(Indianapolis) – August 28, 2017 – Indiana Farm Bureau member delegates gathered at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Aug. 26 to determine the policy positions of the organization for 2018.
The delegate body consisted of 260 members with representatives from each of Indiana’s 92 counties. The members discussed a number of issues including property taxes, annexation, transportation, utilities and issues related to the upcoming farm bill.
“I’m always impressed with our delegates,” said INFB President Randy Kron. “They’re passionate about issues regarding agriculture, and I’m proud of what they did here.”
INFB’s policy creation process begins at the local level. Each year, all counties have the opportunity to make policy suggestions or edits. Then, those suggestions are debated by a resolutions committee before being brought to the full delegate session. The grassroots structure is vital to ensuring that INFB members can voice their opinions.
“It’s about being here to discuss policy and what’s important to us. The next step is carrying out that engagement to the Statehouse,” Kron said. “We need to engage with legislators to make sure they understand our story. As you look across the state, agriculture is less than 2 percent of the population. Our members realize that they have to tell their story.”
In response to continued concerns about county personal property audits that focus on all farming operations, delegates supported an addition to the policy book asking for clear definitions and guidelines for assessment of tangible items on personal property.
Delegates added language that supports annual notification to landowners identifying the utility who owns transmission lines and contact information for the utility. In terms of transportation, the delegates voted to insert language that supports reciprocity between adjacent states to recognize farm plates and fuel permits.
The delegates asked for further research before taking a position on placing tolls on interstates as a source of road funding.
“One thing is clear, our members believe in Indiana Farm Bureau as a policy organization and one that can help them solve problems,” said INFB Director of Public Policy Katrina Hall.
During the session, delegates also voted on members who would represent INFB at the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. The AFBF Convention will be held in Nashville, Tennessee in January. The INFB delegates chosen will discuss policy positions for the national organization with representatives from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Four county Farm Bureau presidents were elected as delegates for the AFBF Convention:
- John Feutz, Gibson County
- Patty Lange-Fischer, Decatur County
- Deidra Gottbrath, Washington County
- Mark Scarborough, LaPorte County
Over the next few weeks, the Indiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors will determine the priority policies for the 2018 state legislative session. Federal priorities are set at the AFBF level based on input from all state Farm Bureaus. Now, the INFB public policy team will work with regional managers, district directors and county Farm Bureau members to hone in on top priorities to set the stage for the organizations efforts at the Statehouse and in Washington, D.C.
About Indiana Farm Bureau: Since 1919, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has protected the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers. It is the state’s largest general farm organization and a farmer’s strongest advocate. INFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s right to farm, because agriculture is so vital to Indiana’s economy. Learn more at INFB.org