Focusing on Farmers
Agriculture is such a large aspect of Indiana’s communities, history and economy, so each year the General Assembly addresses issues that are brought forth by farmers and those in the industry from across the state. This year, I was proud to support various efforts dealing with agriculture ranging from the release of animal veterinary records to agricultural seed testing.
The release of animal veterinary records is a public health and safety measure, and this piece of legislation states that in certain circumstances, like when it is ordered by the court, an animal’s veterinary medical records must be released in five business days. This issue was brought to the Indiana General Assembly by an individual whose dog was attacked by a neighbor’s dog and the neighbor was uncooperative in providing their dog’s medical records to assure that no disease was transmitted. This measure simply streamlines the process of gaining access to animal records while providing a deadline that veterinarians must follow.
Another issue that the General Assembly addressed is the state’s requirement to conduct a germination test on all agricultural or vegetable seeds that determines what percentage of germination exists. Previously, this test had to be conducted within nine months of selling the seeds, but the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill that will extend that deadline to 12 months. Having to conduct the germination test within nine months could be burdensome for groups selling agriculture or veterinary seeds and can shorten the overall shelf life of the seeds. Extending this deadline by three months will help reduce the burden on the sellers, align Indiana with most states and increase efficiency in the seed testing process. This measure was supported by the Indiana Seed Trade Association and it will accommodate producers without sacrificing safety.
I also supported legislation that reaffirms Indiana’s commitment to agriculture by declaring the state’s policy on agriculture and farmers’ rights and explaining that Indiana will continue to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agriculture. This law allows Indiana Code to be interpreted by the courts as protecting farmers, allowing them to choose among generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of future technologies.
I was proud to back this legislation and other measures that support the agriculture community this past session, and I look forward to continuing those efforts. For more information on these bills, and others, please visit https://iga.in.gov/.