Hog, beef cattle producers trying to recover from the drought Pages 4, 5
County fairs offer promotional opportunities Page 3
Inside: News in Brief................ 2 Education..................... 3 Around Farm Bureau.... 6 Communication............ 7 Around Indiana............ 8
The Hoosier Farmer
A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau
april 29, 2013 Issue No. 38
Farm Bureau sends farm bill proposal to Capitol Hill —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team The American Farm Bureau Federation has sent to Capitol Hill a farm bill proposal that offers a diverse mix of risk management and safety net tools that benefit a wide range of farms and save $23 billion compared to the cost of continuing the current program. The proposal was approved in early April by the AFBF board of directors. Among the members of that board is Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock. “Although this proposal is different than what we proposed last year, we still remain committed to farm policy that provides a strong and effective safety net and viable risk management programs for farmers that do not guarantee a profit but, instead, protect them from catastrophic occurrences,” Villwock wrote in a letter to county presidents and national policy action committee chairs. One thing that has changed substantially from last year is the federal budget. “The crux is that there is a lot less money,” said IFB public policy director Megan Ritter. “Trying to hold on to the programs as they exist now just isn’t realistic. However, Farm Bureau’s proposal does not suggest reductions in crop insurance.” “Last year, Congress merely extended the old 2008 farm bill until Sept. 30 of this year,” noted AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Now, while unfortunately we have less money to work Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206
with, it is vital that Congress complete a new five-year farm bill this year. Doing so is in the economic interest of our entire nation.” Villwock noted that the proposal is a compromise, representing all commodity groups and regions of the country. The Senate Agriculture Committee was, as of The Hoosier Farmer’s April 22 deadline, slated to begin debate on the farm bill the weeks of April 22 or 29. The House is expected to take up the issue in mid-May. As the debate moves forward, there are two points that Indiana Farm Bureau will be paying special attention to, Ritter said. First, cuts are inevitable, but as reforms are put into place, the programs must still provide an adequate safety net when farmers need it most. Second, crop insurance should be the cornerstone of any risk management program. There will be many details and conversations in the coming weeks and months about ways to structure programs and cut the budget, Ritter added. Included in those conversations will be conservation compliance for crop insurance, payment limits and means testing for program eligibility. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees will be writing the farm bill under circumstances we have not seen before. Thus, we can’t assume anything when it comes to what will be a priority, Ritter said. Farmers will need to make sure they are informing members of Congress of the programs that are the most important to them. Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage
Huntington, IN Permit NO. 832
Members of Leaders in Action, Indiana Farm Bureau’s leadership development program, were in Washington, D.C., during the “Farm Bill Now” rally on Sept. 12. The House and Senate are finally slated to take up the bill in April and May. Photo by Mindy Reef
Equity for program commodities one of the ‘core principles’ of AFBF proposal —From the AFBF Public Relations Team According to AFBF President Bob Stallman, the organization’s farm bill proposal is based on several core policy principles: • Offers farmers a choice of program options. • Protects and strengthens the federal crop insurance program and does not reduce its funding. • Provides a commodity title that encourages farmers to follow market signals rather than making planting decisions in anticipation of government payments. • Refrains from basing any program on cost of production. • Ensures equity across program commodities. Stallman said the goal of the proposal is to provide a measure of fairness among regions and crops, while providing each commodity sector a workable safety net for the farmers who grow that crop. Specifically, the AFBF proposal calls for a three-legged safety net for program crop farmers that includes: a stacked income protection
plan, commonly called STAX; an improved crop insurance program; and target prices and marketing loans. Under the proposal, all program crop farmers would have access to marketing loans and crop insurance, and they would then choose between a target price program and STAX to round out their safety net option. The AFBF proposal also supports extending provisions of the STAX program for apples, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and sweet corn, which would benefit fruit and vegetable producers in 44 states. Eventually, Farm Bureau would like to cover all crops under a STAX program. “While we would have liked to have provided a STAX program for all commodity programs under the same terms as those provided to cotton last year in
the Senate bill, funding is insufficient to do so,” Stallman explained. A target price program would be available for almost all program commodities except cotton, which needs to be excluded due to terms of Brazil’s WTO cotton case against the United States. For other crops, target price levels would be based on the marketing-year average price from the past five years (2007 through 2011) and those projected by the Congressional Budget Office for the next five years (2012 through 2016). To establish the actual target prices and provide general equity across crop sectors, these 2007-2016 average prices are reduced by 25 percent for corn and soybeans, 15 percent for wheat and 10 percent for rice and peanuts.
2013 session coming to a close The statutory adjournment date for the Indiana General Assembly is April 29 – right around the time readers are receiving this issue of The Hoosier Farmer. Full coverage of the 2013 General Assembly will appear in the May 20 issue of The Hoosier Farmer and on our website, www.thehoosierfarmer.com.
