Shop Talk meetings connect farmers to state’s lawmakers - Indiana Corn and Soy

Shop Talk meetings connect farmers to state’s lawmakers

Posted: November 2, 2022
Category: ICGA, Indiana Corn and Soybean Post - Fall 2022, ISA, News

During August of each year, the Indiana Soybean Alliance’s Membership and Policy Committee (M&P) and the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) host a series of Shop Talks for Indiana’s congressional delegation across the state.

August is a perfect time to have these meetings as Congress is on recess during the month. Just to be clear, “recess” simply means Congress is not in session, and Members of Congress use this time to get back to their districts and meet with constituents. Although Congress is on recess, much work is done back home in the state.

M&P and ICGA have hosted Shop Talks for several years. The term “Shop Talk” is an important description of the meetings. We want to offer meetings for farmers where there is more emphasis on farmers talking with representatives and senators, as opposed to office holders just speaking to farmers. We typically host these meetings in a farm shop where farmers are more relaxed.

Shop Talks also give us a chance to showcase modern, commercial-scale agriculture to Members of Congress. These on-farm meetings are a great opportunity to show the scale in which a modern farm operates, the volumes produced, and the technology needed to efficiently produce a crop. Having this up-close and personal view of modern agriculture gives elected officials an important perspective as they debate issues impacting agriculture.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) talks to farmers during a Shop Talk event at the Henry County farm of Matthew Chapman on Aug. 10.

Topping the list of issues discussed was the reauthorization of the farm bill, which is set to expire in 2023. Central to this discussion was the need to protect crop insurance, allocating more dollars within the farm bill to support Title I programs such as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), and increasing funding for the Market Development Program and the Foreign Market Development program.

Biofuels policy was also covered at the Shop Talks. One of ICGA’s priorities is pushing for higher blends of ethanol in gasoline. Year-round sales of E15 gasoline and passage of the Next Generation Fuels Act would lead to higher blends of ethanol and increased corn grind. The blenders tax credit for biodiesel is a priority of M&P, as well as seeking opportunities for soybean oil in the producers of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Another priority issue for both M&P and ICGA is trade policy. Indiana farmers expressed concern about the lack of aggressively seeking new trade opportunities for agriculture and the need to enforce existing trade agreements. There has been growing concern that requirements in the recently passed USMCA are not being followed by Mexico – primarily biotech crops acceptance. Representatives and senators, alike, committed to investigating the need for stronger enforcement of trade agreements.

U.S. Rep. Jim Baird, (R-Dist. 4), a member of the House Ag Committee, talks to farmers about the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill debate during a Shop Talk meeting at Mark Legan’s farm in Putnam County.

Additionally, supply chain concerns, inflation and the global unrest caused by the war in Ukraine, were discussed.

M&P and ICGA would like the thank the sponsors of this year’s Shop Talk series: Corteva, First Farmers Bank and Trust, Asgrow, Farm Credit MidAmerica and Pioneer.






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