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Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation Page 4
Inside: News in Brief................2 Nation & World............3 Legislative update.........5 Around IFB....................6 Communication............7
The Hoosier Farmer
A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau
February 18, 2013 Issue No. 35
Soil productivity bill put on the ‘fast track’ in the House —By Kathleen M. Dutro� Public Relations Team The House Ways & Means committee has by a vote of 20-0 approved Senate Bill 319, the Farm Bureau-supported bill that will delay the application of new soil productivity factors for another year, which means the measure now goes before the full House. The Senate has already passed the bill by a vote of 48-0. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, announced in early February that the bill would be
“fast-tracked” in the House. The Department of Local Government Finance has advised county assessors to begin the March 1 assessment using the new soil productivity factors, and the House reportedly hopes to get a bill to the governor before March 1 to avoid both the discomfort and cost of a remedial assessment. SB 319 was authored by Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg. It’s sponsored in the House by Reps. Don Lehe, R-Brookston; Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield; and Terry Goodin, D-Austin. The soil productivity fac-
Senate starts work on farm bill —From the AFBF Public Relations Team The American Farm Bureau is pleased that the Senate has started work on the farm bill and encouraged that the measure is being given priority by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., according to a statement from AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This represents real hope for farmers and ranchers that the Senate, like last session, will aggressively move forward on a long-term farm bill to give farmers the risk management certainty we need,” Stallman said. “It will ultimately take real bipartisan cooperation to get the farm bill to the finish line, and we are confident the House Agriculture Committee will craft a compatible bill,” he added. He noted that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., need to work quickly to “build on the bipartisan work that was the hallmark of the Senate farm bill last year.” “America’s farmers deserve the policy certainty that a five-year farm bill would provide,” Stallman said. “We need a flexible, reform-minded bill that draws its key risk management tools from crop insurance provisions. We are encouraged that the process is starting early, and we look forward to working with leaders and committees from both houses and both parties to get this long-term farm bill done.” Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206
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tor is one component in the complex formula used to assess property tax for farmland. Depending upon what county a farm is located in, the property tax savings as a result of the delay will vary from 15 percent to 45 percent and total about $57 million this year. Such an increase would create an unfavorable business climate for agriculture and place unreasonable new financial burdens farmers. Leising said in a news release that her legislation was developed after she led the General Assembly’s 2012 Interim Study Committee on Agriculture. “A large focus of this summer’s study committee meetings was the drought our farmers were experiencing,” Leising said. “This led us, as legislators, to ask ourselves what we could do to help our struggling farm families. We knew the new soil productivity fac-
Reps. Bob Cherry (left), R-Greenfield, and Don Lehe, R-Brookston, discuss new soil productivity factors in a House Ways & Means Committee hearing on Jan. 24. The Senate version of a bill that would delay application of the new soil factors for a year passed the committee by unanimous vote on Feb. 11. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
tors would have a negative impact on farmers. Now it’s time to ensure farmland is being assessed using common sense and in a way that doesn’t burden those who are the backbone of Indiana agriculture – a huge segment of our overall economy.” SB 319 would also require the DLGF, with the Purdue University College of Agriculture, to submit a report on proposed soil productivity factors by Nov. 1, 2013, to the General Assembly for consideration.
Indiana Farm Bureau supports SB 319, noting it could be the most important legislation for the state’s agriculture industry this year. “For the last year, this has been one of the most serious tax issues facing Indiana farmers,” said IFB tax specialist Katrina Hall. “We really appreciate Senator Leising’s diligence with this legislation. We can’t thank her enough for her detailed attention to the problems facing our farmers.”
District and county woman leaders from Indiana Farm Bureau Districts 7 and 9 paid a visit to the Statehouse Jan. 29 to lobby on issues such as the soil productivity factors and other tax measures, local government organization, and the state’s right-to-farm law. Above, the group meets with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. Below, Rep. Kreg Battles, R-Vincennes, meets with a delegation outside the House chambers. Photos by Kathleen M. Dutro
NEWS in brief
USDA: Access to land among biggest obstacles for young farmers—Clay
News Bites —Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Changes to market basket survey program rolled out for 2013—Several changes
to AFBF’s market basket survey will be implemented in 2013. This includes the addition of a summer cookout survey with results to be released at the beginning of July; the elimination of the quarterly market basket surveys, which will be replaced by twice-a-year “everyday” market basket surveys; and volunteer shoppers reporting retail food prices four times each year, rather than five. The annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey will be retained. Indiana is one of 30-some states that participate in the survey. The 2013 survey dates are March 2-10 (“everyday” market basket), June 8-16 (summer cookout), Sept. 14-22 (“everyday” market basket) and Nov. 1-12 (Thanksgiving). Corresponding news release dates are April 4, July 2, Oct. 3 and Nov. 14. Survey dates and news release dates are subject to change. (AFBF 2/6/13)
USDA proposes standards to provide healthy food options in schools—
USDA has announced the public comment period has opened on proposed new standards to ensure that children have access to healthy food options in school. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards beyond the federally supported school meals programs for all foods sold in schools. Under the program, options such as vending machines and snack bars would also have to include healthy choices. The “Smart Snacks in School” proposed rule, to be published soon in the Federal Register, is the first step in the process to create national standards. The text of the proposed rule is available at www.fns.usda.gov/ cga/020113-snacks.pdf. Once the rule is published in the Federal Register, which is expected next week, the public will be able to provide feedback through www.regulations. gov. USDA will seek public comment on the proposal for 60 days. (USDA 2/1/13)
Blackburn is a 25-year-old Missouri farmer who works several part-time jobs to keep his cow/calf operation growing. He currently leases 200 acres of land until he can build enough capital to buy. “It’s tough for a young person to get started in farming,” said Blackburn. “Finding land is the most difficult thing, but I’m determined to eventually make this my full-time job.” Blackburn’s experience mirrors that of many beginning farmers trying to get a foot in the door to owning and operating their own farm. Yet, data from the USDA’s Census of Agriculture and Agricultural Resource Management Surveys (ARMS) on beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States shows a steady decline over the past 20 years. According to a report released Jan. 30 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, between 1982 and 2007, the number of farmers who operated farms for less than 10 years declined along with the number of young principal operators. The report stated that 16 percent of all principal operators were under the age of 35 in 1982, but by 2007 that number dropped to 5 percent. For the full article, visit the USDA’s blog site, http://blogs.usda.gov/. The report is available at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eb-economic-brief/eb22. aspx. (USDA 1/30/13)
U.S. cattle numbers lowest since 1952; Indiana not immune—U.S. cattle numbers
have dropped to their lowest level since 1952 on the heels of recordsetting drought that decimated feed supplies and forced producers to cull animals, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Christ Hurt. The numbers, found in the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture inventory report, also show that the U.S. beef cattle herd, specifically, has hit the lowest point since 1962. Beef cow numbers dropped by 3 percent last year and are down 11 percent, or 3.6 million head, since 2007. “The 2012 drought was the primary driver of the decrease last year as it destroyed pastures and forage supplies and catapulted corn, sorghum and soybean meal prices,” Hurt said.
