Trouble helps bring the ag community together

There’s been some controversy in my area of the state. Confined feeding operations have become a hot issue in Whitley County, and some farmers have been feeling that heat.

There is a silver lining to this situation, though. It’s helped the local ag community come together, and it’s also allowed the county Farm Bureau to take a real leadership role in organizing support for Whitley County agriculture.

 One of the cases that has become controversial is that of Trish and Todd Hinen, who are trying to build two beef cattle finishing barns in the county. Their permit was approved but is now under appeal. The Hinens have been raising cattle in the county for 25 years, but that has not prevented opponents from condemning their proposal outright. They have received help from the local ag community, particularly their county Farm Bureau, as well as from Indiana Farm Bureau staff.

So imagine how nice it was to read the wonderful testimony that Trish Hinen posted on her Facebook page last month. In it, Trish thanked Farm Bureau for the leadership opportunities it has given her and Todd through their years as young farmers and Tricia’s experience as county president.

“Travel, education, conferences and conventions continued and left me better educated and gave me incredible leadership opportunities that have served me well in my professional life (off farm) and personal life here on the farm. We eventually went off the local county board and as our busy lives, careers and family took off, we became ‘dormant’ members,” she wrote.

“Fast forward a few years and our cattle expansion in to a CFO (confined feeding operation) came under attack by local opposition. Who did I call for help and education? Whitley County Farm Bureau AND Indiana Farm Bureau,” she added.

She went on to thank Farm Bureau for helping to educate her on issues affecting CFOs in Indiana, on providing education and advice from the state office, and on helping connect her and Todd with other partners needed to fight the CFO battle in Whitley County.

“If you're not a Farm Bureau member, please contact me and join!” she added. “If you're already a member, I encourage you to get involved! Join the county board of directors if there is a vacancy in your township. If you can't commit to the board, join in on a few local meetings...Local farmers of all types and sizes (your neighbors) need you!”

If you ever consider your membership in Farm Bureau, remember that not all of the member benefits are concrete. Yes, we offer a lot of valuable discounts – but what we also offer is a chance for agriculture to work together. Farm Bureau helps farmers find their voice.