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Indiana farm agencies to coordinate
Indiana Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — State coordination of agricultural regulation took a step forward last week with the first meeting of the Indiana Agriculture Regulatory Council. The group is made up of state agencies with regulatory responsibilities related to Indiana food and agriculture.

“In order to grow Indiana agriculture, our administration needs to be aware of all of the issues that confront this important sector of our economy,” said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who also serves as Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“By opening the lines of communication between state agencies, we are aware of what each other is doing in the regulation of agriculture. We are also able to brainstorm on ways that we can work together thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency in our dealings with Indiana’s agriculture stakeholders.”

John Baugh, director of ag services/regulations at Purdue University College of Agriculture and a member of the council, said the meeting was a good opportunity to explain to the administration the role, responsibility and authority of each agency.

“I think we all left feeling this was an opportunity for us to communicate openly and look for efficient ways of working together and serving agriculture better,” Baugh said.

Cooperation already exists between agencies in several ways, he said. The Department of Natural Resources and State Board of Animal Health work together in monitoring and testing chronic wasting disease. The state chemist’s office and Indiana Department of Environmental Management cooperate in inspection of fertilizer facilities.

But there are other areas where further discussion is necessary to coordinate efforts, especially in the area of emergency response.

“If there was a disease outbreak, say of foot and mouth disease, we would have to dispose of carcasses and a lot of agencies would have to work together,” Baugh said. “The same goes for bioterrorism. We would need a lot of discussion on how we would work together and there are several areas that need more planning and communication.”

Members of the Indiana Agriculture Regulatory Council are Lt. Gov. Skillman; Andy Miller, director, Indiana State Department of Agriculture; Kyle Hupfer, director, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Thomas Easterly, commissioner, Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Judith Monroe, state health commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health; Bret Marsh, state veterinarian, Indiana State Board of Animal Health; Rodney Noel, office of the Indiana State Chemist; David Steen, executive administrator, Indiana State Egg Board; Myron Bozell, manager, Creamery License Division; Leon Thacker, director, Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory; and John Baugh, director of ag services, Purdue University agriculture.

The Indiana Agriculture Regulatory Council is not a regulatory body and has no decision-making authority. The group will meet quarterly as a way to keep the lines of communication open as the state works to grow Indiana agriculture.

This Indiana ag news was published in the November 2, 2005 issue of Farm World.