NEWS in brief About 250 fifth graders participated in the Posey County Farm Fair, which is sponsored by the county Farm Bureau. This year’s fair was held April 10 and offered 17 stations that students could rotate through. Here a group of students watches a video on “Call before you dig” from CountryMark. Photo by Christina Seifert.
News Bites —Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Food is getting safer, CDC figures show—Recent
figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show that our food is getting safer. Dr. Richard Raymond, a former Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Agriculture Department, told Newsline (the American Farm Bureau Federation’s podcast) that he’s puzzled as to why the CDD is so cautious about spreading this good news. “For 2009-2010 the number of food-borne illness outbreaks had decreased by 32 percent,” he said. “In the editorial note, it says people should use extreme caution when citing this number because we used different techniques to record these. If the number is going down despite using newer techniques for reporting, to me that would be an indication that the food is getting safer. “You should be able to stand on top of the building and say ‘Hey look, the industry is doing a great job, and consumers are doing a great job of listening to the safe handling and proper cooking messages that are out there,’” Raymond said. For the full Newsline story, visit AFBF’s website, www.fb.org, and look under the “Newsroom” heading for “Newsline.” (AFBF 4/2/13)
AFBF pleased with approval of Japan TTP—“The
American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the decision of the U.S. to approve the addition of Japan as a negotiating partner in the Trans Pacific Partnership,” according to AFBF President Bob Stallman. “As a major U.S. trading partner, Japan would bolster the reach of the TPP for U.S. agriculture.” Japan is the fourth-largest U.S. agricultural export market, with nearly $14 billion in purchases in 2012, and this makes trade with Japan is important to America’s farmers and ranchers. Both the United States and Japan will benefit from Japan being a TPP partner, and by sharing in improved sanitary and phytosanitary standards for agricultural trade and expanded market access with TPP nations, Stallman said. “The recent decision by Japan to increase access for U.S. beef shows that Japan can act to improve market access for U.S. agricultural products
based on sound science,” Stallman added. “A comprehensive TPP agreement that includes Japan will strengthen trade relationships, address remaining barriers and improve the competitiveness of the Asia/Pacific market.” (AFBF 4/12/13)
Julie Taylor (right), IFB’s education coordinator, presents a scholarship to Bridgette Vanos on behalf of Indiana Farm Bureau. The $500 scholarship was presented at a meeting of the Purdue Chapter of the Indiana Association of Agriculture Educators. Photo by Clinton Taylor
Pork industry initiative promotes animal well-being—The National Pork Producers
Council, the National Pork Board, the dairy industry and the Center for Food Integrity have banded together to launch an initiative to encourage the immediate reporting of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm. The “See It? Stop It!” initiative provides tools for farms to affirm that proper animal care is the responsibility of all employees and that animal abuse is not acceptable or tolerated. Farm workers will be encouraged to report abuse. “Animal well-being always has been the top priority of pork producers,” said NPPC President Randy Spronk, a producer from Edgerton, Minn. “The ‘See It? Stop It!’ initiative confirms that commitment and is a way to let animal caretakers know that it’s their moral responsibility to speak up to stop any animal abuse.” The initiative is an adjunct to the pork industry’s “We Care” program, which promotes pork producers’ long-standing commitment to responsible pork production and to continuous improvement in animal care, handling and transportation. It also bolsters the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus program, which outlines best practices for proper animal care, and the Transport Quality Assurance program, which certifies
people who transport hogs in proper care and handling methods. Both the U.S. pork and dairy industries provided funding for the initiative. Additional information about it, including an employer checklist, guidance for integrating the initiative into existing animal well-being programs, posters for use in barns and guidance on employee training is available at www.SeeItStopIt.org. (NPPC 3/28/13)
International farm-to-table symposium to be held in New Orleans— The Farm To
Table International Symposium will take place Aug. 2-4 in New Orleans. F2Ti explores the cultivation, distribution and consumption of food and drink sourced locally to globally. Topics include farming and aquaculture; fisheries, sustainability, social and digital interactive media; food security and safety; food law and policy; food science and GMO; ar-
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 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)
April 29, 2013
Scott Trennepohl (6) Jeff Gormong (7) Mark Bacon (8) Philip Springstun (9) Robert Schickel (10)
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 Administrative Assistant..................Tracie Trent
tisanal and slow food and drink; and fair trade. F2Ti is produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in partnership with the SoFAB Institute. (AFBF 4/15/13)
Nomination deadline for ‘Farm Mom of the Year’ is May 1—Do you know a farm
mom who amazes you every day with her contributions to her family, farm, community and agriculture? Nominate her for the chance to win $10,000. Anyone can nominate an outstanding farm mom. Five regional winners receive $5,000 from Monsanto; the national winner will win an additional $5,000. Visit AmericasFarmers.com for details and a nomination form. (AFBF 4/17/13)
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.
