April 14, 2024

Bills affecting agriculture passed as General Assembly comes to close

The Indiana State Legislature adjourned March 14.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a long list of bills into law at the close of the state’s 2024 General Assembly.

One of the major new laws comes from Senate Bill 1 — a law that implements new standards for young students to improve their literacy skills.

Another bill was signed to establish a bobcat hunting season through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Several laws related to agriculture were also passed.

Indiana Farm Bureau celebrated several legislative successes this year.

“We’re grateful for the legislators who presented new water policy this year hoping to start the process of enacting change in areas where Indiana sorely needs it,” said Randy Kron, INFB president.

“Ultimately, no major water policy was added this year and that’s OK. I think we need more information and more time to create a framework that makes sense. Creating water policy is something we need to get right, not fast.”

Although this was not a budget session, taxes were still a major focus for INFB, particularly the farmland formula. A summer study committee will be formed to address the matter.

“We really fought for a change in the farmland formula in SB 256 this session,” said Katrina Hall, senior director of policy strategy and advocacy for INFB.

“There was a 17% increase in farmland taxes in 2023 and there will be a 27% increase for 2024. Farmers cannot sustain those attacks on their bottom line. We’re hopeful we can get this taken care of in the 2025 session, but there’s still some work to be done.”

INFB also supported the following bills:

• House Bill 1183 — This would ban the sale of land to foreign adversarial countries.

• House Bill 1106 — This would end the need for Department of Homeland Security permits and inspections for agritourism facilities unless they have a reported problem.

• House Bill 1093 — This is a rural opportunity bill for youth employment. It aligns rules with federal standards and allows 14- to 16-year-olds to get work experience, develop work ethic and help support themselves when needed.

• House Bill 1258 — This bill creates a framework for food health and safety inspections and the permitting of food trucks by local health departments, which would impact county fairs and agritourism facilities.

• Senate Bill 104 — This bill would inform the Indiana Board of Veterinary Medicine of the criminal history or activity of veterinary license or certificate holders or applicants.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor