If you're wondering why the flags in Indiana were at half-staff over the past few days, it's because Indiana lost a dedicated leader and a member of the Indiana Senate. At the same time, agriculture lost a true friend.
News reports say David Ford, 59, Hartford City, a Republican legislator, died last week of complications stemming from pancreatic cancer. He was a lawyer as well as being a state government leader. In fact, he threw his hat into the ring for the lt. governor's position during the last gubernatorial election. Instead, Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, Bedford, was selected for that role.
Ford was an advocate for agriculture and particularly for the rights of farmers to practice their trade without interference. He served as the attorney for Indiana Farm Bureau for a number of years. In the late '80s and early '90s, he contributed to many stories in Indiana Prairie Farmer, written both by Tom J. Bechman and former editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Paul Queck, who now assists the Indiana Pork Producers Association. Both Bechman and Queck remember Ford as an honest, hard-working rural leader with lots of common-sense and a true understanding of Indiana agriculture and the farmer's need to be able to do his or her job without interference from the government, wherever possible.
Ford was particularly versed in the right to farm laws. Those debates were very hot about two decades ago. Indiana's right to farm law was strengthened during the past two decades to help give farmers more protection against being zoned out of business should neighbors decide they no longer liked living near a farm.
Governor Daniels issued the order to fly flags at half-staff in Ford's memory until after his funeral, held in Muncie. No word has yet been announced on how his seat in the legislator will be filled.