John Gregg has followed a winding path to his run for Governor as the Democratic candidate. Part of that path led him to work in the coal industry. He believes that gives him insight into how the public perceives unpopular industries. If elected he says he'll draw on that experience as the state deals with those who favor and oppose new livestock enterprises.
Here are excerpts from an exclusive interview with Gregg.
IPF: How do you view the balance between large livestock operations and the environment? What is the state's role?
GREGG: I worked in the coal industry. I know all about working with industries that are not popular and are highly regulated. My conclusion is we can be pro-business and protect the environment at the same time.
We like to have electricity, so we figure out how to live with mining. We all like to eat, so we need to look at how we blend farming and the environment together. The bottom line to me is that we can protect the environment and still have a place for these (livestock) enterprises to do business in Indiana.
IPF: Would you leave vocational education at high school and secondary levels as it is, or restructure it? If so, how?
GREGG: My son, Hunter, just graduated and is an ag major at Vincennes University. When kids graduate (from high school), they either need to be career-ready or college ready. Some of them not going to college can go to places like Vincennes and get an associate's degree in carpentry or other skills. Some of these kids can become apprentices in various fields, such a stool and die making, and make good money in just a few years. Tech schools have come into play as state and federal rules have changed at high schools. They help kids develop skills and training to get a job.
IPF: Ethanol was important to agriculture's comeback over the last five years. Would you have a policy that affects ethanol producers?
GREGG: Indiana has a future in this industry. The key component to me is biofuels. This may include producing and using coal, methane and natural gas mostly in southern Indiana and wind in northern Indiana. Energy from crops can come from all over the state. We will be blessed in this state to be an energy player.