Nearly 5,000 family farmers in Indiana's Second District carry on Indiana's rich agricultural heritage. From corn, soy beans, and tomatoes to hogs and cattle, Hoosier farmers are growing the produce and livestock that drive our economy, strengthen our local communities, and provide the food we eat. As a member of Congress, I have worked hard to ensure that all farmers are able to bring their products to market and remain competitive in today's rapidly changing global economy.
Life for family farmers is full of challenges. The rising cost of land and energy along with unfair trade practices abroad often make it difficult for farmers--especially family farmers--to make ends meet. As a result, we must continue to invest in our heartland and provide our farmers with the tools and resources they need to remain profitable.
In order to achieve these goals, in my first term in Congress I worked as a member of the House Agriculture Committee to help write and pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that reauthorized and reformed important farm-related programs that promote nutrition, rural infrastructure, alternative energy, conservation, and a safety net designed to protect small family farmers.
Specifically, I worked to establish a Farm Flex pilot program to allow Hoosier farmers to plant fruits and vegetables on base acres without forfeiting the land's base classification. I also worked to expand popular conservation programs to preserve farmland, improve water quality, and enhance soil conservation, air quality and wildlife habitat on working lands.
In addition, as we continue to develop a strategy to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, I have worked hard to make sure that Hoosier farmers are part of the solution. The Farm Bill takes critical steps to expand renewable fuel production. The Second District has been blessed with the resources and capacity to serve as the center of production and distribution for a new generation of ethanol and other bio-fuels. As your congressman, I will continue to work hard to ensure that Hoosier farmers are producing the bio-products to meet America's energy needs.
In order to best serve the agricultural needs of Indiana, I meet regularly with local farmers. In addition, I work closely with an agriculture working group comprised of local farmers from the Second District who advise me on agricultural policy and how decisions made in Washington affect farmers back home. These are exciting times for agriculture in Indiana, and I am honored to represent the Second District's agricultural community and the many Americans who rely on its products.