Indiana Farm Bureau delegates met virtually this past weekend to set policy for the organization. President Randy Kron told Hoosier Ag Today that the board will come together to set the priorities for the year at their September meeting, but he’d be surprised if rural broadband wasn’t on that list.
“If it’s not the top, it will be one of the top ones because I just don’t go to many meetings that our members aren’t complaining. The COVID-19 kind of heightened the importance on broadband and bandwidth. We’re hearing it everywhere we go.”
Kron said they had policy to help unserved areas, but much of the discussion was about underserved areas.
“They might have broadband, but I find this at our house too, it’s pretty marginal and to try to do a WebEx or Zoom call, the squirrels aren’t running fast enough to make it go hardly.”
Discussion also surrounded the supply chain that was hit hard this year by COVID-19 and the local food movement.
“How do we help or what can we do to help some of the smaller packers? How do we reduce some of the regulatory requirements on them? We want them to be safe and we want them to operate right, but what could be some incentives for some of them expanding or maybe it’s some new ones.”
Kron said they’d love to see more inspectors for processors, but he understands that the state will be looking to cut their budget this year due to the pandemic and that might not be realistic.
The delegate body consisted of 233 farmers and agribusiness professionals from across the state. The members discussed several issues including permitting, broadband, transportation and infrastructure, the impact of COVID-19 and the ag economy.
The policy creation process for INFB begins at the local level. Indiana counites have the opportunity to make policy suggestions and recommend changes that are then debated by the resolutions committee in July before being discussed at the delegate session. This process follows the grassroots structure that is important to INFB to ensure that all members have a chance to voice their opinions.
Delegates also voted on members who would represent INFB at the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. The AFBF Convention will be held in January. The chosen INFB delegates will be discussing policy positions for the national organization with representatives from all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Four county Farm Bureau presidents were elected as delegates for the AFBF Convention:
- David Brenner, Vanderburg County
- Hayley Clark, Shelby County
- Michael Holman, Steuben County
- Paul Jacobs, Huntington County
Source: Indiana Farm Bureau