“The impacts were largest for producers in the Southern Plains where beef cow numbers dropped by 9 percent last year, and in the Central Plains where numbers were down 6 percent.” While the Central and Southern Plains states have struggled the most, the eastern Corn Belt certainly hasn’t been immune to the herd reduction. Indiana’s beef herd has dropped by 18 percent since 2007. In 2012, the state lost 2 percent of the herd, or about 4,000 beef cows. Stopping the decline is going to take some help from Mother Nature in the forms of more rain and crop production, Hurt said. (Purdue 2/7/13)
U.S. producers to benefit from new Japan beef trade rules—The United States and Ja-
pan have officially sealed an agreement that will allow exports of U.S. beef from cattle less than 30 months of age to enter that Asian market starting Feb. 1. The agreement was a long time in the making and its positive influence on U.S. beef markets could mean more than an immediate increase in trade volume with Japan, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The true bonus could be the fact that an influx of U.S. beef could lower consumer prices in Japan, and, as a result, lead to higher consumption levels in that nation, according to AFBF economist Veronica Nigh. The initial rules, imposed by Japan in 2005, permitted U.S. beef imports only from cattle up to 20 months old, after a total ban in 2003 that followed an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). “Japan’s imports of U.S. beef plunged by 60 percent to some 120,000 metric tons from 2001 to 2011,” Nigh said. “Australian beef producers were the main beneficiaries in an import market worth more than $2 billion.” But now that could all change. Late last year, Japan’s food safety organization helped pave the way for the announcement by reporting that the risk from importing beef from cattle aged 30 months or younger from the United States, Canada, France and the Netherlands would be negligible to human health. The Japanese government has since held a series of public consultations and bilateral talks on how the new safety requirements would be met in the supplying countries. “This is a big win, and it’s the re-
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)
February 18, 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 Program Assistant . .........................Tina Nunez Program Assistant......................Kathryn Rogers Young Farmer & Women’s Programs Coordinator............................. Courtney Rude Education Coordinator....................Julie Taylor Member Services Coordinator.......... Anna Todd
sult of seven-plus years of resolute work by both the Bush and Obama administrations,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This is great news for American cattle producers and it should have positive ripple effects for other U.S. food and agricultural sectors. “We saw a sustained grassroots push to make sure officials knew how important this milestone is,” Stallman added. “It truly sets the stage and establishes a process for other efforts on breaking down nontariff barriers.” (AFBF 1/31/13)
Crop input prices a mixed bag, but should hold steady overall—Total vari-
able input costs for the 2013 corn and soybean crops are likely to stay about the same as last year, a Purdue Extension farm business management specialist said. While some individual input prices are expected to increase, some will decrease and others will stay about the same. Fluctuations will serve to cancel out one another and to help keep overall variable costs fairly stable compared to last season, said Purdue’s Alan Miller. Seed prices will make the biggest jump in the coming year, he said. Corn seed is expected to increase by an average of 5-7 percent, and soybean seed prices are likely to increase more than corn. “The drivers of higher seed prices in 2013 are higher commodity prices, tighter seed supplies due to the 2012 drought and prospects for strong crop returns in 2013,” he said. “Soybean seed prices are expected to increase more than corn seed prices because the cost of the commodity is a larger component of the seed price.” Miller estimated seed costs per acre on average-yield farmland would increase by $8 for corn and $7 for soybeans. Nitrogen fertilizer prices are climbing, too. Tight supplies and transportation problems could contribute to an increase of about 2-5 percent over last year’s already pricey nitrogen fertilizers, such as urea, liquid nitrogen (28 percent), or anhydrous ammonia. But some nitrogen price relief could be on the horizon as the domestic fertilizer industry considers expanding production capacity to take advantage of abundant supplies of relatively cheap natural gas in the U.S., Miller said. (Purdue 2/7/13)
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.
nation & world
AFBF and ag coalition say immigration principles good first step —From the AFBF Public Relations Team In a statement released last month, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said Farm Bureau is encouraged by the immigration reform principles put forth by a bipartisan group of eight senators. “We are hopeful that this will provide the needed framework to move forward during the 113th Congress with a legislative solution for America’s agricultural labor shortage,” he said. Stallman went further to say that the best way to ensure a viable and sustained program is through a modern agriculture worker visa program. “We also support efforts that would allow experienced laborers the opportunity to earn an enhanced status for the roles they have played in helping us keep our farms running and American agriculture strong,” he said. “Both elements are critical to an agricultural immigration reform package.”