County fairs offer county Farm Bureaus many opportunities —By Julie Volbers-Klarich Administrative/Finance Team & Mindy Reef Public Relations Team County fairs are just around the corner, and Farm Bureaus across the state are busy planning activities to promote Farm Bureau membership and Indiana agriculture with their fair presence. The fair is a great time to offer educational and hands-on approaches to teach others about agriculture. Before you get too far into planning, ask what you want to accomplish with your fair presence. The county fair is a great chance to surface new members, inform the community about what Farm Bureau is and does and share information about local agriculture. You may have another goal in mind; regardless of what it is, approach the fair with a purpose. Some specific ideas to consider for your county fair presence: • Ask for new volunteers. We learned during the last strategic plan process that there are many members who aren’t active purely because they’ve never been asked. You may be surprised at the number of people who might not want to sit on the county board but will gladly man a booth or sell milkshakes for a few hours. • If you have an online presence, mention what you’re doing at the county fair.
• If you have a booth, make sure it is manned with members who are willing to speak to the public and are proud to represent Farm Bureau. An unmanned booth is a missed opportunity for interaction. • Offer a game or ask trivia questions. The sound of the spinning wheel or movement on a computer screen catches the attention of passersby. The enticement of a prize, no matter how small, also helps. • If you have the space, add an Ag in the Classroom activity or educational demonstration. Planting seeds, farm safety demos and easy cooking ideas provide an opportunity for conversations. • Offer something just for people who show their Farm Bureau membership card, such as a discount coupon at a fair vendor, a reusable bag or other useful or tasty item. • If you’re selling something in a cup, put your county Farm Bureau logo on it. You can have the cups printed with the logo or use a sticker. If there’s room, add a local ag fact. Some of these tips will also check boxes for the County Recognition Program while others will simply help your county have a stronger fair presence. For more information on the County Recognition Program or county fair activities, contact Julie Volbers-Klarich at jvolbers-klarich@ infarmbureau.org or 317-692-7890.
Jerol Watson serves popcorn at Warrick County Farm Bureau’s booth during the 2011 county fair. Anything that makes it easy for fairgoers to interact with Farm Bureau could make a county Farm Bureau’s fair presence more significant. Photo by Gary Michel
Volunteers needed for the Indiana State Fair —From the Organizational Development Team Volunteer opportunities will be available this year in the Farm Bureau building at the Indiana State Fair. Plans are underway to have new videos for the grain bin theater, an improved kids’ area with much more interaction, and of course, Farm Bureau’s famous free popcorn.
The final list of activities isn’t complete yet, but the intent is to provide more opportunities for volunteers and fairgoers to interact, including activities for children and adults. Please watch your email boxes and The Hoosier Farmer for more information. If you are interested in being put on the state fair volunteer list, contact Tina Nunez at 317-6927830 or email@example.com.
Rapid response best way to fight invasive species —From the Indiana State Department of Agriculture The Midwestern Governors Association has designated April as “Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.” “The economic health of the agricultural sector depends upon the industry’s ability to work together to identify threats and manage invasive species,” said Amy Cornell, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director of policy and regulatory affairs. Invasive plants, pests and diseases threaten not only agriculture, but parks, forests, gardens and even entire ecosystems. A Cornell University study puts annual costs as high as $120 billion nationally. Monroe County producer Tony Scherschel knows all too well how seriously invasive plant species can be. The culprit in his case is bush honeysuckle, a lovely but highly aggressive deciduous shrub. “It’s badly infested our woods. You’ll see it come all the way to the edge of the road, and it just grows so fast,” Scherschel said. “It kills the grass and annuals; basically anything
underneath it doesn’t get any food. We need more press releases and more people starting to fight it just a little bit earlier, because it just grows so fast.” One important weapon in the fight against invasive plants, pests and diseases is the Indiana Invasive Species Council, formed by the Indiana General Assembly. The chairman of the IISC is Dr. John Jachetta, regulatory sciences and government affairs leader of Dow AgroSciences. Jachetta said IISC works to help educate the public about the problem as well as developing effective means to combat invasive species. “Early detecting and rapid response are keys in keeping a small outbreak from becoming a major problem,” Jachetta said. “Anytime an individual in the state sees something they haven’t before, they can file a report and we can send something to our botanists to have it checked out,” he added. For more information on best management practices related to invasive species or to report a possible invasive species, go to http://www. entm.purdue.edu/iisc/.
One of last year’s volunteers at the Indiana State Fair was Sarah Correll of Miami County, who is shown here rewarding participants in the Wonder Trail, one of the activities sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
AFBF newspaper now available via email —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team The American Farm Bureau Federation will no longer print its monthly newspaper, the FBNews. However, beginning with the May issue, FBNews will be emailed to those who subscribe. To subscribe, go to AFBF’s website, www.fb.org/. In the upper right corner of the screen is a box labeled
“FBNews.” Follow the directions in that box to become a subscriber. There will be no charge to individual subscribers for the e-newsletter. AFBF will generate revenue by selling advertisement space. The e-newsletter will continue the tradition the FBNews has set of substantively covering policy issues from the Farm Bureau angle, reporting on AFBF’s work in Washington and highlighting state Farm Bureau activities.
