How Indiana-based Verility, Inc. is Working to Revolutionize Livestock Breeding

Liane Hart, Verility Co-Founder and CEO, at a central Indiana-based pork farm. Photo courtesy of Verility, Inc.

There is a company based out of Hancock County, Indiana called Verility, Inc. that is currently developing new breeding technology for pork producers and is working to revolutionize the livestock industry.

“It is so much like having a digital microscope and a skilled lab technician in the palm of your hands,” says Liane Hart, Co-Founder and CEO of Verility, Inc., referring to the company’s new Fertile-Eyez software program that’s being developed to evaluate sperm and ovulation quality in livestock.

Fertile-Eyez is an app that can be downloaded onto your phone so you can check to see when your livestock are fertile, so you can speed up the breeding process. That app is expected to be available in 2024 to test boars, sows and gilts – and will soon be developed as well for other livestock species.

“It’s actually already been validated in humans,” says Hart. “That’s actually where it started, and to a contact of mine, asked the question, ‘Do you think there’s any application in animal health?’ Being a fellow breeder and geneticist, my eyes lit up when I saw the technology. My jaw dropped at just how easy it was to use, as well as affordable. and so I, with an empathic yes, said of course this would have a lot of application. This would bring our industry much farther faster.”

Liane Hart, Co-founder and CEO of Verility, Inc. based out of Hancock County, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Verility, Inc.

Hart, who is a graduate of Columbus East High School in Columbus, Indiana, received her both her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Masters degree in Equine Science from Purdue University.

She says the software is so easy that anyone can download it and use it right there on site at their farm.

“You don’t have to be a skilled laborer to be able to use them like you do the big cumbersome, expensive machines that are out there that actually can still be not very accurate,” according to Hart.

She says if you’re a pork producer, the software could help put more money in your pocket.

“If you just look at sows and gilts that aren’t getting pregnant, which is 15 percent of the time on average, that is actually the equivalent of $1.2 billion that is being left on the table each and every year,” says Hart. “Any percentage point that they can improve upon that allows them to really fuel the food-supply chain and their pockets, as well as producers.”

Most of all, Hart says the software is a win-win for livestock producers and the entire food industry.

“The more that we can benefit animal health the better off our food supply will be moving forward and I’m all for it,” says Hart.

Click HERE to read MORE about Verility, Inc. and their Fertile-Eyez software program that is being developed for use by 2024.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report on Indiana-based Verility, Inc. and how the company plans to revolutionize the livestock industry.

Click BELOW to hear the FULL PODCAST interview with Liane Hart, Co-Founder and CEO of Verility, Inc., as she discusses the Fertile-Eyez software that is being developed for use by 2024.

Liane Hart, Verility CEO, works with a manager at a central Indiana-based pork farm. Photo courtesy of Verility, Inc.

Supreme Court Hears WOTUS Arguments in Sackett v. EPA Case Impacting Farmland Owners

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in the long-running fight over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule and whether standing bodies of water or other wetlands require EPA permits under the Clean Water Act.

The case, known as Sackett v. EPA, specifically involves regulations of “navigable bodies of water” to protect drinking water supplies. Those regulations have included ditches, drainages and low spots on farmlands and pastures, as well as lands that are being developed for residential properties.

The enforcement of those regulations, as well as a specific and universal definition of “navigable bodies of water”, have varied recently from one Presidential administration to the next. The lack of clear rules on clean water has caused some confusion and frustration.

The WOTUS rule allows the federal government to fine landowners $37,000 dollars a day or file felony charges and threaten jail time against those who are deemed by the EPA to be violators of the rule.

The background for the Supreme Court case started in 2004 when Michael and Chantall Sackett decided to build a home on a residential lot that they own near Priest Lake, Idaho. However, shortly after they began construction, the EPA shut them down and told them their property contained wetlands that qualify as “navigable waters” regulated by the Clean Water Act. The EPA ordered the Sacketts to end construction plans and restore the property to its natural state.

