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Question for candidates: Where does state fit in livestock permitting process?

Candidates for lieutenant governor field tough questions on livestock-related matters.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

September 1, 2016

2 Min Read

No debate between lieutenant governor candidates would be complete without questions related to the livestock industry and government regulations in Indiana. The livestock industry is a key driver of Indiana’s economy, yet a good portion of the state is well-populated. That has set up the state for conflicts.

Here is how Republican Suzanne Crouch and Democrat Christina Hale addressed this and other issues during a recent debate. Both want to be Indiana’s next secretary of agriculture and rural development.

Question: Many people believe we need a science-based permitting process. What can state government do in this area?


Crouch: I believe in a home-rule strategy. That means there needs to be input from within the county on these issues. Yet I believe the state can be a partner. We can promote the resources and value of the Indiana Land Resources Council to local officials. The council can be a very valuable resource when local officials have questions. It’s also a matter of education with producers. They can take advantage of programs like Before You Build that address potential issues of conflict. It’s really about giving local officials the right tools before they make decisions. One size doesn’t fit all in this case.


Hale: Agriculture is a business. Leadership has to confront these issues. I don’t really agree with the idea of home rule here. The secretary of agriculture needs to play a role in setting these rules. The real question is, how do we serve all the interests of all the people in Indiana here? Sometimes in this issue, there are competing interests. We’re committed to commonsense, science-based regulations. We need collaboration here, but we also need to know when to get out of the way for business.

Question: What are your views on Indiana’s role in global marketing?

Hale: We need to export the products our businesses produce, not our jobs. We need to move forward with labeling products with brands like Indiana Grown, and offer them to the rest of the world. A year ago it looked like Turkey might be a good marketing opportunity. That situation has changed. Now it looks like there might be opportunities to market in Israel. We want our [Indiana] products to be [wherever people want them].

Crouch: We need free trade to continue since we are an ag state. We also need to speak out when federal rules come along that would adversely affect us. The Waters of the United States regulation is one example. We need to stand up and push back on federal overreach. We must have free trade so that we can export our products.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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