INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Farm Bureau laid out its legislative priorities for 2020 when it met last week with legislators at the Indiana Statehouse. The gathering took place during Organization Day, the ceremonial start of the 2020 session, which will be called to order in January. 

Farm Bureau President Randy Kron and Vice President Kendell Culp, along with the organization’s public policy team, identified key issues the farm advocacy group will focus on when the Indiana General Assembly convenes in January.

“This year, the General Assembly will be reviewing healthcare costs and at Farm Bureau we have been doing the same” says Katrina Hall, Indiana Farm Bureau director of public policy. “Our members are very concerned about the current cost of healthcare, so one of our biggest priorities for the year is to figure out how we can help lower their costs.”

Many farm families have one spouse work at an off-the-farm job in order to have health insurance coverage, says Hall.

Another issue the Indiana Farm Bureau is pushing is the expansion of rural broadband.

“it is amazing how much area of IN does not have a significant availability of broadband,” Hall says

According to BroadbandNow, a website that ranks internet service providers, Indiana ranks in the lower one-third (No. 35) of the most connected states.

“We need to lessen the digital divide,” says Hall. Farm groups say it’s difficult for rural businesses to compete in the global marketplace, via e-commerce without digital technology.

INFB’s policy priorities for 2020 are as follows:

  • Expand health benefits available to Indiana agriculture.
  • Limit referenda that burden landowners.
  • Implement land use planning that protects farms and farmland while promoting rural economic growth.
  • Protect property rights and local control.
  • Continue expansion of rural broadband.
  • Improve assessment uniformity across the property tax base.

“Through our robust network of farmers and agriculture professionals in the state, we are able to identify the most pressing issues of concern for Indiana farmers each and every year,” said Randy Kron, INFB president.

This year is a short legislative session, and by state law, will conclude on or before March 14.