During oral arguments in the case on Monday, the liberal Justices, including newest member Ketanji Brown-Jackson, seemed to side with the government’s interest in protecting the environment, while conservatives asked questions about the rule regarding the uncertainty if and when landowners need a permit.

“So, if the federal government doesn’t know, how is a person subject to criminal time in federal prison, supposed to know,” asked Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch while the case was being argued.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Sackett v. EPA, which will ultimately impact the direction of what happens with the EPA’s WOTUS rule and its effect on landowners and farmers, is expected early next year.

Click HERE to read Hoosier Ag Today’s previous news article from September about the impact of the EPA’s WOTUS rule on Indiana’s farmers and landowners.

Click HERE to read the impact of the WOTUS rule on farmers from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Sources: American Farm Bureau Federation, NAFB News Service.

The Ag Economy is Strong in 2022, but What Lies Ahead?

The ag economy has been seen a lot of growth over the past couple of years, but how long will it last?

“Economic conditions in agriculture are remarkably strong,” says Nate Kauffman, vice president and Omaha bank executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He says that farm incomes are still in good shape.

“Incomes are incredibly high. We’ve seen commodity prices pick up, and yes, there are very high input costs that are leading to some concerns, but generally speaking, economic conditions in agriculture, with some caveats, are quite strong,” according to Kauffman.

He says land values are a good example of the strength of the ag economy – which are about 25 to 30 percent higher than prior to March of 2020.

“That was a time that land values had been declining the first couple of months of the pandemic, and it was maybe thought that we would see further declines, but here we are a couple of years later and seeing that conditions are much stronger. Before the pandemic, we worried about gradual increases in loan defaults. We looked at bankruptcy rates, we looked at other things that we thought there was going to be more financial stress and not less going forward. And the reality is that loan delinquencies are at one of their all-time lows, working capital levels are very high, and producers are generally in a strong position. And so, we’re seeing again from a financial picture things are rather strong there too.”

Nate Kauffman, vice president and Omaha bank executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Kauffman expects slower economic growth next year for the U.S. ag economy because of the impact of higher inflation.

“Six percent growth in 2021 and 2022, that number is expected to be less than one percent, and there are concerns about economic growth in 2023. The second one is inflationary pressure. For those 10 years that we spent in the longest economic expansion on record after the financial crisis, inflation was generally less than two percent. And the Federal Reserve, as many of you may know, has a goal for inflation at two percent. We’re at eight percent.”

Kauffman predicts that recent spikes in inflation will lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates once again to four to four-and-a-half percent by the end of this year.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report for Hoosier Ag Today.

Source: NAFB News Service.

Indiana’s Corn Harvested at 16%, Soybeans Harvested at 17%

Harvest progress across Indiana is surging forward thanks to unseasonably cool and dry weather conditions last week that have helped progress for fieldwork.

So far, 16% of corn for grain and 17% of soybeans have been harvested as of Sunday, Oct. 2 according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS). That’s a jump from 6% for corn and 5% for soybeans from the week before.

Indiana corn is 96% dented and 67% mature. The USDA says 90% of corn for silage has been harvested while harvested corn for grain is far behind the five-year average pace of 20%. Indiana corn is rated 57% good-to-excellent.

Indiana soybeans are rated 58% good-to-excellent. 82% of beans are dropping leaves. Soybeans are also behind the five-year average for harvesting at 23%.

In his weekly report, Nathaniel Warenski, State Statistician with the USDA NASS, adds that winter wheat planting continued behind its five-year average as well with about only 11% of the crop planted so far as some farm operators have reported sporadic instances of frost warnings.

US Ag Reps Working to Overturn Mexico’s Upcoming Import Ban on Genetically Modified Corn

Nearly two years ago, Mexico announced that by 2024, they would ban U.S. corn imports if it’s genetically modified or grown using glyphosate.

Dave Salmonsen, Senior Director of Government Affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the U.S. government and ag representatives are working to resolve this issue.

