Other events than those listed here may stand pout in your mind. But when you boil down 2011 as to what it meant for Indiana agriculture, here are some things that stand out to us.
We would really like to know what stands out for you. You can respond to this column by emailing: [email protected].
Dysfunctional legislature- With nearly half the members gone out of the House for weeks, not much happened for a while. But as political observers form the ag perspective say, that wasn't all bad news. The legislature didn't have time to enact laws that might have been hard for agriculture to overcome.
Agri-tourism bill passes- One of the bills Indiana Farm Bureau lobbied for the hardest was a bill that limits liability to the owners and operators of agri-tourism businesses. The legislation went into effect July 1, and gives the owner or operator an opportunity to shift more of the liability to the person coming onto their property.
Legislature moves to close manure law loopholes- Fact or fiction, Ohio farmers stockpiling manure in east-central Indiana got a lot of paly a year ago. The legislature passed legislation requiring that people who spread manure follow the same rules as those who produce it. The Office of the Indiana State Chemist has proposed a rule to fill these loopholes. You can still comment on this proposed rule until January 7, 2012. It will likely become final next spring.
Township trustees remain- There may be another assault on local government structure in 2012. But for 2011, efforts to do away with township trustees failed. The debate actually made more people aware of what these people do.
Small, rural schools spared- Governor Daniels backed off trying to force very small rural schools to consolidate through legislation. However, current state funding formulas for schools may cause some to face that reality anyway.
Wet spring delays planting- It was only the first leg in a season worth forgetting for most people. Some corn wasn't planted until June. Only northwest Indiana escaped major delays
High heat- To add injury on top of insult, a record-setting 23 days of 90 degrees or higher temperatures were recorded at Indianapolis. The worst of the long, hot, dry spell came while corn was pollinating
USDA off on estimates again- Not learning form 2010, USDA again did not account for the impact of high nighttime temperatures on the corn crop. So far they've already dripped Indiana's yield by several bushels per acre. It started out well below trend yield.
Livestock prices jump to near--record highs- It's not every year you can sell a lamb to market for $2.50 per pound, a hog for $70 cents per pound or a steer for over $1 per pound. It happened this year, as livestock producers finally got a chance to make up, if only partially, for high feed prices from the past few years.
State fair tragedy spills in to agriculture- The collapse of the state fair grandstand stage resulted in cancellation of sheep breeding show finals and showing of commercial ewes on Sunday, plus the entire cancellation of the 4-H dairy show. The decision was controversial, and was never fully explained. Many wondered why it couldn't have been moved to Monday. You've likely not heard the last of this issue.
4-H announces state dues- From zero to $15 per child in one fell swoop, Indiana 4-H members must now pay dues to the state. Many already paid county dues for materials. It's still unclear what the money collected will be used for, and what happens if someone can't pay, or who determines who can pay and who can't afford it.
4-H Cheating scandals- From a calf reportedly shown in two counties to several pigs detected for drugs after the fact at the state fair, cheating raised its ugly head again. At last report, according to a State Fair Board member, an issue with a winning lambs and possible drug violations has yet to be resolved.
John Deere unveils historic [product launch in Indianapolis- Deere chose the Mike Starkey farm, Brownsburg to stage the biggest introduction of new models across the line in the 175 years of the company.Yields all over board- Inconsistent rain patterns were reflected once harvest began. Yields were higher in some area than expected, but lower in others.