Comment Period Extended for WOTUS Rule Page 3
Farm Bureau has New Look for State Fair Page 4
COME VISIT FARM BUREAU
Inside: News in Brief 2 Rules & Regulations 3 Around the Farm 5 Around IFB 6 Communications 7 Around Indiana 8
The Hoosier Farmer
A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau
July 17, 2014 Issue No. 55
Farmland taxes again a top priority for IFB —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Farmers need to deliver a message to their state legislators, said Katrina Hall, Indiana Farm Bureau director of state government relations. “Farmland property taxes are absorbing the profitability of agriculture,” she said, adding that unless state officials take action, the problem is only going to get worse – much worse. From 2007 to 2013, property taxes paid by farmers
went up 33 percent, she said. “That’s $100 million in additional taxes from the ag sector,” she explained. But because there’s a delay in how commodity prices affect the taxable value of farmland, the increase will rapidly escalate over the next four years and so will farmland taxes. Roughly estimated, farmers now pay an average of $30 per acre. But if the trend continues, and if there’s no relief, taxes could be as high as $71 per acre for productive soils in coun-
ties that have reached the 2 percent cap. “That is oppressive and it’s not sustainable for any farming operation,” Hall said. Farmland taxes will be Indiana Farm Bureau’s top priority for the 2015 legislative session, and the organization has begun an information campaign with legislators and fiscal policy thought leaders from other influential organizations. The first step was hosting an informational meeting on July 1 intended to acquaint them with the issue
and advise them about the major problem with farmland taxes that is looming on the horizon. Farm Bureau is exploring a variety of remedies that will be discussed with legislative fiscal leaders in the coming months “There’s a general misunderstanding about the taxes farmers pay,” Hall said, explaining that many legislators are under the impression that farmers already receive more than their fair share of tax breaks and exemptions.
Ownership remains a big issue for big data —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Whether you farm or work with farmers, “big data” has become a hot topic in agriculture. This is why the Indiana Ag Law Foundation and Indiana Farm Bureau are holding a workshop on big data for farmers on Aug. 15. The workshop will also address issues surrounding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. This also why big data was one of the topics at the recent Strategic Policy, Advocacy, Resources and Communications conference put on for state Farm Bureau staff by the American Farm Bureau Federation. “When you think about big data, you’ve got to think about the computer industry, the IT industry – they’ve dealt with big data for years,” said AFBF economist Matt Erickson. Erickson spoke at the SPARC conference, and he will also be speaking at IFB’s big data workshop. Within agriculIndiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206
ture, the data is pretty much everything that’s generated from the farm, he said. “The ‘big’ comes in because there’s a lot of data generated,” he said. But even more important than the volume of data is how that data is used. What turns “data” into “big data,” Erickson said, is putting it to work. “It’s how we interpret the data, how we analyze the data, and how we put the data into action that we call ‘big data,’” he explained. Among the issues that arise from big data are how to make sure the data has value for the farmer and how to keep that data secure. But the issue that agriculture has yet to completely resolve is that of who controls the data and who owns it. As Rachelle Thibert, integrated solutions manager for John Deere, explained to the audience at the SPARC conference for state Farm Bureau staff, it’s clear that when it comes to agronomic Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage
Berne, IN Permit NO. 43
data, the farmer owns the data. “The challenge with that is, which farmer?” she said. “When you’ve got a situation where somebody owns the land, owns the machine, owns the crop, makes all the decisions, it’s clear: He owns the data. No questions asked. “But when all of a sudden you’ve got multiple legal entities farming together, this company owns some of the machines, this (other) company owns some of the machines, they all own a little bit of land – it’s all one
family, but it’s set up, for all kinds of good reasons, as different companies – we don’t necessarily know who owns which part of that data.” It becomes even more complicated when you start contracting out parts of the operation, she said – for example, custom harvesting or chemical applications, where the applicator owns the machine but the farmer owns the land. “Once we started playing out scenarios of how farming really happens in this country, it got really, really complex,” she said.
“Farmers pay a lot of taxes and pay on the same basis as other similarly situated individuals or businesses. Misconceptions create a real cloud when discussing tax burdens,” she said. The best way to correct this error is for farmers to tell their property tax story. “We will be asking members to create a profile and tell their property tax story to state representatives, state senators, and Governor Pence’s administration,” stressed Hall.
__________________ The Indiana Ag Law Foundation’s workshop on big data and UAVs will be held Aug. 15 at IFB’s home office in Indianapolis. The cost is $50 for registrations made by July 14 (which is right around the time readers are slated to receive this issue of The Hoosier Farmer) or $75 for those made after that. Registration closes July 31 or when the event fills, whichever comes first. Information is available at www. inaglaw/bigdata or by calling Maria Spellman, 317692-7840.
