Indiana's agriculture helps feed the world. Yet, the federal government--and the EPA in particular--continues to overstep its boundaries with unfair regulations that are an abuse of power. Indiana ranks #1 in wood office furniture, #1 in kitchen cabinet manufacturing, and #1 in duck production. With $5.7B in agricultural exports last year, we clearly have a lot to offer the country and the world right here in Indiana. I intend to uplift our phenomenal agribusiness community by drastically cutting this unnecessary regulation. Let’s remove government from the equation and let Hoosiers do business.
Our agricultural community here in Indiana's 4th District is the backbone of our economy. Any legislation reviewed by our representative needs to have one eye on potential repercussions or benefits to our Hoosier farmers. This includes any potential international trade agreements. For example, NAFTA can and should be renegotiated. As a 4th District Hoosier, though, we MUST ensure that this renegotiation does not negatively impact our farmers in any way. The majority of our corn and soybean exports go to Canada and Mexico. Anyone trying to represent our district must protect this exportation to our neighbors. The 4th district needs a fighter securing new markets for our exports. American manufacturing and agriculture can be done at economies of scale superior to other countries. We have not done right by our farmers and our producers by wrapping red tape around their products.
Finally, I support the legalization of industrial hemp. Hoosier agriculture is the backbone of the economy in Indiana’s 4th District, and some of our family farms are struggling. Unfortunately, with so many farmers whose revenue streams come from just a few agricultural products (dairy, corn, soybeans, wheat), drops in the market price of these crops can leave many Indiana farms financially vulnerable. That’s why I believe that Congress should be helping family farms diversify their revenue streams to keep them financially independent, rather than arbitrarily limiting the crops they can cultivate. There is no better example of this than industrial hemp, which has been erroneously scheduled as a controlled substance rather than an agricultural commodity since 1970. In the 1800s, just about every homestead in Indiana grew at least a small plot of hemp. Now, the only legal hemp production in Indiana occurs at Purdue, which is taking advantage of a pilot program to cultivate industrial hemp for research through a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill. Industrial hemp can be used for numerous purposes, to include food, fuel, and fiber. Yet, most hemp products sold in the United States, from the edible and nutritious seeds to the fiber used for industrial purposes (rope), is imported from China, Europe, and Canada. Meanwhile, Indiana has an ideal climate for industrial hemp production. If I am elected to serve as your representative in Congress, I will help make sure that Indiana has the opportunity to add industrial hemp to the list of crops that Hoosier farms can use to diversify their revenue stream and to support their families.