The 2015 Indiana State Fair kicked off Friday under sunny skies. Many top farm leaders are saying, after the tough spring farmers have had, this year’s fair theme is appropriate. The decision to make this the Year of the Farmer was made by State Fair officials and Dow Dow AgroSciences over a year ago, not knowing that this would be one of the toughest growing seasons for farmers in recent years. Governor Pence called it God’s timing, “After the kind of spring we have had in Indiana, where we have had to request a disaster declaration for over 53 Indiana counties, to have the State Fair celebrate Indiana farmers is appropriate.”
Speaking with HAT at the Pork Producers Ham breakfast which is traditionally one of the first activities of the Fair, Pence said Hoosiers who visit the Fair will come away with a better understanding of the men and women who work the land and the contribution they make to our state, “From seeing the heritage of the past at the Pioneer Village to understanding what 21st century agriculture is really all about, the State Fair is the place to do that.” Pence added he hopes Hoosiers will also discover the tremendous contribution that agriculture makes to the Hoosier economy.
Kenda Resler Friend, External Communications and Media Relations with Dow AgroSciences, told HAT one of the purposes of Year of the Farmer theme was to put a face on farming, “We want people to come to know who farmers are and the values they hold. That is why we are featuring an individual farm family each day of the fair.” The Year of the Farmer is being sponsored by Dow AgroSciences.
In his remarks to the Ham Breakfast attendees, the Governor reiterated his strong opposition to overregulation. He told HAT that Indiana is fighting back against the EPA and its burdensome regulations, “Indiana is at the forefront of this fight against the overreach of this administration and the EPA, whether it is new power plant regulations that will raise the cost of electricity for everyone including farmers or the new water rules set to be implemented.”
Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, who also attended the breakfast, said he is leading a pushback by Congress on the WOTUS rule, “I keep telling them, if they will just listen to us in agriculture, we can get things done. These people in Washington do not understand what we are doing in our 92 counties. We have clean water, if they will just work with us.” Donnelly, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, is sponsoring a bill that would force the EPA to scrap their current regulation and begin the process anew on crafting clear water rules. During the Ham Breakfast, both Donnelly and Pence praised each other for their support of agriculture and opposition to EPA regulatory efforts.
The effusive praise of agriculture and farmers continued at the official opening ceremonies which took place on the Enough Plaza, located in front of the newly renovated Farmers Coliseum. Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye said the newly constructed plaza is sponsored by Elanco and is named in recognition of the fact that because of modern agriculture, there will always be enough food.
Hoosier Ag Today coverage of the Indiana State Fair is made possible by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Soybean Alliance.