2014 Farm Bill How Does It Affect You? Informational meetings that will let you know about deadlines, requirements and what tools are available on the marketplace. Speakers:
August 20 – 9:30 a.m. Indiana Grand Racing Casino 4300 N Michigan Rd., Shelbyville
Julia Wickard FSA State Executive Director
August 20 – 6:30 p.m. Huntingburg Event Center 200 E 14th St., Huntingburg
Dr. Chris Hurt Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
August 19 – 9:30 a.m. Honeywell Center 275 W Market St., Wabash August 19 – 6:30 p.m. The Trails Banquet Facility and Conference Center 325 Burnetts Rd., West Lafayette
Register by Aug. 8 by visiting www.e-farmcredit.com/FarmBill2014 or by contacting your local Farm Credit Mid-America office at 1-800-444-FARM. Sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America, Indiana FSA and Indiana Farm Bureau.
news in brief
News Bites —Compiled by Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
EPA comment deadline on Worker Protection Standard extended to Aug. 18—The Environmental
Protection Agency is extending the comment period on proposed changes to its worker protection standard until Aug. 18. WPS governs handling and application of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The proposed rule would make extensive changes to the WPS, including enhanced training obligations, recordkeeping, permitting “authorized representatives” access to such records, changes to the family farm exemption, and increased obligations regarding personal protective equipment and other items. (AFBF 5/14/14)
President Obama taking executive action on immigration—President Barack
Obama has indicated that he plans to take administration action in the coming months to address the country’s immigration problems. First, he will direct Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to shift immigration enforcement resources from the interior of the U.S. to the border. Obama is also asking administration officials to forward recommendations on additional actions he can pursue that do not require the approval of Congress. The American Farm Bureau Federation expressed disappointment that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, does not intend to bring immigration legisla-
tion to the floor. Farmers continue to struggle with instability in their labor force, something that can only be fixed through congressional action. Farm Bureau remains committed to advocating the need for ag labor reform, AFBF said. This includes working with both Congress and the administration to address agriculture’s labor needs and continuing to work with other members of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition and groups from the broader business community to pressure Congress to act on immigration legislation. (AFBF 7/7/14)
Drainage School returns Aug. 27—In-
diana Farm Bureau’s annual Drainage School, a seminar focusing on Indiana drainage issues, will take place Aug. 27 at IFB’s home office in downtown Indianapolis. The program runs from 9 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. Lunch is provided. Sign-up runs until Aug. 8 or until the program fills, whichever comes sooner. Registration is not complete without payment, and there will be no refunds after Aug. 8. Register online at www. infarmbureau.org under the “Events” menu. The seminar is $50. Contact Maria Spellman, 317-692-7840 or mspellman@infarmbureau. org, with questions. The event is sponsored by IFB, Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation, Association of Indiana Counties, Indiana Association of County Commissioners, County Surveyors Association of Indiana, Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program. (IFB 6/8/14)
‘Homegrown By Heroes’ label to help veterans market their farm products —By Cyndie Sirekis Communications Department American Farm Bureau The Farmer Veteran Coalition recently announced the national launch of the Homegrown By Heroes initiative. The product labeling program (http://hgbh.org/) will allow farmers, ranchers, fishermen and the like from all 50 states and U.S. territories who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military to use the logo on their food and farm products. Consumers and businesses will soon begin to see the logo at the pointof-purchase and on signage, enabling them to select products that support farmer veterans. Mark and Denise Beyers are the first certified Homegrown By Heroes farmers outside of Kentucky, where the program was first started by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The high school sweethearts entered the Marine Corps in 1998 and 1999, respectively. While serving in Iraq in 2005, Mark’s team hit an improvised explosive device, resulting in combat injuries that led to the loss of his right arm and right leg. Upon returning from service overseas, Mark and Denise built a thriving maple syrup business on their 15-acre property in upstate New
York. The couple will use the Homegrown By Heroes label to help sell the maple syrup they produce on their farm as well as eggs and vegetables they will market in the summer. “Farming and military service are more closely linked than one might think. Thousands of our service men and women leave the rural communities and farms they call home in order to serve our country in the military,” explained Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the FVC. “Upon completion of their service, they often return home to resume work on the family farm.” The coalition also works with hundreds of veterans with no agriculture background who, upon returning from service, see opportunity in farming and ranching and decide to embark on a new career path in agriculture. Another way to look at is that the veterans the coalition works with have served their country twice – once by defending it and now by feeding it. Only 16 percent of America’s population lives in rural areas, yet 40 percent of the men and women who serve in the U.S. military come from those same rural communities. By supporting the label, consumers can help veterans who are serving our country in a new way – by producing the food and fiber that feeds
To all policyholders and members: Indiana Farm Bureau members will soon notice a new look to their membership dues invoice. Members who are also Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance customers will find that, when applicable, Indiana Farm Bureau membership dues will be billed on the same invoice as your Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance premiums, providing you the opportunity to make one easy payment. If membership is due, payment will be applied to your membership dues first, followed by premium amounts. The full amount invoiced must be paid by the billing due date to avoid a lapse in insurance coverage.
