INDIANAPOLIS — Each year at the Indiana Farm Bureau convention, the organization’s president reflects on the year that’s passed and discusses his vision for the future of the organization with members from across the state.
This year, INFB’s convention was drastically different. Due to COVID-19, INFB made the difficult decision to take this year’s convention virtual.
“No one enjoys state convention more than I do. It’s an opportunity for me to reconnect with our long-time friends and members and get to know our new ones,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “So, cancelling the in-person state convention wasn’t an easy decision, but it was made because it’s in the best interest of our members and Farm Bureau staff.”
When reflecting on 2020, there was a lot to celebrate despite the pandemic.
Among the successes, two major high points mentioned in Kron’s address were the passage of Senate Enrolled Act 184 – which allowed INFB to sponsor more affordable, reliable health care benefits for our members – and, as a result of that action, the creation of INFB Health Plans.
“Two years ago, at our state convention in Fort Wayne, I made a promise to you – that we would do our best to answer the need of so many of our members – to provide them with more affordable, reliable health care,” Kron said during his annual address. “After spending 18 months researching and drafting legislation, the bill finally passed in March. Using all the resources of the Farm Bureau family to deliver on our promise to you, we formed Indiana Farm Bureau Health Plans.”
Since applications opened on October 1, INFB has seen a continuous increase in applications week after week with a savings of over 50 percent on average for our family plans.
In his annual address, Kron also highlighted the many ways INFB members continued to serve their community, which was especially needed because of COVID-19.
“Farm Bureau members always look out for one another, and I knew there was no way a pandemic was going to stop that,” Kron said. “When food pantries were struggling due to increased demand, our members held food drives to deliver meat, eggs and milk directly to those in need.
“In the early days of the pandemic, when personal protective equipment was in short supply, many of our members made or donated masks and other PPE to area hospitals, nursing homes and to first responders.”
Kron concluded his address by looking forward, discussing INFB’s top policy priority for the upcoming 2021 legislative session.
“As we look ahead to 2021, our number one priority for this next legislative session is broadband,” he said. “Expanding broadband to the last mile has been a priority of Farm Bureau for several years, but when the pandemic came everyone understood just how important it was to be able to connect to the internet. So, for the 2021 legislative session we will focus on expanding broadband to the unserved and underserved in order to support education, remote work, telehealth and ag technology.”
During his remarks, Kron also acknowledged Joe Martin, CEO of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, who is retiring at the end of the year after 40 years of service to the organization.
The 2020 virtual convention also included county, district and state awards presentations, YF&AP Discussion Meet finals, the annual meeting for INFB delegates, educational breakouts and a conversation with AFBF president Zippy Duvall and INFB President Randy Kron.
The 2021 INFB annual state convention will be held in French Lick next December.
— Indiana Farm Bureau
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