Farm Bureau raises record amount for Feeding American Page 8
Farmer-soldiers continue mission in Afghanistan Pages 4, 5
Inside: News in Brief................2 Rules & Regs.................3 Around IFB....................6 Communication............7 AFBF News...................8
The Hoosier Farmer
A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau
MARCH 11, 2013 Issue No. 36
Governor signs bill to delay implementation of proposed soil factors —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Gov. Mike Pence signs Senate Enrolled Act 319, which delays implementation of proposed soil productivity factors and places additional requirements on the establishment of new factors. Shown with Pence are the bill’s authors and sponsors, other members of the Pence administration, and a number of farmers, including IFB Vice President Randy Kron. SEA 319 was the first bill signed by the governor since taking office. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
Legislature grapples with road funding issues —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team It is still unclear how – or if – this task will be accomplished, but as the 2013 General Assembly entered its second half, several different efforts to provide additional funding for local roads were still alive. “There is widespread acknowledgement among legislators that additional revenue is urgently needed by counties and cities and towns for road and street repair and maintenance.” said Katrina Hall, IFB tax and local government specialist. “Many options are being vetted but it will probably include a mix of state and local dollars to meet the funding projections provided to the General Assembly by a collation of groups working on the issue, including Indiana Farm
Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206
Bureau. It is estimated that the unmet state and local road funding needs are approximately $1 billion annually. No one expects that all the funding needs will be met, but some progress is expected.” One possible source of local road funding is the House version of the state’s 2013-2015 budget, which was approved on a 68-28 vote on Feb. 25. Among its provisions was an additional $250 million for highway and road projects. The House-passed budget will be revisited by the Senate Appropriations Committee and the full Senate, and the final version will be negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee during the last couple weeks of the legislative session, Hall said. In addition to the funding provided in HB 1001, road funding is also the topic of Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage
Huntington, IN Permit NO. 832
some other bills that are still under consideration: HB 1067 – This bill, which was approved by a vote of 93-0, would allow federal highway dollars awarded to local governments to be “swapped” for state dollars. This exchange helps local government avoid burdensome federal construction regulations that drive up the cost of bridges and other large local projects. Authored by Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, the bill now moves to the Senate, where it has been assigned in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Transportation & Veterans Affairs. HB 1117 and SB 389 – These 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. The county income tax council is a fiscal body created by the Indiana General Assembly in 1984 to decide local income tax issues. SB 389 passed the Senate by a vote of 37-11 and has been assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee. However, while the HB 117 passed Ways & Means, it was defeated 31-67 when it came before the full House.
The soil productivity factors proposed last year by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance and strongly opposed by Farm Bureau have been delayed by another year due to the passage of Senate Enrolled Act 319. Governor Mike Pence signed the bill on Feb. 27. The measure retains the long-standing soil productivity factors for the 2013 assessment (payable in 2014) of farmland. It also directs the DLGF, in cooperation with the Purdue College of Agriculture, to develop and submit to the General Assembly recommendations and justifications for any proposed changes in the methodology used to establish soil productivity factors that adjust the base value of farmland. The governor’s signature is the last step in the process that the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency estimates will save Indiana farmers $57.4 million a year in property taxes. SEA 319 was fast-tracked so it could be enacted before the March 1, 2013, assessment date. In its journey through the General Assembly, SEA 319 didn’t receive a single “no” vote. “This is a proud and momentous day for both Gov. Pence and Indiana Farm Bureau,” said IFB President Don Villwock. “His signature on this legislation, his very first, gives some degree of tax certainty to Hoosier farmers for another year. And unlike the gridlock we have become accustomed to in our nation’s capital, we are proud of the Indiana General Assembly for putting politics aside in favor of helping Indiana agriculture.” The measure stipulates that the DLGF, in cooperation with the Purdue University College of Agriculture,
submit information on proposed new soil productivity factors – including the new factors themselves, as well as the methodology and data used to determine them – before Nov. 1, 2013. According to Purdue University agricultural economist Larry DeBoer, speaking in an interview with Inside INdiana Business, it might be worthwhile to take another look at the soil productivity factors since the current factors have been in place for 30-35 years. However, DeBoer said, the factors probably won’t change much. “Ultimately, what you’re looking at, though, is the physical properties of the soil, fertile soil relative to less fertile soil, and those kinds of physical properties don’t change much over the years,” DeBoer told Inside INdiana Business. It’s possible, he added, that different hybrids, different techniques, and new science might have some effect. “But you really wouldn’t expect to see a really big change in the way different kinds of soils are labeled,” he said. In a statement released just after the bill was signed, Indiana Farm Bureau thanked the governor for signing the bill into law and thanked both the governor and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann for making the soil productivity factor fix one of their top legislative priorities. IFB also thanked House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long for fast-tracking the bill, and the entire Indiana General Assembly for its quick and unanimous passage of the language. The organization also specifically thanked Sens. Jean Leising, Greg Walker, and John Waterman, who authored the bill, and the House sponsor and co-sponsor, Reps. Don Lehe and Bob Cherry.