The Agriculture Workforce Coalition, of which AFBF is a member, said on Jan. 28 that immigration principles put forth by Congress are “an important first step as Congress begins the task of crafting legislation to address the issue of immigration.” “The group’s principles recognize the unique labor needs of production agriculture and the vital role that immigrant farm workers play in feeding all Americans,” the coalition said in a news release. “Quite simply, American agriculture as we know it would not be possible without the contributions of more than 1.5 million hired workers each year. As such, the Senate principles reflect a major step in the right direction.” “Immigrant laborers play a vital role in tending our crops and livestock, and we are encouraged by the bipartisan reform efforts,” Stallman concluded. “American agriculture needs a legal and stable workforce and farmers from across our nation are ready to support a solution that reaches that conclusion.”
Indiana National Guard unit continues work with Afghan farmers —By Douglas Wissing Special Correspondent 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.
Mike Spurgin raises champion show pigs on his diversified Henry County farm – when he is not teaching Afghan farmers better livestock techniques as a member of the Indiana National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team. His ADT colleagues call Spurgin “the pig whisperer” for his hog affinity and expertise. While Sergeant First Class Spurgin has been in the military for 24 years, his long experience with animal husbandry qualified him to be the ADT’s animal husbandry specialist on this Afghanistan mission. Despite the irony of a hog farmer training devoutly Islamic Afghans whose religion proscribes pork, Sergeant Spurgin helps central Asian tribal farmers to
January rain nearly wipes out drought in Indiana —By Keith Robinson Purdue Ag Communication A week of rain and unseasonable warmth in January replenished the ground with enough water to eliminate dry conditions across Indiana except for the far northern part of the state. The report by the State Climate Office, based at Purdue University, is good news for crop farmers, who rely on rain and snow over the winter to “recharge” soils with water needed for spring plantings. “We can’t overemphasize the significance of this recharge in creating the much-needed reserves of soil moisture that can help alleviate the impacts of dry conditions if we start getting that around planting time,” said Dev Niyogi, state climatologist. “While the general outlook is for normal rains in coming months, our recent experience guides us to think the threat of drought again is just round the corner and not off the mind or landscape. These rains and snow events are critical.” Farmers were discouraged at the end of November as drought seemed to creep back, especially in Indiana’s northern tier of counties. Drought maps changed little over the next six weeks until a dramatic warm-up Jan. 8-12 melted snowpacks and allowed the ground to thaw. Temperatures ranged from the upper 50s in the north to near 70 in the southwest. The climate office said light rain fell every day during the warm spell and became heavy on Jan. 13, with as much as 6 inches of rain for the week in the extreme southwest
counties. One to 3 inches was common elsewhere, except for extreme northwest Indiana. There was so much rain so quickly in some places that the ground couldn’t hold all of it, resulting in runoff to rivers and streams that exceeded flood stage for a few days. The results of the rain are seen in the Jan. 24 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (http:// droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state. htm?IN,MW). Abnormally dry conditions – the lowest level of dryness – that had persisted in central and southern Indiana have been erased. The area of moderate drought – the first level of drought – in the north has shrunk to just a few northwestern counties. That area needs about 3 inches of rain to return to normal. Northeastern Indiana has improved from moderate drought conditions to abnormally dry. It needs about 1.5 inches of rain. The outlook for soil moisture recharge into the early spring is encouraging, the climate office said. A current Pacific Ocean neutral weather pattern – that is, neither El Niño nor La Niña – is expected to persist through spring. A year ago at this time, Indiana was in a La Niña pattern, which favors summer drought in the region. The January report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration signals a cool February with equal chances of abovenormal, normal or below-normal precipitation. Further ahead, the outlook through April favors abovenormal precipitation.
Filing period extended from March 1 to April 15 Sgt. First Class Mike Spurgin with pruning saw. Photo by Douglas Wissing
improve their animals’ health and nutrition. “It’s humbling to come over and try to educate Afghan farmers,” tall, friendly Mike Spurgin said.
—From the Indiana Department of Revenue The IRS has announced that due to processing issues it will allow farmers to file and pay their 2012 income taxes by April 15, 2013. Indiana will follow the IRS policy and extend the due date for Indiana farmers. Normally, farmers (and fishermen) who choose not to make estimated tax installment payments are not subject to a penalty if they file their returns and pay the full amount of tax due by March 1. This year, due to late federal tax form updates, the IRS is extending that deadline to April 15, 2013. Indiana will follow suit, allowing farmers and fisherman to file and pay their state taxes by April 15, 2013.
February 18, 2013
What is the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation? The IALF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established by Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. in 2005. The IALF focuses on education regarding legal issues. That often occurs through support of educational programs and materials directed to farmers, landowners and attorneys. The IALF also gets involved in litigation to help educate the court on a resolution of a case which would be beneficial to agriculture. Because the focus is education, the IALF looks to support issues that are applicable to a wide range of farmers and that will establish a settled area of law which is favorable to agriculture. How do I apply for assistance from the IALF? Whether you want the IALF to support a case or conduct educational programming, the process is the same. You need to complete a one-page application that explains the legal issue and the form of assistance you are requesting, i.e. educational program, financial support for a lawsuit, or a brief filed in support of your position to the court. We ask that you include a letter of support from a local agricultural organization. If your request is related to a lawsuit, we also need to know who you have retained as your attorney. The application is reviewed by an advisory committee of attorneys, farmers and board members of the IALF. It is likely the committee will ask you and your attorney to discuss the request on a conference call. The committee will make a recommendation to the IALF board of directors. The board will then take official action on your request and advise staff on how to proceed if support is granted. Will the IALF staff serve as my attorney? The attorneys who work with the IALF will not represent you or provide you with specific legal advice. If educational materials are available, they will be provided to you with the suggestion that you discuss them with your counsel. If you do not have an attorney, it is likely that we can provide you with names of some attorneys who you can contact for assistance with your issue. How much money should I expect the IALF to contribute to my case? The level of financial support varies. Factors that are considered are 1) where the case is procedurally, i.e., before the trial court or in the Supreme Court; 2) how much the applicant has spent on their own; 3) the available resources from the applicant or others; 4) the expected cost of the litigation; and 5) whether the case is likely to proceed to a favorable result that is binding on others or if it may settle.
Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation, Inc.
Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation, Inc. Contribution Period: 10‐01‐11 to 9‐30‐12 Contribution Period: 10‐01‐11 to 9‐30‐12
8% 5% 85%
Counties Businesses Individuals Silent Auction
63,600 1,500 3,760 5,726
Is My Case Right for the IALF? As a charitable foundation the IALF is limited in the types of litigation it can support. In general, any litigation supported by the IALF needs to advance a better understanding of or clarify the law. Any participation by the IALF should be able to be characterized as education in that it promotes a better understanding of the law and establish precedent that others may rely on. This means the legal issue being litigated needs to be one primarily of “law,” not of “fact.” If the case involves mainly factual disputes and the law being applied is not really in dispute, it will not make a strong case for the IALF to support. To be precedent-setting the outcome of the case must furnish a clear basis for determining later cases involving similar facts or issues. There also needs to be some analysis of the stage of the litigation and likelihood there will be sufficient resources to fully litigate the issue. One of the main objectives of the IALF is to add clarity and certainty to the law to the benefit of farmers and anyone faced with a similar situation in the future. Here are some questions to ask when you consider
seeking assistance: v What are the main questions of law in my case? Does my case present novel or unresolved points of law or is it more factual in nature? v Will the resolution of my case have the potential to be precedent-setting and involve issues of common concern to the agricultural community? v Will the precedent established likely impact a significant number of farmers and the agricultural economy? v Have I retained counsel to represent me in the matter? v What is a reasonable estimate of the costs involved to fully litigate my issue? v Am I willing to have a financial commitment of my own in order to see that the case is resolved? v Is the issue at the appropriate stage to establish legal precedent and involve the IALF? v Will the outcome be compatible with the advancement of agriculture in the Indiana? v Have cases to similar to mine been previously litigated? How is my case both similar and distinguishable from those cases?
IALF educational activities
The vast majority of fiv Full-time immigration labor meetings. nancial support for the IALF comes from the county Farm v Purdue pesticide publications (Farm Truck Accidents: ConBureaus, which have been sidering Your Liability and Management Options and The a great source of support Aftermath of a Farm Truck Accident: Lawsuits, Settlements over the years for the IALF. and Court Proceedings). The IALF is grateful that the v Program on conservation easements. Young Farmers have dedicated the funds they raise at v Natural Resource Enterprise program. the state convention silent v Educational programs on eminent domain. auction to the IALF. This past year, the funds from the siv Property tax assessment training. lent auction was the second v Informational meetings on wind energy leases. largest base of support for v Informational meetings on the Rockies Express pipeline the IALF. Businesses and inconstruction. dividuals make up the rest of the support received by the v Animal Law CLE (Continuing Legal Education). Indiana IALF. The IALF is making a Bar Ag Law Section (assisted in creating the section and in focused effort on increasing publication of a section directory as well as funds the secCounties 63,600 support from businesses and tion newsletter and a listserv). Businesses 1,500 individuals in 2013.
Individuals 3,760 Recent Silent Auction 5,726
cases supported by the IALF
Countiesv Right-to-farm 63,600 cases (Gibson, Huntington and Randolph 74,586 counties). Businesses 1,500 v CAFO BZA challenge (Blackford County). Individuals 3,760 George Morton, Boone County v Cervidae5,726 possession (Harrison and Elkhart counties). Silent Auction “I want to give back to Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau’s done a lot for me. More importantly, Total
I just feel very strongly that farmers are going to have a lot of battles to fight, and strongTotal and effective legal representation is going to be important. There is an abundance of regulation focused on farming.”
v EPA CERCLA/EPCRA 74,586 lawsuit (Lawrence County).
Jim Wenning, Henry County “We think it is important for ag producers to have the ability to be represented in the legal system without the cost of it being the most limiting factor. It is time for us to not cower behind the massive amounts of money that some of our opponents use to twist the facts about the food production system farmers use to feed the world.”
v Livestock siting moratorium (Randolph County).
February 18, 2013
v Livestock permit challenge in court (Lawrence and Jefferson counties). v Property tax assessment/trending of grain bins and outbuildings (Greene County). v Eminent domain by private utility (Floyd County).
