Members of the Indiana Farm Bureau are gathering Friday and Saturday for the annual state convention in French Lick and West Baden in southern Indiana, and Friday offers many chances to brush up on issues facing farmers. Chris Fenner, Field Services Program Director says primary issues are farmland taxes and annexation and water.
“We also have a session on farm bill, realizing that we just passed a farm bill and we’re in the midst of implementing that farm bill,” he told HAT. “But there’re changes to crop insurance and already discussion on the next farm bill and so it will focus not so much about the implementation of the current farm bill as opposed to what farmers need to be thinking about particularly for crop insurance for the next farm bill. Then we also have a big data session.”
Farm Bureau has been heavily involved in big data efforts this year, like steps to keep that farmer data safe and secure, and Fenner says they’ll continue to focus on data.
“I believe that big data is going to give a competitive advantage to those producers who take advantage of it. And there are people taking advantage of it, and I really believe that it’s going to give them a competitive advantage over their competitors both in cropping decisions, the ability of what to pay for land, cash rent or for purchase. I just see lots of applications for producers and the more you know, the more you know about your decision and that is a competitive advantage to me. So I see big data as something that is not over and will continue to be discussed as the debate continues about who owns the information. But regardless, I think farmers need to take a serious look at it and use it to their competitive advantage.”
Breakout sessions are offered both Friday and Saturday, and cover topics including legal issues in agriculture, local government policy, sharing successful programs, servant leadership and Ag in the Classroom.
Other convention highlights:
*A special session with 21 roundtable discussion breakouts takes place on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
*IFB President Don Villwock delivers his annual address during the general session on Friday night, which runs from 5-7 p.m.
*A new trade show format, the Artisan Fair and Exhibitor Showcase, features Indiana-made food and craft products; commodity organizations; commercial exhibitors including GM, official sponsor of Indiana Farm Bureau; and retail booths. The showcase runs Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
*The election for IFB 2nd vice president will be held during the delegate session, slated for Saturday from 8:30 to 10 a.m. During the delegate session, delegates may also choose to discuss issues that have arisen or changed since the main delegate session in August.
*Young Farmers will be the focus of a general session on Saturday from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. The finals in the Young Farmer Discussion Meet will take up part of the session, followed by the announcement of the discussion meet winners as well as the winners of the Young Farmer Achievement and Excellence in Agriculture awards.
*County and membership awards will be presented on Saturday Saturday following lunch, which also features speaker Nido Qubein, president of High Point University and chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company.