NEWS in brief
News Bites —Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Stallman: Proposed farm program cuts raise concerns—While farmers and ranch-
ers were initially encouraged that a new $110 billion fiscal policy proposal from Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would help put the country on the long road toward greater fiscal responsibility, the details on how he proposes to do so raise strong concerns, AFBF President Bob Stallman said in a statement released Feb. 15. “It appears the lion’s share of budget reductions will come from cuts to agricultural programs that will create much harm in farm country,” Stallman said. “More than $27.5 billion in net spending reductions are earmarked for farm programs – with all the cuts coming from the elimination of direct payments with no provision to allow use of some of the savings for reinvestment in new safety-net or risk-management concepts. The magnitude of these proposed cuts will hamstring the House and Senate Agriculture committees from crafting a farm bill that includes the safety-net and risk-management provisions that our farmers need.”
good to date, with 1.4 million forms returned, according to USDA. But many farmers have not yet responded. Although the early February deadline has passed, USDA is still accepting survey forms. Agricultural producers are required by law to complete the census, which was mailed out late last year. USDA is required to keep all individual information provided confidential. Farmers and ranchers 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. For more information about the census, including helpful tips on completing your form, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AGSTAT (1-888-424-7828). (USDA 2/6/13)
IBCA honors industry’s best at awards banquet—
The Indiana Beef Cattle Association (IBCA) honored the state’s top cattlemen and women at their awards banquet on Sunday evening, Feb. 10 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Indianapolis. Beef producers from across the state attended to salute the men and women who provide the leadership for the Indiana beef industry. The Outstanding Cattleman of the Year Award was present to Roby Webster of Crawfordsville, who is president of the Montgomery Farm Bureau and secretary-treasurer of the Montgomery County Cattlemen. (IBCA
AFBF ‘Foodiecast’ looks at popcorn trends—In the
American Farm Bureau Federation’s February food-oriented podcast, Zach Hunnicutt, popcorn farmer and chairman of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, talks about 2013’s top predicted trend: popcorn. From eccentric flavors to wedding favors, find out why popcorn is the next big thing at www. fb.org/index.php?action=newsroom. podcastsfoodiecast. (AFBF 2/15/13)
Still time to return ag census surveys—The response
from farmers and ranchers to the 2012 Census of Agriculture has been
JNLC, YF&R conference attendees flock to Twitter—Twitter was all aflutter Feb. 9
and 10 as attendees to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Joint National Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference took to their mobile devices to share the conference goings-on. Among the topics covered at the JNLC and referenced on Twitter were how to influence rural and non-rural legislators, coping with change, using social media to influence lawmakers and consumers, the farm bill, the federal budget, regulations and more. On, Feb. 9, there were 774 keyword mentions using the conferences’ hashtag, #2013JNLC. The mentions peaked Feb. 10 with 1,063 tweets tagged #2013JNLC.
Also of note, there were 1,868 tweets, retweets and mentions while Michael Abrashoff delivered his keynote speech on Feb. 9, the last day the conferences overlapped. Abrashoff, a former Navy commander, talked about his experiences in transforming an underperforming naval war ship into one of the top performers in Pacific Fleet. (AFBF 2/22/13)
Global biotech plantings increase 100-fold since 1996—For the first time since the
introduction of biotech crops almost two decades ago, developing countries grew biotech crops on more land than in industrialized countries in 2012, according to a report released on Feb. 20 by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. Developing nations planted 52 percent of the global biotech crops in 2012, up from 50 percent a year earlier and higher than the 48 percent that industrial countries grew last year. In 2012, the growth rate for biotech crops was more than three times as fast and five times as large in developing countries versus industrial nations. (AFBF 2/21/13)
Support urged for internet sales tax bills—Sen.
Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., and 19 other senators introduced S. 336, the Marketplace Fairness Act, to promote fair competition between local and main street retailers and Internetonly sellers by allowing states to apply sales tax laws across the board. Companion legislation, H.R. 684, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, was introduced in the House by Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., and 36 original cosponsors. The bills allow states to enforce their existing sales tax laws on remote sellers but does not create new taxes or increase existing ones. Farm Bureau supports the legislation and is urging members of Congress to approve it because businesses in small and rural towns provide essential goods and services to the farmers and ranchers who work the fields that surround them. However, those businesses are at a disadvantage when they compete with online-only retailers that are not required to collect sales taxes. (AFBF 2/26/13)
New bill repealing HIT good for farmers, ranchers—Legislation introduced in the
House today is a major step for farm-
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) 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)
March 11, 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
ers, ranchers and small businesses that would otherwise be negatively impacted by healthcare reform, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Jobs and Premium Protection Act of 2013, introduced by Reps. Charles Boustany, R-La., and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, would repeal the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). “The cost of health insurance is a major concern for farmers and ranchers,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Health insurance costs already have gone up more than 100 percent since 2000 and the HIT will impose even more devastating costs on America’s farmers, ranchers and small businesses.” A recent Congressional Budget Office report confirms that HIT “would be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage.” The new tax would raise insurance costs even more, making it harder for farmers and ranchers to purchase coverage for themselves, their families and their employees. “Most farmers and ranchers do not have large enough pools of employees to be self-insured,” continued Stallman. “Instead, they purchase health insurance in the fully insured market, from which it is solely determined how much HIT an insurance company must pay. Because of this, the cost of this erroneous tax will be passed through to small businesses that purchase those plans.” The HIT was passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). According to AFBF, it has nothing to do with reforming the health care insurance system but was included in PPACA as a way to raise revenue to offset the cost of the legislation. During 2014, the first year that the HIT takes effect, $8 billion dollars will be collected. (AFBA 2/15/13)
40 Facts About Ethanol video released—The Renew-
able Fuels Association has released a video, 40 Facts About Ethanol, which illustrates how today’s ethanol is different from yesterday’s ethanol. According to RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen, the ethanol industry has made impressive strides over the last 30 years in production volumes, foreign oil displacement, production efficiencies, co-products, job creation, and cellulose and advanced ethanol market entry. The new video helps tell the story with data, color and occasionally humor, according to Dinneen. (AFBF 2/28/13) 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.
rules & regs
New fertilizer rules take effect; OISC still spreading the word —From the Purdue Ag Communication Service The Office of Indiana State Chemist is continuing its yearlong effort to help farmers comply with new rules regulating how manure and other fertilizers can be staged on farms and applied to fields. The rules took effect Feb. 16. “We are getting the message to farmers and producers since they are the ones who have to come up with the plan to protect water,” said Matthew Pearson, administrator of the OISC’s fertilizer section. The office will use discretion in enforcing the rules as farmers, fertilizer distributors and applicators continue to familiarize themselves with the regulations and comply. The rules provide for civil penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per day or incident. The rules apply to anyone who uses or distributes commercial fertilizer or manure in producing an agricultural crop, except for those who apply less than 10 cubic yards or
4,000 gallons in a year. The Purdue-based OISC wrote the rules as required by the state legislature in 2011. Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels approved them in February 2012. The rules complement Indiana Department of Environmental Management regulations and align with strategies to reduce the flow of farm nutrients in waterways, Pearson said. In the past year, Pearson has given presentations at about 50 meetings, including those under the Private Applicator Recertification Program. In addition, there have been a couple of hundred other workshops across Indiana’s 92 counties. Last month the OISC mailed details of the new rules, including a question-and-answer format highlighting major points, to all farmers, fertilizer dealers, applicators and pesticide dealers on record in Indiana. The most common question the office receives from farmers and applicators is whether they need special licensing or certification. In most cases, they do not. But those
applying manure from confined feeding operations or those using it for hire need separate certification, and Category 14-licensed applicators are required to keep appropriate records. Some other most frequently asked questions: Where can I get a template for creating a fertilizer application plan? Pearson noted there is no such form because situations on each farm are different. Local Purdue Extension offices can assist farmers in creating a plan, which needs to include all nutrient inputs and crop needs. Are there restrictions for applying manure to frozen or snow-covered
ground? Yes, surface applications require additional setbacks from surface water. There also are requirements involving the rate of manure that can be replied. What are recordkeeping requirements for Category 14-certified applicators? They must keep for two years a record of the location, certified applicator’s name and license or certification number, fertilizer, nutrient value, rate per acre and the method of application. There is no specific form for this. More frequently asked questions and other information is available on the OISC’s website at www.isco. purdue.edu/ .
