Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 24, 2013

Pence says long-term farm bill good for state

Governor speaks to area farmers about new ag policies.

By Carson Gerber Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — CAMDEN – Gov. Mike Pence urged Congress to pass a long-term farm bill that focuses more on agriculture during a stop at a Carroll County farm Wednesday afternoon.

Pence visited the Mylet family farm about 6 miles east of Camden after attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Logansport for the new stretch of the Hoosier Heartland Corridor that connects Lafayette to Fort Wayne.

Over 30 area farmers and FFA members gathered in a pull barn to listen to Pence, who said a new farm bill that doesn’t include programs like food stamps would be more beneficial for farmers.

“I’d like the farm bill to be about farming,” he said. “ … My hope is that Congress will be able to complete a long-term farm bill that gives farmers like the Mylet family the opportunity to do long-term planning.

Congress hasn’t passed a new farm bill since 2008. The current extension of that farm bill expired at the end of September, and the two congressional chambers continue to hash out whether to include the food stamp program in the next bill.

“I think the more we can focus the next farm bill on agriculture and the challenges facing Hoosier farmers, the better,” he said.

Pence also touted new legislation he approved this year that cut taxes for farmers, did away with the inheritance tax and put a freeze on any new business and agricultural regulations.

“When it comes to the [Environmental Protection Agency], there are an awful lot of costs associated with paying for all that red tape,” he said. “It takes time away from farmers being productive.”

After a brief talk, Pence proceeded to hop into a combine with farmer Tom Mylet and harvest corn for about 20 minutes.

Michael Silver, a senior merchandizer with Kokomo Grain Co. who attended the event, said he supported Pence’s agricultural policies, especially the elimination of the death tax.

“Farming in Indiana has definitely gotten stronger,” he said. “Prices have been higher, so farm incomes have been good.”

Pence said his administration will continue to support legislation that benefits farmers, and push for more vocational training in high schools to help train students in new agricultural technology.

“Indiana is a lot of things, but at our core, Indiana is agriculture,” he said. “We’ve sought policies that promote our strengths, and all of that begins with our agricultural economy.”

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.