Tippecanoe Co. Farm Bureau president has eye-opening experience in India

Mar 7, 2012

A local agricultural leader thinks Hoosier farmers are setting a good example for their counterparts in India.

Tippecanoe County Farm Bureau President Kevin Underwood spent two weeks learning about Indian agriculture in the Mumbai, Bangalore, and New Delhi. He was one of about 30 farmers selected to take the trip as part of the Indiana Ag Leadership Program.

Underwood hopes the effort put forth by the program’s participants helps change the Indian society’s negative view of farmers.

"Seventy-five percent of their farms lose money every year. And we asked them, 'Well, how are you going to try to overcome that and help the farmers manage, so that they can actually become profitable?' And that was a complete foreign thought to them."

Underwood says he did his part to encourage more support for farmers in the country. He says some aspects of Indian culture put farmers at a disadvantage.

"Because of that viewpoint of their caste system, where they believe there's kind of a tier of society, if you will, agriculture is very low on that rung."

He admits India still has some hurdles to jump in order to meet the basic nutritional needs of its people. However, Underwood expects this to change as support for farmers grows and the country becomes more receptive to trade opportunities with the United States.