Legislative Priorities for 2014 Pages 4, 5
Young Farmer Conference is Jan 24, 25 Page 3
INSIDE: News in Brief.....................2 Around IFB........................3 Rules & Regulations........... 6 Around AFBF.....................7 Around Indiana.................8
The Hoosier Farmer
A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau
NOVEMBER 25, 2013 Issue No. 46
Preliminary soil productivity results reveal unanticipated increases —Edited by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Newly modeled soil productivity factors were presented to the Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy on Nov. 13. Katrina Hall testified on behalf of Indiana Farm Bureau members. “Members are strongly urged to take a look at the results and provide feedback if they think their new soil factors are unreasonable,” Hall said. They are available on IFB’s public policy website, www.ifbstayinformed.org. The new factors are a result of a study jointly performed by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance and the Purdue School of Agriculture. SB 319, which was passed by the General Assembly in February, charged the DLGF and Purdue with conducting the study. These factors are a part of the formula that determines the assessed value of farmland for property tax purposes. Purdue developed the new factors using the “Diderickson model,” which was also used 35 years ago to determine the original soil productivity factors. These SPF factors are used to distinguish the value of soils from the “average.” The Diderickson model evaluates corn yield changes based on 14 soil characteristics that are considered to improve or impair yield. It uses data from the USDAIndiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206
NRCS soil survey database and assumes management techniques and strategies at a level required for crop production – basically, average production practices. It also assumes that drainage is in place for wet soils. While the DLGF/Purdue study showed that the range of factors only moved from a range of 0.5-1.28 to a range of 0.5-1.31, the change to soil productivity factors within most counties had a wider variance. Of the 6,387 soil types across the state, 1,076 saw no change and 176 went down. The remaining 5,135 increased. This high number of increases was not anticipated. The study shows that 2,261 soil types increased between 10 percent and 30 percent – an obvious reason for concern. Since the comparison of the new factors and old factors was provided just two days before the commission meeting, Hall asked for additional time to share the results with IFB’s farmer members. “I believe that farmers working with soils each day are the ones who would be best able to gauge whether or not the proposed factors are reasonable,” she said. Purdue agronomy professor Philip Owens, who conducted the study, also asked for more time to see why so many soils showed more change than was anticipated. The DLGF/Purdue report and tables showing old facNon-Profit Organization U.S. Postage
Berne, IN Permit NO. 43
Indiana Farm Bureau hosted a continental breakfast at the Indiana Statehouse on Nov. 19, also known as “Organization Day,” the day on which the General Assembly gathers to plan for the next session, which begins in January. Shown here (from left) are Justin Schneider, IFB senior policy advisor; IFB President Don Villwock; Katrina Hall, IFB state government relations director; and Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
tors and new factors for each county can be found on IFB’s www.ifbstayinformed. org website. Member comments on the proposed fac-
tors that include specific references to the soil types should be emailed to Hall, email@example.com. Legislation will again be
needed to address the soil productivity factor issue. Refer to IFB priorities on page 5 of this issue of The Hoosier Farmer for more information.
EPA administrator meets with Indiana ag leaders to discuss RFS and conservation —By Kyle Cline National Policy Advisor Public Policy Team Newly confirmed EPA administrator Gina McCarthy made a stop in the Hoosier state on Nov. 16 at Kelsay Farms in Whiteland as part of her Midwestern agriculture tour to see farming up close and hear first-hand accounts about the innovations being implemented by ag leaders and the challenges they face. Senator Joe Donnelly was also on hand to host the administrator and discuss the concerns of farmers and industry leaders, including the EPA’s proposed decision to reduce the amount of renewable fuels required to be blended in our overall fuel supply. The EPA proposal would cut nearly 3 billion gallons of biofuel that was originally mandated to be blended into the fuel supply. Conventional biofuel would be cut to 13 billion gallons per year from 14.4 billion, a decrease that represents nearly the entire amount of ethanol cur-
rently produced in Indiana. The proposal also reduces cellulosic biofuels to 17 million from 1.75 billion. Farmers, ag leaders and biofuel interests at the meeting responded by indicating the significant economic consequences for farm families and rural communities all across the Midwest as well as the nation’s energy security. Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock also noted the link between the economic benefits of ethanol and increased conservation practices. “Ethanol has given farmers the ability to be better stewards of the land because they have had the income to invest in new innovative conservation tools and practices”, said Villwock. “With this decision, you have effectively shot the golden goose for agriculture.” In response, McCarthy highlighted the current challenges with the “blend wall”: lack of infrastructure, lack of flex-fuel vehicles, and lack of information as primary reasons for the lat-
est decision. However, she asked for the help of farmers and ag leaders. “The latest announcement is a proposal and we want input, we want to understand how it impacts the market, how it impacts your community,” said McCarthy. Donnelly commented that, “We need to tell ag’s story on ethanol, fight the bad information on ethanol effects on cars and the environment, and challenge the oil companies.” Other issues discussed at the meeting included conservation compliance and nutrient reduction and management. “Conservation farming keeps nutrients in the soil and protects the waterways and environment. I am concerned about potential rules coming from EPA on what we can use for nutrients and how we manage them,” said Roger Wenning. The EPA is seeking input on the proposed RFS decision and its impacts. Farmers are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-692-7845 for more information or for assistance.
