INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Better and more affordable health care options for Hoosier farmers was among the key issues the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Indiana Soybean Alliance Membership and Policy Committee (M&P) touted to dozens of Indiana lawmakers during the recent annual Bacon Bar and Brunch legislative breakfast at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.
The policy groups also advocated for Indiana livestock, supported better Internet broadband service and discussed pro-ethanol industry proposals at the breakfast. Aided by the aroma of fresh bacon wafting through the Indiana Statehouse halls, the breakfast several enticed House and Senate lawmakers, staff and agricultural stakeholders to join in the conversation.
“Bacon is a wonderful way to communicate a pro-farm message at the Statehouse,” said ICGA President Mike Beard, who raises corn, soybean and hogs on his farm near Frankfort, Ind. “Bacon not only tastes good and smells good, but it also shows how Indiana agriculture is connected. Those who raise livestock are the No. 1 customers for Indiana corn and soybean growers. Corn and soybeans feed most of the livestock in Indiana.”
ICGA and ISA M&P served seven varieties of bacon including duck, turkey, candied, coffee bean, cherrywood, raspberry chipotle and, of course, traditional pork bacon. Attendees enjoyed the many flavors, but clearly favored the pork bacon, which disappeared first at the breakfast.
The Bacon Bar and Brunch connected 250-300 farmers, stakeholders, representatives and senators to have one-on-one discussions about ag policy issues. Each year a new set of proposed laws and regulations catch the eyes of ICGA and M&P staff. The 2020 session concerns include:
- SB 184 – Nonprofit Agricultural Organization Coverage: This bill establishes standards that an organization must meet to qualify as a nonprofit agricultural organization. The bill is needed to allow for affordable health benefit choices for farm owner-operators with no employees. ICGA and M&P support the bill.
- HB 1119 – Regulation of Pesticide Use and Application: This bill requires the State Chemist’s office to use a matrix in evaluating individual pesticide misuse complaints. The bill creates a tiered system of fines. ICGA and M&P support the bill
- SB 217 – Inspection of Petroleum Products: This bill revises specifications for testing gasoline and ethanol to allow year-round sales of E15. ICGA supports the bill.
“The Bacon Bar and Brunch offered farmers a chance to continue to build essential relationships with their legislators,” said M&P Chair Mike Koehne, who grows soybeans and corn on his farm near Greensburg, Ind. “As the number of farmers continues to decline, it is vital for us to speak about the issues that affect our farms. Farmers have more knowledge of these issues than anyone else. It’s our responsibility to take care of our livelihood for the generations of farmers to come.”
ICGA and M&P rely on sponsorship and membership dollars to advocate on behalf of Hoosier farmers. This year’s breakfast sponsors were: Corteva Agriscience, Farm Credit Mid-America, Boehringer Ingelheim, Maple Leaf Farms, Indiana Pork, Indiana State Poultry Association, Indiana Dairy Producers, Indiana Kitchen as well as Indiana’s soybean and corn checkoffs.
Additionally, ICGA and M&P support expanded broadband Internet coverage to rural areas of Indiana. The policy organizations also work to support pork, beef and poultry producers. Indiana livestock consumes 95 percent of soybean meal and 40 percent of corn produced in the state.
Visit www.iga.in.gov to follow all pieces of legislation during this session.
— Indiana Corn Growers Association
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