More today from the Indiana Statehouse as the legislative session continues. Senate Ag Committee Chair Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) highlighted for Hoosier Ag Today some of the bills from the senate impacting agriculture. Senate Bill 129 would provide updates to fees charged by the state seed commissioner for seed testing.
“For smaller quantities of seeds, they are going to remove the fee completely, and for larger quantities they’re going to try to do it more at the competitive private market price because they realize that they were undercutting the private industries in the testing.”
Indiana’s corn and soybean policy organizations are in support of that bill.
Leising says the most controversial bills at the statehouse this year revolve around education, health, and utilities. The issue of renewable energy has also become quite controversial.
“Everybody thinks they want green energy, but then you start looking and there are two sides to the story. So, for instance, for solar fields currently I have been saying that the numbers being offered to farmers were between $800 and $1200 an acre. Last week, I had a farmer in my area tell me that his friend was offered $1800 an acre. So, then you go, ‘Wait a minute. How could a farmer afford to not take that?’”
And Leising’s concern is how many acres of production agriculture will be lost to solar. Senate Bill 176, a bill that she authored, would explore that.
“It’s going to require our Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to determine annually the number of acres of production agriculture ground that’s going to solar and the number of acres going to wind turbines because nobody’s really talking about that here. Everybody just talks about how important it is for Indiana to increase their percentage of renewables.”
She says we’ve got counties in Indiana that are losing 10,000-acre plots and 13,000-acre plots to solar. Leising told HAT that she’s not necessarily anti-solar, but, “Let’s be real. In Indiana the sun doesn’t always shine, and it never shines at night, and our industries work 24 hours a day, many of them, and so I think we have to take all that into consideration- the reliability and dependability of our energy sources.”
You can follow Leising’s legislation throughout the session here.