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 Accounting Intern..................... Melissa Cuttriss
Director & General Counsel ...Mark Thornburg Associate Counsel for Corporate Compliance & Nonprofit Affairs ............Sara MacLaughlin Legal Assistant........................... Maria Spellman Law Clerk....................................... Sarah Doyle
Director & Editor .......................Andy Dietrick Web Designer/Developer..............Diane Brewer Publications Managing Editor & Media Relations Specialist...... Kathleen Dutro Marketing & PR Specialist.............. Mindy Reef Communications Assistant......... Rachel Schrage Intern...........................................Taylor Scuglik
Wayne Belden (1 & 3) Greg Bohlander (6) Andrew Cleveland (4 & 6) Janice Deno (3) Jennifer Chandler Gish (9) Seth Harden (7 & 9) Allison Hines (10) Amy Hutson (5) Susan Lawrence (2) John Newsom (1 & 2) Kermit Paris (8) Keegan Poe (5 & 8) Brad Ponsler (10) E.B. Rawles (7) Allie Rieth (4)
District Directors Larry Jernas (1) Kevin Ousley (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
Public Policy Team Director........................................ Megan Ritter Policy Development & Industry Relations.........................Bob Cherry National Government Relations Policy Advisor................. Kyle Cline Policy Advisor & Counsel..............Amy Cornell State Government Relations Director...................................... Katrina Hall Administrative Assistant .............Wanda Hunter Administrative Assistant ................Diane Miller Senior Policy Advisor & Counsel..................................Justin Schneider Livestock Development Specialist... Greg Slipher Direct Retail Business Specialist........Bob White
Organizational Development Team Director............................................... Kim Vail Program Assistant........................ Ashley Beasley 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 Program Assistant............................ Tracie Trent Intern........................................ Samantha Lowe
Indiana Farm Bureau Inc./ Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Director of Affiliate Relations.................. Julie Klarich
and clothes us all. Thousands of young veterans are finding a new calling in a farming community with, according to the latest Census of Agriculture released by the Agriculture Department, an average age of 58 years. O’Gorman’s goal is to have up to 500 veterans using the label by the end of the year. To qualify for the Homegrown By Heroes label, one must have served honorably or still be serving in any branch of the U.S. armed forces, and be at least 50 percent owner and/or operator of the farm business. Veterans of all eras are encouraged to apply. FVC staff assists applicants in developing food safety plans and, if needed, business plans. Farm Credit, the nation’s largest network of farmerowned agricultural lenders, supported the national launch with a donation of $250,000. The American Farm Bureau Federation and a wide array of other farm organizations also support the label.
CORRECTION On page 1 of the June 9 issue of The Hoosier Farmer, “School referendums becoming common as districts grapple with tax caps,” we made an error in the paragraph that lists the results of the school tax levy referendums, which are intended to help schools defray operating costs. The Hoosier Farmer said that the referendum had failed for the Metropolitan School District of Boone Township, Porter County. It had, however, passed. Our apologies for the error, and our thanks to the alert member who pointed it out.
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 2014. All rights reserved.
Director..................... John Shoup
July 15, 2014
rules & regs
Extension of comment period expands opportunity to fight proposed water rule —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Thanks to pressure from the agricultural community, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period for its proposed Clean Water Act rule. “The new schedule gives us until Oct. 20 to comment on the Waters of the United States rule, and until July 7 to comment on the accompanying interpretive rule,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman. “Rest assured we will use that time to its best advantage. We will ditch this rule. “This is a victory for farming families and a clear signal that America’s farmers know how to stand up and be counted,” he added. AFBF contends that EPA has misled the regulated community about the rule’s impacts on land use. According to AFBF, the proposal broadly expands federal jurisdiction and threatens local land-use and zoning authority. In testimony delivered June 11 to the House Subcommittee on Water Re-
sources and Environment, Stallman said the EPA’s proposal to regulate everyday farming practices isn’t just impractical – it’s illegal. “The EPA ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposal broadly expands federal jurisdiction,” Stallman said. “It threatens local land-use and zoning authority, and is an end-run around Congress and the Supreme Court.” The EPA claims that farmers would face less regulation under its latest proposal. In fact, the rule would micro-manage farming via newly-mandated procedures for fencing, spraying, weeding and more. Permitting, meanwhile, could delay time-sensitive tasks for months, potentially ruining crops in the process. “EPA is deliberately misleading the regulated community about the impacts on land use. If more people knew how regulators could use the proposed rule to require permits for common activities on dry land, or penalize landowners for not getting them, they would be outraged,” Stallman said. The Clean Water Act was signed into law in 1972
with the clear purpose of protecting the nation’s waters from pollution of all sorts. Congress gave states, not the EPA, the primary responsibility to oversee land use. The latest proposal would turn that relationship on its head. Farm Bureau, together with dozens of other farm and industry groups, is fighting the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. overreach. Find out more about the nationwide campaign at ditchtherule. fb.org and more about Indiana Farm Bureau’s own efforts at infarmbureau.org/ waterrule.
What the EPA would call “ephemeral waters” flow across a field in the Putnam-Morgan County area. Photo by Kathleen M. Dutro
About this series: This article is part of a series on the Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the farm bill, provided to The Hoosier Farmer by Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. The new farm bill extended the livestock disaster payments authorized by the 2008 farm bill indefinitely and made the programs retroactive to Oct. 1, 2011. Also, under the new legislation, producers are not required to purchase crop insurance or participate in NAP (Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program) to be eligible.
