By Garrett Kelly
Indiana agricultural, commodity and conservation organizations, academia, and local, state and federal agencies have teamed up to form the Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance (IANA). The goal of the alliance is to improve soil health and nutrient management efforts. The IANA was created through an agreement between the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Indiana and Indiana Farm Bureau with financial contributions coming from partner organizations.
At the INFB State Convention in French Lick, Jane Hardisty, Indiana State Conservationist, announced the formation of the IANA. In her address to INFB members, elected officials and academic leaders, Hardisty said numerous groups across the state have made great strides to improve soil health. Hardisty highlighted the increased use of cover crops and conservation tillage by farmers. She also recognized organizations in Indiana focused on nutrient management and soil health such as the Indiana Conservation Partnership and the Healthy Rivers Initiative spearheaded by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
“There are a lot of great things going on in Indiana related to soil health but a more coordinated, formal effort was needed,” Hardisty said. “A committee of agricultural executives, the Ag Nutrient Task Force, decided to create a new entity to help lead these efforts.”
The IANA was created to identify ways the partners can jointly enhance their programs to further the shared goal of improving nutrient use efficiency to reduce nutrient loss from agricultural production areas. The ultimate goal of the IANA is to enhance water quality. The IANA hopes to allow farmers to maintain control of their operations while making economically viable and environmentally sustainable decisions.
“We’re going to provide information and tools to our farmers that will help address water quality concerns,” said Hardisty. “We’re going make sure we have more advising and training to help with that effort.”
The IANA will operate as a standalone nonprofit group led by a board of directors elected from representatives in the partnership. The group is currently seeking an executive director to lead the new partnership. The person selected for the role will work closely with all the partners to promote active and broad participation. The executive director will be integral in leading the IANA in the development of strategies to capture synergies between partner efforts and to develop communication strategies primarily directed toward farmers and their advisors.
The IANA is made up of the following partners:
- Indiana USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Indiana Farm Bureau
- Indiana Soybean Alliance
- Indiana Corn Marketing Council
- Indiana Pork Producers
- Indiana State Poultry Association
- Indiana Dairy Producers
- Indiana Beef Cattle Association, Inc.
- Indiana Agribusiness Council, Inc.
- American Dairy Association of Indiana
- Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- The Nature Conservancy in Indiana
- Purdue University College of Agriculture
- Indiana State Department of Agriculture
Justin Schneider, INFB’s director of state government relations, applauded the vision of Hardisty and the commitment of the partners to create the IANA. “The partners share in the commitment to the success of the IANA,” said Schneider. “Whether it is a financial commitment, dedication of staff or willingness to find new ways to collaborate, there is a clear recognition that we will achieve more through strengthened and coordinated actions.”