The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) recently assembled a group of engaged, informed, grassroots corn and soybean growers to gather insights about the critical issues impacting Hoosier farmers.
The ISA/ICGA Farmer Action Network, or FAN Group, participated in a workshop that identified the top issues impacting their farms as stability, profitability and growth; a grid of short and long-term policy improvements that could change those outcomes, and a ranking of importance for these issues. This identified the most important policy priorities on which the FAN Group believes ISA and ISGA should focus in 2019. The top three results are:
- Farm Policy
The next tier down from these three priorities contained the familiar issues of supporting the livestock industry, growing biodiesel opportunities, addressing regulation and – one new to the ISA/ICGA priority list – availability of affordable healthcare for farmers, their families and employees.
The workshop yielded valuable information because it all started with a discussion of what keeps farmers up at night, and how ISA and ICGA can help.
“Those top worries were the first items on the lips of most of the farmers we talked to when trying to set priorities for 2019,” said Mike Koehne, who farms in Decatur County, Ind., and is also a member of ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee. “Solving some of these issues will help solve others. For example, if we can improve international trade opportunities next year, then our economic climate will also improve. By getting involved in the process and working through the problems with people who want to help, we can create solutions.”
“We believe we can convince lawmakers to consider more farm-friendly policies in the future,” said Howard County, Ind. farmer and ICGA board member Denny Maple. “At the beginning of this year, few people could have predicted the issues we had to deal with in 2018. By remaining active in the process, we can move and adjust to the issues we don’t know about today.”
Input from the FAN meeting was brought to the Indiana Soybean Association Membership & Policy Committee as well as the Indiana Corn Growers Association at their Board of Directors meetings, held separately in December. The information will also impact how ISA and ICGA delegates to Commodity Classic address national policies brought forward by other states to the American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association.
The Farmer Action Network meeting followed ISA and ICGA’s annual Ag Policy Forum on Nov. 27 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Ind.
Sponsored by Corteva AgriSciences, the Farmer Action Network consists of both corn and soybean growers from Indiana who are particularly interested in issue advocacy, policy development, and building personal relationships with elected officials. Anyone interested in more information about FAN, contact Cory Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance