Donnelly visits West Lafayette

During the Easter recess Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly made the trip to West Lafayette for a Donnelly Days visit to the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center. Following a staff and student led tour Thursday, Donnelly addressed a couple of pressing farm issues, including the lengthy and frustrating delay in confirming Sonny Perdue as USDA Secretary. Donnelly says Perdue will do good work once confirmed.

“I hope it’s as quick as possible,” he said. “We passed him through the committee very quickly, and I’m hopeful we can get this done right away. Sonny is going to be a good, strong leader of the ag community, he’s going to be a great secretary, and I hope to get that vote finished as quickly as possible.”

Fresh off a farm bill listening tour stop in Knox County earlier in the week, the Indiana Democrat and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee said it’s clear what farmers’ top farm bill priority is.

“How important crop insurance is. Probably more than anything else I’ve heard, I’ve heard all of our ag community say we have to have a strong crop insurance section in there. And we will. There’s an understand also of the need to combine the nutrition (SNAP) programs with the ag programs because that will get us the critical mass we need to make sure that the bill gets through.”

In previous farm bill negotiations, some legislators have pushed to separate SNAP funding from the bill. Donnelly hopes that is not an issue again.

“I hope not,” he said. “I don’t think so. I think that maybe we learned from the last time and I’m sure that the SNAP program will be a thoughtful one, that we don’t want to waste a single dollar. We’re not able to, but we also want to make sure that children in need can also get a decent lunch and get a decent breakfast.”

It was the Senator’s first visit to the center that opened last year, and he was more than impressed.

“The amazing things that are going on help create better yield, help create better nutrition, help create a cleaner environment. That’s what Purdue does as well as anybody in the world.”