NEWS IN BRIEF
DC Follies: It’s All About the Math thoughts with you on the farm bill. While I and other representatives of Corn Belt states are not happy with all of the provisions in the farm title of the bill, many believe we can work out the House and Senate differences in conference committee and find a compromise on key features such as elimination of direct payments and the shoring up of the crop insurance title. As many of you know, the big stumbling block is food stamps, officially called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). For the 10-year budget cycle of the farm bill, the Senate voted to cut SNAP payments by $4 billion dollars, while the House passed a $40 billion dollar reduction. Both seem locked on their numbers, and the ability to compromise between these two far-distant figures is almost an impossible task. But that one major issue is preventing movement on the farm bill. While most of us in agriculture know the food programs make up more than 80 percent of the farm bill and USDA budget, many of our urban friends and neighbors do not. As an ag economist, it is easy for me to see why some think splitting off the nutrition programs might be an expedited way of moving the farm bill forward.
But my 30+ years of political experience in Washington, D.C., tell me otherwise. We must be pragmatic and realize passing a farm bill is all about the math. There are only around 50 truly rural House members (those for whom ag makes up a significant economic portion of their district), and they must find a way to build a coalition with others to pass any ag-focused legislation. Since the 1960s, food and nutrition programs have brought urban legislators to the table to pass a farm bill. Besides being a carrot to attract the votes needed, we must now realize nutrition programs provide a significant demand side to our commodity sales. In today’s weak economy, 1 in 5 Americans, many of them children, now rely on food assistance programs. Also in the longer view, if we remove food programs from the farm bill and ultimately from USDA and give the program to the Department of Health and Human Services, will we even have a USDA down the road? Would agriculture be well served if USDA’s programs would be parceled out to EPA or the Departments of the Interior, Commerce or Labor? Do you want an EPA official in your office talking about your violation of the
Clean Water Act? Secondly there has been much congressional talk about making the 2013 farm bill permanent law. The idea is that it would replace the 1938 and 1949 farm bills which have acted as the permanent underlying laws but amended by all subsequent farm bills. Why care about this? Once again we need to dig into how Congress functions – or doesn’t function. As we’ve all seen many times, without external pressure, such as a ticking adjournment clock or a self-imposed deadline, Congress doesn’t act until the last second. With the farm bill, the pressure has always come from the lurking realization that by doing nothing, agriculture policy, laws, and regulations would revert to the thresholds outlined in the archaic 1938 and 1949 acts. As bad as the 1949 act is, it is a very useful tool for bringing legislators to the table to pass needed legislation. We only have to look back to last January when at the last second, Congress passed an extension of our current 2008 farm bill to prevent a reversion back to the 1949 act. While the ag economist in me says this is all political craziness and we should have true honest dialog and a date-certain timeline, once again my
pragmatic experience tells me they can’t act like mature adults and leaders and get the job done on time without this time-honored anvil hanging over their heads. Finally, as I wrote earlier, it’s all about the math and counting votes. It is also about the number of contacts we as farmers make to our elected officials. Before the Internet, a congressional office would gear up for any legislation that would generate a dozen letters or contacts on an issue. But in today’s world, with e-mails, Twitter messages and Facebook posts, it takes hundreds and sometimes thousands of contacts to draw the attention of our representatives or senators. We in Farm Bureau must step up our game and increase our outreach to our elected officials. We just heard from one of our most friendly elected congressmen who told us he wasn’t hearing much on the farm bill or other issues that are near and dear to all of us. He was asking for help in supporting our positions. After experiencing the drought of 2012 do you want to plant the 2014 crop without crop insurance and an adequate safety net? That could happen if we don’t generate more contacts on the Hill. As I said, “It’s all about the math.”
diana. His colleagues from around the country recognize him for his expertise in agricultural law and the outstanding programming he has developed at the Indiana Farm Bureau.” IFB president Don Villwock echoed Kirk’s sentiments. “Mark Thornburg is an asset to Indiana Farm Bureau and Indiana agriculture as a whole,” said Villwock. “He was instrumental in the formation of the Indiana
Ag Law Foundation, he’s involved in IFB’s legislative and regulatory activities, and he works firsthand with farmers and landowners on property rights, mineral rights and drainage issues. Mark truly deserves this special award.” Thornburg has been with IFB since 1999 and currently serves as the organization’s general counsel and director of legal affairs.
