Two new specialists are now on board for Indiana Farm Bureau, based at state headquarters in Indianapolis. These are new positions not previously part of the farm group's makeup.
One position will focus on livestock issues. Helping farmers with livestock stay abreast of CAFO information and realize potential threats to expansion have been major emphasis issues for Indiana Farm Bureau over the past decade.
Working on that front full-time will be Greg Slipher, from Clinton County. A former farmer from Clinton County, he comes to this position from the Indiana Pork Producers Association, where he was director of industry services and development. Slipher worked for Indiana Pork Producers for 12 years.
In that role he helped with Mainstreet USA and other efforts aimed at acquainting non-farm residents and leaders of local communities with the realities of modern-day livestock production. Slipher was involved in a pilot meeting for county and city leaders on Keith Schoetmers pork farm near Tipton last summer.
The second position focuses on coordinating the policy development process for Indiana Farm Bureau. Policy development starts at the grassroots level in this farm group, then continues at the state and national level. Counties raise and endorse or reject local resolutions in the spring and summer in the current process. Then state delegates draft the state packet of resolutions for the year. This process was once done at the state convention in December. But the leadership of Indiana Farm Bureau felt it would be more effective if they could establish policy well ahead of state legislative sessions. So now delegates meet in the end of August, first of September time frame to discuss and approve or disapprove of resolutions. Indiana Farm Bureau's policies are based upon those resolutions adopted each year by county delegates to the state resolution meeting.
IFB went out of state to find Tiffany Olbrecht, who formerly worked with an ag tech company in Iowa. She will assume this new position of policy specialist for Indiana Farm Bureau.
Her charge is to also help raise awareness of policy issues, and to create more involvement in policy development, especially at the local, grassroots level. She grew up on a Shorthorn cattle farm near Oakland, Iowa, and graduated from Iowa State University.
Slipher was leader of the Indiana Young Farmers Association in the mid-1980's, and also was executive director of what's now the Indiana Ag Leadership Institute before joining the Indiana Pork Producers Association.