Summer activities are starting to look familiar again
Mike Koehne, Chair, ISA Membership and Policy Committee
Hello from our Decatur County farm near Greensburg, Ind.
County fairs, cutting hay, family get-togethers . . . I think we’re emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic into some familiar summer activities. People are eager, I think, to see each other face-to-face again – and not on a Zoom camera. As you’ll read later in this magazine, in person events such as the Indiana State Fair and our own Ag Policy Summit are making a comeback this summer.
The Ag Policy Summit will by July 27 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville, Ind. Sustainability and New Trends in Agriculture is the theme for this year’s Summit. Our featured speakers include ISDA Director Bruce Kettler, Purdue University Professor of Ag Economics Dr. Jayson Lusk, and Steve Howell, the Director of Industry Affairs for ISA, ICGA and ICMC.
Kettler will talk about the state’s ag outlook and review farm-related legislation that was debated in the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year. Lusk is going to tell us about Purdue research of new sustainable farming techniques. And Howell will lead a discussion about how potential state and federal laws may impact Hoosier farmers. Of course there’s going to be much more to the Summit than these talks. It’s also a good opportunity to network and talk with other growers from around the state. I find these informal discussions very valuable.
Did I mention that the Indiana State Fair is open for visitors this year? To get ready for it, ISA is offering new exhibits at its Glass Barn at the fairgrounds. The Glass Barn has been a vehicle for soybean farmers to offer the general public a transparent view of Indiana agriculture. Through interactive exhibits and interviews with farmers, children and parents learn more about where and how their food is grown.
Another interactive exhibit, the biggest, has been added for this year’s state fair. A full-size combine simulator will show state fair visitors how this complicated harvesting machine works. To see more about this, read the story starting on page 34.
In-person events have already been happening for several weeks. This June, ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee partnered with ICGA and agriculture consulting and accounting firm K•COE ISOM for a series of breakfast meetings around the state called Cup of Joe with K•COE. These meetings focused on creating a plan to pass your estate – or farm – from one generation to the next. The meetings also talked about potential changes to the federal tax codes that could impact estate planning.
As the chair of ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee, I’m happy that we’ve been able to offer informative programs like these from K•COE ISOM. To read more about this, see the story on page 11. The membership dollars from farmers like you is what allows us to fight for policies that will help all farmers in Indiana.
Finally, on page 42 of this magazine, there’s a column by ISDA Director Kettler regarding changes to the state’s Grain Indemnity Fund by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year. The Grain Indemnity Fund protects Indiana farmers from financial loss when a grain elevator becomes insolvent. ISA worked to encourage state lawmakers to strengthen and update the fund to further protect farmers. The updates to this program are a legislative victory for us from this year’s session.
The bottom line: We are a farmer-led organization looking out for the best interests of farmers. My advice: Get involved and make a difference.