Voters reject labeling of GMO foods—
Farm Bureau general counsel Mark Thornburg has received an Excellence in Agricultural Law Award from the American Agricultural Law Association. The award recognizes an attorney who has made outstanding con-
tributions to agricultural law and the agricultural community through legal representation, professionalism, public education programming, teaching, public policy, public service or leadership. In presenting the award, AALA president Peggy Kirk, J.D. said, “Mark Thornburg has made significant contributions to the legal needs of Indiana agriculture, but his knowledge and professionalism extend far beyond In-
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
Director & General Counsel ...Mark Thornburg Associate Counsel for Corporate Compliance & Nonprofit Affairs ............Sara MacLaughlin 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) Allie Rieth (4)
—By Don Villwock IFB President As I write this on Nov. 11, it has been a bizarre growing year in Indiana with surprisingly good-togreat yields for many. We had some unplanted acres in the river bottoms, some drowned-out spots on some undrained flat areas and a dryer August than last year, but our yields exceeded all expectations. Once again, thank you, Lord, for the blessings that you bring. But as bizarre as our weather was this year, the political antics in Washington have been even more erratic. While the issues facing Congress are some of the largest in our country’s history, the politicians want to be overly partisan, throwing verbal darts at those on the other side of the aisle while our great democracy is burning down around them. Having an open and honest debate or even a simple civil conversation seems outside the ability of many of our elected officials. I hope and pray that they will soon come to their senses and become leaders and statesmen and work towards common-sense solutions on the critical issues of the day: the budget, health care, immigration and the farm bill, just to name a few. I want to share a few
News Bites —Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Thornburg honored by national law association—Indiana
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)
Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation Director..................... John Shoup
November 25, 2013
Public Policy Team Director........................................ Megan Ritter Policy Development & Industry Relations.........................Bob Cherry National Government Relations Policy Advisor................. Kyle Cline State Government Relations Policy Advisor & Counsel..........Amy Cornell Administrative Assistant .................... B.J. Fields State Government Relations Director...................................... Katrina Hall Administrative Assistant .............Wanda Hunter Senior Policy Advisor & Counsel..................................Justin Schneider Livestock Development Specialist... Greg Slipher Direct Retail Business Specialist........Bob White
Organizational Development Team Director............................................... Kim Vail Field Services Program Director.....Chris Fenner Young Farmer & Women’s Program Coordinator................ Meggie Foster Collegiate Farm Bureau Coordinator................................ Seth Harden Program Assistant.......................Kathryn Rogers Education Coordinator.................... Julie Taylor Member Services Coordinator...........Anna Todd Administrative Assistant.................. Tracie Trent
Indiana Farm Bureau Inc./ Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Director of Affiliate Relations..... Julie Volbers-Klarich
Voters in Washington state on Nov. 5 rejected a ballot initiative calling for labeling of genetically modified foods. Just over half (54.8 percent) of voters opposed labeling, while 45.2 percent favored it. If the initiative had been approved, Washington would have been the first U.S. state with a law requiring labeling. (AFBF
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: email@example.com 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.
Erven to speak at Young Farmer conference —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team Bernie Erven, professor emeritus at Ohio State University, will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 IFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference, Jan. 24 and 25 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. “Operating a family farm business can be extremely rewarding, but it also brings it share of challenges to the table, especially when you consider family dynamics,” said Meggie Foster, Young Farmer and women’s program coordinator for Indiana Farm Bureau. “Dr. Erven will discuss the importance of leadership within a family business and how that is an especially important transi-
tion for the younger members of the farm operation.” Erven’s “Farm Transitions” address explores the correlation between farm success and willingness to change, especially when it comes to the challenges of farming with family. His presentation covers a critical question for the next generation: How can younger family members make the transition from thinking of it as “your” farm to thinking of it as “our” farm and then commit to working together with other family members and employees? The keynote speech takes place at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. The conference has a similar format to the last few years. Friday night is filled
OSU professor emeritus Bernie Erven
with fun activities for adults and children, including massages, corn hole and euchre tourneys, and snacks. A Kids Against Hunger packing event returns from last year
as well. Saturday’s activities include the keynote, four flights of breakout sessions and the trade show and silent auction. The event ends with a meal and entertainment from Paul Miller, magician, juggler and comedian.
Registration for IFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference will open in midDecember. Members in the Young Farmer age range who have an email on file will receive an invitation. Keep reading The Hoosier Farmer for details.
Convention business session location named —By Mindy Reef Public Relations Team While guest speakers, leadership sessions and other activities fill much of the schedule for the IFB state convention, the heart of the event is the business meeting, Dec. 14 from 8:30-10 a.m. in Hall A of the Grand Wayne Convention Center. Each county Farm Bureau will send representatives.
The business meeting includes a discussion of policy issues that have arisen since the main policy-setting delegate session in August and the election of Indiana Farm Bureau’s vice president for the next three years. Tickets for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Holiday Pops show will be available at the convention. Ticket prices start at a $10 donation to the Community Harvest Food
Bank; larger donations will result in better seats. Registration for the convention is available until Dec. 6 on www.infarmbureau.org/convention. Anyone who has not signed up for convention by that date must wait to register on-site. IFB state convention runs Dec. 13 and 14 at the Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne, Ind. Visit the convention website for more information.
Reservations due for AFBF convention Attending the America Farm Bureau annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, could be as simple as making one phone call, said Indiana Farm Bureau meeting planner Kay Keown.
The convention will be Jan. 12-15, and packages are available for 2-5 nights. IFB works with Geraci Travel to make it as easy as possible. Members interested in attending should call
Megan Ritter (right), director of IFB’s public policy team, conducts a mock TV interview with Theresa Harrison from Fayette County, one of the participants in the campaign management school Indiana Farm Bureau sponsored on Nov. 7. The two-day event teaches basics of running a campaign to prospective candidates. A second one will be held in February. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
Geraci and ask for Chris Davis, 800-871-2221, or email her at chris@geracitravel. com. Travel arrangements are due by Dec. 1 (very shortly after members receive this issue of The Hoosier Farmer). After that, hotel rooms are subject to availability. Indiana Farm Bureau is staying at the convention headquarters hotel, the Marriott Rivercenter, located in the heart of San Antonio on the Riverwalk, across the street from the convention center. Options for packages include shuttle service from the airport, the annual Indiana breakfast and an optional tour of Luckenbach, Texas, that stops at the 10,000 acre Hillingdon Ranch and Becker Vineyards. For information on the convention that’s specific to IFB members, as well as more information on San Antonio, visit www. infarmbureau.org, click on “Events,” and then “AFBF 2014 annual convention.”
San Antonio’s historic Riverwalk.
Applicants sought for ACE Ambassador program —By Meggie Foster Organizational Development Team The Indiana Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) annually sponsors an opportunity for Indiana Farm Bureau members to travel as ambassadors for agriculture. The 2014 ACE Ambassadors will travel to Michigan. Anyone interested can
find out more information and the downloadable application form is available online at www.infarmbureau. org/Programs.aspx?id=8001 The deadline to apply is Feb. 3, 2014. The goal of ACE Ambassadors is to promote greater understanding of agriculture, people, family life, and cultures in different parts of the country.
November 25, 2013
Farmers need to relate their ‘personal story’ to legislators —By Katrina Hall Public Policy Team Let me start my first state legislative pep talk – or is that a “prep” talk? – by stating that I have considered it a great honor to represent Indiana Farm Bureau members at the Statehouse since 1999. I cannot imagine doing anything else. I am, nonetheless, more honored this year to lead your efforts on state policy and to work with two very capable attorneys, Justin Schneider and Amy Cornell. Over the last several months, your new lobbying team has been intensely focused on refining issues and working with allies and foes on our messages for this session. By the time you read this,
IFB will have hosted a continental breakfast for Indiana legislators on Nov. 19, commonly known as Organization Day. This welcome-back event gives the IFB lobbying team a chance to present the 2014 legislative priorities. Priority issues naturally rise to the top after months of policy development by our grassroots members. But sometimes, issues are forced to the forefront by activist groups. The issues facing agriculture today are serious. Detractors are sharpening their sticks against us and in some cases effectively painting agriculture in a bad light. It is every farmer’s responsibility to tell agriculture’s story and specifically his or her own
story of good stewardship, highest standards of animal care and their economic impact on local economies across Indiana. Your homework? How do the priority issues affect you? It is important that you are able to relate your personal story. In addition to farmland taxes and assessments, annexation, water resources and trespass, we also expect that legislation will be introduced on the issue of allowing counties to appoint a single county executive and possibly on personal property tax relief. Make no mistake: In addition to our priorities, we will be participating in legislation that is covered in policy and watching all
legislation for impacts on agriculture. It is no accident that the clout of Indiana Farm Bureau is now at the highest level since I joined Farm Bureau. IFB clout with the General Assembly is clearly tied to growth in our members’ focus on legislative relationships, on engagement in Indianapolis and back home and on having credible, meaningful messages. The 2014 session is a “short” session that must “sine die” (adjourn for the year) by March 14. Because this is a short session, don’t put off your county’s visit to the Statehouse. We recommend that statehouse visits occur on Mondays through Thursdays between Jan. 13
and Feb.20. Legislative contacts back home are also an effective way to stress issues and build relationships. Examples include pre-legislative meetings or third-house sessions. Since it is a short session, county Farm Bureaus should be able to fit in post-session wrap-ups before field work takes over. Editor’s note: Katrina Hall became IFB’s state government relations director in June. She had previously served as the organization’s government finance and tax specialist.
IFB members join farmers from other states in calling for ag labor reform —From the IFB Public Policy Team Representatives of Indiana Farm Bureau joined farmers from 13 other state Farm Bureaus and more than 600 business leaders during the Americans for Reform immigration fly-in event on Oct. 28 and 29. The event was held in Washington, D.C., to advocate for an agriculture labor solution as part of broader immigration reform. IFB members spent time on Capitol Hill talking with their congressional representatives about their need for a reliable workforce. As a Farm Bureau priority and central issue of the current “Heat Is On” campaign, ag labor reform and its many challenges were highlighted to House
members. “It simply comes down to whether we want our food grown here in our country in a safe manner that we have control over, or if we want to be in a position where we have to import our food because of a labor shortage. It is a food security issue as well as an economic issue,” said IFB member John Metzger. In addition to the problems of labor shortages and impacts to food and economic security, the issue of the current undocumented agricultural workforce was raised. “We aren’t necessarily asking for an easy pathway to citizenship here. However, we need some way to help our current illegal workforce out of the shadows and live without fear of being taken away from their jobs, homes,
Doug Leman, Sarah Jordan, John Metzger, Rep. Susan Brooks, Steve Austin and IFB national policy advisor Kyle Cline pose outside Brooks’ congressional office. The four Indiana Farm Bureau representatives joined Cline and representatives of 13 other state Farm Bureaus to lobby Congress on ag labor issues Oct. 28 and 29. Photo by the American Farm Bureau Federation
November 25, 2013
and families,” said Doug Leman, executive director of Indiana Dairy Producers. He further noted that, “It isn’t just the workers and their families living in fear. The farmers are also dealing with this issue and have no practical way to deal with it due to a broken immigration system.” Farm Bureau is urging Congress to pass an agriculture labor program with both short and long-term stability. “It’s a way to keep our experienced workforce, while making sure we have access to a legal workforce through a streamlined and flexible guest worker program in the future,” said AFBF President Stallman. In seeking a meaningful legislative solution to agriculture’s worker shortage, Farm Bureau believes that comprehensive immigration reform must include an uncapped Agricultural Visa Program to ensure a future legal workforce and an adjustment of status for experienced but unauthorized agricultural workers after meeting certain stringent requirements including paying back taxes, remaining in agriculture for several years and paying a penalty fee. Americans for Reform is comprised of conservative faith, law enforcement and business groups from around the nation. The group held more than 150 congressional meetings during the immigration reform fly-in. For the latest tweets from fly-in participants on the event, follow #Ready4Reform. Also, follow IFB national policy advisor Kyle Cline @ifbkyle.
Steve Austin, Sarah Jordan, John Metzger and Doug Leman discuss ag labor reform during the fly-in. Photo by the American Farm Bureau Federation
Farmers need to report water wells to DNR —By Justin Schneider Public Policy Team The recent growth in farm irrigation coupled with the drought of 2012 has drawn attention to ag’s use of water, and one question often asked is whether farmers have registered their wells with the state. According to state law, all wells or surface water intakes that are capable of pumping 100,000 gallons per day are considered a “significant water withdrawal facility,” or SWWF. Every SWWF must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources. Once the well is registered, the owner must also file an annual report showing the total volume of water pumped during the year. It is important that all SWWFs are registered with the state and that the annual water use reports are filed.
Indiana has recently begun a review of the laws related to water use. Part of that review will include an analysis of water use and projections for future water needs. Without accurate water use data, the study will be incomplete and agriculture’s need for access to water may be undervalued. More significant to those with SWWFs is that existing uses of water could be impacted by changes to the law. The trend in most states is to protect existing water uses so long as they have been reported to the state. If a well is not registered with the state and the annual use is not reported, that particular use may not be protected. For more information on the SWWF law or to register your well, please visit the DNR website, www.in.gov/ dnr/water/4847.htm, or contact the IDNR, Division of Water at (317) 234-1101.
IFB Priorities for the 2014 General Assembly Top issues for the 2014 session range from taxation to trespass Indiana Farm Bureau’s policy is developed through an intricate process of grassroots involvement leading to the adoption of a substantive policy book that addresses a wide variety of issues. While all the issues in the policy book remain important to Farm Bureau, the board of directors has identified the issues of the highest priority, and the issues for the 2014 General Assembly are listed on this page. They were chosen as priority items based on: • Potential impact on Indiana agriculture and Farm Bureau members. • Potential for setting a precedent that could have a significant effect on agriculture. • Likelihood that the topic will become an issue in the upcoming legislative session. On this page is a list of the priorities, along with some session goals that can be used to help members think about the issues raised and also how to talk about these issues with their legislators.
—From the IFB Public Policy Team
Taxation Soil Productivity Factors To avert a statewide increase in farmland taxes (an estimated $57.4 million annually), Indiana Farm Bureau supported legislation in 2012 and 2013 that delayed implementation of a change to the soil productivity factors used to determine farmland assessments. The 2013 legislation required a study by the Department of Local Government Finance and the Purdue School of Agriculture to determine if new soil productivity factors are needed, what model should be used to calculate new factors and what exactly the factors should be to reflect the productive differences in the nearly 7,000 soil types identified across Indiana. The DLGF presented new factors to the Commission on State Tax & Financing on Nov. 13. Its report included factors ranging from 0.5 to 1.31, compared to the previous range of 0.5 to 1.28. (For more on those factors, see page 1 of this issue of The Hoosier Farmer.) Session goals: • Change name to “soil productivity rankings” that are provided to the DLGF from Purdue School of Agriculture after appropriate modeling techniques have been conducted. • Require use of detailed soil maps and detailed soil data from NRCS. • Require that soil productivity rankings are developed by dividing model yield by average yield. • Maintain 0.5 minimum soil productivity ranking that recognizes all soil that can be farmed for crops has value. If not farmed for crops, the 0.5 factor should be combined with appropriate influence factors.
Farmland Assessment In the last few years and due to the most recent reassessment in particular, farmland assessments for farmers across Indiana have been changed to another property classification for property tax purposes. Changes have also happened within the farmland classification, such as moving woodland to nontillable land. All reclassifications have resulted in the increased taxable value of parcels that were previously and appropriately identified as
to another farmland category or to another assessment method such as excess residential, commercial or industrial.
Local Government Annexation As Indiana cities and towns have more frequently experienced fiscal pressures from declining general revenues and tax cap loss, many of them have looked to annexation as a way to expand their tax base to lower property tax rates on
about how tax burdens will change for those being annexed. Annexation is also a way for municipalities to expand their “two-mile fringe” zoning area beyond that originally approved by the county commissioners. Landowners subjected to annexation proposals need more information and more effective ways to stop unwanted movement of city and town boundaries. Session goals: • Eliminate all procedures that require objecting landowners to petition a court of law for relief. • Retain focus on landowners in the remonstrance procedure. • Lower petition remonstrance threshold to simple majority as it applies to a voluntary annexation. • Municipality must provide meaningful and detailed fiscal plans for any pro-
Limited local supplies also create conflicts between users and opposition to agricultural expansion. There is also a growing trend for local businesses or units of government to withdraw water and sell it for use in another jurisdiction, raising concern that existing water rights may be impacted. Under the guidance of the Water Resources Study Committee, efforts are underway to develop a comprehensive plan for water management. Session goals: • A water resource plan is needed to ensure longterm availability to water while protecting current access for economic development needs. • Agriculture should be recognized as a priority user of water. • This should be a deliberate process to ensure that the state gets the plan done correctly, not quickly.
agricultural. Almost all these changes were done without taxpayer notice of the change in assessing techniques. Session goals: • Maintain use value assessment for all agricultural land. • Calculate farmland assessments using a base rate, soil productivity rankings, and influence factors. • Use most current data available in the base farmland calculation that reflects more accurately the income potential of farmland as commodity prices and annual production fluctuate more dramatically and more frequently. • Require a specific taxpayer notice when farmland assessments are changed
existing homeowners and business taxpayers and to provide more dollars generally for the city or town. Current annexation law requires a signature petition from objectors representing at least 65 percent of the landowners or 75 percent of the assessed value of the proposed area to even file in court for review of the annexation. This threshold is higher than any other citizen petition required in Indiana law and does not provide any assurance of stopping the annexation. Most proposed annexations are promoted with inadequate fiscal plans that lack details about services to be provided and that do not include specifics
posed annexation. • Limit extension of municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction in “two-mile fringe” by requiring county commissioner approval.
Environment and Natural Resources Water Resources Planning Access to an adequate and consistent water supply is necessary to protect public health and promote economic development. While Indiana is blessed with an abundant supply of water, many parts of the state – including most of the southern half – have inadequate supplies and water must be trapped, stored and transported for use.
Ag Trespass A remedy is needed to protect the private property rights of Indiana farmers. The goal of 2014 agricultural trespass legislation would be to strengthen the criminal trespass code to protect farms from persons who enter private property of another person and commit an act which results in harm. This would include expanding the scope of denial of entry for agricultural operations. Session goals: • Farms and their economic viability are often harmed by trespassers. • Criminal trespass should be applied to those who intentionally ignore methods of restricting access or indications that agricultural operations are occurring like fences, open or closed structures, methods of cultivation or certified timber management. • Farmers should be afforded the same trespass protections available to homeowners – i.e. not obligated to post a sign. • IFB is not pursuing concepts that would create continual constitutional challenges or impair First Amendment rights.
November 25, 2013
RULES & REGULATIONS
Strengthening Indiana’s trespass laws among the goals for the 2014 session —By Amy Cornell State Government Relations Policy Advisor One of the privileges of owning property is the right to prohibit other people from being on your property without permission. Trespassing occurs when people enter the property without permission of the landowner. Trespass may be either civil or criminal in nature. Civil trespass allows a landowner to bring a claim seek compensation for harm to property. Criminal trespass allows the county prosecutor to bring criminal charges against an individual for entering your property. There are several situations in which a person could be charged and convicted for trespassing on ag-
ricultural property, including when a person: • Does not have a contractual interest in the property and knowingly or intentionally enters after having been denied entry by personal communication or the posting of a sign. • Does not have a contractual interest in the property and refuses to leave after being asked. • Knowingly or intentionally interferes in the possession or use of another person’s property without consent. • Knowingly or intentionally enters the dwelling of another person without consent and without a contractual interest in the property. The crime of trespass is typically a Class A misde-
AFBF disappointed with plans to scale back RFS —From the AFBF Information Team EPA’s proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply damages the prospects for advanced biofuels, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The RFS requires transportation fuels in the U.S. to contain a certain amount of renewable fuels, such as ethanol or biodiesel. Those renewable fuels minimums are set to increase every year to achieve 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022. This year, however, Americans are expected to use about 10 billion gallons less gasoline than they did in 2007, when the RFS2 law was passed. This is a result of the recession of 20082009 and fuel standards that resulted in more fuel-
efficient vehicles. The RFS2 target for 2014 was 18.5 billion gallons, up from 16.55 billion gallons this year. EPA is proposing reducing that target to 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels, a move large oil companies strongly support. Currently, most refiners are using a blend of 90 percent petroleum and 10 percent ethanol. To meet the RFS’s increasing minimums, they’ll have to decrease the amount of gas and bump up the amount of ethanol in the fuel they’re producing. According to Andrew Walmsley, AFBF energy specialist, this is not a surprise. “It was clear from the day the RFS2 was enacted that refiners would have to eventually up the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline,” Walmsley said. “It happened sooner than expected, but the point is, it was expected.”
Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann spoke at the IFB District 10 fall awards night on Nov. 4 at the Pines in Seymour. Ellspermann shared new initiatives coming from the administration and facts about Indiana agriculture. Photo by Mindy Reef
November 25, 2013
meanor unless the trespass occurs on certain properties, such as schools or scientific research facilities. Then the penalty increases to a Class D felony. Farms and their economic viability are often harmed by trespassers. One of the goals of the 2014 legislative session would be to strengthen the criminal trespass code to protect farms from trespassers who commit an act which results in damages. A much-needed change is that farmers should not have to provide notice, such as a sign, but should be able to rely upon fences, the presence of a structure, cultivation, or timber management as notice that others are excluded from entering the property.
Trespass example: Q: As I am driving through the country, I happen to notice a scenic pasture. I don’t know the property owner, but there is no one around and no signs are posted. I decide to hop the fence to see if I can pet a few cows. Can I be charged for criminal trespass? A: No.
IALF newsletter features farm lease information —Edited by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Over the past year, the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation has been publishing a monthly electronic newsletter, the Spotlight, which provides current information on IALF activities, updates on lawsuits that are of interest to those in agriculture, and has featured a year-long series of articles on labor and immigration laws. Starting with the November issue, the Spotlight will focus on farm leases, covering such
topics such as farm lease types, lease termination, grain bin leases, and hunting leases. Anyone can sign up to receive the Spotlight by visiting www. inaglaw.org/. For more information on the IALF, please contact John Shoup at 317-692-7801.
Since October 9, 1935, current and former district and county woman leaders from District 1 counties have come together to enjoy fellowship and lunch but also to share ideas and discuss the effects of ongoing changes affecting agriculture, and especially the changes affecting their own farming operations. The 2013 reunion meeting was held Oct. 25. Pictured are some of the attendees. Back row (from left): Jeanette Podell, Pulaski County woman leader; Joann Emigh of Starke County, past District 1 woman leader; Suzanne Burns, LaPorte County woman leader; Betty Wade, past Marshall County woman leader; Dory Morley, past LaPorte County woman leader. Front row: Katie Rust, Porter County woman leader; Ilah Miller, past Porter County woman leader; Katherine Hahn, past Pulaski County woman leader. Not pictured: Deb Walsh, current District 1 woman leader, and Dolores Surfus, past District 1 woman leader.
Farm Bureau announces photo contest winners —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Three photos submitted by Indiana Farm Bureau members were among the winners of the 2013 Farm Bureau Photo Contest, a coordinated effort between American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. In all 15 photographs submitted by 12 Farm Bureau members and staff were chosen as the winners of the contest, which were selected in each of the three categories. The purpose of the contest is to obtain usable and appropriate photos which accurately portray today’s agriculture and safe practices of farmers and ranchers for use in future publications and promotions. It was open to all Farm Bureau members and staff over the age of 18 at the time of entry, including professional photographers.
More than 620 photos were submitted this year. Carole Schmidt of Noblesville won both first and second place in the “Sharing the Story” category with two of her photos. She was also one of the runners-up for Best of Show. In addition, Lynsey Evans of Terre Haute won an honorable mention in the “My Scenic Farm or Ranch” category. Winners will be highlighted at the AFBF Annual Convention, Jan. 12-15 in San Antonio, and the top three placing photos in each category, as well as Best in Show and Animal Care award winners, will receive monetary prizes. The full list of winners and their photos can be viewed on AFBF’s Voice of Agriculture website, www.fb.org, by clicking on “Newsroom,” then “News releases,” and then “Farm Bureau Announces Photo Contest Winners.”
Carole Schmidt of Noblesville won first place in the “Sharing the Story” with this photo, which also won third runner-up for Best of Show.
USFRA continues membership growth —By Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance held its third annual meeting on Nov. 12 in Kansas City, Mo. Since 2011 the ag coalition has worked to engage key influencers who question how food is grown and raised in an effort to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture. USFRA membership has more than tripled in three years. The organization was formed by 23 national groups and now has 80 national, regional and state affiliates and agribusiness partners. That growth allowed USFRA to expand on its four main strategies in fiscal year 2013: to open dialogues with new audiences, to enhance industry transparency, to make more farmer-consumer connections, and to provide a consistent, research-based voice for agriculture. USFRA worked hard in FY2013 to bring industry experts to the table for honest dialogue around some of the most contentious issues in agriculture. Food Dialogues: New York took on the tough topics of antibiotics and biotechnology. Food Dialogues: Chicago delved deeper into biotechnology and consumer perceptions
of GMOs. A second Food Dialogues: Chicago tackled the issue of transparency and introduced proprietary research conducted by USFRA. Much of USFRA’s consumer engagement occurs online at FoodDialogues. com. The website is packed with content and provides easy-to-understand, sciencebased information on a variety of topics. Since going live FoodDialogues.com has welcomed more than 1 million visitors. “FoodSource,” a section of the website dedicated to answering consumer questions about farming and ranching practices, had more than 160,000 inquisitive visitors in FY2013. USFRA’s Facebook community grew by more than 200,000 “likes” in the past year to nearly 300,000. In the same time period the organization increased its Twitter following by 8,000 to more than 12,700. One highlight to look forward to next year is the release of Farmland, a documentary film produced by Academy Award-winning director James Moll with generous support from USFRA. The feature length film, which captures the real lives of the next generation of farmers and ranchers from across America, premieres in March 2014.
