Indiana Agriculture Insider - ISDA's Monthly Newsletter

February 2016 Issue

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Letter from Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

For the past three and half years, it has been my esteemed honor to serve as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture. Although we encountered challenges during that time, or as I like to call them "opportunities for improvement," Indiana has emerged as a national leader - a direct result of the incredible men and women that have dedicated their lives to feeding Hoosiers and countless families around the world. You truly exemplify the Hoosier values and qualities that have been passed on from one generation to the next.

I'm particularly proud that Indiana agriculture continues to be on the frontlines of innovation with initiatives like AgriNovus Indiana and renowned companies like Dow AgroSciences and Elanco in the AgBiosciences sector.

There has been remarkable growth and interest in Indiana FFA, and it has been an honor to partner with the best young agricultural leaders in the nation. They are an inspiration to me and and give great confidence that Indiana agriculture is in good hands in the future

I was fortunate to lead two successful trade missions to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China, strengthening relationships with our partners overseas. 

Last year, we successfully launched the dairy strategy and Indiana Grown initiative, both of which have really taken off and set further economic development opportunities in motion. 

In addition to many other accomplishments, we also remained good stewards of the land/water through our conservation efforts.  ISDA, through many Indiana conservation partnerships and the agricultural community, is demonstrating leadership in care for the environment and clean water.  

Through it all, I have seen the industry unite, most recently during the Indiana Agriculture strategic planning process, and I applaud everyone for working together, something we do exceptionally well as Hoosiers, to better Indiana agriculture.

As we enter this time of transition, I am pleased Governor Pence has selected Eric Holcomb as my successor. I can tell you firsthand that Eric is a true public servant with a distinguished career first in the Navy and then working in government as Governor Daniel’s deputy chief of staff and U.S. Senator Coats’ state chief of staff. 

Looking back, I am grateful to every Hoosier and Governor Pence for entrusting me as the 50th person to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor along with its statutory responsibilities. The opportunity to serve our great state has truly been a privilege and one that I pass along with great pride and even higher expectations to Eric Holcomb.

Indiana is an agriculture state and we have seen remarkable growth over the years. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives, this incredible industry, and progress in the great state of Indiana.


Lt. Gov. Signature

Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann


Legislative Session Highlights

The Indiana General Assembly has until March 14 to complete their work for the 2016 legislative session. This year, there were 841 bills and joint resolutions introduced, of which, roughly 200 remain alive. Given the numerous bills introduced, below is a list of three important pieces of legislation that could potentially have an impact on Indiana's agriculture industry.

Senate Bill 238: Soil and Water Conservation Funding

This bill eliminates a barrier for Soil and Water Conservation Districts that decide to merge by increasing the matching state grant based on the following situations: (1) If two county-wide districts merge, the legislation allows the state match to be multiplied by the number of counties merging and; (2) if part of a county merges with another district, the bill allows the state match to be multiplied by the percentage of county area included in the newly merged district. As the law currently stands, districts that merge are not eligible to have their matching funds multiplied. The bill passed the Senate 48-2 and unanimously passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee. 

Senate Bill 308:  Farmland Property Taxes

This bill contains 73 pages of tax and fiscal changes, of which, certain portions pertain to agricultural farmland. For example, the legislation states: when calculating the base rate for agricultural land, the Department of Local Government Finance shall: (1) Use the six most recent years preceding the year in which the assessment date occurs for which data is available, (2) use a capitalization rate of at least 8 percent, and (3) recalculate certain prior base rates that are used in the rolling average by using a capitalization rate of at least 8 percent. The bill passed the Senate 50-0 and was referred to House Ways and Means.

House Bill 1224:  Beef Market Development

This legislation creates a check-off of $1 per head of cattle on the sale of cattle in Indiana that will be collected and used by the Indiana Beef Council. The bill would permit the council to expend money from assessments for market development, promotion, education, research and product development for the beef industry. The bill passed the House 94-2 and was referred to Senate Agriculture Committee, which passed the bill 7-0. The bill has be reassigned to the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.


FFA Page Day at the Statehouse

To kick off National FFA Week, over 80 members of Indiana FFA arrived downtown Indianapolis to participate in the 2016 Page Day at the Statehouse. Every year, this all-day event provides the members a unique opportunity to interact with their elected leaders while experiencing a full day of legislative activity.

The state officers started out their day by visiting with Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann. Then, they joined the rest of the group for a grand tour of the limestone building, which included the House and Senate chambers, the Supreme Court and the Governor's Office, to list a few.

Lt. Governor and Indiana

During their lunch, the officers sat down with ISDA Director Ted McKinney and representatives of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, who discussed the importance of civic engagement to the future of agriculture in the state.

