WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – August 28, 2013 – Iowa Farm Bureau voting delegates shared concerns about infrastructure problems, regulatory implications, and watershed management as they gathered in West Des Moines August 27-28 to set state and national legislative policy. Water and soil conservation and country of origin labeling also topped their discussions.
“Over the last two days, our voting delegates discussed these priority issues and planned our course of action for 2014,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.
Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization called for Watershed Management efforts to be established with balanced urban and agricultural representation from within that watershed, as members showed enthusiasm for conservation and improving Iowa’s soil and waterways. “Our Farm Bureau members are considering what they can do to make a difference on their farms and be visibly seen as leading the way towards progress in water quality,” Hill said. “After all, the overall goals of farmers and non-farmers have always been the same: to keep our soils strong and our water safe, and this is just one more way to assure progress in the field continues.”
Transportation infrastructure funding also found consensus among IFBF farmers. “It’s a continuous effort to fund road infrastructure to facilitate sustainability and growth,” said Hill. “This isn’t just an agricultural issue; this is an issue that affects all Iowans.”
Another lively discussion at the IFBF Summer Policy Conference concerning the national issue of country of origin labeling (COOL). “Trade compliance is very important to us, and we want to be a good trading partner,” said Hill. “IFBF members concluded that a mandatory COOL for meat harms open trade between the U.S. and our neighbors, and our members prefer a voluntary meat labeling program.”
The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is a step in Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy development process, which begins in the spring at the county level. The national policies will now be subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation policy discussions in January 2014 in San Antonio.