Indiana Farm Bureau

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There's a better-than-expected outlook for Indiana agriculture in a report out this week on what would happen if Congress ratifies the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP is President Obama's big trade deal to reduce tariffs and open new markets with Pacific Rim countries. Congress could vote on it this year, and asked for this forecast from the U.S. International Trade Commission as part of that debate.

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On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to increase the amount of biofuel in gasoline, a metric known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. That means more ethanol produced in the state will find its way into people’s cars.

The increase is good news for Indiana’s farmers. Kyle Cline is the National Policy Advisor at the Indiana Farm Bureau.

“Indiana’s a leading state in ethanol production,” he says, “and [the RFS] has been very important for our farmers’ bottom line and business.”

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The state Department of Agriculture is looking for new ways to make Indiana specialty crops competitive.

They'll divide more than $380,000 among research and marketing projects for fruit, veggies and more. The federal money comes from the USDA’s specialty crop block grant program.

 

Grocery Prices Begin Recovery From Avian Flu Spike

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After nearly two years of increases and a historic spike last fall, grocery prices have started to drop in Indiana.

 

That's according to the Farm Bureau's latest spring survey, which has looked at the price of a basic basket of groceries in spring and fall for nearly 30 years.

 

The survey adds up the average cost of a "market basket" of 16 items, including milk, eggs, meat and produce. This spring, that basket totals $52.61.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Second-generation West Lafayette farmer Kevin Underwood has been collecting model tractors since grade school. 

But he can’t afford to replace the tractors he makes a living with because of the perfect storm of too much rain and a property tax structure that charges him based on what he pulled out of the ground three years ago.

the Indiana Insider Blog / VisitIndiana.com

Indiana is the fifth-largest pork producing state in the nation as measured in sales, producing $1.3 billion worth of pork annually. Pork tenderloins are considered by many to be the unofficial Hoosier state food. So this week’s much-talked-about report showing a link between processed meats and cancer could strike fear into the hearts of pork producers. Except...it's not.

Purdue Agricultural Economics professor Jim Mintert says one report probably isn’t going to affect consumer attitudes toward processed meats. But depending on what happens in the future, that might change.

Indiana Farm Bureau

About a month after he announced his plans to retire as President of the Indiana Farm Bureau, it seems Don Villwock may not be out of agriculture politics just yet.

Villwock, who’s led the Indiana chapter for 14 years, says he’d planned to return to his family farm in Knox County, but was encouraged by a number of southern Farm Bureau leaders to try to succeed Bob Stallman as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Villwock will run against the presidents of the Oregon, Arizona and Georgia Farm Bureaus and says he thinks it’s a win-win proposition.

Indiana Farm Bureau

After 14 years of service, Don Villwock will retire from his position as president of the Indiana Farm Bureau later this year.

"We have good potential successors that are going to run for my slot," Villwock says. "And we’ll have an election at our annual meeting on the seventeenth of November, so those folks will be out campaigning with our members."

Villwock says the Farm Bureau faces different issues now than it has before, and that makes this a good time to look for new ideas and leadership.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

Second-generation West Lafayette farmer Kevin Underwood has three tractors he uses to farm 1,600 acres of land – one is several decades old, another he bought just a few years ago. But while his 30 year old tractor still works well, Underwood says the system taxing what that tractor produces does not.

“The bind we’re in at this point is we’ve got income level going down and taxes and input costs continuing to go up,” Underwood says.

Ethanol Now A Big Cash Crop For Hoosier Farmers

Oct 9, 2014
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Indiana farmers‘ biggest cash crops now include not just corn and soybeans, but energy.

Indiana Farm Bureau president Don Villwock says ethanol now accounts for 40-percent of Hoosier farmers‘ corn production.

And he says other forms of renewable energy benefit farmers as well.

"We do have a few solar farms starting to sprout up," says Villwock. "We have a new one in Tipton County that just recently started. So we're really on the forefront, and Purdue University is probably the leading cellulosic research institute in the country."

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