State legislators boarded a helicopter at Milhon Farms in Martinsville, Indiana, on Aug. 14 to view crops from a unique vantage point. Indiana Farm Bureau member Jerry Hodges set the tour up for Sen. Rodric Bray, and Reps. Peggy Mayfield and Jim Baird.
The purpose of the flight was to highlight the impact of rivers and streams on cropland throughout the basin. After they landed, the legislators were treated to a crop dusting demonstration where they were able to learn more about the modern technology used in the process. (See photo.)
“Most legislators have little to no direct experience with the agriculture industry,” said Hodges. “The more awareness we can give them the more likely they are to be able to grasp on to it and share that knowledge with other legislators.”
Bray said the helicopter tour enabled him to have a new understanding on how much land is used for crops and how the land is affected when the rivers come out of their banks.
“What I enjoyed most [about the helicopter tour] was the perspective it gives. You look at the erosion and the movements over the years of where the river has been, where it’s planning on going, and what it does when it gets out of its banks,” Bray said. “Today was a great picture of that. You could see all the damage that’s been caused from the couple of floods we’ve had this summer.”
Mayfield took the tour as an opportunity to learn more about what happens on a farm and how technology has advanced. Mayfield said she left with a better understanding on topics like crop dusting and erosion that will be helpful if either issue comes up during the legislative session.
“If we don’t hear legislation about it this year, we might next year or four years from now,” Mayfield said. “I’ll be able to look back at this experience and remember what I saw and what I learned.”
Baird said he was impressed by the power and precision of the planes during the crop dusting demonstration. He enjoyed learning about the ability to seed cover crops, apply pesticides or apply fertilizers with accuracy using GPS technology.“The technology in the equipment can absolutely control where they [farmers] are putting the materials,” Baird said. “It was really interesting to see the capabilities that these planes have. Bottom line is I think you have to recognize just how advanced agriculture has become.”