Indiana's top agricultural officials are supporting a Farm Bill approved this week by Congress. Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says it provides certainty for Hoosier farmers. Indiana Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says the measure contains new block grants that benefit specialty crop farmers. February 5, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who also serves as Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture, applauded the passage of the 5-year Farm Bill approved by Congress this week.
“The passage of this bill provides Hoosier farmers and agricultural producers the certainty that they need to plan for the future of their farms,” said Ellspermann. “I know that the Indiana Congressional delegation worked hard to protect the interests of the Indiana agriculture industry that is so vital to our State's economy while at the same time maintaining a viable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for our needy Hoosiers.”
Ted McKinney, Director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, noted some of the highlights of the Farm Bill.
-Safety net for Indiana farmers impacted by adverse events like flooding.
-Enhanced conservation security and stewardship programs which aids water quality programs and soil conservation programs.
-Reform of the SNAP program by cutting food stamp spending by $8 billion and sets restrictions on who can receive the benefits.
-New block grants to specialty crop farmers who are an increasing segment of Indiana agriculture. NOTE: Indiana national ranking – Tomatoes (2nd), cantaloupe (5th), cucumbers (7th) and blueberries (10th).
-Christmas tree industry permission to create a promotion program funded by a 15-cent fee on each tree sold.
-Taxpayer savings of over $23 billion in mandatory federal spending over 10 years.
Source: The State of Indiana