Rushville Republican

Columns

February 22, 2013

FFA: The true future of Indiana

RUSHVILLE — In honor of National FFA Week, I would like to highlight the thousands of young agriculture enthusiasts who are the future of the agriculture industry in our country. Sometimes we forget that young people are the upcoming leaders of our great state, and when they are involved in great character-building organizations like the National FFA Organization, it gives us hope of a brighter tomorrow.

Indiana FFA chapters are making a positive impact on hundreds of communities here in Indiana. They raise more than $600,000 annually to support student leadership activities, career development events and scholarships. As a state legislator I enjoy the opportunity to interact with the fine examples of future leaders through organizations like the National FFA Organization.

This year, the General Assembly hosted 100 FFA members in our page program. The opportunity to work closely with legislators allowed these students to get a first-hand look at the legislative process. FFA Page Day is an important educational opportunity for these students to see the process of a bill becoming a law.

Here in our community, the strong population of FFA members does our schools proud. Districts nine and 12 host a large group of dedicated students who are focused on improving our Hoosier agriculture industry.

Work put forth by the National FFA Organization on the 2012 Congressional “Farm Bill” is another reason to be proud of the hard work and ingenuity shown by these outstanding students. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture put forth a challenge to the National FFA Organization to contribute ideas for the groundwork of where agriculture policy is going. I believe that their hard work and creative thinking did add many good ideas that helped Congress shape the future of U.S. agriculture.

There are a few bills regarding agriculture currently going through Indiana’s legislature. Senate Bill (SB) 319, the first bill to pass from the Senate to the House, regulates the property tax rates for farmland, keeping them based on soil productivity factors from 2011, saving farmers $57 million in property taxes. Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) is the House sponsor of SB 319 and would enjoy hearing from any who wish to give input regarding this legislation.

Shortly before the beginning of session, Indianapolis was the host of the 2012 National FFA Organization Convention & Expo. I wasn’t able to be Indianapolis during this time, but I heard many other legislators and legislative staff say how impressed they were with the attitudes, manners and poise of the visiting FFA students.

I give my sincerest thanks to this great group of students and wish them all the best in the quest to contribute to Indiana’s further growth and improvement. The FFA motto “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” is a mantra that many others should take to heart. I appreciate your efforts and invite you to contact me with any questions, concerns of comments.

I can be reached by email at h55@in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9850.

(State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.)

 

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