Issues | Agriculture

Indiana truly is part of the heartland. Our farmers are responsible for not only putting food on the tables of Hoosier families across the state, but work together to help feed the world.  For most of my life I have had the pleasure of working alongside fellow members of the agriculture community. Together with my father, two brothers, and brother-in-law, we farm 4000 acres in northern Indiana growing soybeans, green beans, and seed corn.  

Understanding the importance of agriculture for our state and region, it became my first priority upon arriving in Congress to secure a place on the House Committee on Agriculture. This committee is tasked with crafting food and farm policy for the country and I look forward to working with Hoosier farmers and agriculture community members from across the country to help develop budget-conscious and farm-friendly agriculture reforms.

In fact, in a significant move toward the goal of farm and food policy reform, I introduced H.R. 3111, the Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger (REFRESH) Act in coordination with Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. This legislation was the product of input gathered while touring Hoosier farms and the counties in Indiana’s Third District. This Act not only delivers a CBO estimated $40 billion savings over the next ten years, it creates real reforms that serve farmers more fairly and will improve accuracy and efficiency in federal nutrition programs while protecting America’s hungry.

Farming has changed substantially in the last 25 years and it is time that Washington change as well. The REFRESH Act reforms and eliminates outdated farm subsidies by providing genuine safety nets for all producers. It reduces the overall size of government and encourages the increased presence of the free market by: supporting the growth of the effective private-public partnership in the crop insurance program, reforming burdensome regulation in the dairy industry, and eliminating the government-created, artificial market for domestic sugar.

At the end of the day, I believe that the challenges facing American agriculture are not going to be solved by government bureaucrats, but by farmers and ranchers themselves. It is for this reason that I introduced H.R. 1104, Representation for Farmers Act.  This bill would allow for agriculture representation on the Environmental Protection Agency’s influential Science Advisory Board.  It is important that the agriculture community’s voice be heard as this agency continues to promulgate regulations that have a direct affect on farmers and ranchers.

As the debate over agriculture policy moves forward in Congress, I welcome your input and your ideas. I look forward to doing what we do on the farm every day, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.