Indiana corn and soybean farmers are being encouraged to join the state’s two membership and policy organizations with a special membership push this month, but Washington D.C. lawyer Gary Baise is also promoting the idea. He spoke at this month’s update meetings hosted by Indiana Soybean Alliance Membership & Policy Committee and the Indiana Corn Growers Association and Baise said membership is much more important now than in the past.
“My dad was never a joiner of these organizations but in the 50’s and 60’s you didn’t have the challenges and the threats that you now have facing agriculture, and particularly in the Midwest.”
A principal attorney at OFW Law, he says the threats come from groups opposed to farmers growing corn and soybeans.
“Many people have heard about Food, Inc. Michael Pollan and that group. They’re really opposed to our growing corn, feeding it to animals and producing the food. Now my dad never faced that kind of threat. Why I am so strongly supportive of individual farmers becoming members of the policy arm of Indiana Soybean and Indiana Corn is they lobby in the state legislature. They can go to the state regulatory agency. They can with the national organization to the federal regulatory agencies to help protect our interests against people who are out literally to do us harm.”
And Baise minces no words when talking about threats from the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency he helped form and serve as Chief of Staff to the first U.S. EPA Administrator, Bill Ruckelshaus.
“Well the people who run EPA today are anti-agriculture by and large. If you have people such as the prior administrator, Lisa Jackson who was a chemist as I recall from the state of New Jersey, and Miss Jackson basically it seemed to me had a disdain for agriculture. The new administrator, Miss McCarthy, comes from Massachusetts. People in this room have forgotten more about agriculture than she knows.”
He adds there is a mindset at EPA that agriculture is the biggest polluter left in the country not under the control of the agency. So Baise says farmers should give the state and national farm policy groups the resources they need for lobbying. Indiana corn and soybean are offering a joint membership for just $120 and the link for details is here.