LIP signup ends January 1 —By Michael Langemeier Associate Director Center for Commercial Agriculture Purdue University This article briefly discusses the Livestock Indemnity Program, also known by the acronym LIP. The discussion below will focus on the provisions of this program that are most applicable to farmers in the Midwest. It is important to note that there is some overlap between the coverage of the different livestock disaster programs. A producer cannot receive payments for the same livestock from more than one of the disaster programs. Producers who think that may be eligible for the
LIP program are encouraged to contact their local FSA office. The LIP program provides compensation for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather. Eligible adverse weather events include floods, blizzards, disease (Anthrax only), earthquakes, wildfires, extreme heat, winter storms, lightning, and extreme cold. Drought is not an “adverse weather event” under the LIP program. Eligible livestock include beef cattle, buffalo, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, and swine. It is important to note that contract poultry and swine growers are
eligible for the LIP program. Also, it is important to note that livestock have to be used for commercial purposes to be eligible. Normal mortality rates are defined by FSA. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the fair market value of the livestock. The sign-up for LIP started April 15 and ends on Jan. 30, 2015. Producers with excess death losses that occurred during the last three months of 2011, and for 2012 to 2014 are eligible. Signup for 2015 and subsequent years should occur no later than 30 days after the calendar year in which the death loss occurred.
Fruit, vegetable food safety course now offered online Purdue Extension is now offering in an online format a course covering food safety practices for fruit and vegetable growers. The course is based on a series of “Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z” workshops that were given in the spring. The training will cover health and hygiene, water quality and treatment, animals and animal products, sanitation on the farm, documentation and record-
keeping, and farm food safety plans. Registration cost for individuals is $30. Those interested can register at www. distance.purdue.edu/gaps. Participants will have access to the course materials for three months. Anyone not completing the training by then would need to register for the course again. Those who encounter any technological problems while taking the course should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several law students visited Donnie Lawson’s (shown above) and Don Lamb’s Boone County farms on June 16 as part of their agricultural law class. The class, taught by Indiana Farm Bureau policy advisor Amy Cornell, toured the farms and discussed different agricultural issues and their regulations.
July 15, 2014
State Fair Preview
Farm Bureau to have a whole new look at the Indiana State Fair —By Rachel Schrage Public Relations Team As the Indiana State Fair draws nearer, Indiana Farm Bureau is more excited about its new and improved exhibit. “Over the past six months, a small group of staff has put a great deal of time and effort into a new, educational exhibit for the Farm Bureau building at the state fair,” said Julie Taylor, IFB’s education coordinator. “Our hope is that each visitor to the building will leave knowing something new about agriculture.” The new exhibit features include motion sensor screens with farm facts, a custom-designed iPad quiz, and a tractor-themed photo op for kids of all ages. To guide fairgoers through the exhibit, a scavenger hunt, which coordinates with the display pieces, was developed. The building will also serve as the last stop on the Wonder Trail, an interactive
Young farmers invited to event held during State Fair
IFB staff have for months been working with a design firm to change the look of the Farm Bureau building at the state fair.
12-stop journey around the fairgrounds. Children and families who find correct answers to at least eight of the 12 questions on the map can come to the Farm Bureau building to collect their prize. Rest assured, however, that not everything is changing. In keeping with IFB tradition, fairgoers can still sample free servings of popcorn, courtesy of Preferred Popcorn, from noon to 5 p.m. each day of the fair. The much-anticipated Taste from Indiana Farms is also returning and will be held August 12-14.
Fairgoers will also have the opportunity to win a variety of exciting prizes. A year’s supply of popcorn (also courtesy of Preferred Popcorn), Holiday World passes, Indianapolis Indians tickets and 2015 Indiana State Fair tickets are all up for grabs. Be sure to clip the coupon on this page, fill it out and bring it to the IFB building at the fair to enter for your chance to win. The Indiana State Fair runs August 1-17, and the IFB building will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day – make sure to stop by! -
Young farmers are invited to attend a new event on Aug. 16: the Young Farmer Summer Social. The social will give young farmers a chance to network with the Indiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors, district woman leaders, IFB staff, State Young Farmer Committee members and fellow Young Farmers. The event takes place from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Normandy Barn on the Indiana State Fairgrounds and will include a program and an ice cream social. It replaces the Young Farmer
Recipe Trail introduces cooks to Indiana farm families —By Rachel Schrage Public Relations Team
The Recipe Trail at the Indiana State Fair will be back this year, with new stories, prizes, farm families and delicious recipes. The Recipe Trail will be up and running all 17 days of the fair. Anyone who collects all of the recipes along the trail will receive a special prize and will be entered to win the grand prize – a Frigidaire chest freezer. Additionally, for each person who completes the
COME VISIT FARM BUREAU
Summer Outing. Registration began July 7. Those interested can register online. Family ticket packages are available with a maximum of four complimentary admission tickets per family. Each family will also receive meal vouchers from one of the commodity tents. Tickets and meal vouchers will be mailed to RSVP’d young farmers before the event. Additional tickets can be purchased at county Farm Bureau offices. For more information visit www.infarmbureau.org.
trail, one pound of food will be donated to a food bank in Indiana. Cards can be collected at the following locations: DuPont Food Pavilion, Habitat for Humanity Ag House, the Indiana Farm Bureau building, Glass Barn, Normandy Barn, Pathway to Water Quality and Exposition Hall. The final stop, where prizes for finishers can be collected, is the Indiana’s Family of Farmers booth in the DuPont Food Pavilion.
