Don Villwock, Edwardsport, was re-elected to another term of Indiana Farm Bureau during the business meeting of delegates at the 2009 Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention in Ft. Wayne this week. It was the first contested race for president in several years. Villwock was declared the winner on the first ballot.
Villwock and his wife, Joyce, operate a family farming operation north of Vincennes in Knox County, Since Don is away from the farm attending to Farm Bureau business most of the time, they employ a very efficient farm operator, Jason Misinies, who keeps the farm rolling. He's also a guru with a wrench, Villwock says, and now works in a new farm shop that Misiniec was very influential in designing how it was built.
The convention has typically been held in Indianapolis, but moved to Evansville in '08, and to Ft. Wayne in '09. The primary reason was that Convention Center authorities said they could not accommodate Farm Bureau properly during renovation projects at the center. It's also believed some members wanted to try hosting the convention in other parts of the state.
This year's meeting was held in November, primarily to avoid conflicts with the Hoosier Beef Congress, which is the first weekend in December in Indianapolis. However, the timing didn't work in Farm Bureau's favor- this is the second worst harvest season on record in Indian, and the worst since the early 1970s. As a result, attendance was down at the convention.
"We had committed delegates who came in Thursday evening the delegate session, then returned home to run crops wither yet last Thursday night or early Friday mo1rning. Still, there were reasonably good crowds to watch key hot-bed issues discussed during break-out sessions, including the cap and trade energy bill debate, and a session on Farm Bureau's public policy.
Look for the meeting to return to December in Indianapolis next year. Meanwhile, Villwock calls on members to get their voices heard before the legislature convenes.
"We're looking for a short session, " he says. "t\There is no money to fight over- usually this session is about dividing up the pie- it's gone- it's already been eaten up So we think it could be a short session."
Both Katrina Hall and Bob Kraft, Farm Bureau government specialists, agree with Villwock's assessment. Farm Bureau's number one goal will be lobbying the legislature not to pass the cap system resolution on the property tax bill. If it passes, then it will appear as a constitutional amendment on the state ballot in number of 2010.
"It's not advisable to put something so permanent into the Constitution before we know if it's going to work," Villwock says. He has real reservation about how well the system is working already. Once put in the constitution, it would be difficult to remove it, Villwock emphasizes.