The director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture says while it will be difficult for farmers to get through a tough farming season this year, there is room for optimism. Bruce Kettler spoke Tuesday at the Indiana Ag Policy Summit in Indianapolis and says the strength of the agriculture industry and Hoosier farms is good, but not great.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Kettler said while everyone is looking to improve the farming outlook for Indiana, it is going to continue to be a difficult year.
"We know that really our crops are not going to yield what we would normally expect them to yield. That’s going to put some pressure on those that feed livestock to be able to have adequate supplies of feed for their livestock," said Kettler. "Hopefully, prices will improve a little bit and that will help, but it’s going to be tough. The other thing that I think sometimes gets lost in this is that it affects the suppliers that are supplying the farmers; It may affect the processors on the back end on that chain and this is probably not going to solve itself when the season ends."
Kettler says it could probably be a couple of years to find out and get through the full effects of what this tough planting and farming season has done. However, he says Hoosiers in the agriculture industry tend to be very optimistic by nature. "I think you have to. You’re dealing with markets that you don’t have control over in terms of the prices that you receive all the time. Obviously weather is a huge unknown and people that work in this industry know, the weather’s going to affect a lot of what they do."
One of the big topics of the Ag Policy Summit is the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which has not yet been ratified by Congress. Kettler says the USMCA builds on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was a big a reason why a lot of Indiana agriculture was able to grow.
"I think from a USMCA perspective, what farmers want to see is they want to see a good agreement that is made better, and I believe it has been made better, and will allow those farmers to be able to continue to function in the markets. They want to be able to produce. They want to produce livestock or crop products and they want to be able to have a market then that they can sell those crop products or those livestock products into."
Kettler says the USMCA will continue to support farmers and remove more barriers to success.