Indiana General Assembly & Agriculture Legislature looks at many farm issues as session nears halfway point —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team As the 2013 session of the General Assembly heads toward its halfway point in late February, Indiana Farm Bureau lobbyists are keeping an eye on a significant number of bills of great importance to farmers.
Changing the Indiana Constitution requires that an amendment be passed by two successively elected legislatures and then ratified by the voters. SJR 7 – Constitutional right to hunt and fish or engage in livestock production. This amendment was passed by the General Assembly in 2012 and is now working its way through its second legislature. The measure provides that “the people have a right to hunt, fish, harvest game, or engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, which is a valued part of our heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject to laws prescribed by the general assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the general assembly.” Authored by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, the amendment has been approved by the Senate Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources and now moves to the full Senate. SJR 21 and HJR 5 – Right to ranch and farm. These identical amendments would guarantee the right of Indiana citizens to engage in traditional and modern farming and ranching practices. SJR 21 is authored by Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury; HJR 5 is authored by Rep. Don Lehe, R-Brookston. Neither resolution has received a hearing. According to IFB’s state legislative director, Bob Kraft, it appears that SJR 7 is the one that will move because it can reach the ballot for ratification two year earlier than the Yoder/ Lehe amendment.
HB 1007 – Collection of sales taxes from online vendors. This measure, which passed the House on a 7918 vote and now moves to the Senate, would require online vendors with a physical presence in Indiana to begin collecting state sales tax from Indiana residents on July 1, 2013, rather than January 1, 2014. It is estimated that this six-month acceleration would raise anywhere from $75 million
to $150 million per year for state coffers by collecting a tax already owed by those buying from online retailers such as Amazon.com. Delegates at both the IFB and American Farm Bureau level have endorsed language in support of this concept. It was authored by Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte; Senate sponsors are Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, and John Broden, D-South Bend. HB 1530 & HB 1349 – Exemption of personal property. HB 1530 provides a statewide assessment exemption for new personal property and an opt-out provision for county officials wanting to continue taxing personal property. The bill, authored by Rep. Robert Morris, R-Fort Wayne, was supported by Katrina Hall of IFB. Along with this bill, the Ways & Means Committee considered HB 1349 (authored by Rep Robert Cherry, R-Greenfield) that would eliminate the 30 percent floor on newly acquired personal property. Concepts from both bills are under consideration. SB 152 – Property tax assessments. Authored by Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown, the bill states that once an assessment has been appealed and settled through the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, the new assessment is the base value to be “trended” for the following year’s assessment. Katrina Hall of IFB testified in favor of the bill, stating that she hears from members frequently who are frustrated by back-and-forth struggles with assessors on appeals. The bill was amended in the Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee and now moves to the Senate. SB 353 – County option exemption for personal property. Authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, the bill would permit a county council to approve personal property tax exemptions in the county for all taxpayers and set a maximum dollar amount. The bill received a hearing in the Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee, which is chaired by Hershman, but had not passed out of committee as of The Hoosier Farmer’s Feb. 8 deadline. SB 375 - Depreciable personal property assessment. SB 375 would change the 30 percent floor used in personal property assessment to 20 percent. The bill (authored by Sens. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, and Jim Buck, R-Kokomo) had not passed out of the Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee as of The Hoosier Farmer’s Feb. 8 deadline.
SB 531 - Property tax assessments and appeals. This measure originally proposed changes in the rules regarding property tax assessments. After amendment in Senate Appropriations, the bill now focuses on clarifying the definition of what land can be assessed as farmland. It adds language saying that land should be assessed as agricultural if it “could be devoted to agricultural use or if a building devoted to agricultural purposes is located on it.” It also provides that acreage zoned for residential, commercial or industrial use is not to be assessed as ag land unless it is devoted to agricultural use. Authored by Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown, the bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 13-0 vote and now moves to the full Senate.
Local food/direct sales of farm products
HB 1017 – Farm wineries. The bill (authored by Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford) would allow the state’s farm wineries to self-distribute up to 12,000 gallons of wine a year. Noting that farm wineries were an important segment of Indiana ag, IFB state government relations director Bob Kraft supported this legislation in the House Public Policy Committee, which passed the measure. It now moves to the full House. SB 513 and SB 610 – Unpasteurized cow’s milk. Neither of these bills is expected to receive a hearing this year. The first (authored by Sen. Richard D. Young, D-Milltown) would allow the sale of raw cow milk if the producer meets certain requirements. The second (authored by Sens. John M. Waterman, R-Shelburn, and Jim Banks, R-Columbia City) would allow the acquisition of unpasteurized milk by an individual who obtains the milk from animals solely or partially owned by the individual.
Roads, transportation and utilities
HB 1068 - Transportation relating to agriculture. By a vote of 98-0, the House has approved HB 1068 which would allow drivers of farm trucks in Indiana to take advantage of some beneficial changes which were included in the federal transportation act passed by Congress last summer. Authored by Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, the bill now moves to the Senate. HB 1117 and SB 389 – County excise surtax and wheel tax. These identical
measures would allow a county income tax council to impose a motor vehicle excise surtax and a wheel tax. Currently only the county council can impose these taxes, the proceeds of which are used for local road maintenance. SB 389, authored by Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, has passed the Senate by a vote of 3711. The House version, authored by Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, moved out of House Ways & Means by a vote of 15-4. SB 538 – Various motor vehicle issues, including provisions affecting minors who operate farm equipment. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Transportation & Veterans Affairs agreed to an amendment to the bill that removes some provisions that would have otherwise restricted the ability of children under 161/2 years of age to operate farm equipment. As introduced, the bill would have made it illegal for persons under 161/2 to operate farm equipment on a public road. But after Farm Bureau’s Bob Kraft discussed the effect this language would have on family farms with Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, Wyss graciously agreed to offer an amendment to allow children under 161/2 to operate tractors or implements of agriculture that are designed to be used in off-road farming activities on public roads when the use of the public road is incidental to normal farming activities. The bill is now ready for the full Senate. SB 560 – Utility transmission. This measure makes a number of changes in the rules regarding utilities, but among these changes is a provision that would facilitate the buildout of natural gas delivery infrastructure into the country, according to IFB’s Bob Kraft. Authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, the bill has been passed by the Utilities Committee and moves to the full Senate.