Farm Bureau and other ag groups partner with Habitat for Humanity —By Taylor Skuglik Public Relations Intern
E RE RN
FREE Popcorn Daily
O PC PO OR A F !* AR YE
Visit the Farm Bureau building on the north side of the Indiana State Fairgrounds inside gate 12 as we celebrate the Year of the Coliseum. Enter to win one of the following fantastic prizes: • Grand prize: Free popcorn for a year • Holiday World tickets • Indianapolis Indians tickets • 2015 Indiana State Fair tickets
ENTER TO WIN FREE POPCORN FOR A YEAR!
Don’t forget to take this coupon to the Farm Bureau Building during the State Fair and enter the drawing for free popcorn for a year.* Name: _______________________ Phone: _______________________
Email: _______________________ County _______________________ Are you a Member
At Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. we respect your privacy and will never rent or sell your information. You must be 18 years or older to participate. By providing your email address you are opting in to receive email from our company, and you may request to stop receiving emails from us at any time. *240 bags of microwave popcorn courtesy of Preferred Popcorn of Palmyra, Indiana.
July 15, 2014
For the fifth straight year, Habitat for Humanity is partnering with Indiana agriculture sponsors to construct a house at the state fair in just 14 days. Working alongside 31 sponsors including Kroger, Dow AgroSciences and Wells Fargo and more than 450 volunteers, future homeowner Arlene Fuentes and her family will help build their new home. Fuentes, her mother Ayda and her father Eduardo currently live in a cramped one bedroom apartment, but thanks to the Habitat Agricultural Build they will soon reside in a three bedroom home. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that
offers homeownership opportunities to low income families who are unable to obtain suitable housing. For the past five years they have partnered with ag sponsors and the community at the Indiana State Fair to help build a home for a selected family. Each house built by the Ag Build is made from agricultural materials. Construction of the Habitat House begins on the opening day of the state fair, Aug. 1, and will continue for the next 14 days. Fairgoers will be able to tour the home and watch the building process. If you are interested in volunteering for this year’s Ag Build, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at www. indyhabitat.org or contact Abri Hochstetler at email@example.com.
Around the farm
From the Ground Up
Husk hopes to reinvigorate local food processing —Stories & Photos By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team Selling direct to the public is nothing new to Adam Moody and his family, which for more than a decade have been direct-retailing the beef, pork and chicken raised on their Montgomery County farm. But their latest venture is something new. The Moodys and two partners are now doing a very rare thing, and that’s selling locally sourced frozen vegetables. Called Husk, the company started in 2013. Last year it sold just sweet corn but it’s adding peas, green beans and butternut squash to its product line this year. The idea, said founders Adam Moody and Nick Carter, is to produce frozen vegetables that taste like they were put up at home instead of in a processing plant. Husk’s central premise is that local food is not a fad and that even a commercially processed product can taste fresher and better if it’s locally grown and handled correctly. “Our corn tastes like Grandma froze it,” Moody said. Something else that’s important to Husk, Carter and Moody said, is taking local food to the next level of public acceptance. “What is really going to be a game changer for local food?” Carter said. “What is (going to) actually propel local food to be a mainstay on the grocery shelf?” The answer, he and Moody agreed, is local processing. “We decided to start a processing plant,” Carter said. The founders of the new enterprise are Moody, who farms in southern Montgomery County with his wife and children; Carter, who left his family’s farm 10 years ago to work in business but eventually created a small company called Meat the Rabbit that produces farm-raised game meats; and Chris Baggott, founder of Tyner Pond Farm, which produces pasture-raised pork and chicken and grass-fed beef. The three signed the operating agreement for the new venture on May 1, 2013; they found space for the plant by June 15; and by July 15, they were cutting corn. The speed with which the new company was formed might make it appear much
easier than it actually was. There are, it turns out, many problems associated with beginning a new food processing company, and these are in addition to finding a site on which to locate the plant. Husk had to find growers. It had to find equipment of suitable scale and efficiency. It had to fine-tune its freezing process. And it had to find places to sell its product.
Find out more online Husk: Huskfoods.com Wilson Farm Market: www.wilsonfarmmarket.com/
The farms that produce for Husk are all within 20 miles of the Mt. Comfort, Ind., processing plant, which can process more than 200,000 pounds of sweet corn during the two-month season. Using nearby farms ensures that the product is picked (or “yanked”) only a few hours before it’s frozen, Moody said. “The standard (in the frozen food industry) is around 36 hours from yank to freeze, and we’re shooting for six to eight hours,” he said.
Finding equipment was a much bigger problem. “We started so late, and to find small-scale processing equipment was” – and here Moody paused – “Well, some was OK but some was really impossible.” Processing equipment for smallscale operations such as Husk simply isn’t common. Moody compared it to asking John Deere “for a brand-new, four-row corn planter. They’d look at you and go ‘What’s a four-row corn planter?’ There’s just no market for it so they quit making them.” This is why, Carter said, Husk ended up buying its corn-cutter from China. “In this country for the last 30 years there’s been no small-scale, local, regional food processing,” Carter said. “There are no vendors here because there’s no customers for them.” The shucker they got from China was, however, a destructive mess, taking the shucks off but also smashing the kernels. Husk ended up shucking corn by hand most of last year. Near the end of the sweet corn season, they found a company in Wisconsin that made a small shucker, and that’s what
Husk’s products, such as this sweet corn from last year, come in distinctive packaging that looks like brown paper bags.
Nick Carter (left) and Adam Moody pose by bins of Indiana-grown snow peas that are about to be washed, blanched, packaged and frozen for sale at one of 200 grocery stores in Indiana and nearby states. In the background is the machine that will portion the sweet corn, peas, green beans and squash that Husk, Carter’s and Moody’s company, will sell this year.
they’ll be using this year. Finding places to sell the product hasn’t been easy. The supermarket chains were the biggest challenge. Chains located in a limited geographic area, such as Marsh or Cincinnati’s Remke chain, weren’t nearly as challenging as the nationwide Kroger chain. “The whole system’s been refined and refined and refined for 30 years to the most efficient level,” and what’s most efficient is to
have the same product selection in every store, Carter explained. Husk is now available in 200 stores in six states, and among the stores are Marsh, Indiana Krogers, supermarket chains in St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati, and virtually all the independent health-food stores. “We’ve had to jump through all their hoops, but there haven’t been any noes,” Carter said.
Farmer wants to expand Hoosiers’ interest in local foods Frozen peas – Husk is trying three different kinds this year – await shipment in Husk’s freezer, located just a few feet from where it was packaged. The company expects to start packaging sweet corn by mid-July.
Two of Husk’s workers sort blanched snow peas in preparation for packaging.
Wilson Farm Market in Hamilton County is one of the farms in central Indiana that grow for Husk, a new company that produces locally sourced frozen vegetables. The Wilsons produce 100-115 acres of vegetables – including sweet corn, green beans, cantaloupe, zucchini, and more – in addition to around 1,000 acres of grain. They sell the vegetables at their own market, located on Highway 31 near Arcadia, and at several central Indiana farmers markets. But getting those vegetables processed was a new venture. “It was kind of a fluke,” explained Scott Wilson. He heard that Husk was looking for growers, found an email address online, and shot the company an email. As it happens, Adam Moody, one of the founders of Husk, was already familiar with the Wilson family and their products. “That was all it took,” Wilson said. “And away we went!” Besides finding another market for his sweet corn and other products, Wilson said he is interested in expanding Hoosiers’ interest in local food as a way to ensure his own farm’s sustainability. In Michigan, he noted, residents seem to identify with products produced in Michigan. “We don’t have that type of loyalty here, and that’s what I’d really like to see,” he said.
July 15, 2014
Young farmer group brings politicians and public together —By Rachel Stine Special Correspondent The Montgomery County Farm Bureau Young Farmers hosted U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, Indiana Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, and County Commissioner Phil Bane for a dinner and legislative discussion on June 21. The event was held at Hudson Farms in Crawfordsville. Farm Bureau members, as well as community members
and local FFA chapter representatives, were able to hear the officials’ perspectives on local, state and federal agricultural issues. The meeting also gave the lawmakers the opportunity to visit with and hear directly from farmers and those in the agricultural industry. Pressing topics such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to change the definition of “navigable waters,” state vo-
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, Indiana Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, and County Commissioner Phil Bane attended a dinner and legislative discussion on June 21 hosted by the Montgomery County Farm Bureau Young Farmers. Many FFA members were in attendance for the political event, and they were encouraged by Sen. Donnelly, who said there has never been a better time to be in agriculture with advances in technology and future food challenges. Photo by Rachel Stine
cational ag program funding and the role of government in regulating local well waters, small rural banks and livestock operations were covered. In addition, the audience was briefed on upcoming legislation and how they can become involved in advocating for agriculture. “People think the government is far away. It’s not,” Donnelly said. “We’re here to represent you and reflect Hoosier values.” Negele agreed. “We need to understand what happens on your farm,” she said. “We can be a resource if something is affecting you legislatively.” Locally, Commissioner Bane said there’s not much community involvement until a controversial issue arises. Having a basic understanding of how government works on every level is a must for having your voice heard. The event arose out of the Montgomery County Young Farmers aim to show that the gap between politicians and the public is small, and politics isn’t something to ignore until it’s already made an impact on you and your farm.
