ICGA, ISA M&P talk farm policy with state lawmakers at annual Bacon Bar
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 9, 2023) — Over warm plates of bacon, sausage, eggs and more, farmers and staff of the Indiana Soybean Alliance Membership and Policy Committee (M&P) and the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) discussed potential new farm policies with state lawmakers on Wednesday morning during the annual Bacon Bar and Brunch legislative breakfast at the Indiana Statehouse.
More than 200 farmers, lawmakers, legislative staff and ag industry stakeholders met to talk about potential legislation such as biofuel tax credits, a sales tax exemption for agricultural equipment, and an inventory of farmland during the breakfast. In addition, ICGA and M&P advocated for pro-livestock policies because Indiana’s livestock industry is a large and reliable customer for the state’s corn and soybean growers.
“One of the great things about our Bacon Bar legislative breakfast is we can easily explain – to people who are not from the farm – the connection that livestock farmers have with row-crop farmers,” said M&P Chair Keevin Lemenager, a farmer from Monrovia, Ind. “Livestock farmers are important customers for Indiana corn and soybean growers. A lot of the state’s soybean and corn crops go to feed livestock in Indiana.”
Most of the breakfast foods served at the event, such as eggs, yogurt, corn fritters and more, were connected to Indiana agriculture. The egg casserole and the corn fritters were cooked in high oleic soybean oil. Many livestock industry partners participated, as well. Indiana Kitchen offered pork bacon; Maple Leaf Farms brought duck sausage; the turkey sausage was from Perdue; and the American Dairy Association of Indiana included milk. Brunch sponsors included Corteva Agriscience, Farm Credit MidAmerica, Indiana Beef Cattle Association, the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association, Indiana Pork, the Indiana State Poultry Association, Indiana Dairy Producers, Indiana Farm Bureau and Bose Public Affairs.
“We a had great turnout with a lot of representatives and senators attending,” said ICGA President Scott Smith, a farmer from Windfall, Ind. “We enjoyed good conversations with the state legislators and their staff about the issues concerning farmers right now. ICGA is and should be the voice for Indiana’s corn growers. Events like this give us with a good place to start conversations, build relationships and promote the issues that are important to farmers. We also want to show support for the legislators who support us.”
Each year a new set of proposed laws and regulations in the Indiana General Assembly catch the eyes of M&P and ICGA staff. In the 2023 session, the organizations are following a proposed tax credit. The bill, HB1080, would provide tax credits for the sale of higher ethanol blends, the sale of blended biodiesel and the blending of biodiesel. Both ICGA and M&P support this bill.
Agriculture adds an estimated $31.2 billion to Indiana’s economy, according to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. The state’s corn and soybean crops are Indiana’s top two agricultural commodities. Ethanol and biodiesel are two leading products derived from those crops.
Indiana is the sixth-largest biodiesel-producing state with more than 289 million pounds of soybean oil grown in the state going to biodiesel production each year. Vehicle fleets using a blend of 20 percent soy biodiesel with 80 percent petroleum diesel have reduced carbon emissions by 11,000 tons since 2021.
Indiana ranks as the fifth-largest producer of U.S. ethanol – generating more than 1.4 billion gallons per year. The Hoosier State produces nearly 8 percent of the total U.S. ethanol output. There are 15 biorefineries in the state. Collectively, they consume about 43 percent of Indiana’s total corn crop – more than 450 million bushels. A blend of 15 percent corn ethanol with 85 percent petroleum gasoline, also known as E15, cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 455,000 metric tons each year.
“Biodiesel and ethanol produced from soybean and corn grown on farms across Indiana and processed here in the state are an immediate solution to providing Hoosiers economic relief at the pump while lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” said Steve Howell, Senior Director of Industry Affairs for ICGA and M&P. “An income tax incentive for retailers would boost investment in modern fuel pumps and tanks, which will create both a wider range of fuel options for Hoosiers and increased demand for corn and soybeans grown by Indiana farmers. These clean fuels add power to our state’s rural economy.”
Increasing the blend of ethanol into gasoline from 10 to 15 percent would add $377 million to Indiana’s economy and boost demand for Indiana corn by an additional 51 million bushels. At the pump, Hoosier motorists would save 5-10 cents per gallon with higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, if the Biofuels Tax Credit is adopted this year.
Here is more proposed legislation drawing attention from ICGA and M&P:
- HB1448 Sales Tax Exemption for Agricultural Equipment – This bill states that any transaction involving the acquisition of farm machinery, tools or equipment is exempt from the application of the state gross retail tax regardless of the intended use of the property. Both M&P and ICGA support this plan.
- HB1557 Inventory of Lost Farmland – This bill directs the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to conduct an inventory of farmland lost in Indiana from 2010 to 2022. Both M&P and ICGA supports this bill.
Most of these bills are still in the committee phase. This year’s General Assembly will not wrap up its legislative work until May. Visit www.iga.in.gov to follow all pieces of legislation during this session.
ICGA and M&P rely on event sponsorship and membership dollars to advocate on behalf of Hoosier farmers. Anyone interested in joining these policy organizations should contact Khyla Goodman, Industry Affairs Outreach Manager for M&P and ICGA, at 317-614-0377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For all questions contact: Dave Blower Jr. at 317-644-0980; email@example.com
About Indiana Soybean Alliance Membership and Policy Committee: The ISA Membership and Policy Committee works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the advocacy and promotion of state and federal policies. ISA Membership and Policy Committee is led by members of the Indiana Soybean Alliance farmer board who are charged with directing advocacy efforts on behalf of approximately 600 dues-paying members. Learn more at www.indianasoybean.com
About Indiana Corn Growers Association: The Indiana Corn Growers Association works with state and federal governments to develop and promote sound policies that benefit Indiana corn farmers. The ICGA consists of nine farmer-directors who provide leadership to the organization on behalf of more than 700 members statewide. Learn more at www.incorn.org/icga
This communication was NOT funded with Indiana corn checkoff dollars.