Indiana Farm Bureau thanks the House Agriculture & Rural Development Committee for its near-unanimous support of SB 186. The committee’s 12-1 vote to pass the bill on to the full Indiana House for consideration underscores how important a vibrant and growing farm sector is to the overall health of Indiana’s economy. “This bill is a reaffirmation of the importance of agriculture to our state,” said Katrina Hall, state government relations director for Indiana Farm Bureau. “We are glad that the committee members considered the bill on its merits, understand its context and weren’t taken in by the baseless arguments put forth by the bill’s opponents.”
The Hoosier Environmental Council and others have tried to characterize SB 186 as something it isn’t, resorting to inflammatory and misleading radio commercials that paint livestock farmers as uncaring corporate polluters who operate under no laws or regulation. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Amy Cornell, IFB’s state policy advisor. “Permitted livestock farms in Indiana are not allowed to discharge manure into waters under the terms of their permit. They are among the most heavily regulated businesses in the state.”
Opponents also claim that SB 186 will eliminate local zoning control and elevate farmers’ rights over those of other citizens. Again, not true says Cornell. “This bill contains no language that will keep local governments from enacting zoning provisions, state officials from enforcing regulations or citizens from participating in the many remonstrance procedures related to land use,” she clarified.
The language in SB 186 about the use of generally accepted farming practices and new technologies emphasizes the fact that farmers of all types work to continuously improve agricultural practices that protect our environment and put food on our tables.