September 19, 2014
VICTORIES IN JAY AND DECATUR COUNTIES Jay County livestock farmers were successful in fending off opposition forces that were insisting the county area plan commission and the county commissioners pass a moratorium on issuing improvement location permits for livestock farms wanting to build or expand in Jay County. The Jay County producers attended both the area plan commission meeting and the county commissioner meeting the following week and convinced the decision makers that moratoriums were bad business for the county. Similar attempts to halt livestock expansion occurred in Decatur County, but a strong public showing by livestock producers thwarted a call for a moratorium there.
Hats off to IFB regional manager Drew Cleveland and County President Eric Siegrist for staying on top of the issue and coordinating producer attendance at key meetings.
VOTING IS KEY TO STANDING UP FOR AGRICULTURE AND RURAL INDIANA In less than 45 days from now, IFB members will have the chance to influence the direction of our state and country by voting for pro-agriculture candidates to the Indiana Statehouse and U.S. Congress on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
What can farmers and their families do before Nov. 4 to ensure that pro-agriculture candidates are elected to the Indiana Statehouse and U.S. Congress?
- Encourage your farming friends and neighbors to register to vote or check their registration online with the statewide voter registration system. It is simple and easy. It also allows you to make sure your existing voter registration has not been purged by the Secretary of State.
- Review Indiana Farm Bureau ELECT’s list of endorsed Indiana statehouse and congressional candidates. Vote for those who are endorsed. They will be featured in the Oct. 6 edition of The Hoosier Farmer.
- Get involved in the process by displaying yard signs or distributing materials for endorsed candidates in your area. They can always use volunteers and it is a great relationship building experience that will pay dividends when agriculture needs their help.
- Remind your farming friends, family and neighbors about the important election coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Remind them that agriculture especially needs friendly legislators in the Indiana General Assembly to address priority issues like rapidly escalating farmland taxes, unwelcome involuntary annexation and protection of water resources for agriculture.
Be an Indiana Farm Bureau voter in 2014! Indiana agriculture needs your participation.
COMMISSION ON BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND BUSINESS TAXES MEETS The Commission on Business Personal Property and Business Taxes, a special study group called for in Senate Bill 1 from the 2014 legislative session, convened the first of three meetings on Sept. 15. The commission is chaired by Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) with Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo) serving as vice-chair. Other legislators serving are Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero), Sen. John Broden (D-South Bend) and Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville). This commission is different than other study committees because it has non-legislator members, including representatives of the Association of Indiana Counties, Indiana Realtors, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Indiana Association of School Business Officials, the Indiana Chamber, Indiana Manufacturers Association and IFB’s Katrina Hall, representing Indiana agriculture. The meeting received information about the competitiveness of Indiana’s business tax climate from the Council on State Taxation and the Tax Foundation, both of which are national groups. Dr. Larry DeBoer gave a presentation on the business tax burden within Indiana. Both the IMA and Chamber made presentations on the need to address business personal property tax due to its damping effect on capital investment. The committee will meet next on Sept. 29 and Indiana Farm Bureau will be making a presentation. The final meeting of the commission will be on Oct. 22.
COMMITTEE EXAMINES RECREATIONAL TRAILS The Interim Study Committee on Agricultural and Natural Resources met on Tuesday to discuss a statewide policy for and maintenance of recreational trails. They also discussed methods to distribute money deposited into the recreational trail maintenance fund established by IC 14-19-10.3. Amy Cornell, policy advisor and counsel, offered testimony regarding the concerns of adjacent landowners, including trespass, littering, weed control and liability. Cornell also suggested that the committee establish a user fee program to fund trail maintenance.
WATERS OF U.S. ACTIVITIES ESCALATE After 11 regional meetings attended by over 400 people, five members of Congress and dozens of congressional staff members, we enter the final month of activity to stop the rule that would expand EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers authority under the Clean Water Act. More than 225 Farm Bureau members have submitted individual comments, and at least ten county Farm Bureaus have submitted comments as well. Approximately 300 instances of communication with Congress have been reported. We need more members and county Farm Bureaus to step up and submit comments to EPA by Oct. 20. We also ask that members thank the House Republican delegation for supporting the bi-partisan H.R. 5078, which would limit the ability of EPA and the Corps to adopt or implement this rule. We also urge you to contact Sens. Coats and Donnelly to ask for Senate action on a companion piece of legislation. Please report your activity by contacting Justin Schneider or completing a report form. Finally, if you want to see whether your land may have features considered by EPA and the Corps to be within their scope, take a look at this interactive map.
HOUSE PASSES WATERS OF THE U.S. REGULATORY OVERREACH PROTECTION ACT On Sept. 9 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, by a vote of 262-152. The bill passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support including thirty-five Democrats and all but one Republican voting for the legislation. The vote was a party line split among the Indiana House delegation with all seven Republicans voting in favor and both Democrats voting against.
The bill prohibits the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering or enforcing the administration’s proposed WOTUS rule. H.R. 5078 also takes a new tack in an effort to clarify the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act by creating a consultation mechanism with state and local officials to find a consensus recommendation for clearing up confusion over the 1972 water law's jurisdiction. This federalism consultation requires EPA to consult with states and local governments and prepare and submit a consensus regulatory proposal and report to Congress, a process that would take approximately two years.
HOUSE TO CONSIDER H.R. 4 JOBS FOR AMERICA ACT The House will vote this Friday on H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act, legislation that incorporates 15 “tax extender” bills passed by the House earlier this year. The bill includes four of Farm Bureau’s key priorities related to the various tax provisions that expired at the end of last year.
The four provisions that have garnered Farm Bureau support earlier this session are:
- H.R. 4457, the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act, authored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), which makes section 179 expensing permanent at the $500,000 level.
- H.R. 4718, authored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), which makes bonus depreciation permanent.
- H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, authored by Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), which will be promoting responsible timber production and a short term extension of “Secure Rural Schools” payments to counties.
- H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, authored by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), which repeals the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour definition of full-time employment.
USDA GIVES REGULATORY GREEN LIGHT TO DOW FOR ENLIST The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its final decision this week regarding the deregulation of the Enlist corn, Enlist soybeans and Enlist E3 soybean traits in the United States. The announcement concludes one of the most thorough reviews of a biotech trait in history.
With the corn and soybean traits approved by USDA, the attention now turns to the EPA regarding the registration of the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, called Enlist Duo herbicide. Registration of Enlist Duo is expected in the near future. View Dow’s press release on this approval.
EPA ANNOUNCES EXTENSION FOR GHG COMMENT PERIOD This week the EPA announced an extension of the comment period for the existing power plant Greenhouse Gas Emissions regulation until Dec. 1, 2014. This is a 45-day extension. It is still expected that EPA will finalize the rule by June 2015.
In June 2013, President Obama issued an executive memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate regulations to limit carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants. These two regulations will set the stage for similar regulations of other sectors of the economy like refining, chemicals, natural gas development, iron and steel, livestock operations and pulp and paper. On June 2, 2014, EPA released its proposed rule addressing emissions from existing power plants.
Farm Bureau was one of the founding members of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future with the purpose to oppose the upcoming climate regulations. For additional resources, visit the PBEF website.
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