A small group of farmers and the press gathered in the sheep office at the Indiana State Fairgrounds just before the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry Saturday. While excitement was building for the largest Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry in history in the main part of the building, excitement was building in the tiny office complex as well. Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, was about to receive the first-ever Friend of Farmers award.
The award was created by the Indiana Corn Growers Association board of directors and the Indiana Soybean Alliance’s membership and policy committee. Jane Ade Stevens, executive director of both groups, explained it was created to recognize a public official at the state, federal or local level who advocates for agriculture.
“It’s a privilege to present this award to someone who stands up for farmers,” said Kevin Wilson, past president of ISA, during the presentation. “He’s been a strong supporter in the fight to protect farmers from regulations that could occur if the new Waters of the United States rules are implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Donnelly serves on the U.S. Senate Ag Committee. He has been vocal in his efforts to block EPA from implementing WOTUS rules. The regulations are tied up in court.
Ronnie Mohr, with ICGA, added “As corn growers we’re concerned about the future of ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard. Sen. Donnelly has been very supportive on this. I can’t say enough good things about how he has stood up for farmers in Indiana and farmers across the U.S.”
For his part, Donnelly thanked both groups and all their members who gathered to help present the new award.
“I take my marching orders on agriculture from Indiana farmers,” he said. “They have the wisdom to know what is best for agriculture across the country, and what is best for agriculture in Indiana. I do my best to listen to them and take their common sense wisdom to Washington, D.C.”