IN Family Farmers Join New Agriculture Council with HSUS

May 2, 2014
By

James Benham joined the new Indiana Agricultural Council with HSUS. Photo Courtesy of James Benham.

James Benham joined the new Indiana Agricultural Council with HSUS. Photo Courtesy of James Benham.

Indiana is the seventh state to join forces with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to form an agricultural council, designed to bring local farmers together with the Society to provide guidance and help foster better practices.

James Benham, president of the Indiana Farmers Union, has been a farmer in Versailles for the past 40 years.

He joined the newly formed council because he says rural family farmers have very little representation at the state level – and a lot of people who are making the rules don’t have agricultural experience.

He says education is key to bridging the gaps.

“Trying to convey what goes on on a farm and actually what goes on in an urban setting to both sides,” he adds. “And you know, without that communication nothing ever gets done and at the end of the day, nobody wins.

“So my job, I think, is to basically just be a voice for both sides.”

According to the society, its mission with the state agricultural councils is to receive assistance from local farmers and provide a place where family farmers can gain assistance with marketing opportunities – so the society can highlight farmers who are good stewards for the animals as well as the environment.

Other states include Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska and Missouri.

Benham says there have been many changes in farming over the last few decades.

With a push for cheap food, many family farmers are being priced out of business with large commercial operations taking their place.

He says the general public has a very different perception of what is really going on with food in this country.

He cites many commercials for big companies that show small family farmers.

“Then when reality hits and they go down the interstate and you see a feed lot that’s three miles long,” he says. “What the heck’s happened to us?

“So, those kind of things need to be discussed and talked about and why we’ve gotten where we’ve gotten.”

The environmental impacts from feedlots have been well documented and vary from state to state.

Joe Maxwell, a hog farmer and vice president of outreach for the Humane Society of the United States, says between 1997 and 2002, Indiana lost almost 10 percent of its family farmers and since 1978, the U.S. lost 1 million family farmers.

He says his group hopes to expand the state councils to include ranchers and farmers in about 20 to 25 states.

Indiana News Service

Listen Live

Upcoming Events

Nov
16
Sun
12:00 pm American Red Cross Blood Donatio... @ Southeastern Indiana
American Red Cross Blood Donatio... @ Southeastern Indiana
Nov 16 @ 12:00 pm – Nov 30 @ 3:00 pm
Efforts to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients during the holiday season are underway. Patients don’t get a holiday from needing donated blood! How to donate blood Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.   Places to donate: redcross
Nov
17
Mon
9:00 am Deck Your House @ Memorial Building
Deck Your House @ Memorial Building
Nov 17 @ 9:00 am – Dec 2 @ 12:00 pm
Deck Your House  @ Memorial Building  | Batesville | Indiana | United States
Deck Your House Holiday House Decorating Contest How to enter: submit a photo of your home, 5 canned goods, name, address and phone number at the Memorial Building by noon on December 2nd. Criteria: residential homes only within city limits and must be visible from the street. Contestants will be announced at the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration, December 4th at 6 p.m. Vote: December 4-11 at 3 p.m. Vote at: Memorial Building- 132 S. Main St. Memorial Public Library- 131 N. Walnut St. Southeastern Indiana YMCA- State Road 129 1 canned good= 1 vote (supports Batesville Food Pantry) Winners Announced: Winners will be notified in person December 17th starting at 6 p.m. Ryan Stauffer will announce winners at 6:30 p.m. on WRBI. Prizes, Sponsors and more information on the flyer:     
Nov
18
Tue
9:00 am Achieving Net-Zero Energy Goal @ Jennings County Public Library
Achieving Net-Zero Energy Goal @ Jennings County Public Library
Nov 18 @ 9:00 am – Dec 31 @ 9:00 pm
JENNINGS COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY Achieving Net-Zero energy goal Jennings County Public Library is located on North State Road 3 in North Vernon, IN.  The library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.  Closed Sunday. To follow the library’s progress and monitoring of the solar panels, visit our website:  www.jenningslib.org The Jennings County Public Library is proud to announce it will soon become the largest net-zero energy use public library in Indiana. It is anticipated that the facility will produce energy greater than or equal than that it consumes. The library’s 33,000 square foot facility has made energy improvements in lighting, HVAC, Insulation and rooftop Solar and Solar Tracking Solutions that are helping contribute to the net-zero energy goals. “This project combines an effort to both innovate and think critically about the impact that science can have on the world.  Our net-zero goal is a way to reduce our global footprint and improve our community,” said Steve Massey, President of the Jennings County Public Library Board.  “Net-zero is a process – and an opportunity for the public to learn with us.” Solar Power[...]

View Calendar