Senate passes bill that restricts recording ag and industrial operations —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Senate Bill 373, which would make it illegal to photograph, videotape or otherwise record an agricultural or industrial operation without the owner’s consent, has passed the Indiana Senate despite intense opposition. The final vote on the bill was 3020, with seven Republicans joining the 13 Democrats in voting against it. It was authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle. The bill, which Farm Bureau supported, became the focus of intense opposition from a number of organizations. Most vocal was the Humane Society of the United States, which claimed the bill would impair its ability to reveal animal cruelty and an unhealthy food supply. Other opponents included organized labor, who argued the bill would stifle whistleblowers from reporting unsafe conditions in the workplace, and print and broadcast media who felt the bill was hostile to a free press. Joining Farm Bureau in support of the bill was the Indiana Manufacturers Association, the Indiana Pork Producers and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. SB 373 now moves to the Indiana House, where it is sponsored by Reps. Bill Friend, R-Macy, and Don Lehe, R-Bookston. As of The Hoosier Farmer’s March 1 deadline, it was awaiting assignment to a committee. The night before the Feb. 26 vote, Farm Bureau issued an action alert asking members to contact their senators and urge their support of SB 373. “The Farm Bureau lobby team
thanks all Farm Bureau members who made these important contacts,” said Bob Kraft, state legislative director. Kraft also sent a message to all members of the Senate asking for their votes in favor of SB 373. “We understand that there are those in the state who are adamantly opposed to modern agriculture and meat production,” Kraft wrote. “We also understand that these interests have orchestrated a coordinated effort to persuade you that SB 373 somehow encourages the mistreatment of farm animals. That is not the intent or purpose – nor will it be the consequence – of the bill.” Kraft noted that the bill was amended to provide an exception for an individual who suspects a law, rule or regulation is being violated and makes a recording for the purpose of documenting the suspect condition for law enforcement or regulatory authorities. In such cases, the individual would have to turn over the recording to the enforcement authority within 48 hours. “Indiana Farm Bureau and our members whose livelihood depends upon livestock production do not condone the mistreatment or neglect of farm animals,” Kraft continued. “Quite to the contrary, farmers genuinely care for their animals, they know that healthy animals are more productive and they recognize the importance of maintaining a solid reputation of caring for their animals. “Those who oppose SB 373 see it as a threat to their continued reliance upon vigilante practices to denigrate Indiana’s livestock industry,” he concluded.
Hamilton County Farm Bureau members Mary and Duane Rinker (left) and George Kakasuleff (right) give Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Luke Kenley something to think about during their hallway meeting after a Senate budget hearing. Photo by Andy Dietrick
Antibiotics remain important for animal and public health —From the AFBF Public Relations Team The American Farm Bureau Federation and other members of the Coalition for Animal Health recently hosted an educational briefing for congressional staff on meat production, public health and the importance of antibiotics. The briefing focused on helping legislators understand how and why farmers and ranchers use antibiotics. Presenters included Dr. Scott Hurd, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Iowa State University; Dr. Christine Hoang with the American Veterinary Medical Association; and Dr. Rich Carnevale from the Animal Health Institute. The risk to humans is negligible due to on-farm antibiotic use, Hurd said, citing numerous peer-reviewed scientific assessments that have failed to demonstrate any detectable risk treatment failure in humans caused by on-farm antibiotic use in animals. Failure to prevent or treat illness causes unnecessary animal suffering and death, Hurd pointed out. Further, he explained, animals with residual effects of illness are more
likely to cause human foodborne disease. “Every farm with animals is both a maternity hospital and a day care,” Hurd said. “Animals need medicines at times, just like kids do. This becomes a moral and ethical issue…at what point will we deny treatment? It’s not right to withhold veterinary care for animals.” Antibiotics for animals are needed because illnesses can move quickly through populations and livestock cannot “stay home” when they are sick. Farmers and veterinarians are working together to manage potential hazards, with the goal of producing a safe and wholesome food supply, protecting public health and preserving antibiotics for use by future generations. “It’s a long way from farm to harm,” Hurd said. Commenting on several bacteria of concern to the Infectious Disease Society, Hurd said most, including Staphyloccous infections (MRSA), Streptococcus pneumoniae and drug-resistant tuberculosis, are not foodborne infections or related in any way to food-producing animals.
March 11, 2013
Farmer-soldiers use education as a weapon in the war on terror —Stories & Photos By Douglas Wissing Special Correspondent Out in Afghanistan’s violent borderlands, Hoosier farmer-soldiers are fighting to win hearts and minds. The Indiana National Guard 5-19th Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) is the fifth Hoosier unit deployed to Khost Province, a mountainous, insurgencywracked region. Primarily composed of agricultural specialists with farm backgrounds, the ADT partners with the Afghan government to improve the lives of subsistence-level farmer families, who typically scratch out a few hundred dollars in annual income from less than 3 acres. Under the command of Lt. Col. Dave Roberts, who was raised on a farm and has one near Madison, Ind., the ADT is working to bring peace to this nation devastated by more than three decades of war. As the U.S. military forces withdraw from still-turbulent Afghanistan, the 5-19th ADT emphasizes mentoring Afghan provincial officials in governance, administration and agriculture. It’s a challenging mission: With chaotic Afghanistan lacking rule of law, many Afghan officials are corrupt. “Education is our project,” Maj. John Lake said. A Purdue graduate who serves as the ag team’s officer in charge, Lake grew up in Grant County on a farm near Swayzee. “Education is the most important thing we do,” Lake said. “The Taliban can’t take it away from them.” Commingling risk and responsibility in this violent warzone, the Hoosier soldiers are Afghanistan-specific extension agents – let’s call them extreme ag agents. The job certainly fits one ADT soldier. Sergeant 1st Class Mike Spurgin has been in the military for 24 years, and for 20 he’s been an Indiana Department of Correc-
tions officer. But Spurgin’s heart is on his diversified Henry County farm, where he raises champion show pigs, qualifying him to be the ADT’s animal husbandry specialist. Spurgin calls it “humbling” to educate tribesmen who wrest a living from this austere land. About his role in this combined agriculture-security mission, affable Mike Spurgin – farmer, soldier and corrections officer – says, “This was perfect.” An ADT mission to a demonstration farm to teach pruning illustrates the dangers the Hoosiers face. Rolling out of Forward Operating Base Salerno, the heavily armed soldiers wear 50 pounds of body armor. Traveling in five armored gun trucks, the team dodges down dry riverbeds to avoid buried bombs. At the demonstration farm, security soldiers form a protective cordon while ADT specialists unlimber their pruning tools. With Blackhawk helicopters churning overhead, 20 Afghan farmers stand in an overgrown orchard eagerly awaiting the ADT. The ADT agronomist, Specialist Jared Rybolt, farms 800 acres near Warren in Huntington County. Inspired by the ADT’s work in Afghanistan, Rybolt joined
Editor’s note: Freelance journalist Douglas Wissing of Bloomington, Ind., was embedded with the 5-19th Agribusiness Development Team Jan. 2-9, 2013, and has been providing reports on the unit’s mission and progress to The Hoosier Farmer. A special unit of the Indiana National Guard, the 5-19th and the four ADT units that preceded it have been working in Khost Province, Afghanistan, helping Afghan farmers rebuild their farm and agribusiness sector. Wissing was also embedded with the Indiana ADT in the spring 2009 and again in late 2009.
