New legislators, new leaders, and new occupants in the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s offices will mean a lot of new political dynamics in the upcoming session of the Indiana legislature. However, Bob Kraft with Indiana Farm Bureau says there will not be much of an impact on agriculture, “We do not see any major or significant changes in the attitude toward agriculture or toward Farm Bureau.” Kraft told HAT there will be many new personalities and some new relationships to be forged.
One of the most significant changes is a new chairman of the Senate Ag Committee. Senator Carlin Yoder from Elkhart County is now chairing that committee replacing Ryan Mishler who has taken on new responsibilities on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Kraft said Mishler’s familiarity with agriculture and rural issues will prove vital as he will be in a leadership position on the school funding issue, “This is an issue that will impact rural school districts.”
Also in the Senate, there is a new chairman of the Environment committee, Senator Ed Charbonneau from Valparaiso, “He knows how to be reasonable and we feel we will get a fair hearing on any issue,” said Kraft. Long time chairwoman of this committee Senator Beverly Gard, retired last year. She had been instrumental in protecting agriculture from proposed bills that would have placed unscientific and onerous regulations on agricultural operations. Kraft believes that in the future the Senate Ag Committee will take on a greater role in dealing with environmental issues that relate to agricultural operations.
Kraft urges all Farm Bureau members to get in touch with their legislators before the session starts, “You can’t lobby issues until you lobby people.” He added it is vital that farmers and Farm Bureau members build relationship with their local elected officials at all levels of government.
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Listen to the complete analysis of the upcoming legislative session with Bob Kraft on the HAT Farm Bureau page or on the HAT smartphone app.