One of the highlights of the day was a joint resolution ceremony, championed by State Sen. Jean Leising and State Rep. Don Lehe, honoring Indiana FFA, its membership and National FFA Week. Several lawmakers, such as State Rep. Bill Friend, publicly testified about the significance of Indiana FFA and how it continues to foster some of the best young leaders in the nation.

Following the ceremony, the pages were able to take pictures in the House and Senate chambers with their prospective representative. They were also able to help legislative staff members with a wide range of activities while being able to observe the rest of the legislative proceedings.  It was great seeing so many blue jackets at the capitol building, and many of the participants stated it was a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Agriculture Boosts Local Economies

Expanding our existing agribusinesses in Indiana and attracting new ones is a priority for ISDA’s economic development team, led by Director Ted McKinney and Connie Neininger. While the three focus areas within economic development are business retention, business expansion and attraction of new businesses, community outreach is a vital component. In fact, Neininger's goal is to visit with every community in the state to increase their awareness of agriculture as an economic driver in Indiana. 

The team routinely visits with companies to learn about their growth plans, whether that involves environmental or building permits, road or rail improvements. In 2015, as a result of their work, 17 total agribusiness deals were made, creating 1,409 jobs and added $285,042,589 to Indiana’s economy.

On the county and regional level, the team works with local economic development groups to raise awareness about agriculture in economic development. They also work to develop strategies for agribusiness development and food processing. Last year, a few of those groups included: the Radius Region, Dubois County Economic Development and Duke Energy. 

McKinney and Neininger also attend biweekly meetings with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to discuss current projects. In 2015, they worked with IEDC project managers and local economic development directors on over 50 projects to provide data, site selection guidance, site tours and advice on infrastructure needs and permitting.

ISDA is a resource for agribusinesses and can also help them navigate the regulatory environment, learn more about necessary zoning and permitting and guide them through the process. For more information about how ISDA can help you with your business expansion or other economic development needs, contact Connie Neininger at

Featured in this Newsletter:

Letter from Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

Legislative Session Highlights

FFA Page Day at the Statehouse

Agriculture Boosts Local Economies


Important Updates:

Avian Influenza
On Monday, Feb. 22, the Board of Animal Health (BOAH) released the control area and surveillance zone. This will be the final situation update for this incident. Click here to read the official announcement by BOAH.

Agriculture Education
Good news! The Department of Education will once again have a Career and Technical Education State Program Leader with Agriculture Education as a part of their assignment.

Celya Glowacki has a unique combination of skills and experience in agribusiness marketing, communications, media relations and award-winning media production coupled with a lifelong association with agriculture education and a strong affinity for FFA. 

She looks forward to using her marketing and public relations skills to communicate, connect and help grow agriculture education and empower the youth in Indiana. 


Key Dates:

February 29
Homegrown by Heroes/Indiana Grown collaboration launch, Indianapolis

March 2
Shelby County Ag Event, Shelbyville

March 3-5
Small Farms Conference, Danville


ISDA in the News:

State Responds To Avian Flu In Dubois County

Indiana FFA Page Day a Success

One-man company
Indiana Grown Adds Staff

Celebrating FFA Week: It’s more than just farming

DowDuPont Pitch 'Knocked Their Socks Off'

Livestock Grants Awarded To 15 Organizations


ISDA Photos:

Dir. Ted McKinney met with Sen. Dan Coats while in Washington D.C. for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Conference.
ISDA and SWCD staff traveled to the Iowa Soybean Association Research conference in Des Moines to learn about Iowa water quality efforts and continue
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Soil Water Conservation District staff traveled to the Iowa Soybean Association Research conference in Des Moines to learn about Iowa water quality efforts and continue collaboration with INField Advantage.

Indiana Grown Recipe of the Month: Crust less Spinach Quiche


10 oz frozen spinach - chopped, thawed, and drained
5 eggs
3 cups shredded cheese
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Dash pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray/grease 9 inch pie pan. 

Heat oil, sauté onions until soft. Add spinach and cook off any excess moisture.

In a bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper. Add spinach mixture and blend.

Spread into the pie pan and bake for 30 mins. Let cool for 10 mins before serving.

Eggs, cheese, spinach, and onion are all common Indiana Grown products!


Indiana Agritourism Destination of the Month: Traders Point Creamery

Trader's Point


Traders Point Creamery is a 100 percent grass-fed, certified organic, dairy farm located in Zionsville. Please visit them at the farm to enjoy an exceptional meal in their restaurant, The Loft. You can also find their award-winning milk and yogurt in local grocery stores throughout Indiana.


ISDA Reminders:

Purdue Extension Farming Together Series: Planning for Retirement and Estate Management

 Rensselaer:  Jasper County Fairgrounds, March 1-2, 2016


Contact ISDA:

Indiana State Department of Agriculture 
One North Capitol Avenue, Suite 600 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317.232.1362 FAX