A sign at the Khost City animal bazaar advertises the services of an Afghan paravet (a veterinary assistant).
the National Guard to share knowledge he learned on his diversified, multi-generational farm, which includes an orchard, making him the ideal pruning instructor. As the turbaned and bearded tribesmen cluster, Rybolt shows them oranges from an ADT grove he pruned. The oranges from the un-pruned trees are tiny and wizened; the oranges from the pruned trees are firm and plump. Impressed, the Afghans chatter. One by one, they reach out to pluck fat oranges from the pile. The value of pruning now proven, the tribesmen watch
intently as Rybolt and Spurgin shape a bushy orange tree into a well-groomed fruit tree. After instructing them, Rybolt offers his pruning saw to a bright-eyed Afghan farmer, who begins sawing with the fervor of the newly educated. Soon the
tribesman finishes pruning the first tree, and quickly scuttles to the next. The Afghan squints and looks down the row, envisioning a tidy grove, resplendent with luscious orange globes. “They’re very receptive,” Rybolt says with a grin.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Roberts owns a farm near Madison and serves as the commander of the 5-19th Indiana National Guard Agribusiness Development Team.
An aerial photo taken from a Blackhawk helicopter shows the importance of irrigation in arid Khost Province.
March 11, 2013
Indiana ADTs recognized for improving lives of ordinary Afghans • Since 2009, the five Indiana National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams have facilitated a wide range of projects in wild Khost Province, Afghanistan:ADT irrigation projects have reduced soil erosion and improved water retention, both vital in this arid, rugged land. • Soil testing highlighted the need for composting to increase organic matter in arable fields. • Greenhouses and root cellars introduced
Afghan-appropriate technology. Better seeds promised improved yields and reduced disease. • Poultry and beekeeping projects offered assistance to Afghan women. • The ADT’s animal husbandry programs provided basic health and nutrition assistance for the tribesmen’s flocks of sheep, goats and cattle. In November 2010, the Department of the Army awarded the Indiana National Guard Agribusiness Development Team a Meri-
torious Unit Commendation for their development work with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which “greatly increased the regional government’s capabilities while simultaneously improving the lives of the Afghan people.” With the U.S. military’s projected 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan approaching, the 5-19th ADT has accordingly shifted to an “advise and assist” role with its Afghan counterparts.
Major John Lake grew up on a Grant County farm, and serves as the ADT ag team’s officer in change.
About the author: Standing on a street corner in Mexico, award-winning independent journalist Douglas Wissing chanced to read an article about Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan. Little did he realize it would lead to three grueling trips to the Afghan warzone to cover the Indiana ADT and other aspects of the conflict. Beyond his Farm Bureau articles, Wissing has contributed to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN.com, Fox. com, and the BBC and NPR networks. His latest book is Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban (Prometheus Books), www. douglaswissing.com.
The Hoosier ADT’s Kubota tractor shipped out to the Afghanistan warzone emblazoned with camouflage. Photo courtesy of Indiana National Guard Agribusiness Development Team
The goat section of the Khost City animal bazaar. Goat herds are a mainstay of rangeland Afghanistan.
Specialist Jared Rybolt teaches a group of Afghan farmers how to prune orange trees.
For additional photos and stories about the Indiana National Guard’s ADT units, visit The Hoosier Farmer online, www.thehoosierfarmer.org/ SpecialReport/. You can also follow the Indiana National Guard, including the ADT units, on Facebook at “Indiana Guardsman.”
March 11, 2013
Partnership with MHI reduces cost of Medicare plan for members —Special to The Hoosier Farmer Like many others Mary Ferris hoped for another option when she opened the letter from her Medicare supplemental insurance provider announcing an increase for 2013. “As a retired person who lives in Wayne County, I had been very concerned about my rising healthcare costs,” Ferris said. A few days later, an option came to light. The IFB was in negotiations with Members Health Insurance Company (MHI) to offer Medicare supplemental insurance plans to its members at special rates. “But who,” Ferris wondered, “is this Member Health Insurance Company, really?” “At first I thought it was too good to be true,” she added. “But when I spoke to the customer service
Mary Ferris of Wayne County
specialist at MHI, I was reassured that their Plan F is identical to every other Plan F and the only difference was the rates.” After a few phone calls and a quick web search, Ferris discovered that MHI is an affiliate of the health coverage organization that has served Tennessee Farm Bureau members since 1947, offering its members Medicare Supplement plans at affordable rates.
“I have a 50-plus year history with IFB and IFB Insurance, and having also spent time on the (IFB) board of directors, I have the utmost confidence in the integrity and honesty of our IFB leaders,” added Ferris. “That is why when they told me that this is a legitimate company and fully reliable, any doubts I had were erased.” Then, with the confidence in MHI established, Ferris’ next thoughts turned to rates. Could MHI save her premium dollars? After a quick rate quote comparison, it was apparent MHI was going to do just that. “I am now saving more than $80 a month or close to $1,000 a year, which is a significant savings for me,” Ferris said. “I’m immensely grateful for the partnership of IFB and MHI and every chance I get, I recommend MHI to my family and friends.”
To date, the unique partnership between MHI and IFB is very strong. By the end of 2012, after only four short months, there were approximately 305 new Medicare Supplement contracts in force covering 80 of the 92 Indiana counties. And more than 40 new IFB memberships had been generated. “That is really exciting to see that kind of new membership growth in Indiana,”
said Anthony Kimbrough, chief executive officer. “This is a great win-win partnership between IFB and MHI and the potential for growth is tremendous.” If you want to learn more about the Medicare Supplement Plans offered by Members Health Insurance call to speak with one of their customer service specialists at 1-888-708-0123 or visit them online at mhinsurance. com.
Volunteers can win recognition and prizes by recruiting new members —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team The second of Indiana Farm Bureau’s three 2013 membership “blitzes” gets underway March 18 and runs through April 5. Volunteer credit for recruiting new members can be earned anytime from October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013. Volunteer membership workers who recruit one new primary member or two new select or student members will each receive a specially designed polo shirt. The shirt identifies the membership workers as part of the IFB “membership team” in their county. Individual who recruit at least six new primary voting members during the mem-
bership year will be designated membership champions. Each champion will receive special recognition during the 2013 state convention and a check in the amount of $100. The membership champion who recruits the most new 2013 primary voting members will also receive special recognition during the 2013 Indiana Farm Bureau state convention and will be awarded a check in the amount of $25 multiplied by the number of new members recruited.
Miranda Ulery, Harrison County, and Michael Baird, Washington County, search through IFB’s County Statistical Book to learn more about what the role and responsibilities of the sheriff. Ulery and Baird are part of the 2013 Leaders in Action program, which met in Dubois County on Feb. 23. The group will meet three more times before traveling to Washington, D.C. Photo by Mindy Reef
Applications now being accepted for IFB Program Development Grants —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team
Keith Ledbetter, health fitness specialist at Indiana Farm Bureau’s fitness center, poses in one of the specially designed shirts that volunteers can win by recruiting new members. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
Applications due next month for women’s communication ‘Boot Camp’ The seventh annual Farm Bureau Women’s Communications Boot Camp will be held July 23-26 in Washington, D.C. The training is open to all women who are members of Farm Bureau and interested in developing their communication and leadership skills. Applications must be postmarked by April 19.
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Applicants who are selected to participate will pay a $200 registration fee at that time. Participants will also be responsible for their transportation, hotel and meals other than those provided as part of the training. Staff from AFBF, state and county Farm Bureaus, or affiliated companies are not eligible to participate. This intensive training ses-
sion is designed to provide participants with the skills needed to communicate for agriculture and for Farm Bureau. There will be sessions on public speaking, testifying, targeting your message, working with the media and seeking elected office. To receive an application, contact Kim Baker at kimb@ fb.org.
A second round of funds is available for Indiana Farm Bureau’s Program Development Grant. The grant program was started in 2011 to assist county Farm Bureaus that need additional financial resources to help start a new or expand a current program. As of the deadline for this edition of The Hoosier Farmer, the program has helped 25 county Farm Bureaus with starting or improving new programs, events or activities. Applications for the first round of 2013 grants are under review. Qualifying programs or activities must be new in 2013 with a purpose of meeting one or more of the strategic plan goals. Using elements of the County
Recognition Program is a suggested starting place. Existing programs or activities that are being significantly changed and/or expanded to address one of the goals may also qualify. The grant limit is $1,500. Only one application can be submitted per county during the grant period. A committee will review all applications and approve funds based on financial need and potential program impact toward reaching organizational goals. Counties receiving a Program Development Grant must report how the funds were used and share the success stories of the funded activities. Applications must be received by July 1, 2013. For information, contact your county Farm Bureau president or regional manager.