“It’s something that we’re very concerned about,” says Salmonsen.

On Dec. 31, 2020, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued the decree, which could cause billions of dollars of economic harm to both countries.

Salmonsen says that officials are unsure what that decree applies to specifically regarding corn imports.

“There’s a little confusion there because were they saying, ‘Is it all corn? Is it white corn to make their tortillas for food products? Is it all yellow corn?’ That’s never, at least to our satisfaction, been really explained. So, we’re concerned it could affect all corn,” says Salmonsen.

Dave Salmonsen, Senior Director of Government Affairs with American Farm Bureau Federation, at his office in Washington, D.C. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

He adds that the issues between the U.S. and Mexico extend beyond corn imports and exports.

“Mexico also isn’t doing approvals of biotech products,” according to Salmonsen. “That’s restricting our ability for their companies to release those products for use here, because then you wouldn’t have any export market. These are concerns that our government and the Mexican government are trying to talk to about it. They’re trying to work that out.”

Salmonsen says that Mexico has been a huge ag trading partner going back to when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) started in 1994. That trade agreement was replaced with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) in 2020.

“We don’t have tariffs going into Mexico, but we still have some standards issues, which can be thorny – and especially these decrees from this current Mexican government, so whether it’s under the USMCA or outside of it, this has to get resolved,” says Salmonsen.

According to the USDA, Mexico is expected to import 17.7 million metric tons of U.S. corn in 2022-23.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report on “U.S. Ag Representatives Working to Overturn Mexico’s Upcoming Import Ban on Genetically Modified or Glyphosate-grown Corn.”


Congressman Greg Pence Pushes Biden Administration to Seek Inflation Relief for Indiana Farmers

Congressman Greg Pence (R-IN 6th District). Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

If you’re an Indiana farmer, you know that it’s becoming far more expensive to run your farm with inflation on the rise. That’s why Congressman Greg Pence (R-IN 6th District) and the state’s  Republican Congressional Delegation are pushing the Biden Administration to do more to help Indiana’s farmers.

Pence and Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN 4th District) have written a letter directly to President Biden asking his administration to provide inflation relief for Hoosier farmers.  That letter has been signed by all of Indiana’s Republican representatives and shared exclusively with Hoosier Ag Today.

Pence says there are three main areas where the Biden Administration can immediately help Indiana farmers.

“Number one is with the Commodity Credit Corporation. We requested that the agency create a level playing field by making more funds available going forward. Number two is to improve farm equipment supply chains. The average person out there doesn’t realize the farmer actually needs to fix a tractor, and parts have been very difficult to find, as well as chemicals. Number three is we’d like to ease  what is the fuel and energy pressures by increasing domestic energy supply,” says Pence.

He is asking specifically for the White House to ramp up production for both fossil fuels and biofuels here in the U.S. and do more to lower Hoosier’s energy bills.

“We’re going to have to spend more to dry the grain,” says Pence. “Everyone’s electricity bill has gone up. Mine is certainly up 40-or-50 percent.”

Pence also says he wants to see several regulations that have been a burden to Indiana farmers and the ag industry go away – including the reporting of environmental disclosures for farms and ag businesses.

“The latest one, and this was just about two weeks ago, I had what I call a ‘barn meeting’ in one of my counties with a number of agriculture representatives. This ESG reporting came up. It’s incredibly frustrating to folks. It’s an attempt on the government to pick winners and losers here. The whole environmental issue is ‘let’s push the little guys out and make it more difficult and more costly for them just to comply,’” says Pence.

Click HERE to read the letter from Congressman Greg Pence, Congressman Jim Baird and Indiana’s Republican Delegation to President Biden requesting policy changes and inflation relief for Hoosier farmers.

Click BELOW to listen to C.J. Miller’s radio news report on Congressman Greg Pence’s push for the Biden Administration to seek inflation relief for Indiana farmers.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news interview with Congressman Greg Pence (R-IN 6th District).

