The Mike Pence Campaign released its platform for agriculture during a press conference at Traders Point Creamery on Tuesday. Lt. Governor candidate Sue Ellspermann unveiled the plan which calls for increasing Indiana agricultural exports, especially value-added products. Ellspermann praised the efforts of the current administration and said she would build on the work that has been done opening up new markets for Indiana farm goods.
Ellspermann also called for the re-evaluating of the soil productivity formula used to assess farmland. She said Indiana needs to have agriculture more involved in determining how farmland is assessed and taxed, “A Pence administration can help facilitate a conversation between local government and agricultural stakeholders over how farmland should be assessed.” Ellspermann said Indiana should look at how other states approach the issues and perhaps consider some new ideas. A new formula proposed by state government last year would have resulted in significant increases in tax rates on farmland. The legislature put the implementation of the new formula on hold for 1 year. Ellspermann said this new formula needs to be studied to evaluate its impact on farm families.
She also told HAT that a Pence administration would minimize the number of state regulations on farmers, “We will always want to minimize the regulations we put on farmers and all businesses.” She added, “We believe that ISDA can play a strong role in helping to ensure that those regulations are reasonable and appropriate.”
One of the most innovative parts of the platform is a strong emphasis on agricultural education. She wants to make agricultural classes part of the state’s core 40 curriculum. According to the platform, “To ensure that Indiana’s educational efforts are fully supportive of these efforts, we would seek to ensure that agriculture is represented on the newly-created Indiana Works Councils, as they seek to develop a new, demand-driven career, technical and vocational curriculum for our high schools. FFA, Purdue and Ivy Tech should assist DOE in specific curriculum development. We would also ensure, as the opportunity arises, that at least one member of the Education Roundtable is a representative of the agricultural sector. With these two steps, we will have better coordination between our agricultural community and our educators in the design of the curriculum and programs needed to boost the skills for the future of our agricultural industry.”
In addition, the campaign calls for an innovation corridor to be established in Indiana, bringing together resources to foster continued innovation in agriculture. Ellspermann cited a recent Bio Crossroads report that called for an initiative to create a food and agriculture innovation corridor in Indiana. This effort seeks to harness and leverage existing resources, such as Purdue University, Dow AgroSciences, Elanco, and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, in support of a goal of making Indiana a nationally-recognized center of technological development and commercialization in the agricultural sector. She said ISDA would be charged with coordinating economic development efforts that would involve public and private sectors, “The ISDA should be tasked to serve as the chief liaison to this effort, with support from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Governor’s Office, and Lieutenant Governor’s Office. ISDA, which serves as the lead economic development arm in the agriculture sector for the state of Indiana, should make support of this initiative a top economic development priority, and should stand ready to be a full partner in this effort.”
These topics and more will likely surface during the Lt. Governors agriculture debate which will be held at the Indiana State Fair on August 15. All three candidates will appear and answer questions from a panel of agricultural journalists.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/08/penceplatform.mp3|titles=Pence Campaign Rolls Out Ag Platform ]The complete Pence Ag platform can be found here.