IFOF to preach outside the choir at two events in April —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team On April 27, Indiana Farm Bureau and the other members of the Indiana’s Family of Farmers coalition will participate in two events that might raise a few farmer eyebrows: Mutt Strut, which attracts thousands of people and their dogs to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earth Day, at which Indiana’s Family of Farmers joins conservation and environmental groups at White River State Park to celebrate the theme of preserving the environment.
Those who have manned the IFOF booth at these events will tell you that the people you interact with are not your traditional Farm Bureau crowd. That makes some people uncomfortable. But the fact is, those are the people farmers and those who represent them should be talking to. And the other fact is that both groups have some important things in common. “People today are talking about food, they’re talking about farming practices, and they’re talking about animals and how they should be treated,” noted IFB’s public relations director Andy Dietrick. “Farmers need to be part of those conversations.” The Mutt Strut event has no particular agenda – it’s just supposed to be a fun day for people and their dogs to interact with other people and their dogs, all while walking around the famous 2.5-mile oval at the Speedway. Besides people and dogs, there are also booths, and at one of those booths, IFOF has for the past few years disseminated bandanas emblazoned with
Nancy Sparks, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance agent, and Brandon Culler, Owen County Young Farmer chairman, staff the booth at Owen County’s Food Check-Out Day at Babb’s SuperValu in Spencer. Owen County’s event featured a wheel, popcorn, booths throughout the store and local celebrity grocery baggers. Many county Farm Bureaus throughout the state participated in Food Check-Out. Visit our Facebook page to see photos of other county activities. Photo by Mindy Reef
the IFOF logo. The event is also the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Indianapolis Humane Society – which is very vocal about the fact that it isn’t affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States and that only a small fraction of the contributions made to the national group go toward real shelter work. “It has been a good opportunity for Indiana agriculture to have hundreds of conversations about animal welfare and to answer consumers’ questions about how livestock is raised,” Dietrick explained. The Earth Day festival includes booths, food and activities. Farmer volunteers as well as staff mem-
bers from the various farm groups have in previous years answered questions about agriculture, gave away prizes and recipes, and sponsored a children’s activity in which kids learned a little bit about plants by planting tomato seeds into pots made from sterilized cow manure. It is another opportunity to talk to people who IFOF and the farmers it represents might otherwise seldom encounter: suburban families who have only a casual interest in environmentalism but who are looking for a fun and educational
County Farm Bureaus learning how to use committees effectively —By Julie Volbers-Klarich Administrative/Finance Team
Daviess County Farm Bureau president Phil Flint (center) looks on as IFB’s political education specialist Pete Hanebutt (far left) introduces IFB president Don Villwock to two FFA students who joined the Daviess County delegation at the Statehouse to learn more about advocating for agriculture. Photo by Andy Dietrick
way to spend a Saturday in spring, people who have an interest in “sustainability” (an important word at Earth Day), and people who stop by mostly because they see all the tents and wonder what’s going on. And yes, there also are some environmental activists, vegetarians, vegans and local food enthusiasts. But most people who stop at the IFOF booths are merely curious. And what better person can there be to answer their questions about agriculture than a farmer?
Indiana Farm Bureau’s County Recognition Program is in full swing as counties are busy creating opportunities to educate others about agriculture. As of the middle of February, more than 1,100 activities had already taken place across the state. Many counties are using committees in order to engage more people. By using committees, members who do not serve on their boards are able to assist the counties in activities. Districts 1 and 9 have had home office staff present at district meetings to discuss engagement of others.
In addition, Decatur County held a learning session for its board members on how to more effectively engage others on committees. The committees discussed people they knew who would be effective committee members. They also made a plan of how these members would be contacted, who would be making the contacts and when they would be contacted. Each committee also created a work plan for activities that they wanted to begin within the coming months. Indiana Farm Bureau appreciates the volunteer efforts that are being put forth by all 92 county Farm Bureaus.
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Farm Bureau raises record food, funds for Feeding America —From the AFBF Public Relations Team The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised a record $971,235 and donated a record of more than 24 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program in partnership with Feeding America. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 28 million meals. Now in its 10th year, Harvest for All is spearheaded by members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program, but Farm Bureau members of all ages from across the nation contribute to the effort. In all, a record 21 state Farm Bureaus heeded the call to action. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty they produce.