HB 1186 – Incorporation of towns. This measure, which has been approved by the House on a 96-0 vote (authored by Rep. John Price, R-Greenwood), changes the requirements for incorporating a town. As approved by the House, the measure states that proceedings to incorporate a town may be instituted by filing a written petition signed by 10 percent of property owners. Current law requires that 50 percent of landown-
ers must sign the petition. If the petition meets all the requirements, the town can be incorporated either by ordinance or by placing a public question on the ballot. Only registered voters residing within the territory of the proposed town would be able to vote. Katrina Hall testified against that provision in the House Local Government Committee. SB 343 – Local government reorganization. The full Senate has approved on a 46-3 vote a bill that would bring in line with Farm Bureau policy the procedures for the consolidation of a municipality with the unincorporated portions of a county or township. Under the new procedures, voters in both the municipality and the unincorporated area must separately approve any proposed merger. The bill also includes safeguards to assure that the implications – including the fiscal ramifications to taxpayers within and outside the municipal boundary – of a vote to support a proposed merger are fully understood by the voters. Current law allows the entities proposing the consolidation to require the separate approval of both groups of citizens but does not require it. This bill, which is authored by Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, will give rural residents a greater voice in determining whether they want to be incorporated into a city.
SB 373 - Agricultural and industrial operations. SB 373, scheduled to be heard in committee on Feb. 14, would make it unlawful for a person to take a photograph of or make a video recording of an ag or industrial property without the written consent of the owner or the owner’s authorized representative. Its author is Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle. SB 157 - Confined feeding operations and CAFOs. Senate Environment Committee Chairman Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, has announced that his committee will not hear SB 157 (authored by Sen. Allen Paul, R-Richmond), which would have required anyone constructing or expanding a CAFO to obtain the prior approval of the Department of Environmental Management. It also would have established that financial assurance requirements to be imposed on confined feeding operations and CAFOs through the adoption of administrative rules.
February 18, 2013
Young Farmer programs recognized —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team More than 600 young farmers and ranchers attended the annual Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Leadership Conference, Jan. 25-27 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. Clinton County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program was recognized as the top program in the state. The Young Farmer committee chairman and a guest received an expensespaid trip to the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. Jasper and LaPorte counties were runners-up. Jefferson, Kosciusko and Whitley counties received the Awakening Award. The Awakening Award was started in 1998 as a part of the outstanding county program to recognize county Young Farmer programs that are new or have not applied to the contest in the last three years. Henry County was recognized as the most improved Young Farmer Program. This award is based on a comparison of activities of the past three years and how the activities and programs have improved in that county young farmer program. Two counties were recognized for their contributions
to the Feeding America program. Marion County donated the most volunteer hours and the most pounds of food. Marion County young farmers meet with at their food bank monthly for volunteer opportunities. They collected 1,050 pounds of food, and volunteers donated over 112 hours in 2012. Henry County was the top county in dollars donated. They operate a “Hoppers for the Hungry” program where local farmers donated grain to be sold with proceeds given to local food banks. That program collected nearly $13,000. Winners of the state’s two collegiate Farm Bureau chapters’ Discussion Meets were also recognized. Vincennes University Discussion Meet winner Evan Day, Lawrence County, and Purdue University Discussion Meet winner Cory Harris, Jay County, competed in Phoenix, Ariz., in February against other collegiate winners from around the country. Two auctions were held to benefit Indiana food banks, bringing a combined $6,586.70. For more information on programs and conferences sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau, visit www. infarmbureau.org or call 1-800-FARM-BUR (3276287).
Clinton County was recognized as the top Young Farmer program in the state during the Young Farmer Leadership Conference, Jan. 25-27 in Indianapolis. Jasper and LaPorte counties were runners up. From left: Crystal Kellner, Jasper County; Julie Thelen, Clinton County; and Cheryl Weston Tuholski, LaPorte County. Photo by Mindy Reef
Leslie and Daniel Stauffer look over items at the silent auction held during the IFB Young Farmer Conference, held Jan. 25-27 in Indianapolis. Photo by Mindy Reef
New Young Farmer committee members take office —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team
IFB president Don Villwock took time out of the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry to offer congratulations and a plaque to Amanda Gee, recipient of this year’s Outstanding Senior in Agricultural Communication Award. Amanda’s impressive track record in the ag com program (3.58 GPA, managing editor of Destination Purdue and writer for AgAnswers) earned her a $500 scholarship from Indiana Farm Bureau. Gee has extensive experience preparing news releases and articles and is an avid communicator of both modernday and traditional agricultural practices. She also gained valuable leadership experience by serving as a student ambassador for the Office of the Dean of Students. Photo by Andy Dietrick
February 18, 2013
Five new couples have joined the Indiana Farm Bureau State Young Farmer Committee. u District 2: Orville and Jessica Haney, Kosciusko County u District 4: Drew and Naomi Beiswanger, Jay County u District 6: Dallas and Meggie Foster, Hancock County u District 8: Doug and
Becky Schwab, Franklin County u District 10: Don and Jennifer Shoemaker, Jackson County They became official representatives of their districts as of the end of state convention in December. Representatives serve a two-year term on the committee. Officers are selected from second-year members. The committee elected Andy Bailey, Tippecanoe County, as chairman; Nathaniel Ness, St. Joseph County, as
vice chairman; and Amanda Mosiman, Warrick County, as secretary. Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program is organized on the county, state and national levels. The program is designed for 18- to 35-yearolds who share an interest in improving themselves, their farms and agriculture in general. For more information, visit www.infarmbureau.org or call 1-800-FARM-BUR (327-6287).
Real Farmwives of America revamp their online image —By Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team In 2010 a group of Indiana farm girls launched a Facebook page called The Real Farmwives of America. The goal was to share their real life farm stories with as many people as possible. The driving force behind the project was Heather Hill, Hancock County pork
producer, retailer, blogger (www.3kidsandlotsofpigs. com), wife, mother and, most recently, graduate of AFBF’s Partners in Agricultural Leadership (PAL) program. After more than two years of online engagement, the group has completely revamped its web presence. Hill describes how they got to this point and what is new for the Real Farmwives. How long was the original RFOA site up? Why a redesign now? The original RFOA site went live in in summer 2010 and the website went up in spring 2011. In the beginning, we had lots of ideas of what we wanted to do, but it all takes time. After our initial launch and going strong for a while, we decided to take a step back and re-evaluate where we were and where we wanted to go, which is what led us to our new design and reboot. What changes were made to the new site? Our site has a completely new look
and feel which we are very excited about. We hope our readers will like it. Additionally, we have added a “Meet a Farmer” map that will highlight the farmers we feature from all over the United States simply by clicking on their respective state. You’ve learned a lot in two years. Did you incorporate that into the redesign? Most definitely. One of the biggest things we wanted to offer was constant content for our readers so we could always stay
connected to them. Going forward, we plan to have at least 3 posts every week with each day having a specific theme. (Monday-Home and Garden; Tuesday-In the Kitchen; Wednesday-Photography; Thursday-Recipe Recap; Friday-Farmer Friday; and Saturday-Weekends for the Soul.) As you have more online conversations, what are people saying about agriculture? The number of consumers curious and concerned about where their
food comes from increases each day. They are eager for information and willing to listen. I hope that we are able to be a voice of agriculture for them and can help them understand a bit more about modern agriculture. Any last thoughts? We feel very lucky to be able to have the opportunity to tell our individual stories and to help tell the story of today’s agriculture. You can find the Real Farmwives of America at realfarmwivesofamerica.com.
Who’s who at Indiana Farm Bureau Two events can help you promote farmers and agriculture Education coordinator Julie Taylor —By Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team
—By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team
This year Food CheckOut Week (FCOW) will be celebrated February 17-23. Farm Bureau members can show consumers ways to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. FCOW is one time during the year to make a special effort to reach out to consumers in person and through social media, to answer questions about how crops are grown and livestock and poultry raised. Free resources and materials are available on AFBF’s website, www.fb.org under “Events.”
Indiana Farm Bureau’s newest employee, Julie Taylor, is no stranger to the organization. She and her husband, Clinton, served on the IFB State Young Farmer Committee from 2008-2009, and they were the winners of the IFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture award in 2011. Her new role with Farm Bureau is education coordinator. “Education creates opportunities to have open and honest conversations,” Taylor said. “I’m a firm believer that every moment is a teachable moment, and as farmers and individuals involved in agriculture, we not only have the opportunity to teach people about where their food comes from but we also have the chance to learn from them, too, because they are experts in their own right. And you can’t change someone’s view without seeing it from their perspective first.” Her role is evolving. She will work on some existing programs, such as Ag in the Classroom and the state fair, and work with counties on local education activities. She sees the position as one that requires staying up
National Agriculture Day is officially March 19, although a number of state and local activities will be taking place throughout the month. Indiana’s Family of Farmers will celebrate
Ag Day at the Statehouse on Tuesday, March 5, with a program including Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and a luncheon reception for ag leaders and legislators. Food will be provided by six Indianapolis-based food trucks featuring locally sourced products. You can find more information about National Ag Day and suggestions for how to plan your own events at http:// www.agday.org. Don’t forget to take your camera along to FCOW or Ag Day activities. Please send us shots of your events so we can showcase some of them in the next Hoosier Farmer. High-resolution images should be sent to Kathleen Dutro, Hoosier Farmer managing editor, kdutro@ infarmbureau.org. For more information, call Dutro at 317-692-7824.
