Carbon credit markets and sustainability lead topics at annual Ag Policy Summit
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Contact: Dave Blower Jr. at 317-644-0980; email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 29, 2021) — Burgeoning carbon credit markets, research on new trends in agriculture, and the three-legged stool of economic, social and environmental sustainability were the key topics at the Ag Policy Summit on July 27 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville, Ind. The Summit is an annual policy-focused program presented by the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Indiana Soybean Alliance’s Membership and Policy Committee (M&P). The Summit’s theme was “Sustainability and New Trends in Agriculture.”
“The theme of this year’s Ag Policy Summit is ‘sustainability;’ a word that you hear often these days in agriculture,” said M&P Chair Mike Koehne, a farmer from Greensburg, Ind. “Generally when we talk about sustainability, we’re thinking of climate-smart practices and legislation like the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which was sponsored by Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow and passed the Senate last month. That bill will create a technical certification so that farmers who want to voluntarily get into carbon markets can find trustworthy resources to help them. I want to offer my thanks to Sen. Braun and to the members of the House who have already signed onto the House version of the bill for recognizing the contributions that farmers make to global climate health. Farmers are the original stewards of the land and deserve to be compensated for their contributions.”
Corteva Agriscience, which was the premier sponsor for the Summit, kicked off the program with a discussion about carbon credit programs. Ben Gordon, the Carbon and Ecosystem Services Global Portfolio Leader with Corteva, advised farmers to fully investigate the many carbon credit programs that are available before making a final decision. Gordon said farmers need to make sure that any carbon credit program must fit a producer’s farm before it is adopted.
“Conservation and sustainability have a longstanding history with agriculture, but the development of voluntary carbon credit programs is a new frontier,” said ICGA President Mike Beard, a farmer from Frankfort, Ind. “ICGA and ISA are participating in the carbon working group that you heard from in the panel discussion this morning, and we are starting to realize how many carbon credit programs are already being offered and how many more are developing. This is why we are dedicating time and resources to figure out how farmers can safely participate. We are also advocating for carbon credit program providers to establish look back protocols and reward those farmers who have been using sustainable practices for many years. If we’re going to move forward with this market model, then we need to find a way to reward all types of participants.”
The Summit continued with Aimpoint Research, a global intelligence firm, presenting the results of a farm trends study conducted in 2019 and 2020. The study was funded by ISA and the state soybean checkoffs from Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri. Jennifer Coleman, Aimpoint Research Director of Communications, said the trend showed demand for soybeans exceeding corn in the next 20 years.
To wrap up the day’s events, Dr. Jayson Lusk provided an update on Purdue University research in the sustainability sector and what it means to farmers. Dr. Lusk is an economist, Distinguished Professor and Department Head in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue. He authors books and articles related to contemporary food policy issues.
ICGA and M&P presented its Friend of Farmer Award to State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg, Ind.). Sen. Leising was honored, in part, for her efforts in helping farm-friendly bills through the Indiana Senate during her time in office.
Also, American Soybean Association (ASA) board member Joe Steinkamp, a farmer from Evansville, Ind., presented the 2021-22 Soy Scholarship award, sponsored by BASF and ASA, to Sydney Hefty of Auburn, Ind. The scholarship is a $5,000 award presented to a high school senior who excels in both academics and in leadership roles and plans to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field at an accredited college or university. Hefty was sponsored for the scholarship by her grandparents, ASA members John and Nancy Demerly. Hefty will pursue a degree from Purdue University starting this fall.
Ultimately, though, the Summit is for the state’s corn and soybean policy organizations to talk about the policies that will affect Indiana farmers.
“Sustainability policy is not our only advocacy initiative. ICGA and M&P are constantly advocating for reliable trade relationships, infrastructure investment, fair regulatory treatment for biofuels, and other important aspects of ag policy,” Beard said. “Mike Koehne and I were able to take a short, but packed trip to Washington, D.C. in late June for lunch with U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and meetings with other members of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was a productive trip, but we as your association leaders, cannot do this alone. Advocacy is not a spectator sport. If you are not currently a member, I ask you to see our policy staff and join both the Indiana Corn Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Alliance, so that your voice and story can be heard.”
Along with premier sponsors Corteva Agriscience, other event sponsors include: The United Soybean Board, First Farmers Bank and Trust, CountryMark, K-Coe Isom, Farm Credit Mid-America, Agribusiness Council of Indiana, the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC).
About Indiana Soybean Alliance Membership and Policy Committee: The ISA Membership and Policy Committee works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the advocacy and promotion of state and federal policies. ISA Membership and Policy Committee is led by members of the Indiana Soybean Alliance farmer board who are charged with directing advocacy efforts on behalf of more than 600 dues-paying members. Learn more at www.indianasoybean.com
About Indiana Corn Growers Association: The Indiana Corn Growers Association works with state and federal governments to develop and promote sound policies that benefit Indiana corn farmers. The ICGA consists of nine farmer-directors who provide leadership to the organization on behalf of more than 800 members statewide. Learn more at www.incorn.org/icga
This communication was NOT funded with Indiana corn or soybean checkoff dollars.