Congressman Greg Pence (R-IN 6th District) meets with representatives from Indiana Farm Bureau in his office in Washington, D.C. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Indiana’s Corn and Soybean Yields are Varying Depending on Weather Challenges During Growing Season

So far in Indiana, six percent of corn and five percent of soybeans have been harvested, but the yields reported have varied depending on the challenging weather conditions you may have experienced during this growing season.

“The main driving factor is going to be the weather patterns,” says Tom Manney, Technical Agronomist with Specialty Hybrids. He says Indiana’s soybean yields are looking good so far – and they’re even better depending on how little heat and drought stress you had in your part of the state this summer.

“If you were able to catch some rains early in the spring, if you avoided some of that heavier drought that we saw in June, and then you caught plenty of timely rains within August and early September, we’re seeing some really solid yields in the 70-80 bushel per acre range,” according to Manney. “If you were fighting some issues or maybe missed a few rains late in the year, you’re looking more I’m at a 50 bushels per acre range.”

However, Indiana’s corn yields so far have been impacted far more from the hot, dry weather in June and early July.

“The crop that’s getting harvested now is some of that earlier planted stuff,” says Manney. “We had seen a quick degradation of that earlier planted crop. A lot of that is weather indicative. It had to fight off more drought at the wrong timing, so we’re seeing a little bit of degradation from that, whether its diseases coming in, ear mold coming in, but for the most part, from the fields that I’ve been checking that were planted a little bit later, yields are looking really solid, so that will help increase our production here in the fall.”

Even though a late start to planting means a late start to harvest, Tom recommends doing it at your earliest opportunity.

“One thing from my experience working in agriculture for ten years now, October and November are just not as friendly months for getting a crop harvested,” according to Manney. “You’re fighting more rain. It takes longer for the fields to dry out. I’m echoing to guys, get out and get that crop out of the fields as soon as you can. That way, we’re not having to deal with even worse weather patterns than we’ve been seeing now.”

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report on Indiana’s corn and soybean yields and how they’re varying depending on weather challenges experience during growing season.

Click BELOW to hear the FULL interview with Tom Manney, Technical Agronomist with Specialty Hybrids.

The update is sponsored by Specialty Hybrids. At Specialty Hybrids, it’s your field, our Specialty. Find your local field sales representative and dealer online at


Gov. Holcomb Signs Bill That Establishes Permits for Carbon Sequestration

Gov. Holcomb signs HEA 1209 alongside legislators including Rep. Ed Soliday, Rep. David Abbott, Rep. Mike Andrade, Rep. Carolyn Jackson, Rep. Michael Aylesworth and Rep. Earl Harris Jr.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill on Tuesday that establishes a permit program for companies, as well as guidelines to follow, regarding the underground storage of carbon dioxide emissions in Indiana. The governor signed the bill at the BP Whiting Refinery in northwestern Indiana.

The bill, House Enrolled Act 1209, received support from Indiana Farm Bureau after the organization lobbied to include language that protects landowner property rights and requires consent and compensation of a landowner’s pore space for the sequestration of carbon on their property.

Last week Gov. Holcomb joined the governors of Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa in signing a Memorandum of Understanding to advance hydrogen production among the states.

Click HERE to read the Carbon Sequestration Permitting Bill signed into law by Gov. Holcomb.

Sen. Young on the Semiconductor Facility Planned for West Lafayette and its Benefit to Farmers

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) meets with Theresa Gottbrath, a farmer from Washington County, Indiana, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

West Lafayette will soon be home to a $1.8 billion facility that will manufacture semiconductors. U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) says that plant, as well as Purdue’s research center for microelectronics, will ultimately benefit Indiana’s farmers.

“These semiconductors are basically the brains for any piece of equipment these days that has an on-off switch,” says Young.

Semiconductors are especially important to the ag industry since they are built into the engines of modern farm equipment.

