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Indiana State Fair Board, Commission Meetings Set for This Week

Indiana State Fair Board, Commission Meetings Set for This Week
Indiana agriculture wins when all pull the same way. (Commentary)

Only 2% of the population actually farms. Another one in five work in a field related to agriculture, but some are so far removed they don't know a corn inbred from a hybrid. It's very much 'us' vs. 'them' when Indiana farmers try to meet challenges foisted on them by other groups.

The last thing Indiana agriculture needs is ag groups bickering with one another. Agriculture wins when various groups inside a diverse industry unite.

Related: Indiana State Fair Commission Chairman: State Fair Board Will Continue

A "who's who of ag people" gathered for the annual ham breakfast held just before opening ceremonies at this year's Indiana State Fair.

According to several reliable sources, the Indiana State Fair has endured a political struggle most of this year. Inside wrangling about the role of the Commission vs. the State Fair Board have put some key people at odds. The legislature intended for both groups to work together when the Commission was created over two decades ago. Right now that's apparently not happening.

What happens at the Indiana State Fair may pale compared to what happens to the livelihood of producers getting $3 per bushel for corn, or producers who can't expand livestock operations in some counties because the county government has passed a moratorium on new building. That's the case right now in Bartholomew County. Yet haggling over how to run the state fair, one of the best in the country as it is today, underscores that not everyone is on the same page.

Related: Indiana State Fair Uncertainty Drags On Into Fall

On the other hand look at what soil conservation groups have accomplished. Pulling together and promoting no-till, cover crops and soil health, a loose partnership of several Indiana conservation groups have put Indiana on the map as one of the leading states for promoting soil health. Farmers are buying in and planting more cover crops, or trying them for the first time.

It's only happening because groups at the local, state and federal level are working together, and remembering to keep farmers in the loop. Others should follow their example!

Meeting date and times
If you're indeed interested in who runs the state fair next year, you might want to visit the Indiana State Fair Board Meeting at 9 a.m. this Thursday, Oct. 16 in Discovery Hall on the northwest corner of the fairgrounds.

The Board is expected to elect officers and discuss proposed changes that would greatly reduce the authority of the State Fair Board, based on numerous reports.

The State Fair Commission meeting is later, at 10:30 a.m., also on the third floor of Discovery Hall.

Enter on the north side of the building near 42nd street. When you get to Discovery Hall, take the elevator up to the third floor. The elevator will open directly into the conference room where both the 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. meetings will be held.

Look for the agendas on the second page of this story.

Related: Controversy Surrounding Future of Indiana State Fair Board Far From Over

Ted McKinney, executive director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, confirms that both are public meetings. The groups can meet in executive session, but that is not done often, he notes. 

Typically, 'public' meeting means you can watch, but not participate. However, whatever is discussed becomes part of the public record. It's your opportunity to hear and see how the Indiana State Fair Commission and Indiana State Fair Board chart the future of the Indiana State Fair.

Meeting agendas >>


Indiana State Fair Board Meeting Agenda, 10/16/2014
1. Call To Order
2. President’s Comments – Steve Simmerman
3. Election of Officers – Doug Huntsinger
4. Report of the Governance Task Force – Bill Smith
5. Adjournment

Indiana State Fair Commission and Fair Board Joint Meeting Agenda, 10/16/2014
1. Chairman calls meeting to order - Andre Lacy
2. Meeting Minutes
3. Fair Board President's Report - Steve Simmerman
4. C.A.S.H. Chairman's Report - Matt Rekeweg
5. Financial Report - David Ellis
6. Executive Director's and Staff Report - Cindy Hoye
Old Business
7. Report of the Governance Task Force -Bill Smith
8. After Action Reports from State Fair - Doug Huntsinger
New Business
9. Technology 5-Yr. Plan - Justin Armstrong
10. Path 17 - Justin Armstrong
11. CSI Signs – Sponsorship Signage - Justin Armstrong

Next Meeting Date
State Fair Board – Nov. 13, 2014
State Fair Commission – Nov. 20, 2014

Tom Bechman is editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. For more commentary, view his blog, Hoosier Perspectives.

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