April 29, 2013
Drought 2012: Hog producers still hoping for a better bottom line
any pork producers spent last summer and fall worrying about how much their feed was going to cost – and with good reason. But in southwestern Indiana, the epicenter of the drought, it was a different story. “You didn’t know what was going to be available,” explained Bill Tempel of Tempel Genetics, a seed stock and commercial hog operation in Spencer County. “The fear is, you go to make feed and the bins are empty.” “People were really scared about what was going to happen and if there was going to be enough corn,” added Valerie Duttlinger, Bill’s daughter and the operation’s genetics coordinator. A conversation during a statewide livestock meeting in August encapsulated the issue for her.
“Somebody said, ‘We’re just concerned about how much we’re going to have to pay for corn,’ and I said, ‘Well, that may be your concern, but our concern right now is where is the corn going to come from?’” she related. Tempel Genetics produces both commercial hogs and genetics (seed stock and semen) near Gentryville. The 1,100-sow operation merchandizes to producers locally, in other states and even in China and Japan. They also raise about 1,000 acres of grain for feed. But last summer and fall was spent scrambling for feed. As the drought intensified and the corn crop deteriorated (some fields had yields as low as 2 bushels/ acre), it became clear that they might have only about 60 days’ supply of feed by the completion of harvest, Tempel said.
Besides being independent pork producers, the Tempels also sell purebred seed stock and semen. Their customers range from producers in nearby towns to producers in China.
Tempel Genetics reduced its sow herd from 1,400 to 1,100 head as part of its strategy to make it through last year’s devastating drought.
April 29, 2013
Bill Tempel and his family managed to come out smiling despite last year’s devastating drought. The yields on their worst-producing fields ranged from 2 bushels/acre to 10 bushels/acre. From left are Bill and Angie Tempel, their daughter Valerie Duttlinger and her husband Ben.
They let farmers in the area know they were in the market to buy corn. Because some sellers didn’t want to sell right at harvest, they bought a lot of old-crop corn. A big problem was that farmers they were buying from didn’t know how much they’d have to sell. “We got their commitment…but we’d have no idea how much they were going to bring,” Duttlinger said. “There was a period of about two months there that it was hard to know really what we had our hands on.” They also found themselves in competition with ethanol plants. “From the livestock perspective, when corn supplies or carryouts are under a certain amount, ethanol usage needs to be relaxed,” Tempel said. “Whenever we had corn offered, we felt like we needed to buy it because we weren’t really sure what was out here in the country,” he explained. “So we’re in pretty good shape now. We’re probably within 10,000 bushels of having enough” to carry them through harvest. But the cost was high: Since August, they’ve paid an average of $7.82/bushel for corn. This compares to a high of $5.50 during the drought of 1988. Tempel said the farm used several tactics to get through the drought: 1. Dispersing the sow herd
on one farm, which cut production by 20 percent, and selling 1,600 weaned pigs so they wouldn’t have to buy corn to feed them. 2. Planting a third of their acres to wheat, which helped use up the nitrogen left in the soil by poor corn yields and will also provide another source of feed if they run low on corn this summer.
3. Working with a grain merchandizer to connect with sellers. 4. Testing corn frequently for the presence of toxins while feeding a toxin inhibitor. They aren’t planning to return to their pre-drought production as yet, Tempel added. “Not unless the economics get better,” he said.
