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Farm Bureau president meets with members

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Clay County Farm Bureau invited the president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Don Villwock, to speak at its annual meeting. [Order this photo]
The Clay County Farm Bureau held their annual meeting Tuesday night and welcomed the president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Don Villwock, as the speaker.

To start, Villwock commended the Clay County Bureau for its hard work and dedication of its members, citing that the crowd at the annual meetings was one of the largest he had seen.

"Your Indiana Farm Bureau (and) your county Farm Bureaus are doing magnificent things all around the state of Indiana," Villwock said.

He then moved on to the State Fair, which is an important event for Indiana farmers, and the tragedy that occurred.

"We just got done with the State Fair. We had an unfortunate tragedy there, as we're all aware of," Villwock said. "We just can't say enough for those who were injured or killed ... our hearts go out, it really took the steam out of the state fair for many of us who spent a lot of time there."

Villwock said that despite the tragedy there was some good news.

"We probably had the best agricultural state fair, (with) great events ... we had record attendance," Villwock said.

Villwock said fairgoers were lined up at the Farm Bureau building during the fair to get the items they were giving away at their "Taste of Indiana" promotion.

He also commended the "excellent staff" and volunteers for their hard work, which allowed the fair to run smoothly.

Villwock touched on the farm bill and budget concerns before welcoming guest speaker Megan Probost to the microphone.

Members of the Farm Bureau enjoyed a buffet dinner before Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock spoke. [Order this photo]
"As many of you know we're due for a farm bill in 2012. We're in budget discussions ... I think all of us believe that the budget needs to be balanced, that we need to be fiscally responsible," Villwock said. "We need to reduce this country's debt, and (to) do that, we have to do our share. I think it's only fair that agriculture (steps) up to the plate and (does) our share; and we're going to do that."

Probost, who works for Senator Lugar, is his number one agriculture consultant in Washington and is very involved in the federal debates that affect farms across the U.S.

Probost gave those in attendance an update from D.C. concerning agriculture, most notably the upcoming farm bill.

"The debt ceiling negotiations that were taking a hold of Washington D.C. the last couple months (have finally created a deal that) created a joint committee of congress... (the committee) is going to come up with some recommendations on how to cut the federal deficit," Probost said. "Agriculture will certainly be included in those reductions ... the level of those reductions that agriculture is going to be subject to is very much up in the air right now."

Probost said there is a wide margin of what could be impacted in the farm bill and there have been proposals that have ranged from 10 or 11 billion dollars in cuts to as much as 46 billion dollars over a 10-year budget.

She said that the joint committee has until Oct. 14 to look over recommendations and until then she won't know any more.

The Clay County Farm Bureau meets annually to discuss topics pertaining to Indiana farms and to elect new officials.

However, at this meeting the officials stayed consistent from last year's meeting.

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