INFB policy priorities highlighted during legislative forum  

Photo provided by Indiana Farm Bureau

Indiana Farm Bureau members discussed policy issues with lawmakers during the organization’s Legislative Forum today.

Jeff Cummins, director of state government relations with INFB, highlighted the priorities that are important to Hoosier farmers and rural communities.

“Rural viability, tax and fiscal issues, energy and environment, and food security,” he says.

He tells Brownfield maintaining property rights protections for subsurface CO2 sequestration remains top of mind.

“What we want is for landowners to have codified in the law that they own their pore space and no companies really try to subvert that. So, if any company tries that or if there is any legislation that impends on property rights, we’ll be swift in trying to oppose that,” he says.

In 2022, Indiana Farm Bureau members helped stop a subsurface sequestration pilot program that would have denied notification and compensation to landowners for the use of their pore space.

Cummins says similar legislation could be filed again this session.

He says other land-use challenges include, “within food security is farmland preservation. There will be a land use task force bill that comes out, so we’ll be looking at that, supporting it, trying to find a holistic way to look at these land-use challenges whether it’s wind and solar, urban/suburban sprawl, or development.”  

House Bill 1132 would create the land use task force to study and make recommendations concerning areas where food insecurity exists, development growth trends in communities across Indiana, and other community growth areas.

Cummins says members are also fighting back on greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements being proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“What we can do at a state level aside from push back on those rules and push back on that concept, is say that if you impose those standards on our members or on industry sectors, the state won’t do business with you, it won’t invest its pension fund with you or contract with you,” he says. “So, there will be a bill to do just that.”

It is a budget session, and INFB supports state and local investments that improve rural communities and promote opportunities for agriculture.  

“Within the state budget, we’re supporting the public health commission dollars—the request there from the governor. We’re supporting more funding for rural broadband. Some of the agencies and partners we work with like Purdue, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and Indiana State Fair have asked us for support of their budgets,” Cummins says.

INFB members will be active in the statehouse during the legislative session.

Audio: Jeff Cummins

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