Livestock farmers continue to long-term effects A lot of people have been asking ag economist Chris Hurt of Purdue what kind of year livestock farmers can expect in 2013. The next 100 days will determine the answer, he said. “There’s a lot of optimism,” he said. “One hundred days from now we’re going to know a whole lot more about feed supplies, but today…it’s just not assured. It looks good in the Eastern Cornbelt, we’ve got more water here, but Western Cornbelt, Great Plains – still a lot of drought. We’ve got a long ways to go. “That takes rain – that’s what we’ve got to see,”
he said, adding, “We’re going to know a lot more 100 days from now.” The drought took an enormous toll on the livestock industry, Hurt said. particularly beef cattle. Beef cow numbers in the U.S. are at their lowest level since 1962, and the number of all cattle and calves is the lowest since 1952. Last year alone, beef cow numbers dropped by 3 percent, mostly due to the drought but also because of very high feed prices. Hog producers also had a very difficult year, but Hurt said the overall size of the breeding herd decreased by only 1 percent, which is less than analysts were expecting. “Beef really took the brunt
Stories & photos By Kathleen M. Dutro
Morgan County cattleman hopes 2013 will be a ‘different year’
t’s a typical mid-April day in Indiana, and the pastures and hayfields around Jim Lankford’s Morgan County farm are as green as shamrocks, green with the promise of an abundance of grass and hay to feed his 80-cow beef herd this year. But of course, the same thing happened this time last year – in fact, conditions seemed even more promising. “For the first time ever, we got everything planted in April,” Lankford recalled. “We had good early growth and were able to start pasturing early.” And then came June and the onset of the most devastating drought in decades. “We never got any rain after that, really,” he said. The effects were dramatic. On their 2,200 acres of row crops, the Lankfords – Jim, his wife Ann, stepson Mike Case and employee Nick Starr – saw an average corn yield of 49 bushels/ acre and a soybean yield of about 33 bushels/acre. “I know (on) corn, we’ve never been that low,” said Jim, who’s been farming
full-time since 1969. Hay yields were down about 15 percent, he added – which wouldn’t have been too bad except that by the beginning of July, the pastures were already in trouble, and they had to supplement the pasture by feeding the cattle hay. “We kind of pastured everything into the ground. I mean, if there was a blade of grass out there, the cows ate it. And that has made the early growth and so on this spring a little bit slower,” he said. The hayfields will also need a growing season to recover, he added. In addition, a fire in September destroyed about half their harvested hay. Before the fire, Lankford calculated that with the 2012 crop and his carryover from 2011, he would have had almost enough hay to get through the winter. Instead he ended up purchasing hay at about double the normal price. “2013 – hopefully it will be a different year,” Lankford said. Unlike some cattle farmers, the Lankfords are starting out this year with the
o grapple with drought’s of the impact of the drought, at least in terms of numbers,” he said. The reason for this is that while high feed prices were a problem for all livestock, for beef cattle, feed problems were multiplied by the drought’s devastating effect on hay and pasture. “You had both high feed prices and a lack of forage,” he said. Increases in feed prices can’t be attributed solely to the 2012 drought, though, Hurt said, noting that prices for corn, soybean meal and hay have been increasing for several years. For example, in 2005, hay was $98 per ton and corn was $2 per bushel. “It’s not $2 corn any more, it’s $6, $7 corn,”
Hurt said. “It’s not $98 hay prices, it’s $190 hay prices.” “What solves this availability is improvement in weather – closer to more normal weather, more normal production,” Hurt said. However, as a couple of Indiana livestock farmers noted in separate interviews, it’s becoming difficult to define “normal.” “I’m not sure what normal is any more,” said Morgan County cattleman Jim Lankford. “It seems like we go from one extreme to the other.” Spencer County hog producer Bill Tempel was a bit more blunt. “There is no ‘normal’ here,” he said.
Jim Lankford pauses in front of part of his 80-cow beef herd. Despite the high price of hay, last year’s drought didn’t force him to downsize because he’d already culled 20 percent of his herd in 2008 after severe flooding on the White River and Lambs Creek killed some of his cattle and damaged pastures.
same size herd as they had last year. They’ve tried a couple of new tactics, Lankford explained. First, they’ve seeded some of their pastures and hayfields with clover to increase nutritive value and the production. They haven’t yet made up their minds if they’re going to use another of last year’s drought survival tactics: weaning calves at 5 months. This gave the cows a little more time to condition and it also cut down on the amount of grazing the calves did. “I would prefer to wait until the calves are six months old” or so, he said. “But we’ll do it either way. From what we saw, it was the right thing for us to do in 2012.” He can’t help but wonder what might happen if there’s a drought this year. “We’ll probably have to cull because we just won’t be able to maintain them all,” Lankford said. Not that he’s anticipating a bad year, he hastened to add. “As farmers, we’re always optimistic that we’re going to have a normal year, so you don’t want to look at the so-called bad until it happens,” he said. “You don’t want to plan for the bad.”
Mike Case (in the gray shirt) and Nick Starr install a fertilization unit on to Lankford Farm’s existing planter. The operation raises 2,200 acres of row crops.
Last year Lankford Farms had to start supplementing pasture with hay by the first of July – hay that cost about twice as much as it would have during a more normal year. “I really don’t think it (the price) is going to come down all that much this year,” he said.
April 29, 2013
around farm bureau
Food event to benefit Gleaners —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team Two chefs and two farmers will work in teams to create a great new dish during Zest ’n Zing: A Foodie Event for the At-Home Chef at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick History Center in downtown Indianapolis on May 7. Ticket sales benefit Gleaners Food Bank. “Food and farms are hot topics right now,” said Isabella Chism, 2nd vice president of Indiana Farm Bureau, the headline sponsor. “Zest ’n Zing gives our audience a chance to visit with farmers, learn a little bit more about how food is produced and get ideas for cooking.”
