Cattle, hogs and chickens eat corn and soybean meal. That's enough to grab the attention of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council, especially when members feel that livestock production in Indiana is under attack.
Andy Tauer works for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, but his mission is livestock promotion – not promoting corn or soybeans directly. He's been in this role for three years.
"We're kicking off a new Livestock Awareness Campaign," he told livestock producers at a recent meeting. Part of the impetus for the new program stems from the fact that some county units of government have become involved in placing moratoriums on future livestock expansion in terms of confinement units in their county.
The most recent was Bartholomew County, which instituted a moratorium imposed by county officials in early September. The moratorium was in response to a messy fight over approving zoning for a hog confinement unit in rural Bartholomew County. The hog unit was approved, but opponents may have won the war by convincing local officials to place a moratorium on future expansion.
"Our view is that these types of actions by counties are trying to legislate livestock out of business," Tauer says. The result is a program geared specifically toward county officials to inform them about the true picture related to livestock production.
"We want to go county by county and sit down with local officials and explain the benefits of having livestock production in their county," Tauer says. "There is no better investment than agriculture and livestock production for a county," he says.
Tauer believes that's because a large livestock operation strengthens the local economy. The operation also contributes to the property tax base in the county where it is located. He believes it's time for producer and producer organizations to take the message to county officials in each county.