(Indianapolis) – Nov. 14, 2022 – Indiana Farm Bureau leaders and staff will meet with legislators to discuss the organization’s recently approved policy priorities for the upcoming 2023 legislative session at their annual Organization Day Breakfast held at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
The priorities will focus on four general topics: rural viability, energy, taxes and food security.
“With this year being a budget session, it’s important that we prioritize the areas that really impact our members since we know they won’t be easy asks,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “Our members put a lot of time and effort into identifying the industry’s biggest needs and crafting them into the organization’s policy positions for the coming year.”
The priorities identified by INFB include the following:
This priority focuses on working with members in rural communities to help find solutions to many of the challenges facing rural Indiana, such as the need for increased workforce development and improved rural public health. These also are the focus of the recently released report of the Governor’s Public Health Commission.
“Indiana’s local health care systems are poorly funded, particularly when it comes to preventive health care,” said Jeff Cummins, INFB director of state government relations.
During the 2022 legislative session, carbon sequestration was one of the more contested topics, with INFB and its allies joining forces to protect landowner subsurface property rights. It’s unclear whether subsurface property rights will become an issue again in 2023, but INFB will be paying close attention, just in case, Cummins said.
“We’re going to potentially be playing defense on a couple different energy topics this year,” he said, adding that the INFB energy policy advisory group had several meetings to help identify priorities. Wetlands and drainage also are of great interest to INFB, as are wind and solar power.
The main concern with taxes during the 2023 session is that there could be an effort to relieve homeowners’ property taxes by shifting the burden from homes to farms. INFB also is supporting various budget requests from state agencies, including the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Board of Animal Health and Purdue Extension.
“Although Indiana has a balanced budget, we’re expecting legislators to be conservative and protective of those dollars going into a possible recession,” said Andy Tauer, INFB executive director of public policy. “We shouldn’t take for granted that each fiscal request will get the green light.”
Agriculture faces pressures from several directions, from continuous urban and suburban sprawl to federal rules on greenhouse gas emissions reporting that jeopardize members’ ability to farm and produce food for the world.
“INFB’s mission is to keep farmers farming, and we’ll work on priority issues that ensure they can,” Tauer said.
INFB’s policy creation process begins with each county Farm Bureau. All counties have the opportunity to make policy suggestions for the upcoming year. Then the recommendations are brought before a resolutions committee to be considered before they reach the INFB delegate session, which was held on Aug. 27 and consisted of 234 member representatives. After the delegate session, the INFB board of directors identified the key issues INFB members and staff will focus on at the Statehouse.
When the 2023 session of the Indiana General Assembly begins in January, INFB members will continue to visit with their legislators to advocate for this year’s policy positions.
About Indiana Farm Bureau: For more than 100 years, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has protected and enhanced the future of agriculture and our communities. As the state’s largest general farm organization, INFB works diligently to cultivate a thriving agricultural ecosystem to strengthen the viability of Indiana agriculture. Learn more at INFB.org