Several hundred Indiana farmers are headed to San Antonio, TX this weekend for the annual meeting for the American Farm Bureau Federation. After enduring our January winter storms, the warm climate of Texas looks pretty inviting, says Andy Dietrick, Communications Director for the Indiana Farm Bureau, “About 240 Hoosier farmers will be heading to San Antonio to enjoy some warm weather but also to learn from other farmers and participate in policy decisions.” The Farm Bureau delegates will be approving Farm Bureau policy including possible compromises on Farm Bill issues, as well as setting policy for some new issues. Dietrick says farm data is likely to be a hot topic, “Data, how it is used and who owns it, will get a lot of floor time at the delegate session.” He added that drones will also be a topic that is talked about, “There are some great applications that can help agriculture but also questions about who owns the air space and who controls what is flying overhead at any given time.”
Dietrick says, in addition, several Indiana farmers will be competing in national contests. Alan Duttlinger of Tippecanoe County is the winner of the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Discussion Meet and will compete in the national discussion meet competition in San Antonio. Duttlinger is originally from Lake County, where he grew up on a grain and livestock farm. He is a graduate of Lowell High School and has a bachelor’s in animal science from Purdue and a master’s in animal nutrition from Kansas State. He is a researcher at Indiana Packers Corp. in Delphi. Two Indiana couples will be representing Hoosier farmers in other competitions. Nick and Julie Wenning of Decatur County won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture award. The award is given to young farmers who do not derive the majority of their income on the farm but who are actively involved in Indiana Farm Bureau and agriculture. LaPorte County’s Matt and Kristen Schafer won the Young Farmer Achievement Award for those who do derive the majority of their income from the farm.
The Indiana Farm Bureau organization will also receive some well deserved recognition. According to Dietrick, IFB will receive recognition in 5 different areas: “leadership development, membership, communications and public relations, public policy and policy implementation.” Coverage of the AFBF convention begins this weekend on hoosieragtoday.com and the HAT app for Smartphones and tablets, and continues Monday on HAT radio stations across the state.