INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pork helped get the Indiana State Fair off to a squealing-good time with its annual Ham Breakfast.

“I’m so excited for another installment of the ham breakfast,” said Gov. Mike Pence, adding that it has been a tradition in his family to attend the event for several years.

He added that he has a debt of gratitude not only to Indiana pork producers, but to all the individuals who represent the agriculture industry.

The breakfast, Pence noted, is a great event that brings all of the ag sectors together and is a fitting way to launch 17 days of the best state fair in America.

“It celebrates agriculture in Indiana, and (my wife) Karen Pence wouldn’t miss the Ham Breakfast,” he said.

Besides the breakfast, Pence mentioned that he was excited to welcome everybody to the Indiana State Fair. Every time he sets foot on the grounds, he said, images of his time spent as a youth at the fair flood his mind.

“I’m a kid out here. I’m back to being about 10 years old,” he said, adding that there truly is fun to be had at every turn on the fairgrounds.

Pence noted that another highlight at this year’s fair will be the Youth Arena, which is a 30,000-square-foot facility devoted to 4-H members and their livestock projects.

While at the breakfast, the governor also encouraged those in attendance to serve as ambassadors for Indiana agriculture. Last year alone, he noted, more than 830,000 people visited the state fair.

“Let’s go for a record turnout this year,” he said.

Also in attendance at the Ham Breakfast was Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who noted that he drove all night to make it to the event in time.

He has been busy working with other politicians to pass the farm bill, but he noted that if Hoosiers let their representatives know how much they need a farm bill now, it actually will make a difference.

People can contact Donnelly’s office directly and talk with his staff, Donnelly said. He stressed that the citizens of Indiana are his boss and he wants to hear from them.

Donnelly added that he was really happy to be invited to the breakfast and be back in his home state. Pork producers are one of the cornerstones in the fight to help feed Indiana’s hungry, he noted.

“Children go to bed with full stomachs because of pork producers,” he said.