Indiana Agriculture Insider

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“Agriculture: Food for Life” essay contest

Farming is a job that never stops, whether it's 90 degrees outside or subzero temperatures, like this week. While we appreciate what farmers do every day, March is a time when the nation collectively comes together to say, "thank you."

In celebration of National Ag Day this year, Indiana's Family of Farmers is encouraging students in grades 4-6 to participate in an essay contest. Themed Agriculture: Food for Life, the essay challenges students to think critically about the important role agriculture plays in their lives and the lives of those around them.

So, parents, put those snow days to good use by encouraging your student to participate!


Under this year’s theme, students can write about a variety of aspects of agriculture, whether it's the important role agriculture plays in the community, how food is produced or how farmers have adapted to feed a growing world population, to name a few.

Winners will receive $200 for first place and $100 for second place, and will be invited to attend a special recognition ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse on March 18.

2019 Indiana Ag Day Essay Contest Rules and Guidelines

  • Topic: “Agriculture: Food for Life”.
  • Essay length – up to 200 words.
  • Contestants must compose an original written essay with limited guidance from adults, teachers or agriculture industry professionals.
  • Each contestant may submit only one essay.
  • Each entry must begin with a title page containing: “Agriculture: Food for Life” Then, it must state the writer’s name, grade level, address and city, state and zip code, phone number, date of birth, number of words, and school name. Do not put the writer’s name on other pages.
  • Essays must be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced.
  • Essays must be written in English.
  • Indiana’s Family of Farmers has the right to publish or otherwise duplicate any essay entered in the contest, along with the author’s name, without payment to the author.
  • The decision of the contest is final and no appeals will be recognized.
  • Failure to adhere to the rules will result in disqualification at the discretion of the sponsors.

Essays will be evaluated based on the following criteria: material organization, vocabulary and style, neatness, and grammar, punctuation and spelling.

All entries must be submitted via email to in Word or PDF format. The essay must be received by February 28, 2019.

For additional guidelines and rules, follow Indiana’s Family of Farmers on Facebook.

Legislative update: Hemp 


We’re almost one month in to the 2019 legislative session. Now, until the end of April, hundreds of bills will be vetted, debated and voted on, either to meet their end or to be sent to the governor for his signature.

During this time, the ISDA policy team is working hard to advocate on behalf of agriculture, making sure that the bills being discussed are based in science and do not impede growth in the industry. While the team is tracking many pieces of legislation this year, one in particular is drawing a great deal of attention: industrial hemp.

As background, the 2018 Farm Bill separated the definitions of hemp from marijuana and authorized states to submit their plans for a regulatory program to USDA for approval. There have been multiple bills filed addressing industrial hemp, which attempt to bring Indiana’s hemp law into compliance with the new 2018 Farm Bill requirements.

Indiana statehouse

House Bill 1385, authored by State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), would authorize ISDA to establish an agricultural state plan to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of hemp and hemp products. This bill would keep the Office of the Indiana State Chemist’s (OISC) current hemp research program intact and separate from ISDA’s regulatory program. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development but has yet to receive a hearing.

Senate Bill 516, authored by State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport), establishes the Indiana Hemp Advisory Committee.  The committee would advise OISC on plans, policies, rules, fees and procedures and would advise ISDA concerning market and promotion of hemp and hemp products. The bill would have ISDA as the chair and a non-voting member of the hemp advisory committee. This bill was heard in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology and was passed as amended by a vote of 8-3.

The ISDA policy team is monitoring both of these bills, and many others, and will continue to work with state partners and industry groups to develop the best program for Indiana.

For more information on industrial hemp, please visit the Office of the Indiana State Chemist’s website and be sure to check out the FAQs


February 1 - 7
North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association Conference Noblesville, IN 

February 2
Purdue Fish Fry
Indiana State Fairgrounds
February 4 - 6
Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen's Association Conference
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
February 6 - 7
Indiana Dairy Forum 
French Lick, IN

February 12 - 14
Indiana Hort Congress 
Indianapolis Marriott East

February 14
Indiana Land Resources Council Meeting
Indianapolis, IN 

February 14
Indiana State Fair Board Meeting
Indiana State Fairgrounds

February 25 - 27
NASDA Winter Policy Conference
Washington, D.C.

February 28 - March 3
Small Farm Conference
Hendricks Co. Fairgrounds



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