Indiana Prairie Farmer sat down recently with John Gregg. His plea to farm groups and audiences is that they look beyond his political label as a Democrat and see what he really stands for. Hopefully these questions will help you do that. Here are excerpts from that interview.
IPF: What is the number one challenge facing Indiana in the next four years?
GREGG: Jobs! We want high skilled, high paying jobs. We're not interested in just having low-paying jobs. Indiana has slid from 36th to 41st in per capita income over the past 10 years. If we have the right infrastructure in place, we can do better.
IPF: Where does agriculture fit in your agenda?
GREGG: Going back to our roots, we were an agriculture state. We need to build on this and our other strengths. They include manufacturing, energy, life sciences and logistics. Agriculture is a key cornerstone for our state. We can expand agriculture's role with the help of Purdue and other schools in research and development. We're not just talking about corn and soybeans, but also about newer ventures, like produce and aquaculture.
Today people even talk about urban farmers. We want to see people go to our smaller communities – that's great. Agriculture will definitely have a seat at the table in my administration.
IPF: Farmers are seeing rising property tax bills. How would you deal with the property tax issue?
GREGG: We went to a fair market value system with property taxes. I was aware of the Department of Local Government and Finance's effort to increase property taxes on farmers at the last minute in 2012 We also have the inheritance tax issue facing farmers. Plus, we look at the age of the farming population. How many 20-year old farmers do you know?
Property tax is crucial. We need to look at it. There is a huge disconnect between farmers and the urban public. We need to remind urban people that farmers feed the world.