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Indiana Farm Bureau's Annual Convention Highlights 2020 Challenges, Future Efforts

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Courtesy of Indiana Farm Bureau
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For the first time, the Indiana Farm Bureau held its annual convention online due to the pandemic. The virtual event faced some internet challenges – further highlighting the need to expand and improve rural broadband.

While there have been federal, state and local initiatives to address the digital divide, thousands of Hoosiers still don’t have access to internet that’s reliable and affordable.

A study conducted by Purdue University researchers showed that for every $1 invested into rural broadband, $4 would be returned to the economy.

When trying to get Isabella Chism, INFB second vice president, to join virtually for a few comments after winning reelection, President Randy Kron said there was a little broadband technical issue and thanked everyone for their patience.

In his address to attendees, Kron said the pandemic has called attention to the digital divide between rural and urban areas, and the need for everyone to have reliable internet.

“So for the 2021 legislative session, we will focus on expanding broadband to the unserved and underserved in order to support education, remote work, telehealth and agriculture technology,” said Kron.

He said while the 2021 legislative session will be different, he still believes the organization can be successful advocating to lawmakers.

Efforts to tackle sustainability and prepare and protect agriculture in the coming years was also addressed by the INFB convention.

More Indiana farmers are working to find a balance between meeting consumer demand and being good stewards to the environment.

During the event, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said regardless of who won the presidential election, climate and policies around planning were going to be discussed in the coming years.

He said that’s why the Farmers for a Sustainable Future campaign launched this year.

“And the main role of it is to talk about what we as farmers have been doing for decades,” said Duvall. “We want to make sure that those practices that we've been doing for decades, we get recognized and get credit for doing those things.”

Duvall emphasized the importance of continuing to work with each state’s chapters to find the best solutions for farmers today and going forward.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.