Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will be the keynote speaker at the National Farm-City Council's annual Kickoff Luncheon set for Thursday, Nov. 19, at 12:30 p.m. at the Westin Indianapolis. The luncheon follows the Farm-City Symposium on “Farm Animal Care: Myths vs. Facts" at the Westin.

These events begin National Farm-City Week, Nov. 20-26, dedicated to enhancing links between farm families and urban residents.

Skillman is serving her second term as the 50th Lt. Governor of Indiana. She also serves as Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development under the state's Department of Agriculture and Office of Rural Affairs. In her role as Secretary of Agriculture, she also oversees the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

At the Farm-City Symposium, a panel of experts will be discussing farm animal care issues with the program beginning at 10:30 a.m. Panel members include:

  • Mike Bumgarner, vice president, Center for Food & Animal Issues, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
  • Malcolm DeKryger, chairman, Indiana Pork Advisory Coalition
  • Roger Berry, field director, Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska
  • John Aleshire, executive director, Humane Society of Indianapolis

The Symposium segment from 11 a.m. to noon EST will be broadcast live on the nationally syndicated radio show, AgriTalk, hosted by noted farm broadcaster and Farm-City Council member Mike Adams. You can listen to the AgriTalk program live through its Web site.

"We're honored to have Indiana Lt. Gov. Skillman address guests of the Farm-City Council, given her long experience dealing with both agricultural and urban issues," says Al Pell, chairman of the National Farm-City Council. "And we expect a very lively discussion during the Symposium on farm animal care issues, especially with the increasing concern of this topic among both rural and city residents."

The public is invited to attend both the Farm-City Symposium and Kickoff Luncheon as individual attendees or as part of a corporate sponsorship program. For more information, visit the Farm-City Council Web site or contact Marsha Purcell, 202.406.3706, marshap@fb.org, or Kim Baker, (202) 406-3707, kimb@fb.org.

The National Farm-City Week, recognized by a White House proclamation and observed the week before Thanksgiving, is organized by the non-profit National Farm-City Council, an organization working to unite urban and rural audiences by providing local organizations with educational programs about people who grow their food.

Farm-City activities are grassroots in nature. Communities across the nation hold Farm-City events ranging from banquets to tours to job exchanges. The Council works closely with Agriculture in the Classroom in educating students and teachers about agriculture. This year's "Farm Animal Care" theme has been communicated to state and county volunteers, who are gearing local activities to match the national strategy.

In future years, the council plans to address other potentially divisive issues that affect farm families and urban residents. The council's goal is to bridge the gap in understanding by focusing on one issue each year.

In addition, the National Farm-City Council recognizes organizations, businesses, groups and individuals for their outstanding work in accomplishing the mission of farm-city relations.