CARMEL, Ind. — The Republican gubernatorial campaign announced today it will offer a plan to boost the agricultural sector in Indiana as Lieutenant Governor candidate Sue Ellspersmann is calling for increased trade, agricultural innovation and education opportunities.
The policy proposal is on behalf of the Mike Pence for Indiana campaign and comes shortly after Democrat John Gregg’s campaign said Pence “has not been a friend to Indiana farmers.”
Gregg for Governor released a statement today claiming Pence “flip-flopped on the 2008 farm bill, eventually voting against it five different times (Courier Press, 6/22/12). Despite voting against the bill, Pence claimed that it would create jobs and even tried to take credit for the bill, calling it, “My biggest accomplishment I never voted for” (Brownfield Network, 5/28/08) Pence also claimed that he was wrong to vote for the 2002 farm bill, saying that his hands were not clean (National Journal).”
The release, which also attacked Elspermann, claiming she spearheaded a bill that would allow government takeover of Hoosier farms, said recent years have not been any better as Congress has taken no action on the new farm bill.
“Indiana farmers know that Mike Pence is not on their side,” said Daniel Altman, Communications Director for Gregg for Governor. “On the occasions where he has showed up to vote in Congress, he has routinely voted against their interests. Even worse, he insults their intelligence by trying to claim credit for the bills he voted against. Hoosier farmers deserve better.
However, with the policy proposal, the Pence campaign hopes to pledge its allegiance to Indiana farmers.
Ellspermann said she and Pence would push to increase trade opportunities, make Indiana a leader in agricultural innovation, boost agriculture educational opportunities for our kids and take a careful look at taxes on the industry.
“Agriculture and agribusiness have always been a key part of Indiana’s economy,” said Ellspermann. “World population is projected to grow 30 percent by 2050, which will create tremendous demand. With the right leadership and ideas, Indiana can be in a position to meet that demand.”
International trade offers a significant opportunity for growth. Indiana is the eighth largest agricultural exporter in the United States and leads the Midwest with $16 billion in gross state product. More than 18,000 farm jobs and $620 million in income are directly tied to Indiana agricultural exports.
Under a Pence Administration, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) will continue to lead efforts to promote agricultural trade and open new markets, increasing Indiana’s already significant share of the international economic market in agriculture.
Ellspermann called for ISDA to make it a top priority to support BioCrossroads’ recently announced initiative to create a Food and Agricultural Innovation Corridor in Indiana. The effort would leverage the state’s already strong base in innovation and technology driven by Purdue University, ISDA, Dow AgroSciences, Elanco, and a large number of other agricultural companies.
“The creation of a Food and Agricultural Innovation Corridor can make Indiana a national leader in developing new agricultural technologies and products, and commercializing them,” said Ellspermann.
A key to growing the agricultural sector is educating the next generation of workers in the industry. Pence and Ellspermann would improve coordination between the agricultural community and educators to design curriculum and programs needed to boost the skills of our agricultural industry. First, they would ensure that agriculture is represented on the newly-created Indiana Works Councils as it seeks to develop a new, demand-driven career, technical and vocational curriculum for our high schools. Second, at least one member of the Education Roundtable should be a representative of the agricultural sector.
Finally, Pence and Ellspermann recommend that the state take a broader look at Indiana’s agricultural tax structure.
“To make Indiana the state that works for farmers, we need to give Indiana the most competitive agricultural tax structure in the Midwest,” said Ellspermann.
Ellspermann said she and Pence would benchmark Indiana’s agricultural tax structure against other states and work with key stakeholders and the General Assembly to enhance the state’s competitiveness.
The full policy proposal is available www.mikepence.com/issues.
Source: Pence for Indiana, Gregg for Governorv