PAGs consider policy Indiana Farm Bureau’s Policy Advisory Groups have been meeting this spring and summer to review policy recommendations relevant to their areas of expertise. The groups also made few new recommendations of their own. These recommendations will be submitted to the resolutions committee, which meets July 22-24, and the resolutions committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the delegate body for discussion on Aug. 23. PAGs for livestock and animal care, crops, government and fiscal policy, transportation and property rights met on June 30. The PAGs on rural development and nutrient management met earlier in the year.
Above, Kevin Underwood, District 3 director, Tippecanoe County; Ed Yanos, Henry County; and Phil Leibering, Spencer County, listen to Katrina Hall (not pictured) discuss property tax issues during the Government & Fiscal Policy Advisory Group meeting, one of five that took place on June 30. Below, Greg Slipher, IFB livestock specialist, listens to Kari Steele, Fayette County, during the Livestock & Animal Care Policy Advisory Group meeting on June 30. Photos by Mindy Reef
Estate taxes now ripe for repeal —From the AFBF Public Relations Team With 218 co-sponsors – more than half of the House of Representatives – on board, legislation to repeal estate taxes is ripe for floor action, the American Farm Bureau Federation said. The Death Tax Repeal Act, H.R. 2429, is authored by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and would repeal estate taxes and maintain steppedup basis. “Although permanent law enacted as part of the AmerAttendees at the District 9 Summer Meeting got the chance to interact with a few adorable calves at the Obert Legacy Dairy in Fort Branch, Ind. The meeting, which attracted nearly 300 Farm Bureau members and several elected officials and candidates for office, took place on June 7. The evening’s agenda included tours of the dairy, a band, samples of several dairy products, dinner and updates from Indiana Corn and Soybean and the Indiana Ag Law Foundation. Photo by Rachel Schrage
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ican Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provided significant estate tax relief, repeal is the best solution to protect all farms and ranches from the estate tax,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman in a June 18 news release. The estate tax burden falls heavily on farmers because it takes more capital assets, such as land and equipment, to generate the same level of income as other types of businesses. If Congress fails to permanently repeal the estate tax, surviving family members
may be forced to sell off parts of their farms, ultimately jeopardizing their livelihoods. “Look at land alone,” Stallman said. “As it skyrockets in value, the chances of surviving family members having to sell some substantial acreage to pay estate taxes grows right along with it. This not only can cripple a farm or ranch operation, but also hurts the rural communities and businesses that agriculture supports.”
Ag ambassadors to travel to Michigan —By Taylor Skuglik Public Relations Intern This year’s Indiana Farm Bureau ACE (Agriculture Cultural Exchange) ambassadors will travel to Michigan to explore the state’s diverse agriculture. Selected to represent IFB this year are Rachel and Matthew Stine of Montgomery County and Stephen and Sherry Neff of Marshall County. The trip will take place July 29 through Aug. 1. Each year two representatives are chosen as ACE ambassadors by the IFB Women’s Leadership Committee to travel to another area of the country and promote greater understanding of agriculture, people, family life and cultures. The Stines and the Neffs will visit several Michigan cities on the trip, including Grand Rapids, Traverse City and East Lansing. They will tour a variety of farms that
specialize in many different products such as hops, cherries, apples, squash, asparagus and more. Several meals will be held on the farms with chances to sample the local food. During the trip they will also visit Michigan State University’s Horticulture Research Center, Monsanto Seed Corn research facility, and multiple wineries. On the last day of the program, the attendees will choose from several different farms and wineries to visit on their own. After the Stines and Neffs return, they will give presentations at Farm Bureau meetings and to community groups throughout the state. For more on the ACE Ambassador program, visit IFB’s website (www.infarmbureau. org) and, under the “Program” tab, click on “Women’s Leadership Committee. The application for the 2015 trip is already posted.
Website changes on the horizon
IFB web designer wins national award
—By Andy Dietrick Public Relations Team
—By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
Later this summer Indiana Farm Bureau will launch a revamped version of its current web presence. The online content will be the same, but it will look and behave differently. To accommodate the growing number of tablets and smart phones being used by our members, the new content management system, or CMS, employs responsive web design. That is, IFB websites will recognize the type of device on which it is being viewed and format the content accordingly. Another major change, one that happens behind the scenes, will be a new single sign-on feature. Members who wish to visit secure content, such as specific information about member benefits, will be asked to register by filling out data fields that create a user profile. This data automatically recognizes members as unique visitors and will provide access to the appro-
Diane Brewer, Indiana Farm Bureau’s web designer, won the award for best graphic design presented by the American Farm Bureau Federation during the organization’s 2014 Strategic Policy, Advocacy, Resources and Communications Conference. Communications specialists representing state Farm Bureaus from across the country competed for awards in writing, photography, design, commentary, public relations and other categories. The conference was held last month in Kansas City, Mo. Brewer won the award for the poster she designed to promote A Taste from Indiana Farms, a food and ag education activity hosted by Farm Bureau each year for three days during the Indiana State Fair. The poster was developed to help food booths hosted by IFB districts promote their samples and the animals or
priate secure content. The IFB single sign-on also “talks” to the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Online Account Manager, providing seamless access to both membership and insurance account information. The new sites are undergoing final tests to ensure stability and ease of use, and are scheduled to go live in mid- to late August.
plants they come from. Brewer joined IFB’s public relations team in 2011. A native of Hebron, Ind., she majored in commercial
art and design at Vincennes University. She now lives in Shelbyville with her husband and their two daughters.
Legislature needs to offer more tools to help citizens fight annexation —By Kathleen M. Dutro Public Relations Team
December 12 and 13 French Lick Resort French Lick, Indiana
Soil health website developed for farmers A coalition of Indiana ag organizations including Indiana Farm Bureau and Purdue Extension have used Indiana’s nutrient management/soil health strategy to create an online resource that farmers can use to make decisions on cropping systems, cover crop use, and nutrient and water management. Though still in its early stages, the website, inagnutrients-public. sharepoint.com/, currently has information on how to calculate fertilizer rates and make cropping decisions. The goal is to populate the website
with information about the economics of certain practices and to provide short summaries of results-oriented research and accurate information that farmers can rely on to make important decisions – without having to sort through the clutter of information overload. The site is mobiledevice friendly and will contain links to videos about certain practices. Farmers and their advisors are encouraged to take a look at the website and provide feedback to Justin Schneider, jschneider@ infarmbureau.org.
As forced annexations become increasingly common in Indiana, rural residents who don’t want their land annexed by a city or town have only a couple of real options, according to Indiana Farm Bureau tax and local government specialist Katrina Hall. They can try to stop the annexation before it’s approved by the town or city council. But if that doesn’t work, they can fight it in court. “We need other options,” Hall said. “We need legislative relief because it’s just too hard, too time consuming and too expensive for ordinary citizens to fight off a forced annexation. They’re up against the resources of the municipality.” Farm Bureau has been notified of 20 annexations in progress in Indiana, Hall said, but she added that there are probably others that she hasn’t heard about yet
(Members are welcome to contact Hall to let her know of annexations in their area, 317-692-7805, firstname.lastname@example.org.) In Fortville, the town council originally attempted to annex 6,000 acres and 383 parcels – an area much larger than the existing town. According to The Greenfield Daily Reporter, the proposal was scaled back to 644 acres and 97 parcels before being adopted. The group that organized against the annexation, Fight Against Forced Annexation (www.supportfafa.com/), remains opposed, however, and is taking its case to court. The Indiana Ag Law Foundation is supporting the opposition’s court battle. Its first court date, Hall said, is July 21 – more than a year after the effort began, she noted. “You have to organize and stay organized to fight a forced annexation off,” she explained.
In Huntington, Huntington Citizens Against Forced Annexation has an even more complicated plan to combat. The city council has proposed an eight-year, five-phase annexation plan that will add 3,000 acres of land to the city. Huntington Citizens Against Forced Annexation (which can be found on Facebook under the name HuntingtonAnnexation) is trying to stop the annexation before it is adopted by the council, Hall said – something Fortville was unsuccessful with. “In addition to the support of Huntington County Farm Bureau, they’ve enlisted the backing from city residents,” Hall said. “Their message of ‘Forced Annexation Is Bad for Everyone’ can be seen all over the city.” As of The Hoosier Farmer’s July 7 deadline, the Huntington City Council was to decide about moving forward with the first phase on July 8.
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NEW MEMBER BENEFIT We are excited to offer you exclusive discounts, special offers, access to preferred seating & many other special perks for thousands of products including theme parks, shows, sporting events, concerts, dinner shows, movies and much more. IFB District 1 held a fun summer meeting at the June 13 South Bend Silver Hawks game. Approximately 300 members attended. Before the game started, 4-H tenure and scholarship winners were recognized for their achievements. The scholarship winners appear above with Farm Bureau leadership. From left, Deb Walsh, District 1 woman leader; Sara Holderbaum, St. Joseph County, district winner; Samantha Higgins, Porter County, district winner; Olivia Kuczmanski, LaPorte County, state winner; Luke Kepler, Marshall County, district winner; Larry Jernas, District 1 director; Andy Beutter, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance agent. Photo by Mindy Reef
Simply visit www.ticketsatwork.com, complete the online membership form by clicking the button BECOME A MEMBER
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Calendar of Events July 16 17 22-24 24, 25
____________________________________________________________________ IFB Nutrient & Water Policy Advisory Group meeting, IFB home office. IFB estate planning workshop, Indianapolis. State resolutions committee meeting, Indianapolis. IFB Board of Directors meeting, Indianapolis.
August 1-17 12-14 13 15 16 21, 22 23 26 27
___________________________________________________________________ Indiana State Fair. Taste from Indiana Farms, Indiana State Fair. IFB Old Fashioned Pancake Breakfast, Indiana State Fair. Indiana Ag Law Foundation workshop on â€œbig data,â€? IFB home office. District 7 picnic. IFB Board of Directors meeting, Indianapolis. IFB delegate session, Indianapolis. District 1 fall meeting. IFB Drainage School, IFB home office.
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