Vandenberg County farmer Randy Kron was elected on the first ballot as President of Indiana Farm Bureau. Kron said one of his first actions will be to revitalize county Farm Bureau organizations, “Our foundation is our county Farm Bureaus so, if we do not have strong county organizations, we will not have the support at the Statehouse we need.” He added that, beginning in 2016, IFB will develop a strategic plan and will be seeking input from county Farm Bureaus on what resources they need.
Jasper County farmer Kendell Culp was elected First Vice President on the 4th ballot. Culp ran on a platform of reshaping Farm Bureau membership, “We have to look at membership rather differently.” He said other organizations like national FFA and ASA are changing the way they do membership, “I think it is time for Farm Bureau to sit down and look at other ways we can recruit and encourage others to be part of the organization.”
Several of the candidates for President, like Joe Kelsey and Donny Lawson, were younger farmers who called for changes in the way the organization works. Kron said he will be reaching out to younger farmers and finding ways to get them more engaged in Farm Bureau, “We are going to have to find new ways to get them engaged because maybe the traditional Farm Bureau way is not working. So I want to reach out to them and see what we can do to help keep them engaged.”
Several of the candidates stressed the need for Farm Bureau to be more diverse and inclusive, with more involvement by the livestock sector and smaller and organic farmers. Culp, who also serves on the Soybean Alliance board, said he will work to try and bring unity between Farm Bureau and the state commodity groups, “Indiana agriculture needs to speak with one voice.” He stressed to HAT that there needs to be more coordination and consistency on policy issues among all sectors of agriculture.
Both men will assume their duties on January 1. Outgoing President Don Villwock had high praise for the new President, “He has the experience and a deep passion for serving agriculture and Farm Bureau members.” Kron has been served as the IFB vice President for the past 14 years. Kron farms with his wife and son near Evansville, raising primarily corn, soybeans, and wheat. A 1983 graduate of Purdue University, he holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He has held numerous leadership positions, including as INFB’s representative on the U.S. Grains Council and on the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. He is also past president of the county extension board, and he serves as his township’s trustee/assessor.
Culp farms with his wife, parents, son, and daughter near Rensselaer, raising grain and hogs. He served as District 3 director on the Indiana Farm Bureau board for 12 years (the maximum number of years a district director can serve). He currently serves as a director for Farm Credit Mid-America, Jasper County commissioner, and as a member of the board of directors for the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Isabella Chism will remain 2nd VP of Indiana Farm Bureau.
FILLMORE, Ind. — Hog farmer Mark Legan and his family understand that to remain a successful farming operation, there is need for steady growth and improvement.
That is just what Legan and his wife, Phyllis, and their daughter and son-in-law, Beth and Nick Tharp, have been doing.
“As a farm, we continue to grow so we can compete and stay in business,” Legan said. “We try to be as efficient as possible and want others to know that what we’re doing is environmentally safe.”
The family operates a livestock and grain farm in Putnam County.
They farm 1,000 acres and raise 3,000 sows and have continued to expand over the years. A large portion of their time is spent taking care of the mother sows and their baby pigs. About 1,500 pigs are weaned each week and then moved to finishers.
A majority of the pigs are finished in partnership with two families in Shelby and Boone counties. Partnerships such as this have helped the family grow.
Getting A Start
Neither Legan nor his wife came from production agriculture. In fact, when Legan graduated college, he served as an Extension agent for seven years, until he got the opportunity to start a farming venture with a family in Putnam County.
In 1989, they joined the 180-sow farrow-to-finish operation. In 1994, the family purchased the farm and added another 250 sows.
The farm has since continued to grow. In 1997, they were up to 600 sows and began the process of modernizing and brought the sows inside to take better care of them.
“We saw a two-sow per litter increase by doing that,” Legan said. “We’ve had to reinvent ourselves every four to five years to stay competitive.”
They continued to grow with 1,600 sows in 2006 and then 2,400 sows in 2010, when their daughter and her husband joined the farm after graduating from Purdue.
“They helped us quadruple our management capacity and explore the partnerships with the families who have finishing facilities,” Legan said. “It has allows us to do what we do best.”
Today, there are 3,000 sows and 14 employees, including the family, helping out on the farm.
It’s easy to see why relationships and continuous growth are two of the family’s core values.
“Basically, everything we’ve been able to accomplish over the years has been because of the opportunities and relationships we’ve had with other people,” Legan said.
Putting It Together
Each family member has a different role on the farm. Legan’s primary responsibility is crops, manure management and working with finishing partners.
