Indiana is one of the most successful farming states in the nation, ranking among the top 10 according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Out of the 92 counties that make up Indiana, the USDA ranked Dubois, Spencer and Gibson counties among the top 10 corn producers in the state. In addition, Warrick County earned a spot in the top 10 for soybean and alfalfa production.
The farms in our area are not only a major asset to our community, but they greatly contribute to Indiana’s success in the agriculture industry. State lawmakers, including me, realize this, and are continually working to create a business environment that supports the hard work of Hoosier farmers.
Among the hundreds of bills proposed this session, several aim to help farmers.
Senate Bill 350 would allow the State Board of Animal Health to purchase insurance to cover any losses or damages caused by a prevalent animal disease incident. This would protect farmers whose livestock are susceptible to quickly spreading diseases.
Another bill that would help Hoosier farmers is Senate Bill 623. This legislation, which I co-authored, would change Indiana’s property tax assessments on large commercial properties to ensure commercial taxpayers are paying their fair share of property taxes. Fairer assessments on commercial property would prevent a shift in the property tax burden to farmers and create a better property tax system for all Hoosiers.
My colleagues and I also want to make sure we’re protecting Hoosiers who do not cultivate hundreds of acres, but still enjoy living off the land. House Bill 1165 would prevent a county, municipality or township from adopting an ordinance that prevents people from beekeeping, raising chickens or composting on their own property that they own, rent or lease.
This bill would also urge the Legislative Council to task a summer study committee with studying farmland preservation in Indiana.
Indiana is a state that takes great pride in being a leader in agriculture, our community included. I believe these bills, along with others moving through the General Assembly, would have a great impact on Indiana and allow Hoosier farmers, both big and small, to thrive.
As always, feel free to contact me directly with your questions and concerns at Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
A high-resolution photo of State Sen. Mark Messmer is available by clicking here.