“Certainly, sophisticated equipment like combines and planters and other farm machinery use them,” says Young. “They’re also embedded in our GPS systems, so farmers cannot operate a modern farm economy without a domestic source for these computer chips. Of course, these domestic sources been interrupted amidst the global pandemic and it’s time that we make our supply chains more resilient.”

That’s why Young says he co-authored the Senate bill that eventually became the CHIPS and Science Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law in early August. It provides more than $52 billion to produce more semiconductors here in the U.S.

One of those new semiconductor manufacturing facilities is being built at Purdue University’s Discovery Park by Skywater Technologies.

“This is going to be the first of many multi-billion dollar investment decisions that will be announced in the state of Indiana,” according to Young. “This is our next generation tech economy and it’s going to be essential to our farming economy which, increasingly, is more automated, it’s dependent on access to data and sophisticated equipment – all of which require a domestic source of semiconductor.”

Young says the federal investment not only enhances our economic security, but also our national security.

“It’s an economic resiliency play. It’s an economic development opportunity. It’s also going to allow us to compete with China, because China aims to dominate this market and to supply computer chips to our nation’s military. I think we can do it better in Indiana.”

Purdue University is also home to the Birck Nanotechnology Center, which is developing new advancements in semiconductors and microelectronics.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report on Sen. Young’s role in getting more semiconductors produced here in the U.S., the Skywater semiconductor manufacturing facility that is planned for West Lafayette, and how Indiana farmers will ultimately benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act.

A fireside chat on Sept. 13, 2022 at the Purdue University campus about the university’s involvement in the research and development of semiconductors and microprocessors. From left, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and U.S. Sen. Todd Young following their tour of Purdue’s microelectronics facilities. Photo courtesy of Purdue University.

NASDA’s Ted McKinney Talks ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ and Directing Policy for Indiana Farmers

Ted McKinney, former director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, now serves as CEO of the National Association of the State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

The term “Climate-Smart Agriculture” has received a lot of news coverage recently, and those are the latest buzz words in the farm industry. That’s why Ted McKinney, former Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, is now working in Washington D.C. to make sure the ag community is leading the direction on climate-related policies.

“You can walk and chew gum at the same time, and I think that’s probably a good analogy on what we have to do,” said McKinney, who is now CEO of the National Association of the State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) after also having served as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs for President Trump.

He says NASDA and other ag organizations are working to control the narrative on “climate-smart agriculture.”

“A lot of that is what farmers are already doing: no till or minimum till farming, planting cover crops, using judicial amounts of pesticides and fertilizer – all the things that a lot of farmers are already doing is climate smart ag,” according to McKinney.

However, he says he is concerned that environmental groups are the ones trying to beat the ag industry to the punch in setting up standards and certifications for crops and livestock.

“My worry though, is that we’re so focused, or ‘crazed’ might be the better word with getting climate fixed, that we’re losing sight of the more important of the goals which is sustain and grow productivity. We have to double the current output of food from today to 2050. The last time I checked, you got to use a lot of different tools to get that,” says McKinney.

That’s why he and others are proposing that the ag industry establish their own voluntary, incentive-based climate standards and certifications as guidelines to follow. McKinney says the ag industry needs to act before environmental groups and those outside the ag industry are able to create and legislate their own climate policies that may hurt Indiana farmers.

“So, it is an exciting time, but so too are a lot of the forces that counter that. In times of crisis, whoever you are, you never lose the opportunity to take advantage of a crisis. There are some nefarious activities going out there we got to watch out. That’s part of my job and that’s what I’m doing for farmers in Indiana,” said McKinney.

Nearly two years ago, NASDA and other ag organizations established the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance to define and promote climate policies that not only help the environment – but also, benefit American farmers.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s radio news report on NASDA’s CEO Ted McKinney and his efforts to direct climate-related ag policies in Washington, D.C.

Click BELOW to hear MORE of C.J. Miller’s interview with Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, as he talks about directing climate-related ag policies on Capitol Hill.

Click HERE to read more about NASDA’s position on “Climate-Smart Agriculture” and climate-related ag policies.

Click HERE to read more about the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance.