(Indianapolis) – July 27, 2022 – During the summer, farmers are incredibly busy trying to produce a bountiful crop for the impending harvest season. However, there were several Hoosier farmers who also made it a priority to participate in Indiana Farm Bureau’s policy development process to make sure their voices are heard at the Statehouse during the coming legislative session in January.
INFB’s policy development process is lengthy and inclusive to ensure that farmer members in every corner of the state can submit the priorities that are important to them, and that begins at the local level. Each year, all 92 counties have the opportunity to make policy suggestions or edits to INFB’s policy book. Then, those suggestions are debated by a resolutions committee before being brought to the full delegate session.
“Farm Bureau’s priority has always been to advocate for agriculture and our own grassroots,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “We’re able to be successful at the Statehouse and on Capitol Hill because legislators understand how thorough we are in our policy process and how many members we represent.”
INFB hosted nine different policy advisory groups (PAGs) at the end of June focusing on specific areas of expertise or segments of agriculture to work through the counties’ suggestions in categories including: diversified agriculture, energy, environment and natural resources, land use and property rights, production agriculture, rural communities, tax and local government structure, transportation and infrastructure, and broadband.
“Having these specific policy advisory groups allows INFB to bring a variety of backgrounds and expertise to the table to make informed decisions about the recommendations our members suggest,” said Andy Tauer, INFB executive director of public policy. “We had a great mix of members participating in some very robust conversations.”
Bill Kercher, owner of Kercher’s Sunrise Orchard, participated as a field expert on the diversified ag PAG. “The beauty of being a part of a grassroots organization like this is that there’s checks and balances on multiple levels,” said Kercher. “We just try to make sure at the PAG level that we’re clarifying the county submissions to make sure they make sense in the diversified ag area.”
During their deliberations, the PAGs considered 238 new or revised policy recommendations submitted by counties. Those recommendations addressed both state and federal policy.
“I was really pleased with the level of conversation that the members were having on policy and the issues in general,” said Tauer. “Taking the time to do this process right is one of the most critical elements of what we do to bring about change.”
About Indiana Farm Bureau: For more than 100 years, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has promoted agriculture in Indiana through public education, member engagement, and by advocating for agricultural and rural needs. As the state’s largest general farm organization, INFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s right to farm—protecting the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers—because agriculture is vital to Indiana’s economy. Learn more at INFB.org