In some states, it is rare to hear a governor talk about agriculture, but in Indiana it is commonplace. Governor Eric Holcomb is continuing the pattern set by former Governors Pence and Daniels and is making agriculture a top priority in state policy. Speaking on Thursday to a group of state farm leaders, hosted by the AgriInstitute, Holcomb reiterated the importance of continuing to grow the Indiana farm economy, “The only time you can coast is when you are going downhill.” He cited the recently adopted strategic plan for agriculture as an example of planning ahead. He also cited the funding package for rural roads and bridges that passed the Indiana General Assembly last session as another way the state is investing in the future of agriculture.
The mood of the presentation changed, however, when the Governor began to discuss the need to discuss the drug epidemic in rural Indiana. He presented dismal statistics and heartbreaking stories about what the drug problem is doing to families, communities, and industry in rural Indiana. He outlined his efforts and challenged the ag leaders, “Agriculture must be involved in addressing this problem.”
The AgriInstitute’s Leadership Luncheon series brings together leaders from agribusiness, farm organizations, and state officials on a regular basis to hear from policy makers and influential leaders in the agricultural field. The Thursday event, held in downtown Indianapolis, was sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau and Bose McKinney & Evans.