Late last week Indiana commodity group and agribusiness leaders met in the capitol city with Governor Holcomb and Senator Todd Young to update them on farmer issues related to this wet and cool growing season. But, communicating with local, county, state and federal elected leaders shouldn’t be limited to farm leadership. In fact, Indiana Farm Bureau vice president Kendell Culp from Jasper County says helping their members learn to advocate for agriculture is in the Farm Bureau plan.
“In our strategic plan one of the six pillars was for our members to tell their story and share that with those decision makers, and so we make a concerted effort to make sure they feel comfortable to tell that story and to share what’s going on on their farms,” Culp explained. “Gosh, with the spring that we’ve had this year, everyone has a unique story to tell about the late planting, no planting, about switching crops and making those decisions on the fly based on weather, and really this year more than ever. “It’s been an historic spring, and it’s really important that they share that information with these leaders.”
Recently a group went to Washington to make sure their representatives know the issues on the farm, but Culp says the local level is a great place to begin reaching out.
“Those county commissioners and board of zoning members, plan commissions members, those types of folks, that’s a great place to start,” he told HAT. Many times those are their neighbors. These are people they know very well, that they can have a conversation with, and it should be a pretty easy, non-threatening environment for them to talk to them about important issues there locally. Then you move on to the state level. We ask our members to go to the statehouse, each county a couple of times during the session to have a daily presence at the statehouse to keep reassuring those priority issues that our members have identified.”
The next step is the federal level where a small group is prepped on the issues before face to face meetings, and those trips happen twice a year, sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau.
As Culp explains, Indiana’s congressmen and senators get home every weekend and have a sense of what’s going, but Farm Bureau members can bring the issues into even clearer focus with their own personal stories and experiences.