which festival goers can take shuttles out to Tim Burton’s (pictured) Maplewood Farm to learn more about the history and art of making maple syrup. You can find a full list of the fun and tasty events scheduled for this year’s festival at nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com.
• Katie Pratt of Illinois. Pratt and her husband farm in partnership with his family, raising corn, soybeans and seed corn. • Bo Stone of North Carolina, who owns P&S Farms with his parents and wife. They grow 2,300 acres of row crops, raise approximately 10,000 pigs annually and have 60 cows, and also raise strawberries and sweet corn. More than 100 applications were submitted from farmers and ranchers across the country. The winners will act as national spokespeople, and will share stories and experiences on a national stage to help answer consumers’ questions about how food is grown and raised to feed our nation. For more information on the Faces of Farming & Ranching program, visit www.fooddialogues.com. (USFRA 1/22/13)
News Bites —Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Sheets picked to head ISDA —Gov. Mike Pence and Lt.
Gov. Sue Ellspermann announced the appointment of Gina Sheets to be director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. In response to the appointment IFB President Don Villwock noted that IFB has had a productive working relationship with Sheets in her past roles at ISDA. “We look forward to partnering with her again as she steps in as director of the agency,” he said. Sheets and her husband, Travis, own a farm in Clinton County where they raise pasture poultry, free-range hens, pasture beef, rainbow trout and a variety of produce. (IFB 1/22/13)
Workshops to help farmers market vendors, organizers—A four-part workshop
series will help vendors and organizers of farmers markets improve their markets and work with customers, inspectors and social media. The “Farmers Market Boot Camp Series” consists of four workshops with topics on the importance of food safety, effective use of social media, creating a positive customer experience, and handling customer transactions involving Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBTs. The series is sponsored by Purdue Extension and the Indiana Cooperative Development Center and will be held Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, 14 and 20 at
Indiana Farm Bureau’s home office. Participants instead elect to watch the presentations through Adobe Connect at the Allen, Cass, Dearborn, Delaware (Minnestrista building), Harrison, Hendricks, Knox, LaPorte (Pinney Purdue Agricultural Center), Montgomery, Orange, Posey (Alexandrian Public Library), Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vigo and Warrick County Extension offices. Each workshop will begin with registration from 9 to 10 a.m. EST, and sessions will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including lunch. Registration costs $15, including lunch, and is due prior to each session date. For more information, contact Tammy Goodale at 765-494-1296 or email@example.com. (Purdue 1/15/13)
Winners announced in ‘Faces of Farming’ search—
The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, a national coalition that includes both the American and Indiana Farm Bureaus, has announced that announced the winners of its Faces of Farming & Ranching program, a nationwide search launched in summer 2012 to help put real faces on the American agriculture industry. The winners are: • Chris Chinn of Missouri. Chinn and her husband raise hogs and cattle and produce corn, soybeans, hay and rye. • Will Gilmer of Alabama, who with his father owns and operates a 200head dairy farm, raising their own replacement heifers and while managing 600 acres of pasture and forage.
Vilsack reminds farmers to complete ag census—Ag-
riculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is reminding producers to complete forms for the Census of Agriculture, the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. The 2012 Census of Agriculture will provide the Agriculture Department current information to help ensure an abundant, safe and accessible food supply for all of America and, according to Vilsack, is one of the most important tools for providing certainty to producers and sustaining the unlimited economic potential of rural America. All farmers and ranchers should have received a Census form in the mail by early January. Completed forms are due by Feb. 4, 2013. Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential. (USDA 1/22/13)
Indiana Livestock, Forage & Grain Forum slated for Feb. 11—The Forum kicks off at
8:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. The morning session, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance, features a host of great speakers, including: David Hughes, emeritus professor of food marketing at Imperial College, London, speaking on global food trends; Evelyn Browning-Garriss, historical climatologist, speaking on “Winners and Losers of World
Legal Affairs Team
Public Relations Team
President..................................... Don Villwock Vice President................................ Randy Kron Second Vice President.................Isabella Chism Chief Operating Officer/Treasurer... Mark Sigler Receptionist......................................Kim Duke General Fund Accountant..............Tiffanie Ellis Office Manager & Meeting Planner... Kay Keown Controller...................................... Elaine Rueff Administrative Assistant................... Jill Shanley Executive Secretary.....................Beverly Thorpe Professional Dev. Program Dir...... Julie Volbers-Klarich
Director & General Counsel... Mark Thornburg Staff Attorney........................ Sara MacLaughlin Staff Attorney........................... Justin Schneider Legal Assistant...........................Maria Spellman
Director & Editor ...................... Andy Dietrick Multi-Media Specialist............... Mike Anthony Web Designer/Developer............. Diane Brewer Administrative Assistant.................. Charla Buis Publications Managing Editor & Media Relations Specialist........Kathleen Dutro Marketing & PR Specialist..............Mindy Reef
Wayne Belden (1 & 3) Greg Bohlander (6) Jennifer Chandler Gish (9) Andrew Cleveland (4 & 6) Janice Deno (3) Seth Harden (7 & 9) Amy Hutson (5) Susan Lawrence (2) Chancey May (10) John Newsom (1 & 2) Steve Palmer (4) Kermit Paris (8) Keegan Poe (5 & 8) Brad Ponsler (10) E.B. Rawles (7)
District Directors Larry Jernas (1) Kerry Goshert (2) Kevin Underwood (3) Steve Maple (4) Dave Wyeth (5)
Scott Trennepohl (6) Jeff Gormong (7) Mark Bacon (8) Philip Springstun (9) Robert Schickel (10)
January 29, 2013
Public Policy Team Director........................................Megan Ritter Policy Development & Industry Relations........................ Bob Cherry Administrative Assistant ....................B.J. Fields Government Finance & Tax Specialist......Katrina Hall Political Education Specialist.......Pete Hanebutt Administrative Assistant ............ Wanda Hunter State Government Relations...............Bob Kraft Livestock Development Specialist.....Greg Slipher Direct Retail Business Specialist....... Bob White Public Policy Advisor.......................Kent Yeager
Organizational Development Team Director.............................................. Kim Vail Field Services Program Director........ Chris Fenner Administrative Assistant........... Bridget Johnson Program Assistant . .........................Tina Nunez Program Assistant......................Kathryn Rogers Young Farmer & Women’s Programs Coordinator............................. Courtney Rude Member Services Coordinator.......... Anna Todd
Weather Changes”; and Tyler Cowen, economics professor at George Mason University, speaking on the world economy and how the U.S., including agriculture, can stay on top. For a complete agenda and to register for this year’s forum, visit www. indianasoybean.com/forum. (ISA 1/11/13)
Mark your calendars for #AFBF14— Farm Bureau mem-
bers will gather for the 95th AFBF annual meeting on Jan. 12-15, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas. (AFBF 1/17/13)
AFBF establishes strategic action plan for 2013—
The American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors has established priorities for AFBF’s strategic action plan for 2013. “This plan represents those issue areas where we believe the American Farm Bureau Federation and its grassroots members will have real opportunities to achieve success this year, as well as challenges we will need to tackle to help safeguard our members’ ability to operate their farms and ranches,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. Aggressively working to secure passage of legislation early in the year that addresses both long- and short-term agricultural labor needs is a priority for AFBF. A recent Farm Bureau economic analysis concluded that $5 billion to $9 billion in annual production is in jeopardy if the employee shortage cannot be filled. Passage of the Water Resources Development Act and reform of the harbor maintenance trust fund and the inland waterways trust fund is another priority for AFBF. Another important priority is working to secure passage of a new farm bill that meets core principles important to farmers and ranchers. This includes a farm income safety net and crop insurance products to provide risk management tools that help protect farmers from catastrophes, including programs that provide emergency assistance for livestock and specialty crops producers not covered by farm programs or federal crop insurance. “The 2013 priorities set by the board are built upon the dedicated efforts of our grassroots members working together during our annual meeting and throughout the year to achieve policy goals that will benefit all of agriculture, as well as the nation’s consumers and our customers around the world,” said Stallman. (AFBF 1/18/13) Address Letters & Questions To: Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. Box 1290, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1290. Phone: 1-800-327-6287 or (317) 692-7776 E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Duplicate Magazines If you are receiving more than one copy of The Hoosier Farmer®, please cut out both labels and return them to the address above. Magazine Design and Layout Davis Graphic Design www.davisgraphics.com The Hoosier Farmer® is published 14 times per year by Indiana Farm Bureau Inc., P.O. Box 1290, Indianapolis, IN 46206, and is furnished as a service to voting members and others. Controlled circulation. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Hoosier Farmer® P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206-1290. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
IFB recognized at AFBF annual meeting
Indiana National Guard unit continues work with Afghan farmers
—Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro & Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team
—By Douglas Wissing Special Correspondent
Here are a few of the top stories from the 2011 AFBF annual meeting. Indiana recognized for excellence Indiana Farm Bureau was among a select group of states recognized for program excellence at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Nashville. IFB received Awards of Excellence in all five program areas: education and outreach, leadership development, member services, policy development and implementation, and public relations and communications. IBF president Don Villwock summed up his thoughts in a Facebook post just minutes before the AFBF opening general session. “One of the days I look forward to every year. Walking across the stage at AFBF convention and accepting 5 out of 5 awards for our INFB members. They all work so hard all year long for ag. I am so proud of our counties.” Villwock re-elected to AFBF board IFB President Don Villwock was re-elected represent the Midwest region on the AFBF board of directors. Also elected to represent the Midwest were Craig Hill of Iowa, Kevin Paap of Minnesota, and Wayne Wood of Michigan. IFB Young Farmer representatives fare well in contests IFB’s representatives in all three Young Farmer contests advanced to the semi-finals of their respective contests: • Julie Thelen of Clinton County made it to the Sweet 16 round of the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion meet. • Orville and Jessica Haney qualified in the top 10 for the YF&R Achievement Award. • John and Marybeth Feutz qualified in the top 10 for the YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award. Clinton County honored as an innovator Clinton County was one of 25 counties from across the country recognized for its innovation for its tractor simulator. (For more on the simulator, see page 4 of this edition of The Hoosier Farmer.)
ADT Specialist Mike Rybolt teaches Afghan farmers how to properly prune their apricot trees. Photo by Douglas Wissing Editor’s note: Freelance journalist Douglas Wissing of Bloomington, Ind., will be providing special reports to The Hoosier Farmer over the next couple of months on the 6-19th Agribusiness Development Team, an Indiana National Guard unit that recently deployed to Khost Province, Afghanistan, to continue a special Guard mission of helping Afghan farmers rebuild their farm and agribusiness sector. Wissing is currently embedded with the 6-19th.
Jared Rybolt farms 800 acres near Warren in Huntington County, Ind. When he learned about National Guard farmersoldiers helping improve the lives of Afghan farmers, he decided to join the Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team.
With his broad agricultural experience that he learned on his family’s multi-generational farm, Specialist Rybolt has become the team’s “rock star,” bringing modern farming ideas to receptive Afghan farmers, who feed their large families from plots that average about three acres. It’s a challenging mission in insurgencywracked eastern Afghanistan. At a recent educational meeting held on a government demonstration farm in Khost City, Rybolt taught a rapt group of Afghan farmers pruning techniques as a squad of heavily armed US security soldiers stood guard against Taliban attack.
Ag transportation bill clears committee —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Dani Walker Kreutter, Waterloo, Ind., took first-place honors in the consumer outreach category of the 2012 Farm Bureau Photo Contest, sponsored by American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Walker thinks that the men in the photo – Levon Bender, Waterloo; Rory Walker (the photographer’s father), Waterloo; and Bob Harrold, Butler – were discussing this summer’s drought at a tractor drive-in day at the local courthouse. Walker Kreutter spends most of her time living in Uganda, where she works for Cornerstone Development, non-profit that focuses on youth leadership and development in Uganda and through eastern Africa. Photo by Dani Walker Kreutter
The House Roads & Transportation Committee of the Indiana House has approved a bill that under some circumstances will exempt the drivers of farm trucks from certain federal requirements. HB 1068, authored by Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, would change Indiana law regarding the requirements for some agricultural transportation situations to make the law in Indiana consistent with changes in the federal law that were enacted by Congress last summer. The federal changes were included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, known as MAP-21. If HB 1068 is enacted into law, the drivers of farm trucks during the planting and harvesting seasons will be exempt from the federal hours of service requirements if they do not travel more than 150 air miles to or from the source of the ag commodity or supply. The proposed law would also exempt the drivers of covered farm vehicles from most of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. The agricultural amendments to the federal MAP-21 legislation bill resulted from the efforts of the American Farm Bureau Federation and were strongly supported in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana.
January 29, 2013
County Farm Bureaus find fun way Communicating with the general public is increasingly important to agriculture, and Monroe County Farm Bureau and Clinton County Farm Bureau have found interesting and engaging ways to do just that. The two counties were recognized for their innovative programs at the 2012 convention when they were among six counties that received the 2012 Impact Award, a new Indiana Farm Bureau program that recognizes counties for their efforts to increase Farm Bureau’s clout or political influence at the local level. Monroe County was recognized in the public relations and education category for its participation in the Monroe County Children’s Farm Festival, while Clinton County was honored in the young farmers and youth category for the tractor simulator it created to be used at the county fair. On these two pages, find out more about how each county has found innovative ways to talk to people about agriculture.
Simulator gives fairgoers a taste of farming Aaron Pedigo said inspiration for Clinton County Farm Bureau’s tractor simulator struck when he and his father-in-law, Paul Dorsey, went to a combine clinic at a local implement dealer, Tri-Green Tractor. “I rarely go to those,” said Pedigo, who works full-time in Lafayette, “but I happened to see that thing (the unused cab) on a pallet. I wondered if I could turn it into a tractor simulator.” It turns out that he could – with the help of a lot of research and experimentation. It also helps that Pedigo is part owner of an engineering company and writes software himself. Even so, he said, “We lived this thing for a month and a half” when getting it ready for the county fair. The result is a simulator that allows someone to visually experience some of the sensations of driving a tractor. It’s a computer game, but you use an actual tractor steering wheel and pedals instead of a game controller, and you do so from an actual John Deere tractor cab seat instead of your living room sofa. The basis of the simulator is an existing tractor simulation game called “Farming Simulator 2011,” which can be controlled with a video game steering wheel and pedals. Pedigo used electronic components and installed them in the cab so that the game is now controlled by the real tractor steering wheel and pedals. Clinton County used the simulator during its 2012 county fair, and hundreds lined up to give it a try. The tractor simulator was among 25 innovative ideas from county Farm Bureaus that were selected for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s County Activities of Excellence program and asked to display their program at the AFBF convention, held Jan. 13-16 in Nashville, Tenn.
Steph Sippli and Cadence Stitzel (Cadence is the little one) pose in Clinton County’s tractor simulator. Although the cab was donated by Tri-Green, it needed a lot of parts, Pedigo said. Tri-Green Tractor sold these to the county Farm Bureau at a discount. In all (not counting the donated cab), the project cost around $5,500 to complete, paid for through grants from Indiana Farm Bureau and Indiana’s Family of Farmers with the remainder coming from the county itself.
Jason Pearson of Tri-Green Tractor takes the tractor simulator for a test drive. The cab has been fitted out with all its usual amenities, including lights, wipers and a telescoping steering wheel – just about everything but a horn.
The simulator allows drivers to choose from a variety of possible tractor scenarios. In this one, the tractor and its driver must negotiate a lumber yard.
The tractor simulator required the help of a number of partners, according to Aaron Pedigo, shown here with Clinton County Farm Bureau President Paul Dorsey (center) and Jason Pearson of Tri-Green Tractor (right). Tri-Green donated the tractor cab, which had been damaged in shipping, to the county Farm Bureau for use in the simulator. Other sponsors include Muck Creek Farm Hardware and Longhorn Marketing Group.
January 29, 2013
ms with ‘Impact’
Stories & photos by Kathleen M. Dutro
ys to communicate with the public Monroe County event gives kids a rare on-farm experience The Monroe County Children’s Farm Fest was started on a small scale in 1953 by Joe Peden’s parents. Nobody could call it “small” now, though: Annually 2,500-3,000 kids sign up, and they often come with their parents, grandparents and perhaps a sibling or two. Firm figures are hard to come by, but Joe noted that more than 2,000 bags of popcorn are given out each
More than 2,500 children usually attend the two-day event, but they often bring a parent, grandparent and maybe even a sibling or two. “We just kind of open the gates and let it happen,” Peden said.
of the festival’s two days and the event sets aside 15 acres for parking. Preschool to 3rd graders are invited from all over the county – and surrounding counties of Morgan, Owen, Lawrence and Greene are also starting to attend, he said. “For some kids, it’ll be the only time they’ll be on a farm,” he added. Here are just a few of the many stations and activities available each year: crop
basics, conservation information, storytelling, basket making, livestock of all kinds, hay rides, corn shelling, tree planting, blacksmithing, gardening, how to get out of a burning building and the importance of staying away from power lines. The event takes a great deal of help and cooperation, said Joe and his wife, Joyce. Among the groups that partner with the Peden
family and Farm Bureau are the West Side Lions Club, the local Soil & Water Conservation District, the county extension office, White River Co-op, the Old National Bank, Bean Blossom & Patricksburg Water Corp., Arlington Vet Clinic and the Maple Grove Neighbors. They also get a lot of help from 4-H. “Junior leaders help us immensely by working the stations, helping us set up
and take down – they help us with the whole operation,” Joyce said. In all, from 200 to 280 volunteers participate, the Pedens said. “We feel like if anyone dropped out, we’d be in trouble,” Joe said. “We just appreciate everybody who works so tremendously hard.” The 2013 Monroe County Children’s Farm Fest is planned for Oct. 1 and 2.
Two of the many volunteers (some years there are as many as 280) take groups on a hayride, one of the dozens of activities available at the annual farm festival. “We want to give the credit to all the volunteers who donate their vacation time and give their time and resources,” Peden said.
A young visitor holds a turkey chick perhaps for the first time at the 2011 Monroe County Children’s Farm Fest. The 2012 event had to be cancelled due to poor weather. “We try to combat that (idea) that food comes from a grocery store,” said event host Joe Peden.
Aleta Crowe of Greene County reads a farm-friendly story to a group of children. The farm fest is geared toward pre-school through 3rd grade.
January 29, 2013
New faces at Indi Ritter named director named of public policy team —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Megan Ritter, who since 2011 has been Indiana Farm Bureau’s national affairs lobbyist, has been named the director of the organization’s public policy team. She replaces Kent Yeager, who will be retiring this spring after nearly 17 years as director of the department. Yeager will in the interim serve as public policy advisor. In her new position, Ritter will oversee the operations of the public policy team, a diverse department that covers federal, state and local government, livestock issues,
retail agriculture, and FB ELECT, IFB’s political action committee. The public policy team also oversees IFB’s policy development process. “This position connects a lot of areas of interest for me, including making agriculture and Farm Bureau more successful,” Ritter said. While she will spend part of her time lobbying, her main responsibility will be overseeing the government relations strategy for IFB. IFB will be hiring a new fulltime national affairs lobbyist in the near future, she noted. “I’ll be coordinating our efforts to support county Farm Bureaus and support
our policy implementation efforts,” she said. Ritter is originally from Michigan, where her family operates a small farm. She has a degree in agri-business management from Michigan State, and she began her Farm Bureau career as a regional manager for Michigan Farm Bureau. She was soon promoted to ag ecology specialist and then served as the national legislative counsel for Michigan Farm Bureau. In 2007 she moved to Iowa and worked for the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and was promoted to Iowa Farm Bureau’s national government relations position in
2010. Ritter, her husband, and their two boys live in Hancock County and enjoy traveling to see family and participate in livestock events. She can be reached at 317-692-7833, email@example.com. “I have a lot of interest in and passion for how policy impacts farmers,” she added. Megan Ritter became IFB’s public policy director Jan. 2. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
District 2 woman leader looking forward to her new role —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team Janelle Burnworth of Kimmell, Ind., is no stranger to the ag community. She’s been a township trustee for the last 10 years. She currently serves on the Noble County Farm Service Agency board and is treasurer of the Double Dozen Extension Homemakers Club in Whitley County. She was on the Whitley County 4-H dairy steer/feeder calf board for 25 years, 10 of those years as leader. She assisted the Noble County Soil and Water District for the 12 years her husband, Doug, was on the board. She worked at a fertilizer and chemicals dealer for 28 years. Active in pet and hobby in Whit-
ley County and showing zinnias at the Whitley County fair in earlier years, Burnworth and her husband became more involved in Farm Bureau eight years ago, when then-Noble County Farm Bureau president Bob Allen asked them to run for the county board. Now after briefly serving as Noble County woman leader, she’s the woman leader for IFB District 2 and is looking forward to meeting new people in the role and learning more about what being a district woman leader entails. When it comes to calling an area “home,” her loyalty straddles two counties. “I…lived in Whitley County for 35 years. I have lived in Noble County
for 22 years, which is why I am still involved in both county activities.” She and her husband farm 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay; raise Holstein feeder steers; and operate Stringtown Seed and Chemicals. Burnworth has three children, Chad Gebert, Laura McGregor and Michelle McNeil; two stepsons, Chad and Ryan Burnworth; and eight grandchildren. When she has a few minutes of free time at home, she enjoys helping her grandchildren with their activities, especially 4-H projects. And when she’s on the road, you might find her with a book. “I love to read, although I usually only have time when I am away from home,” she said.
Janelle Burnworth, District 2 woman leader. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
Reacting constructively to criticism online —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team Let’s say an article or letter to the editor appears in your local paper that vilifies agriculture in some way. “How dare s/he?” you think to yourself. “I respect the ground I plant on/treat my livestock well/follow all the regulations the government requires and then some.” And so what do you want to do? Attack! How are you going to attack? With numbers and studies and the plight of hungry children in developing nations. While it might be edifying to see your data onscreen, on the whole, your audience isn’t interested in
January 29, 2013
your numbers, your studies or the starving children in Africa. Well, actually they are – they’re not uninterested or unfeeling – but presenting a bunch of data won’t do much to build understanding. And that’s what you want, right? You want people to understand that farmers work hard, work smart and take their responsibility to raise food seriously. So what do you do now? Step away from the keyboard long enough to gain some perspective. Listen to the actual concern. If the question is “Is my food safe?” what are the odds that the most effective answer is “Farmers feed the world”? If the writer asks “Are the animals being mistreated?” does it make sense to respond with “Indiana is fifth in pork pro-
duction”? How should you respond? If the question asked or position taken is something that you have first-hand experience in, share that experience constructively – not in a way that insults the writer or another commenter. If anyone starts throwing around insults, understand that’s a reflection on them, not you. Being polite, even when you have a difference of opinion, is better than being the person with a crazy rant. If you’re comfortable with people visiting your farm, invite them out. The average person feels there’s a lack of transparency in agriculture. You can change that. Stick to facts that the average non-farm person cares about. Some people want to wade through the details of
an obscure study; most would rather hear what you actually do and why. Respect the fact that people have different opinions about what our food system should look like, even if they aren’t as close to it as you are. We’ve done a bit of research what works when it comes to talking with people about farming. Open, honest and respectful conversations build relationships; messages that translate into threats or self-righteousness are turnoffs. Put yourself in the shoes of someone outside of the industry. How would you feel if your utility provider created a campaign to remind you that you’re beholden to them for your electricity? If an American auto company started “Got car? Thank a
union worker”? Farmers should share their views, but before you decide to share, stop and think about how your audience will perceive it and what you want as the result.
iana Farm Bureau New District 3 director takes office —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Starting with his term on the State Young Farmer Committee, Kevin Underwood has been looking for ways to be involved with Farm Bureau. That’s why when the position opened up he decided to run for District 3 director. “Ever since serving on the YF committee I wanted to be involved as much as possible with Farm Bureau,” Underwood said. “I’ve always appreciated the things FB does for farmers and for agriculture, and I decided it was time to give some of that back.” Underwood replaces Kendell Culp of Jasper County, who had served the maximum 12 years on the IFB
board of directors. Underwood and his wife, Sherry, farm in the northwest part of Tippecanoe County with his dad. On their 1,600 acres, they raise corn, soybeans, seed soybeans and popcorn, and also a little bit of sweet corn that they market directly. They also have 10 sows that they breed primarily for club pigs. His other job is at-large member of the Tippecanoe County Council. He is the only farmer on the council and serves on the corrections, environmental and information technology boards. Underwood has a degree in agricultural economics from Purdue. Prior to his election to the director position, he served nine years as county president. He also served on IFB’s property tax
and government reorganization task forces and the State Young Farmer Committee and is a past finalist in the IFB Young Farmer Achievement Award. He was a finalist in the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in 2002. Sherry also has another job, operating a salon out of their house. The Underwoods have three children: Samantha, 20, Colton, 17, Lauren, 13. “I am looking the most forward to the opportunity to give some direction to the organization. As we look at what’s going to happen, we’re going to see a pretty dramatic transformation over the next 10 to 15 years, and being able to direct that is really pretty exciting,” Underwood said.
Kevin and Sherry Underwood pose with their three children: Colton, a senior at Tippecanoe County’s Harrison High School; Samantha, a sophomore at Purdue majoring in ag economics; and Lauren, an eighth grader at Battleground Middle School. Photo courtesy of Kevin Underwood
Ag in the Classroom brought new District 6 woman leader closer to IFB —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team Deborah Jordan of Richmond, Ind., is the new woman leader for IFB District 6. “We joined when we moved to Indiana when we were first married, for the community involvement and the insurance,” she said of her start in Farm Bureau. “I’ve been doing Ag in the Classroom and that’s really how I was encouraged to be the District 6 woman leader.” Deborah and her husband, Phil, farm with their oldest son, Clark, and Phil’s brothers. They have a 1,200-sow farrow-to-finish farm and grow corn and soybeans near the Indiana-Ohio line. “Our livestock is in Ohio; most of our land is in Indiana,” she explains. As a district woman
leader, she’s looking forward to encouraging people to be more active in Farm Bureau and educating the public about agriculture. “I think it’s a good opportunity to meet people from across the state, talk to people about their issues and their communities and their farm.” As someone new to the role, she also encourages feedback from members. “I’m open to ideas for what the voting members need and expect from a woman leader.” She’s diving into the new leadership role right away. She’s a member of the new Leaders in Action program, and she attended the Legislative Kickoff event in early January to learn more about the policy aspects of Farm Bureau. “I’m getting an educa-
tion already about how the legislation works,” she said. “Farm Bureau provides a good opportunity to be educated about local, state and national issues.” In addition to Clark, Jordan and her husband have four other children: Kathleen Nicholson, Greenfield; Sarah Jordan, Greensburg; Joan, currently at Purdue; and Mitchell, who is a freshman in high school. Jordan serves on the Wayne County Extension board, Wayne County 4-H board of directors, 4-H club leader and has been an active volunteer with her children’s schools. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Miami University of Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys being with her children, reading and walking.
Deborah Jordan, shown here with husband Phil. Photo courtesy of the Jordans.
Midwest Women in Ag conference offers advice, networking opportunities —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team Women who work in agriculture have an opportunity to network with their peers and learn more about the industry during the 2013 Midwest Women in Agriculture conference, Feb. 21-22 at the Clarion Hotel, 2480 Jonathan Moore Pike, Columbus, Ind. “Whether an owner or
operator, part of a team with a husband or significant other, or involved somehow with agriculture, the conference is a great way to get out, meet other people and develop a good network of women in agriculture,” said Nikky Witkowski, conference chair and Lake County Extension educator. Elaine Froese, a farm family coach, is the keynote speaker for this year’s conference.
Her presentation is “Living an Intentional Life: Balance in a Complex World.” Session topics include the 2012 drought, staying on the farm, marketing opportunities, soil testing, diets, slow cooking, farm finances, crop yields and resolving conflict. Other topics include land leases, succession planning, nuptial agreements, environmental rules and weather volatility.
Registrations postmarked by Feb. 7 get a discounted price of $80 for either Thursday or Friday, or $90 for both days. After Feb. 7, the price is $115 for either day or $140 for both days. Checks should be made payable to the Purdue Education Fund. A $10 handling fee will be assessed on all refunds, and there will be no refunds after Feb. 7. A pre-conference session on commodity marketing
will be offered Feb. 20. The registration fee is $30, but is reduced to $15 for participants also attending the conference. To register, visit www. agriculture.purdue.edu/ wia or contact Kelly Heckaman, conference committee member and Kosciusko County Extension educator, at 574-372-2340. Questions should be directed to Witkowski at 219-755-3240.
January 29, 2013
Two events provide opportunities for promoting agriculture —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Two opportunities are approaching for farmers and Farm Bureaus to talk to consumers about the food we all eat: • Food Check-Out Week – Feb. 17-23. • National Ag Day/Ag Week – March 19, March 17-23. Materials to help county Farm Bureaus promote these events were as of The Hoosier Farmer’s Jan. 18 deadline gradually becoming available. Promotional materials for Food Check-Out Week are available to order from the American Farm Bureau
by visiting http://fb-orders. com/afbf/. (County and state Farm Bureaus may be invoiced for orders.) Items include: Grocery store demonstration pack-
ets, including posters, instructions sheets, table tents and sample recipe cards; shopping list pads, nutrition fact cards and recipe cards for distribution at grocery store demonstrations; announcement posters, reusable grocery bags, stickers and more; and a quick reference guide titled “When the Media Calls.” For Ag Day/Week, materials were not available as of The Hoosier Farmer’s deadline. However, they should be available in the very near future here: www.agday.org/ media/index.php.
Essay contest requires students to learn about the role farmers play —From Indiana’s Family of Farmers As part of the 2013 celebration marking Agriculture Appreciation Month in March, six Hoosier students will be selected for their winning essays in the 3rd Annual Ag Essay Contest titled “Our Food, Our Farmers: Nourishing Generations of Hoosiers.” This year’s contest
explores Indiana farmers’ proud tradition of nourishing generations. All winners will be recognized during a special ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse on March 5. First-place winners will receive an Apple iPad and second-place winners will receive Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. The deadline for all entries is Feb. 1 (very
shortly after most readers will receive this issue of The Hoosier Farmer). Sponsored by Indiana’s Family of Farmers and Indiana Humanities, the essay contest encourages students to learn more about Hoosier farmers and the role they play in providing nourishment for Indiana families, our animals and our soil. Additionally, teachers are
Applicants sought for ACE Ambassador program —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team The deadline for applications for Indiana Farm Bureau’s is ACE USA Ambassador program is Feb. 1 – that is, right around the time that most readers are getting this issue of The Hoosier Farmer. Indiana Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee is looking for two couples or individuals to travel to Florida through the program. ACE USA ambassadors travel annually to different
areas of the country to promote greater understanding of agriculture, people, family life and cultures. After the selected members return from their trip, they are expected to give presentations at Farm Bureau meetings and to community groups throughout the state. The ACE (Agricultural Cultural Exchange) program is open to any current voting IFB member. Expenses including travel, hotel rooms, meals and tips for up to five days are covered. Selection for the ambas-
sador program will be based on an application, letters of recommendation and, for finalists, an interview in March. Interested members can download the application from the IFB website, www. infarmbureau.org, under “Programs – WLC info and activities,” or by calling the Organizational Development Team at 317-6927830. Applications are due to the home office by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 1.
Calendar of Events February 1, 2 4-22 6 7-11 11 13-16 15, 16 17-23 20, 21
January 29, 2013
Northern Indiana Grazing Conference, Howe, Ind. FB winter membership blitz. Southern Indiana Grazing Conference, Odon, Ind. Joint National Leadership Conference, Phoenix, Ariz. Indiana Livestock, Forage and Grain Forum, Indianapolis. National Farm Machinery Show, Louisville. IFB Women’s Leadership Committee meeting. Food Checkout Week. IFB board of directors meeting.
able to apply a breakdown of the State Core Academic Standards met by the essay contest. Students will each compete in one of three grade levels: 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. They will be asked to describe how Indiana farmers 1) nourish our families, 2) our animals, and 3) our earth (soil) and also to provide an example from each of the three areas. For guidelines and other
information including resources and the winning essays from previous years, visit the IFOF website, www. indianafamilyoffarmers.com. This contest is part of Indiana Humanities’ two-year Spirit of Competition initiative. Spirit of Competition will celebrate the role competition plays in our lives by examining core elements of competition such as civility, rivalry, innovation, passion and failure.
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