[R75] The BLT: Addressing farmers' energy concerns (2/10/2012)

Friday, February 10, 2012 7:00 pm

Start Date:  2/10/2012    
End Date:  2/10/2012    

In the wake of the Super Bowl, the people of Indiana have proven to an international audience why Indiana is a leader in the Midwest and across the country.  The event gave us a chance to show our favorable business climate, 21st century infrastructure, and the enduring work ethic that defines Hoosiers.  As a state, we set the ambitious goal to attract one of the largest sporting events in the world, and through great effort we exceeded all expectations.

At my town hall last week I met with Farm Bureau members and a group of southwest Indiana farmers.  A major issue farmers are encountering involves energy usage. 

For the two or three months when farmers store their harvest in grain bins, they consume more energy during that time than during the rest of the year. The energy companies are required to build the infrastructure and generate enough electrical output to meet this peak demand year round.  Therefore, farmers are being charged for peak energy use for the entire year, even when they only consume these energy levels for a few months a year.

Once the farmers that attended my town hall voiced these concerns, I began to look into what can be done to fix the problem.  This month, I’ll be coordinating a meeting where all the parties involved can come together to try and find a mutually beneficial solution.  The energy companies and Farm Bureau have both agreed to come to the table, and when we finalize a date and time for the meeting all the farmers affected will be encouraged to attend.  My hope is that we can find a way to have farmers pay only for the energy they consume month-to-month while still maintaining the infrastructure requirements of the energy companies.

This week my colleagues and I on the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Natural Resources Committee, and Public Health Committee will continue our work on hearing Senate bills.  If you would like to share your thoughts or concerns on any issues facing the General Assembly, I can be reached by phone at 317-232-9671 or by email at h75@in.gov.  Thank you for your participation in the democratic process.  I look forward to working on the problems associated with energy consumption by farmers and the many other issues Hoosiers are dealing with in southwestern Indiana.

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The BLT, Addressing farmers’ energy concerns, 2-10-12.docx