The event begins with a reception where attendees will have a chance to visit with Indiana food companies, including N.K. Hurst and Clabber Girl, and Indiana farmers while enjoying food and Indiana wines and beers. The main event – a cooking competition – will feature two teams consisting of a chef and a farmer using the same ingredients to create two different dishes that people can recreate easily at home with common ingredients. Teams are chef Jason Anderson, who returns after winning last year’s competition and who is teamed up with cattle farmer Ginny Tauer versus chef Greg Schiesser from Indi-
ana Downs and hog farmer Nick Sommers. Indiana’s Weatherman Paul Poteet and WTHR’s Jennie Runevitch will emcee the competition. Judges include Heather Tallman, known for her blog, basilmomma.com and host of Around the Kitchen Sink Radio, and an attendee selected from the crowd. Ticket sales run through www.infarmbureau.org. Ticket cost is $20. Proceeds from the event will benefit Gleaners Food Bank. The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center is located at 450 West Ohio St., Indianapolis. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the main event begins at 7 p.m. Parking is free but limited at the history center.
A FOODIE EVENT FOR THE AT-HOME CHEF
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center Tuesday, May 7 - 5-8:30 p.m. www.bitly.com/ZestnZing
Mineral rights seminars scheduled —From the IFB Legal Affairs Team
Indiana Farm Bureau Vice President Randy Kron (left) and President Don Villwock (right) pose with Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Donnelly was in Indiana during part of April to learn more about the farm bill and other federal farm issues. Photo by Megan Ritter
AFBF lays out tax reform wish list —From the AFBF Public Relations Team Individual tax code reform is essential for farmers and ranchers, the American Farm Bureau Federation said in a statement submitted on April 9 to the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. According to AFBF, tax reform must be simple, transparent, revenue-neutral and fair to farmers and ranchers. “Any tax reform proposal considered by Congress must be comprehensive and include individual tax reform,” AFBF stated. “More than 96 percent of farms and 75 percent of farm sales are taxed under IRS provisions for individual taxpayers.” Although broadening the tax base and lowering the rate are important parts of tax reform, AFBF cautioned that lawmakers should note that
April 29, 2013
lowering rates will impact farms and ranches differently than other businesses because farmers’ and ranchers’ income can swing wildly as a result of unpredictable weather and uncontrollable markets. Farm and ranch income varies greatly from year to year with loss years often outnumbering those that are profitable. Farm Bureau also supports the continuation of unrestricted cash accounting for farmers and ranchers who pay taxes as individuals and cautioned against reducing the number of farms classified as corporate that are eligible to use cash accounting. “Capital gains taxes continue to be a problem for farmers and ranchers,” continued the statement. “In addition to capital gains taxes imposed when land and buildings are sold, proceeds
from the sale of cattle used for breeding, dairy, draft and some other livestock are treated as capital gains income.” Like capital gains taxes, estate taxes continue to be one of the most worrisome tax issues facing farmers and ranchers, said AFBF. About 85 percent of farm and ranch assets are tied up in land, buildings or breeding animals, leaving farmers with few options for generating cash to pay the estate tax. With agriculture cropland values increasing on average 15 percent from 2011 to 2012, more farms are in danger of topping the current $5 million exemption, and estate tax planning continues to be complex and expensive for those close to or over the threshold. AFBF supports permanent repeal of the estate tax.
The Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation and Indiana Farm Bureau will host two seminars on mineral rights for those interested in learning more about the laws and regulations affecting mineral extraction. The first seminar will be held on July 29 in Vanderburgh County; the second will be held on July 30 at the Indiana Farm Bureau home office in Indianapolis. These seminars will provide landowners an overview of leasing considerations, state laws deal-
ing with mineral extraction and surface owner impacts, among other topics. Shale gas development activity, coal bed methane considerations, and carbon dioxide and natural gas storage opportunities will also be covered. The program’s focus is landowners. However, attorneys who represent landowners may find the information beneficial. Continuing legal education credits are being sought for the program. More information will be available soon and will be publicized in upcoming issues of The Hoosier Farmer.
Purdue Extension resources available for flood recovery —From the Purdue Ag Communication Service Purdue Extension has resources to help homeowners recover from problems brought on by floods. The publication First Steps to Flood Recovery is available free at local Purdue Extension offices and online at www.extension. purdue.edu/floodpub/. The publication has information on how to take care of people and animals during and after a flood, how to enter a flooded building and salvage damaged property, and how to handle food contam-
inated by floodwaters. Additional resources are available from the Purdue Extension Disaster Education Network at www.ag.purdue. edu/extension/eden. Topics include how to deal with flooded wells, how to prevent mold, and how to remove water and clean flooded basements. More information on flood preparedness and recovery also is available by contacting local Purdue Extension offices at 888-EXTINFO. A directory of Extension offices is available at www3.ag.purdue.edu/extension/Pages/Counties.aspx.
