State lawmakers are looking at how inadequate crop insurance, property tax assessments and the summer drought are affecting Indiana farmers.
State Sen. Jean Leising (R)-Oldenburg says legislators are gathering information in an effort to determine how best to aid farmers. Leising heads up the Interim Study Committee on Agriculture which met with agriculture experts at the Statehouse on Wednesday. She says they hope to indentify possible supplemental insurance for farmers among other possibilities.
“We won‘t solve the drought issue, but I hope what we‘ll do is educate legislators. Obviously legislators who serve on this committee have an interest in agriculture or they wouldn‘t be on this committee,” Leising says.
Meantime, Purdue University Agricultural Economics Professor Dr. Larry DeBoer says farm land assessments are quickly rising due to rising corn and bean prices and falling interest rates. DeBoer says a proposed revision in the way soil productivity is measured will also increase assessed values.
“The drought will probably affect farm income here in 2012 once all the numbers are in,” he says. “That would eventually enter into the assessment formula, but it won‘t actually affect assessed values until 2016.”
He says higher assessed values mean higher property taxes as farmers continue to struggle with smaller yields and incomes due to the drought.