Amongst the bills that didn't pass the legislature was one that seems ludicrous on the surface. But the legislator who brought it up and introduced it was very sincere. The bill would have put a three-year moratorium on building any new livestock confinement units within Indiana's borders.
Fortunately, there are sensible people who are friendly to animal agriculture and Indiana's overall economy still in the legislature. The bill didn't even get a hearing in committee. So the rest of the legislators didn't have to waste time even debating it.
The bill was actually geared toward preventing building of large animal units, known as CAFOS, or confined animal feeding operations. That flies in the face of one of the original goals of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, which was to double hog production between the time it was announced in 2005 and 2025.
While the leaders at ISDA realize they created some controversy with that proposal and have hit some snags, they still believe promoting animal agriculture and development in this state is important. Joe Kelsay, director of ISDA, himself is part of a family diary operation with over 500 head of milk cows. And although they don't openly talk about doubling pork production these days, they are still openly sympathetic to helping large animal operations succeed when they can.
What's important to note coming from this issue is that there are still those who don't like animal agriculture. There are those who would rather live without the inconveniences large confined animal operations can pose to neighbors, rather than accept their boost to both the state and local economies.
A bill which did pass is actually favorable for Hoosier animal producers, notes Bob Kraft, Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., legislative specialist. It grew out of a misunderstanding of the stockpiling of manure brought in from Ohio livestock operations into eastern Indiana for eventual spreading on fields. It turns out that the practice has been going on for years, and that the manure also goes to Ohio counties, not just into Indiana. The manure that comes into Indiana is either applied on land owned by Ohio producers, or sold to Indiana farmers for the fertilizer value of the manure.
"What the legislation does is require that if you handle significant amounts of manure, you must follow the same rules as someone who has an operation big enough to qualify as a confined animal feeding operation," Kraft explains.