INDIANAPOLIS — Around 80 lawmakers mingled with Indiana Farm Bureau members at the organization’s annual legislative luncheon Jan. 9.
“Today is a leadership development event for our county leadership,” said Katrina Hall, director of public policy at INFB.
“We are giving them information about the best techniques for grassroots advocacy. That’s really what we’re built on. Our clout and influence for agriculture in rural Indiana really comes from our grassroots involvement.”
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch attended the lunch and spoke to the crowd.
“Agriculture is such a big part of economic development here in Indiana,” Crouch said. “When I speak to rotaries and chambers and I talk about big business, they don’t automatically think about agriculture.
“But agriculture is big business in Indiana and contributes over $31 billion to our state’s economy. That’s why it’s so critical that Congress pass the USMCA. We need to go ahead and get things going.”
Expanding rural broadband is another priority at the governor’s office this year, Crouch said.
“We want to ensure that rural Indiana and the Hoosiers who call it home have equal access to the technology in order to improve quality of life,” she said.
Indiana Farm Bureau outlined its 2020 legislative priorities.
Here are the highlights of what they hope to accomplish at the Statehouse this year:
Expand Health Benefits Available To Indiana Agriculture
Key message: Indiana Farm Bureau asks the General Assembly to pass legislation allowing INFB to offer a non-insurance, high quality and more affordable health benefit plan to members — specifically those who are sole proprietors with fewer than two employees.
Limit Referendums That Burden Landowners
Key message: Indiana Farm Bureau supports the General Assembly limiting the use of referendums. They support putting more limits and restrictions on referendums to allow for more input and control by taxpayers.
Implement Land-Use Planning That Protects Farms And Farmland While Promoting Rural Economic Growth
Key message: The General Assembly should consider a balance between the incentives for economic growth and the viability of farms in areas where agriculture is the foundation of the local economy.
Protect Property Rights And Local Control
Key message: The General Assembly should respect the authority given to local governments to decide how economic development will occur in their local region. Local governments should not infringe upon the rights of property owners while making decisions about how local economic development will proceed in their area.
Continue Expansion Of Rural Broadband
Key message: Ask the legislature to support the investment of state dollars in rural and small-town Indiana.
Improve Assessment Uniformity Across The Property Tax Base
Key message: Indiana Farm Bureau supports the General Assembly passing stipulations that bring more uniformity to property tax assessments.