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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 vocational 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.

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