Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann was the guest speaker at the Marshall County Farm Bureau Luncheon Wednesday afternoon.
She spoke of “The Future of Rural Indiana” and how the state is working to provide a better rural Indiana to help agriculture, entrepreneurship, economic development, visioning, community development, rural workforce development and infrastructure.
The lieutenant governor stressed the need to grow small businesses and increase prosperity in rural communities and businesses.
She also discussed the challenge farmers are currently facing.
“Coming out of tough drought year and restarting into this coming year is certainly a challenge,” said Ellspermann. “I think it’s no different than any business. It’s trying to make sure you’re profitable moving forward, you have the latest technology, you can compete and that we continue to open markets so that their goods, products and commodities can be purchased around the world.”
Ellspermann stressed that the Soil Productivity bill needed to be passed immediately and it addresses unreasonable increases in the state’s soil productivity factor proposed by the state’s Department of Local Government Finance. The soil productivity factor is one component in the complex calculation used to assess property tax. She adds that the state is also focusing on other opportunities in agriculture.
“A bigger opportunity, the food and agriculture innovation corridor, which brings more innovation, Indiana farming and agriculture. It utilizes the assets we have here so that we are the go-to place for the future of agriculture. That’s key. That then protects existing farming as well. We’re very excited about that,” Ellspermann said.
Farm Bureau members from Starke, Marshall, Kosciuscko, and LaPorte Counties were in attendance at the meeting. County commissioners also attended the meeting along with city mayors. The Argos and John Glenn FFA chapters helped seat everyone at the luncheon and gathered index cards with questions for the Lt. Gov.
Agriculture is a $16 billion industry and almost 20 percent of the workforce is involved in agriculture.
“It is the backbone of our state and we want to keep it and we want to grow it and support it. It’s incredibly important to feeding not only Hoosiers, but the world,” Ellspermann explained.