Have questions about ag? Just ‘Ask a Farmer’ —From the IFB Public Relations Team In the virtual world of Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere, experts say there are as many as 300,000 online discussions about our food and food supply taking place at any given moment. In the real world you hear the same conversations at the grocery store, in restaurants, at the office and in school lunchrooms. Until very recently one voice has been noticeably missing from the food dialogue: that of the farmers who grow what we consume. That lack of a voice led to the formation of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) two years ago. The alliance is a coalition of 22 national ag-related orga-
nizations and more than 70 industry affiliates. The goal is to create an all-inclusive “big table” conversation where farmers and consumers can have frank yet civil conversations about food choices and production practices. Closer to home, that lack of voice is why the LaPorte County Farm Bureau held its first “Ask a Farmer” panel discussion at its March 21 meeting in LaCrosse. LuAnn Troxel, a dairy farmer from Hannah, believed a moderated conversation with a variety of local farmers would be a good format to answer the questions about today’s agriculture being routinely asked by the 98 percent of the population who have no ties to the farm. “There is an information
Incentive program offered for Case IH tractors, equipment —From Case IH Farm Bureau members can now take advantage of farm equipment discounts from Case IH. Eligible Farm Bureau members will receive an incentive discount (from $300 to $500) when purchasing qualifying Case IH products and equipment from participating dealerships. “We selected Case IH as a member benefit program partner because they offer product expertise and field support, as well as the resources of a leading tractor manufacturer,” said Ron Gaskill, executive director of American Farm Bureau Inc. “The program’s goal is to provide Farm Bureau members with greater value when they purchase or lease eligible equipment.” “Case IH is proud to support the American Farm Bureau and its mission of building strong, prosperous agricultural communities,” said Zach Hetterick, Case IH livestock marketing manager. “The organization unifies farmers to make farming more sustainable and the community a better place to live in a way that could not be accomplished on an individual level.” Farm Bureau members from participating states – a category that includes Indiana – can receive the manufacturer’s incentive discount when an eligible tractor or implement is acquired. “There is no limit to the
number of incentive discounts that a Farm Bureau member may use as long as it is no more than one per unit and the equipment included provides opportunities for small landowners to larger, professional producers ,” Hetterick added. “This discount is also 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. Certificates may be obtained by visiting fbadvantage.com (AFBF’s membership benefits website) and selecting the Case IH offer. Eligible individuals, family or business members receive the following discounts on purchases of these qualifying products: Case IH Farmall Compact Tractors (A & B) – $300 per unit; Case IH Farmall utility tractors (C, U, J Series), $500 per unit; Case IH Maxxum Series tractors, $500 per unit; Case IH Farmall 100A Series tractors, $500 per unit; Case IH self-propelled windrowers, $500 per unit; Case IH large square balers, $500 per unit; Case IH round balers, $300 per unit; Case IH disc mower conditioners, $300 per unit; Case IH sickle mower conditioners, $300 per unit; Case IH Scout utility vehicles, $300 per unit.
gap between today’s farmers and the folks who are shopping to feed their families,” said Troxel. “As that gap widens, consumers begin to question practices they don’t understand. That leads to an unjustified lack of confidence in our food system, which is safer now than it ever has been.” Gene Schmidt, Glen Minich and Denise Scarborough, all LaPorte County farmers, sat on the panel with Troxel and spent more than an hour talking about their farms and farming practices. Indiana Farm Bureau director of public relations Andy Dietrick posed a series of questions he had selected from USFRA’s website “Food Source” (www. fooddialogues.com/foodsource). There farmers provide answers to consumer questions on more than a dozen topics, including animal welfare, antibiotic use, food safety, pesticides, biotechnology and others. Even though the audi-
ence at LaPorte County Farm Bureau’s meeting was proagriculture and familiar with today’s farming methods, Scarborough thought it was important to have the conversation with this group as well. “These folks represent the small percentage of our population who know about and understand modern agriculture,” she explained. “But what they may not know, and I think it is important for them to hear, is that a growing number of nonfarm people have concerns about what’s happening on the farm.” Scarborough, who works off-farm for Farm Credit Mid America, also blogs, and what she sees and hears on dozens of “mommy blogs” – the informal name for blogs written by women that often focus on home, family and parenting issues – is frightening. The blogosphere, she says, is full of misinformation claiming to be truth, pseudo-science with no peer
review and opinion masquerading as fact. And inaccurate posts get passed from blog to blog to blog with no critical thought or educated response. And that is where the “Ask a Farmer” program comes in. It is one county Farm Bureau’s effort to make sure the voices of those who know best are available to provide answers for those who are asking.
