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

Apr
29
Fri
4:00 pm Solid Rock Swap & More @ Sold Rock Bible Fellowship
Solid Rock Swap & More @ Sold Rock Bible Fellowship
Apr 29 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Solid Rock Swap & More April 29 4p-8p April 30 8a-6p New & Used Items Inside & Out Vendors, Live Music, & Food Inside Fun Dog Show (Registration on Saturday 8:30-9:30, show starts at 10:00) Kids Fun Arta Parking – $1.00 per car or 1 non perishable food itemShare this:TweetEmailPrint
Apr
30
Sat
all-day Healthy Kids Day @ Southeastern Indiana YMCA
Healthy Kids Day @ Southeastern Indiana YMCA
Apr 30 all-day
Health Kids Day is all about building on the “WOW” factor inside every kid…whoever they are and wherever they’re from. So come to Health Kids Day for a day of creative, challenging, smart, and healthy fun and watch the “WOW” in your kid come out. FREE to the community. Health Avtivites Include Way to Grow – gardening station Budding Bookworms – art lesson in drawing for children’s books Ready! Set! Go! – obstacle course Pickleball lessons Health food taste tests Southeastern Indiana YMCA Please RSVP to 812-934-6006Share this:TweetEmailPrint
7:00 am Community Yard Sale & Flea Market @ St. Peter's Community Building
Community Yard Sale & Flea Market @ St. Peter's Community Building
Apr 30 @ 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
Community Yard Sale & Flea Market at St. Peter’s Community Building 1207 East Road, Brookville, IN 47012, on Saturday, April 30 from 7:00 AM until noon. Various vendors with lots of great items! Additional spots are available for anyone who would like to set up. Tables are provided and cost is $10.00. Call Angie 812-525-6033 to reserve your space today. Proceeds from booth rental support St. Peter Church’s team for Relay for Life.Share this:TweetEmailPrint

View Calendar