Nick Tharp manages the sow herd and the employees who help with that on a day-to-day basis. Phyllis Legan is in charge of human resources.
“We’re only as good as the people who help us,” Phyllis said. “Relationships are huge to us not only in our farming partnerships, but also here at the farm and in the barn.”
Beth Tharp focuses on the finances of entities including the grain and sows, the two partnerships and another entity on the farm. She also works on sales and marketing.
Although they all have separate roles, they also work together. The family is proud to be doing what they’re doing and do what they can to include the community.
Beth Tharp recently posted a 21-day series on the farm’s Facebook page of the life of a baby pig. The family prints a semiannual newsletter so that neighbors can see what they’re doing on the farm.
“We work hard at being good neighbors, and we carry on dialogue year round with them,” Legan said. “If they have questions or want to have a better understanding of how we do things, we want them to let us know.”
Above And Beyond
This is all part of what the family is doing to show consumers that they care about the well being of the animal, food safety and more.
Consumer perception can be challenging, which is why another core value is integrity or doing what’s right when no one is looking, Beth Tharp said.
“We feel like we have a moral obligation to take the best care of our animals,” she said. “Yes, we have to be able to sell our product, but we care about our animals and we want consumers to understand where we’re coming from.”
Phyllis Legan agreed and said she wishes that consumers would have an open mind about pig farming.
“I wish consumers would listen and not just at the wow-factor headlines that scare them into believing something without being educated,” she said.” We do all of these things in an effort to show we’re doing everything we can.”
Caring For Animals, Land
The family members are passionate about pigs, but they also are passionate about stewardship, which is their fourth core value.
“In addition to taking care of animals and making sure their needs are met, we have to take care of the land we’ve been entrusted with,” Legan said.
The family improves the health of the soil by using manure as a natural fertilizer and using conservation practices such as no-till. They have also been using cover crops for the past six years. The practices cut down on erosion, improve soil biology and help reduce the amount of fuel needed to produce grain crops.
For more information, visit www.leganlivestock.com or search for Legan Livestock and Grain on Facebook.
Amie Sites can be reached at 317-726-5391, ext. 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Sites.
On Monday, October 26, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, announced the results of an ongoing discussion about red meat’s role in a healthy diet. IARC’s conclusion? Red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
In its report, IARC states that a 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. For reference, 50 grams is about 1.75 ounces.
Although IARC considered more than 800 studies to make this conclusion, I believe the committee purposely chose to ignore the large body of research submitted by the beef checkoff and independent scientists. This action is irresponsible at best and malicious at its worst as red meat is a nutrient-rich food that has been eaten and enjoyed for generations — from native tribes eating red meat on the frozen tundra, to pioneers who salted it and kept it year 'round as a source of food on the prairie, to modern-day families who want to confidently feed their children pot roast on a busy school night and not feel guilty about it.
To shed some light on IARC’s reach and influence, the organization has completed reviews of the cancer risk of 984 other substances over the past 50 years, and of those items, approximately 48% were reported to have cancer risk. The highest-risk items include air, sunlight, hair coloring and alcohol.
Cancer devastates families around the world, and as folks become increasingly desperate to find the cause and a cure, it’s easy to pinpoint culprits that may be the cause. However, a whole, natural food like beef that is an abundant source of nutrients like zinc, iron, protein, B vitamins, and more, in my humble opinion, hardly seems like the right culprit to point a finger at.
Without question, this announcement from IARC puts into question consumers’ confidence in beef. While we don’t yet know the market ramifications of this announcement, it’s obvious that the beef industry has some damage control to do.
Here are three resources that address the red meat and cancer risk. Please share this information on social media to help reassure folks that red meat can be a part of a healthy, nourishing diet.
1. The Mediterranean diet is recognized for its reduction in chronic disease, including cancer.
According to beef checkoff research, “The average intake of fresh red meat in the U.S. is 44.2 g per day (WWEIA, 2011-2012). The average intake of processed (cured) meat is 27.8 g per day. Usual U.S. adult consumption of red and processed meat is within, and often lower, than that reported in observational studies of the Mediterranean-style dietary pattern, which is recognized for its reduction in chronic disease risk.”
2. Cancer epidemiologist Dominik Alexander, PhD, points out weak link between red meat and cancer.
Alexander’s independent research finds that, “Most summary associations between red meat and processed meat and cancer are weak in magnitude and not statistically significant. Many associations for red/processed meat and cancer from individual studies are null or inverse. The majority of associations from individual studies are not statistically significant. It’s nearly impossible to disentangle the independent effects of red meat from the complex human diet and lifestyle.”
