Apr 28, 2023, 15:25 PM
Heidi Gant, INFB Marketing Team
As the gavel fell on the 2023 Indiana General Assembly early Friday morning, Indiana Farm Bureau celebrated several legislative successes for Hoosier farmers and rural communities. Since this year was a budget session, there were a large number of issues that INFB monitored and engaged in to protect Indiana agriculture.
(Indianapolis) – April 28, 2023 – As the gavel fell on the 2023 Indiana General Assembly early Friday morning, Indiana Farm Bureau celebrated several legislative successes for Hoosier farmers and rural communities. Since this year was a budget session, there were a large number of issues that INFB monitored and engaged in to protect Indiana agriculture.
“We don’t take for granted the work of our grassroots during each legislative session, and this year was no different,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “INFB members around Indiana attended Third House meetings, made the trip to Indianapolis to visit their representatives and senators at the Statehouse, and responded to action alerts to help us move the issues down the field.”
INFB added a new event this year - a breakfast at the Statehouse - as another opportunity for members to interact with their elected representatives. In mid-March INFB members and leaders from the state’s other major ag organizations gathered with lawmakers of both chambers to reiterate priorities for the second half of the legislative session.
Kron added that Farm Bureau was grateful to see a lot of their fiscal priorities make it into the budget bill. Some items INFB supported as part of the budget were:
- Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency’s first dedicated line item.
- A major increase for the Clean Water Indiana program at $6 million per year.
- Funding to upgrade Purdue Extension county staff.
- Funding for three poultry veterinary positions for the Board of Animal Health.
- Restored Career Technical Education as a categorical grant.
- An increase in public health funding as requested by the Governor’s Public Health Commission, including $225 million that will prioritize rural local public health departments.
A contested issue that made it back into the Statehouse this year was carbon sequestration. Although Senate Enrolled Act 451 made it to the governor’s desk this session, it wasn’t without a lot of discussion and compromise.
“To understand the magnitude of the carbon sequestration pilot project language that passed this year, you’d have to look at what didn’t make it into the bill,” said Andy Tauer, INFB executive director of public policy. “With the help of our members speaking out about private property rights, reaching out to their elected officials, and the determination of our lobbying team, we were able to accomplish a huge compromise on this one including a higher compensation rate and a deadline for the project to get their federal permit.”
Other bills supported by INFB include:
- House Enrolled Act 1557 – Rep. Kendell Culp’s bill directs the State Department of Agriculture to conduct an inventory of farmland lost in Indiana from 2010 to 2022.
- House Enrolled Act 1132 – Rep. Culp’s companion bill to HEA1557 would create a Land Use Task Force to dive more deeply into growth trends in rural, urban and suburban communities, as well as how they can better position themselves to attract economic development and protect prime farmland.
- House Enrolled Act 1454 – The Department of Local Government Finance bill helps taxpayers filing assessment appeals, adds tools to fund local EMS and creates more transparency on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district reporting. It also requires monitoring on residential TIF.
- Senate Enrolled Act 419 – The agency bill for the Department of Revenue provides additional tax options for INFB Health Plans, which will bring cost savings, and clarifies that sales tax on ag equipment is exempt if predominately used for ag purposes.
- Senate Enrolled Act 325 - Updates the homestead standard deduction and gives more flexibility on detached buildings.
“I’m so proud of what we were able to accomplish this budget session and always impressed by how much legislators lean on INFB to advise them on bills that could impact agriculture and our rural communities,” added Kron. “There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, so our members can be sure that if something could impact their livelihood, we have a hand in it.”
About Indiana Farm Bureau: For more than 100 years, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has protected and enhanced the future of agriculture and our communities. As the state’s largest general farm organization, INFB works diligently to cultivate a thriving agricultural ecosystem to strengthen the viability of Indiana agriculture. Learn more at INFB.org.
Collegiate Farm Bureau at Purdue
Collegiate Farm Bureau at Vincennes
Collegiate Farm Bureau at Huntington