Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock used his annual address to remind members how much can be accomplished when they are engaged with their elected officials, highlighting this year’s IFB convention theme: “Engage.”
Villwock mentioned three specific examples of engagement before several hundred farmers at the convention’s general session on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis: repealing Indiana’s inheritance tax, overturning an Indiana Supreme Court decision that would have allowed cities and towns broad jurisdiction over water rights, and delaying implementation of a new soil productivity factor that was to be used in calculating property taxes.
The proposed soil productivity factor was announced by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance in February with the expectation that assessors would employ it for the March 1 reassessment of farmland. The previous soil productivity adjustments had been in place since 1979, and the introduction of the new factors, which would have significantly increased the assessed value of farmland and the taxes farmers would pay, came as a complete surprise to assessors, to legislators and to Farm Bureau.
Villwock said there is still much to do, and Farm Bureau and Hoosier farmers must stay engaged every day. With an ever-growing population soon to reach nine billion, he said it will take every farmer being engaged to feed the population.