Looking back Indiana Farm Bureau has been publishing The Hoosier Farmer since 1919, and in that time, we’ve run a lot of really great photos. Here’s one just discovered by education coordinator Julie Taylor in a folder left to her by a predecessor (who may have received it from her predecessor). It originally ran in the March 1946 issue of The Hoosier Farmer, and it shows township “social and educational directors” (an early incarnation of what are now called in most counties “county woman leaders”) from Vigo County. The women are being honored for making their membership quotas by Jan. 1, 1946, and as a prize for this achievement, they were given hats by the county Farm Bureau. They are shown in the millinery department of an establishment identified as the Herz Store. From left are: Mrs. Lloyd M. Ruszler (county social and education director); Mrs. W.P. Davies, Riley Township; Mrs. Vern Haynes, Nevins Township; Mrs. Earl Voges, Prairieton Township; Mrs. Amiel Dragon, Honey Creek Township; Mrs. John Robinson, Sugar Creek Township, and Mrs. C.R. Singhuse, Peirson Township.
April 29, 2013
Dietitians learn about food, processing —By Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team Registered dietitians are an increasingly important voice in today’s consumerdriven conversations about food and nutrition. They work in hospitals, schools, food service companies, grocery stores and farm commodity organizations. According to Michelle Plummer, relationship specialist for the American Dairy Association of Indiana, registered dietitians are part of every link in the food chain, even if they aren’t always visible. Plummer is also president-elect of the Indiana Dietetic Association (IDA), a nonprofit organization made up of more than 1,300 professionals including registered dietitians, dietetic technicians and dietetic students. The group’s goal is to optimize Indiana citizens’ health through food and nutrition with integrity, customer focus and innovation. Yet Plummer says these
professionals aren’t always aware of the production practices, technology and regulatory guidelines that get food from the field to the store to the kitchen. That is why for the past two years IDA has scheduled a field trip as part of its annual meeting. Last year’s visit to the Kelsay dairy farm proved so successful that more than 100 of the 150 dietetic Owner Kim Porter discussed the benefits of fresh herbs and provided a brief history of her operation for the busloads of professionals regisregistered dietitians who visited Garden Thyme at the Old Schoolhouse as part of the food and nutrition tour portion of tered for this year’s the Indiana Dietetic Association’s annual convention held April 17 and 18 in Indianapolis. Photo by Andy Dietrick conference signed up for a bus trip to Emergent Food Systems in packed five hours. Along and other beverages every Garden Thyme, Prairie Farms Indiana, about his studies of the way and between stops, day,” said Plummer. “And and Good’s Chocolates in local food systems and food the dietitians heard from the they’ll even learn something Anderson, Ind. insecurity. Indiana State Department about the health benefits of “It’s good to get the dietiYou can find out more of Health about its Indiana the anti-oxidants found in tians out so they know how about the Indiana Dietetic Healthy Weight Initiative, dark chocolate – when conherbs are grown and where Association at the organizaand had the chance to sumed in moderation.” they are coming from, so tion’s website, http://eatconverse with conference The April 17 bus tour, they know that Prairie Farms rightin.org/. keynote speaker Ken Meter, sponsored in part by Indiana is processing and delivering author of Hoosier Farmer? Farm Bureau, was a jamfresh, wholesome, local milk
Reward offered in murder case A reward of $35,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of former District 7 Director Lowell Badger. Badger, 85, was found dead in his Sullivan County home by his son on Dec. 8. The autopsy determined that the cause of death was homicide. Electronics and other items were found missing from the residence, located at 10447 W County Road 350 North in Merom.
Indiana State Police detectives from the Putnamville Post, with the assistance of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, continue to investigate Badger’s death. Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact First Sergeant Jeff Hearon or Detective Tom Hanks of the Indiana State Police Putnamville Post at 765-653-4114. More information about the case and the reward is available from the State Police website, www.in.gov/ isp/2906.htm.
Lowell Badger as he looked when he was IFB’s District 7 director.
Calendar of Events May 7 8 22, 23
Zest ’n Zing, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis. IFB Women’s Leadership Committee board and professional development meeting. IFB board of directors meeting.
June 5, 6 6 7 8 15 15 19, 20 22, 23 28-July 26
IFB Women’s Leadership Committee meeting. District woman leader alumni lunch. District 10 outing, Louisville Bats baseball game. District 2 Young Farmer outing. District 1 summer picnic, South Bend Silver Hawks baseball game. District 9 summer picnic, Lincoln Amphitheatre. IFB board of directors meeting. State Young Farmer outing. Summer membership blitz.
District 1 “Summer Fun” on the Madam Carroll, Monticello.
April 29, 2013
Beltone Hearing Healthcare 15% Retail Discount All members and their immediate family members (grandparents, parents, spouse and children) will receive complimentary hearing screenings and a 15% retail discount off the usual and customary retail price of any Beltone hearing instrument at any of over 1500 locations throughout the United States including 50+ locations in Indiana.
To find a Beltone location, visit www.Beltone.com 15% retail discount cannot be used with other discounts or special offers. All members must show membership ID at first appointment. Instruct Beltone professional to use Managed Care number #42200