to date on education and trends with the non-ag public as well as the farming community. She’s looking forward to offering tools for members to improve their lives, whether it’s through education or leadership opportunities. Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue in occupational consumer and family sciences education Julie Taylor, who is IFB’s newest staff member, with a minor in poses with her husband, Clinton. The couple child development was the 2011 winner of the Indiana Young and family studies. Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. Prior to joining IFB, Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro she spent 10 years teaching, mostly on a grain and livestock recently at Western Boone farm where her family raised Jr./Sr. High School in Thornpurebred Hampshire, Duroc town. and Yorkshire hogs. In her She and Clinton reside in free time, she enjoys travelBoone County near Thorning, reading, going to the town. A native of nearby lake and baking. Jamestown, Taylor grew up
March 8 & 9 Indianapolis Marriott East 2013 SPRING CONFERENCE
www.infarmbureau.org/SPRINGCONF/default.aspx February 18, 2013
Right to farm is an increasingly important issue
Farmland owners to pay higher property taxes in 2014, economist says
—By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
—From the Purdue Ag Communications Service
While the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation has dealt with a wide range of issues since it was established in 2005, one topic that’s becoming increasingly important is protecting a farmer’s right to farm. Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals allowed the IALF to file an amicus brief, with other ag organizations, in a right-to-farm case originating from Gibson County. The IALF filed a brief with the Indiana Court of Appeals in early January. The issue is whether the right-to-farm law applies to disputes between farmers. Previous appellate court rulings indicated that the right-to-farm law did not apply to lawsuits between farmers. However, the IALF is arguing that the occupation of the plaintiff in a nuisance lawsuit is irrelevant if the alleged injury is to nonagricultural uses of the property, such as complaints
of odor or dust impacting a residence. The foundation was previously involved with a Huntington County case involving Indiana’s rightto-farm law that upheld the constitutionality of the law. It is also coordinating efforts to file an amicus brief in a right-to-farm case before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The right to farm is an issue in other states as well, and some of these cases have the potential to affect Indiana farmers, according to Indiana Farm Bureau’s legal team. In Ohio, for example, a neighbor of a farmer who plants oilseed radishes as a cover crop is threatening to sue if the farmer plants the radishes again, claiming the smell of the plants as they decompose is making her sick. As evidenced by the number of cases and threats to sue, the decisions by farmers are under attack, the legal team said, adding that the IALF exists to protect farmers’ rights.
Free newsletter on legal issues available monthly To receive the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation’s monthly newsletter, The Spotlight, visit www.inaglaw.org and click the subscription button. For the first few issues of the year, the focus will be on labor and employment issues, but other topics will be covered later in the year. Much of the content is provided by attorneys who specialize or have a special interest in farm labor issues.
Indiana’s farmland owners will pay higher property taxes in 2014 on the heels of an increase in the base rate for assessed land value, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Larry DeBoer says. The base rate, which is the starting point for calculating taxes on farmland, jumped from $1,630 per acre in 2012 to $1,760 for 2013. Taxes assessed on this year’s base rate will be paid in 2014. The base rate has exactly doubled in just seven years, from $880 per acre in 2007. The value of Indiana farmland is assessed based on use value rather than market value. So, even if a parcel of farmland borders commercial or residential development, it is assessed based on the income it can generate from farming, not the selling price. When determining property taxes, Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance takes into account the base rate, a productivity factor and an influence factor. Productivity factors are based on the soil’s productivity for growing corn. They are scheduled to rise for taxes in 2014, but according to DeBoer, bills have been proposed in the General Assembly to cancel that change. The influence factor is a percentage reduction in the dollar amount of the productivity factor to account for conditions, such as frequent flooding, grade or forest cover. The assessed farmland value has been rising because the base rate is calculated annually based on
a number of factors, such as commodity prices, land rents, input costs and interest rates. “The base rate is calculated using a capitalization formula,” DeBoer said. “The rent or net income earned from an acre is divided by a rate of return. The department calculates capitalized values for six years, drops the highest value and then averages the remaining five years to get the base rate. “Each year, a value from an earlier year leaves the calculation and a value from a recent year is averaged in. The base rate goes up when the value coming in is higher than value dropping out.” Compared with six years ago, farmland rents are higher, commodity prices are up and interest rates are down – a combination that increases the base rate. But there’s a four-year lag between the numbers in the calculation and the tax year, so the numbers to be used for 2014 taxes are from 2005 to 2010. For example, for 2012 assessments, which will be taxed in 2013, the capitalized value for 2003 was erased and the capitalized value from 2009 included, DeBoer said. The 2003 val-
ue was $1,407 per acre, and the 2009 value was $2,066. That means the base rate rose from $1,500 per acre for taxes in 2012 to $1,630 for taxes in 2013. DeBoer said the trend of increasing property taxes will continue. “Rents and commodity prices were higher and interest rates lower in 2011 than they were in 2005, so the base rate for taxes paid in 2015 should be about $2,050 – a 16.5 percent rise from those paid in 2014,” he said. The drought’s reduction of corn yields to a 20-year low will affect property tax bills, but not until those payable in 2016, when the 2012 numbers enter the calculation. “Rising rents and prices and falling interest rates should raise the pay-2016 rate to about $2,430,” DeBoer said. “The 2012 drought will have a small effect. If yields had been normal, the base rate probably would have been $100 to $200 higher.” DeBoer’s full report and accompanying podcast can be found in his column Capital Comments at https:// ag.purdue.edu/agcomm/ pages/Newscolumns.aspx.
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Calendar of Events February 4-22 17-23 17-23 20, 21 March 1, 2 5 5 7 8 8, 9 12-14 13, 14 March 18-April 5
February 18, 2013
IFB winter membership blitz. Food Checkout Week. AFBF commodity advisory committee (Washington, D.C.) IFB board of directors meeting.
Small Farm Conference (Danville, Ind.) District 5 spring meeting. Ag Day at the Statehouse. District 7 spring meeting (Clay City). District 8 spring seminar (Indiana Downs). IFB Spring Conference (Indianapolis). IFB leader trip to Washington, D.C. IFB board of directors meeting. IFB spring membership blitz.
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