Schmidt also won second in the “Sharing the Story” category.
Lynsey Evans of Terre Haute won an honorable mention in the “My Scenic Farm or Ranch” category with this photo.
November 25, 2013
Indiana farmers donate food to Habitat for Humanity homeowners —From Indiana’s Family of Farmers Indiana’s Family of Farmers presented beef, poultry and dairy products to fill the refrigerator and freezer of Habitat for Humanity homeowner Joseph Olumullah of Indianapolis during a dedication ceremony held Nov. 1. Olumullah’s new home, dubbed “The House that Agriculture Built,” was built in just 14 days at the 2013 Indiana State Fair with the help of 27 ag-related sponsors and hundreds of volunteers. A deep freezer was also donated by Indiana’s Family of Farmers and will serve as storage for the frozen foods. Beef, dairy and poultry products were included in the donation and provided by farmers from around the state. Poultry farmers also donated enough turkeys to provide two other Habitat recipient families with Thanksgiving birds this year. “We are grateful that Indiana’s Family of Farmers has supported our Ag Build partner family for the third year in a row,” said
Ted Mosey, corporate and faith relations coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. “This food will help get the family on their feet right away, and we couldn’t be happier for them.” During the 2013 Indiana State Fair, visitors could register to win a freezer thanks to Indiana’s Family of Farmers. Jack Rubak of Indianapolis was the winner of this year’s giveaway. Along with partnering with Habitat for Humanity at this year’s fair, Indiana’s Family of Farmers donated 5,200 pounds of food to Indiana food banks through Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) to match the projected weight of the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball displayed at this year’s fair as part of the Year of Popcorn. The cash equivalent of $8,372 will be used to purchase food – enough for 4,333 meals – to feed Hoosier families. FIsH is the statewide association of Feeding America-affiliated food banks (formerly America’s Second Harvest). The association’s 11 member food banks
(which include food banks in Gary, South Bend, Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Bloomington and Evansville) serve more than 1,700 agencies in all 92 counties, providing emergency food assistance to Hoosiers in need. Indiana’s Family of Farmers works to promote the work of farmers across the state and is made up of 18 organizations that represent the agriculture industry. Visit www.indianafamilyoffarmers.com for more information. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis works with low-income families to provide the life-changing opportunity to purchase and own quality, affordable homes. As a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, Habitat for Humanity is committed to eliminating poverty housing and making decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. To accomplish the goals Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families and individuals in need.
Workshop series to offer updates on tax, estate issues —From the Purdue Ag Communication Service Purdue Extension will offer a farm law and taxes workshop at five Indiana locations in December to help individuals, farmers, landowners and family business operators understand legal and tax issues, and estate and business transfers. Gerry Harrison, Purdue Extension farm management and agricultural law specialist, will discuss drainage law, right-to-farm law, real estate transfer taxes, land trusts and conservation easements. More information about each session and registration forms are available at www. agecon.purdue.edu/extension/programs/index.asp. All workshop sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time: • Dec. 9 – Jackson County Community Foundation Building, 107 Community Drive, Seymour. Registration by Dec. 6, Jackson County Extension office, 812-358-6101. • Dec. 10 – Johnson County Fairgrounds, 484 North Morton St., Franklin. Registration by Dec. 9, Johnson County Extension
office, 317-736-3724. • Dec. 11 – Purdue Extension Allen County office, 401 Crescent Ave., Fort Wayne. Registration by Dec. 9 to the extension office, 260-481-6826. • Dec. 12 – Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, 17746 County Road 34, Goshen. Registration by Dec. 6, Elkhart County Extension office, 574-533-0554. • Dec. 13 – Grant County 4-H Fairgrounds, 1403 E. State Route 18, Marion. Registration by Dec. 6, Grant County Extension office, 765-651-2413. Registration is $30 per person and $20 for a registered individual’s spouse. It includes a continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and workshop materials. Continuing education credits are available for Indiana accountants and lawyers. The workshop is $75 for those who want to earn continuing professional education and an additional $20 for an individual’s second certification. Checks should be payable to the Purdue CES Ed Fund. For more information, contact Harrison at harrisog@ purdue.edu or call 888-3984636, ext. 44216.
Homeowner Joseph Olumullah poses with Hannah Brescher (left) of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Mindy Reef of Indiana Farm Bureau, along with some of the food donated by Indiana’s Family of Farmers. IFOF is a coalition of farm organizations including ISA and IFB. Photo by Andy Dietrick
Calendar of Events November 26
District 3 fall meeting.
December 13, 14 18, 19
State convention, Fort Wayne. AFBF resolutions committee, Washington, D.C.
January 8 12-15 24, 25
IFB legislative kick-off, Statehouse. AFBF convention, San Antonio, Texas. IFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference, Indianapolis.
November 25, 2013