In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 11,333 volunteer friend hours assisting local hunger groups in 2012. “The Harvest for All program is a tangible and visible way for Farm Bureau members to serve their communities,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “I am proud of our young farmers and ranchers and each of the state Farm Bureaus who literally helped us feed our great nation, and achieve record contributions in the process.” Harvest for All is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members. While the U.S. economy is beginning to show some encouraging signs, many Americans still need the help provided by Feeding America and its national network of local food assistance organizations, according to Stallman. “Feeding America greatly appreciates the American Farm Bureau and its Young Farmers & Ranchers for last
year’s record-breaking Harvest for All results and for our 10-year partnership that has provided much needed assistance for the 1 in 6 Americans who are struggling with hunger,” said Bill Thomas, chief supply chain officer at Feeding America. “By joining together and sharing our bounty, America’s farm and ranch families are helping to feed and nourish those who need help the most,” said Zach Hunnicutt, who chairs the AFBF YF&R committee. He and his wife, Anna, raise popcorn, corn and soybeans near Giltner, Neb. “America’s farmers and ranchers are stepping up to the table in a coordinated effort to serve our fellow Americans,” Hunnicutt said. “No American should be allowed to go without food and because of Harvest for All, the equivalent of 28,068,389 meals made it to the tables of those who needed it the most this past year.” The California Farm Bureau took top honors for donating the most food in 2012, 10,143,570 pounds.
Indiana Young Farmers active and visible at NLC —By Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team Hundreds of young farmers and ranchers from across the country gathered Feb. 8-11 in Phoenix, Ariz., for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s National Leadership Conference. The Indiana delegation was visible throughout – onstage in general sessions, leading breakout discussions and participating in competitions. Indiana’s delegation included 44 Young Farmers and a number of IFB board members and staff. Some of the NLC’s Hoosier highlights include: • This marked the last leadership conference with official duties for Mark and
Denise Scarborough from LaPorte Co. Farm Bureau. They rotated off the national Young Farmer & Rancher Committee after two years of service. • Ten outstanding young farm and ranch leaders were honored by AFBF as graduates of the organization’s sixth Partners in Agricultural Leadership (PAL) class. Indiana’s Heather Hill, a pork producer and farm blogger from Hancock County, was among this elite group of young leaders. • A number of states were recognized for their help in raising a record $971,235 and donating 24 million pounds of food as part of AFBF’s “Harvest
for All” program. Indiana was one of five states that received a $500 grant from Chevrolet/GM for “most innovative” program. (For more on the Harvest for All program, see story above. • Forty-eight students from 33 states competed in this year’s AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet. Cory Harris from Jay County finished in the Sweet 16 and received $250 from the CHS Foundation. Harris, who is majoring in agriculture at Purdue, serves on the Jay County Farm Bureau board of directors. Evan Day from Lawrence County also competed in the Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $250.
Calendar of Events March 12-14 13, 14 14 14 19 20 23 March 18-April 5
IFB leader trip to Washington, D.C. IFB board of directors meeting. District 1 spring meeting, Valparaiso. District 10 spring meeting, Florence (tour) and Vevay (meal). District 4 spring meeting, ice cream & pizza party, Huntington. District 9 spring meeting, Mackey. District 6 spring meeting, Richmond. IFB spring membership blitz.
April 1 10, 11 11
District 4 spring meeting, Tipton. IFB board of directors meeting. District 1 spring meeting, Whitley County.
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Chrissy Arnold of Adams County examines an item in the silent auction held during the 2013 Indiana Young Farmer Conference. The auction benefitted Feeding America’s food banks. Indiana Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Committee was recently honored for their innovation with a grant from Chevrolet/GM. Photo by Mindy Reef
Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money, $786,949. And, Michigan Farm Bureau tallied the most volunteer friend hours, 6,410. Thanks to the generosity of Chevrolet/GM, each of those state organizations received a $1,500 grant to donate to a local food bank of their choice. Second place winners were the New York Farm Bureau for food donated at 8,583,067 pounds; Michigan Farm Bureau for donated funds at $64,080; and Illinois Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 2,006 hours. Each of the second place winners received a $1,000 grant from Chevrolet/GM to donate to the local food bank of their choice.
In addition, five state YF&R committees received $500 grants from Chevrolet/ GM for “most innovative” programs. Those winners are Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and New York. The awards were presented Sunday during AFBF’s Joint National Leadership and YF&R Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. Since Harvest for All was launched 10 years ago, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 73 million pounds of food, logged more than 71,000 volunteer hours and raised nearly $3 million in donations. Combined, the food and money donations amount to the equivalent of more than 83 million meals.
New Program with Case IH Case IH Tractor & Equipment Incentive Program Farm Bureau members can now take advantage of Case IH equipment discounts thanks to a new membership value program. Eligible Farm Bureau members will receive an incentive discount – from $300 to $500 – when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealerships. The discount is stackable, meaning it can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership. A current Farm Bureau membership verification certificate must be presented to the Case IH dealer in advance of product delivery to receive the incentive discount.
To print your verification certificate please visit www.fbverify.com/case and enter your 10-digit Farm Bureau membership number and your zip code.