RURAL AMERICA: Small farms losing face in government
COLUMBIA CITY — Indiana has 47,000 farms that are 220 acres or less. More than 75 percent of the state’s farms fall into the “small farm” category, according to a 2007 Census of Agriculture. With such a high percentage of small farms in the state, agriculture legislation should be a hot topic among voters.However, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reportedly appeared at a forum where he said rural America is “becoming less and less relevant.” He encouraged voters with a stake in agriculture to speak up so rural America can still have a voice.“We need a proactive message, not a reactive message,” Vilsack said. “How are you going to encourage young people to want to be involved in rural America or farming if you don’t have a proactive message? Because you are competing against the world now.”Indiana State Sen. Jim Banks said he understands the needs of rural areas. “I work with a mind set that I am representing rural areas,” Banks said. “It’s different than representing metropolitan areas. We have to be mindful of small towns and rural areas in Indiana. We can’t afford to discount these smaller areas.”For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Jan. 2 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.