3. Reference pages of studies from the beef checkoff.
Dozens of research has been gathered into one place that examines red meat intake and any correlations to cancer. Check out these 16 pages of research to answer all of your questions about red meat and cancer.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
The Putnam County Farm Bureau Inc. board while most of them have been sitting on a tractor or combine have been looking to the future. The most pressing of which are the Elections coming up for our District 5 Director at our District meeting in November at the Beef House. Incumbent David Wyeth will be seeking re-election against former director Rita Sharma. We follow that with the Indiana State FB Convention at the Indianapolis Convention Center where we will be electing the next State President from the current list of candidates, David Wyeth, Donnie Lawson, Joe Kelsey, and Randy Kron, and depending on how that goes possibly some of the offices under that. After that some of us will venture to Orlando, Fl. for the National Convention in January where a new National AFBF President will be elected. Current Indiana FB President will be running for that seat. Our legislative update sessions will once again be held on the 3rd Saturdays of Jan., Feb., and March. We are also beginning to prepare for next year's Annual meeting and Ag Day which will be happening in March. This December we will also be setting up a luncheon for our area Superintendents to meet with our Legislators. We are always open for ideas for new programs and would entertain any new ideas to assist the farmers in Putnam County.
Combines are running through bean and corn fields quickly and efficiently as I write. To know how the yields are doing we need to communicate with each other to determine if its just me or is everyone having a good year or bad year or just running somewhat normal. I encourage farmers who may read this to report how things are going. I should rephrase that, I encourage the farm wives between running the grain cart and fixing the meals to spend a couple of minutes to let the world know how things are going in your corner. I have had one report from a Dairy farmer near Crawfordsville and his silage is running less than half of what he normally gets. I do believe that communicating the trials and tribulations of a farmers daily work would go a long way in promoting a better relationship with those who have no idea of the daily stress of being a farmer. Praying for a good harvest or at least the pricing of your product to keep our farmers finances stable in order to continue providing the worlds food.
For the past 3 weeks I have been at the Indiana State Fair celebrating the Year of the Farmer. So imagine my surprise upon returning to the office and finding out that, while I was out, the forces of evil (in my opinion) were busy trying to put the farmer out of business. Not only were they putting the farmers out of business, but also trying to take away one of the basic staples of the American diet. Yes, the Humane Society of the United States has launched a campaign to eliminate bacon and eggs.
According to Humane Watch, a group that keeps an eye on the actions of HSUS, a ballot measure was proposed that would ban most pork and eggs from being sold in Massachusetts by 2022. The proposed law would ban the sale of all pork and egg products that come from farms using common animal housing systems. They say the measure is to protect public health and animal welfare. Their approach is a bit different than what they successfully implemented in Florida and California. Rather than pushing the animal welfare angle, they are using the food safety approach. The measure needs 90,000 signatures to qualify; but, given HSUS’s ability to drum up phony press and drop money on signature-gatherers, expect it to make the 2016 ballot.
Massachusetts’ voters have a history of not being very discerning, after all they kept re-electing Ted Kennedy time after time. But are they willing to give up their bacon and eggs? The food safety claim by HSUS cannot be supported by research, but when has that ever stopped HSUS? Research studies show that their cage-free approach is actually bad for the health of the animals and for the quality of the food. For instance, cage-free systems result in more manure on eggs as the birds are in an open floor system, while cages are designed so that the manure falls out of the cage and onto a belt, where it is swept away. Which system sounds better for food safety? The Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply published multi-year research this year that exposes HSUS’s false food safety claims.
Massachusetts’ voters don’t have to look any further than California where the HSUS ballot proposition was implemented in January. The cost of producing eggs soared, and California eggs rose to a price 66 percent higher than other Western states. The Massachusetts measure is even more invasive, and it shows that HSUS is willing to spend millions to make sure that affordable animal protein is taken away from consumers.
According to Humane Watch, “The proposed measure surely violates our Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause. If the measure passes, Massachusetts will be telling every other state that sells chicken, veal, or pork to the Bay State how to house their animals.”
If you ever needed an example of how dangerous this organization is to American agriculture, here it is. If you ever needed a reason to stand up and support the many groups that are working to expose HSUS for what it really it, this is it. So, fix yourself a big plate of bacon and eggs, then get serious and join the fight.