A little rain didn’t stop Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and state Rep. Jack Jordan from meeting with Indiana Farm Bureau members on a farm tour of northern Indiana recently.
Although the plans to experience planting season from the tractor cab were changed due to weather, Crouch and Jordan were able to talk with INFB members about advances in agricultural technology. They were also able to witness some of the impacts of the February flooding of the Kankakee and Yellow rivers.
“I’m very much interested in our ag economy and understanding the challenges that our Hoosier farmers are dealing with,” said Crouch. “It’s important to me to get out in our local communities and to get out in our far corners of the state to be able to really let people know that the state is there to partner with them.”
The first stop of the day was Burton Family Farms in Fulton County. INFB member Kevin Burton, who farms with his family, focused the discussion on crop production and new technology in agriculture. Burton’s family operation utilizes ultra-narrow-row corn production with an average space of 10 inches between rows. Burton said he appreciated the opportunity to share his story and to highlight advancements in agriculture.
After talking with the Burtons, the caravan visited member John Childs’ farm in Marshall County. Childs showed the group flood damage on his property that occurred when the Yellow River rose over its banks, leaving silt deposits on his land and told them how the flooding affected him personally.
“I wanted to show her the effects of the flood we had up here and what it meant to Marshall County,” said Childs. “Moving forward we need help to keep that river down. It will help not only the town but the farms around the area.”
After a lunch with members, Crouch and Jordan stopped by the farm of Charlie Houin, Marshall County Farm Bureau president, to discuss the modern agriculture planting process. Houin and his family have had great success in customizing application rates for various soil types and increased yield potential. Houin said the farm tour presented a great opportunity to show how important free trade, technology and adequate broadband internet access are to today’s farmers.
The final stops of the day were in Starke and LaPorte counties to see the impacts of the Kankakee River flooding. Crouch and Jordan met with INFB member Dan Gumz from Starke County and Mark Scarborough, LaPorte County Farm Bureau president. Gumz and Scarborough showed the group levees that were breached, levees they helped rebuild, and damage to area roads and farms.
“I wanted to make sure the lieutenant governor understood what happened at the time of the flooding, some of the actions that could have been handled differently and some of the things that weren’t done after the last flood,” said Scarborough.
“It is so amazing when you have someone representing the state and agriculture give up her time to learn about what happened and discuss ways to prevent it from happening again in the future,” Scarborough added.