December 20, 2013
MARK YOUR CALENDARS The 2014 legislative session will begin on Jan. 6. Indiana Farm Bureau’s legislative kickoff is on Jan. 8. The State of the State address will be delivered on Jan. 14. The State of the Judiciary address is scheduled for Jan. 15. The General Assembly will observe the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 20; no session or committees will be scheduled for that date. The General Assembly will not be in session on Feb. 6 due to mid-session break.
OTHER STATE NEWS
SOIL PRODUCTIVITY FACTOR INPUT SOUGHT FROM MEMBERS On Nov. 13, the Department of Local Government Finance and Purdue presented revised soil productivity factors to the Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy. The results of the study show more variation than was originally predicted. Those findings are being reviewed by Purdue. Review by farmers across the state is definitely in order.
Farmer members are asked to review soil type data for the counties in which they farm to look for trends in the changes to predicted yields and resultant soil productivity rankings/ratings. Insight about specific soil types would be very helpful. To review your soils and comment, simply click on the rotating soil productivity rating image at infarmbureau.org. Please email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE: INDIANA HORTICULTURAL CONGRESS – JAN. 21-23, 2014 The three-day congress and trade show will once again be held at the Wyndham Indianapolis West, 2544 Executive Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46241.
The Indiana Horticultural Congress is an educational meeting designed to meet the needs of fruit, vegetable, wine, organics and specialty crop growers and marketers in Indiana and surrounding states. All interested individuals are invited to attend. “Agritourism is all about bringing the families to the farm for enjoyment, education and the farm experience, but how do we know what the visitor wants. And once we understand that (if we can) how do we serve that need in a way that provides satisfaction to the extent not only that they return but that they will favorably share the experience with their friends, family and neighbors?” – Roy Ballard, Hancock County Extension educator.
SAVE THE DATE: CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT SEMINAR Each year, Indiana Farm Bureau sponsors a campaign seminar (or “school”) as part of our continuing efforts to encourage concerned citizens to become actively involved in government at all levels. This seminar has been praised as a practical, hands-on workshop that focuses on the structure and organization required for a successful political campaign. Particular emphasis is placed on defining the respective roles of the candidate, the candidate’s spouse and the campaign manager.
We have enjoyed a very high success rate for attendees and currently well over half of Indiana’s counties have at least one graduate of our school holding public office. This school is priced economically to ensure that it is affordable to candidates for all levels of public office and with even the most limited campaign treasuries. The next school will be held Feb. 3-4, 2014, in Assembly Halls A and B at the IFB home office. See the Campaign Management Seminar brochure to review more details.
CERTIFIED CROP ADVISER AWARD WINNER Andy Like, co-owner of Daylight Farm Supply in Vanderburgh County, won the CCA award this year at the CCA’s annual meeting on Dec. 17-18 in Indianapolis. The Vanderburgh County Farm Bureau recommended Like for this honor. He received a cash award of $1,500 and the county Farm Bureau received a $250 for submitting the winner’s application. Like lives near Monroe City, Indiana.
EPA COMMENT PERIOD ON PROPOSED RFS CHANGES NOW OPEN The EPA published its revised 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard requirements in the Federal Register last Friday, kicking off the official 60-day public comment period. The published rule can be found in its entirety by clicking here.
The EPA proposal would cut nearly three billion gallons of biofuel that was originally mandated to be blended into the fuel supply. The proposed rule calls for a total of 15.21 billion gallons of biofuel to be blended into the motor fuel supply in 2014, 16 percent lower than the 18.15 billion gallons under the renewable fuels law passed in 2007. Conventional biofuel will be reduced to 13 billion gallons per year from 14.4 billion, a decrease that represents nearly the entire amount of ethanol currently produced in Indiana. The proposal also reduces cellulosic biofuels to 17 million from 1.75 billion.
Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 and expanded it in 2007, setting required production goals for various biofuels to stimulate production of alternative fuels and reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil. The EPA had been considering revising its 2014 mandate in part because declining demand for gasoline has led to a corn ethanol "blend wall," the point at which the market cannot consume as much ethanol as the EPA requires to be produced. Causes of declining demand for gasoline are linked to increased fuel economy in our nation’s fleet and an economy stuck in a prolonged slump.
The proposed changes to the RFS will likely have significant impacts on farmers and rural communities through reduced corn prices and farm incomes, market opportunity and access, and job losses. Additionally, this decision will thwart progress toward energy independence, have negative consequences on air quality, and stifle the development of new innovations.
Farm Bureau members are urged to provide comments to the EPA during the 60-day public comment period indicating how critical the RFS has been to their businesses and communities and how the proposed changes will harm them. Take action now and submit your comments.