(Indianapolis) – Nov. 13, 2023 – Indiana Farm Bureau leaders and staff will meet with legislators to discuss the organization’s recently approved policy priorities for the upcoming 2024 legislative session at their annual Organization Day Breakfast held at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
This year, the three main priorities they will discuss are focused on protecting and enhancing agriculture in the best way for INFB members by digging deep into issues that may have lasting effects on food production and quality of life.
“Every legislative session is important to Indiana Farm Bureau because a significant amount of policy impacts Hoosier farmers and our communities,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “This one will be especially important to agriculture, an industry that contributes more than $35 billion to the state’s economy. When policies are considered by the General Assembly this year, it will be important for them to consider what will keep agriculture growing. One in 10 Hoosiers work in the ag ecosystem, so policies that impact agriculture have a ripple effect beyond the farm gate.”
The priorities identified by INFB include the following three general topics:
The divide between rural and urban communities is deepening. Without access to reliable infrastructure, high-speed broadband, a qualified and dependable workforce, and the means to produce food, rural communities around Indiana are struggling. INFB will focus on increasing the availability of quality childcare, more funding for emergency services and rural infrastructure, and preserving farmland.
Taxation and Fiscal Policy
Although the 2024 legislative session will be a shortened one, state and local tax reform will be a major priority. The consistent increase of tax burdens directly impacts producers’ bottom lines. INFB will work with legislators this year to adjust the farmland formula and create more uniformity in assessments.
“During last year’s legislative session, the big talking point was property taxes for homeowners. This session, we’ll focus on protecting agriculture and farmland taxes,” said Andy Tauer, INFB executive director of public policy. “The agriculture industry is a capital-intensive business with ever-increasing input costs that put a financial burden on the producer and consumer. Consumers want prices at the supermarket to go down, and one of the ways to do that is to control the tax burden placed on Hoosier producers.”
Tauer added that INFB also will begin meeting with a newly formed tax task force throughout the coming months to dig deeper into the issues members are dealing with when it comes to taxes.
Land Use and Property Rights
With more than 80% of land in Indiana devoted to farms, forests and woodlands, land use and property rights continue to be threatened by development. Water quantity has become a point of concern as competing interests fight for access. INFB will continue to advocate for policy that improves water quality, while also assessing the volume of available water across the state.
“We’re also forming a water task force composed of Farm Bureau members who will anticipate some of the challenges we’ll face with water quality and quantity in the coming years,” said Tauer. “Some of these discussions were driven by the Boone County LEAP project, but we’re hearing from members in several other areas of the state that we need to keep an eye on the water discussions. We want to work on the quantity problem before it actually becomes a problem.”
INFB’s policy priorities are created from the ground up, beginning 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. 26 and consisted of 235 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 2024 session of the Indiana General Assembly begins in January, INFB members will 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.