Sometimes our name throws people. Yes, Iowa Farm Bureau works for Iowa’s farm families, but our work reaches well beyond the farm – benefiting Iowans in all walks of life.
It’s always been that way, ever since Iowa Farm Bureau was started in 1918. Back then farmers, teachers, bankers, chamber of commerce officials, and other community leaders joined forces to support a way of life and an economic driver that benefited them all: agriculture.
Though a lot has changed over the years, we remain committed to the people, progress, and pride of Iowa. We cherish and represent the values Iowans embody: dedication to hard work, passion for the land, and character rooted in faith and family.
Today, Iowa Farm Bureau is Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization, with over 159,000 member families, focused on our mission of helping farm families prosper and improving their quality of life. With 100 offices in 99 Iowa counties (Pottawattamie has two), we’re your neighbors, making it possible for us to reach, respond to, and advocate for you, wherever you live in Iowa. See how we're helping Iowa Rise Up!
Farmers & Agriculture
Working for Iowa's Farmers
We believe agriculture is a critical component of Iowa’s future. After all, agriculture and its related industries pump $112.2 billion a year into Iowa’s economy and create 1 out of every 5 jobs in the state. The more successful agriculture becomes, the more it fuels Iowa’s broader economy.
Iowa Farm Bureau helps keep that agriculture engine running by working for family farmers in areas critical to their farm businesses. From representing their public policy interests at the local, state and national levels to enhancing market opportunities and providing critical information, Iowa Farm Bureau strives to ensure farm families thrive for generations to come.
To learn about Iowa agriculture, and how it touches all Iowans, check out these interesting farm and agriculture facts.
Strengthening Iowa's Rural Communities
Vibrant communities start with people and activity generated from their entrepreneurial spirit. Farm Bureau has a long history of encouraging economic and entrepreneurial development in our rural communities. Our Renew Rural Iowa program offers education, mentoring, financial assistance, and recognition to grow and expand rural businesses. Through this initiative alone, we’ve reinvested $125 million in a decade to bring jobs and new life to rural communities. For information on how Renew Rural Iowa can help you and your business, visit www.renewruraliowa.com.
Youth & Education
Investing in Iowa's Future
Iowa Farm Bureau believes in cultivating individuals with great character, a strong work ethic and exceptional leadership skills. That’s why we are title sponsor of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association. We also provide nearly $500,000 in annual scholarships for college students. Farm Bureau provides support for the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). The IALF mission includes education of Iowa’s students and teachers about agriculture. The Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant Program initiates new projects or expands existing projects that promote ag literacy. IFBF is also proud to sponsor the Iowa 4-H and Iowa FFA Foundations and other organizations that prepare the next generation of agricultural innovators.
Health & Wellness
Promoting Quality Healthcare for Iowans
We believe in healthy, vibrant communities where people don’t have to choose between farming and staying healthy; between paying for food and utilities and paying for prescriptions. Through our comprehensive health care program, Farm Bureau members have access to everything from quality health insurance and supplemental health benefits, to preventive and innovative community health services. Learn more here. We also work to keep physicians in rural communities. Every year, the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (IAFPF) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Foundation award four scholarships to medical residents and students who plan to pursue careers in rural Iowa communities after graduation.
Helping Our Neighbors
People quietly doing extraordinary things to help people in need is at the core of what it means to be an “Iowan” and what farmers have done for decades. Iowa Farm Bureau believes this “neighbor-helping-neighbor” way of life is central to giving back to the great people of our state. That’s why we support many great causes.
The Iowa Farm Bureau Foundation works in partnership with other statewide non-profit organizations to address health, safety and education needs in Iowa communities. The Foundation delivers 100% of donor contributions directly to charitable causes within Iowa’s borders, including scholarships for medical residents and students who plan to pursue careers in rural Iowa, farm safety initiatives and education, business succession support, and more. For more information about the Foundation, or to contribute, send a letter to the Iowa Farm Bureau Foundation, at 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266.
Through financial assistance and in-kind services, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation proudly supports the Iowa 4-H Foundation, Iowa FFA Foundation, Living History Farms, Iowa Blue Ribbon Foundation (Iowa State Fair), the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation, the World Food Prize Foundation, Iowa Food Bank Association, Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, Iowa High School Athletic Association, and Iowa Hall of Pride and many more worthwhile organizations.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Iowa Farm Bureau.
Q: Why was the Iowa Farm Bureau founded?
A: In 1918, a group of farmers wanted to better themselves, their families, their industry and their state. So they joined forces with a diverse group of community leaders, including teachers, bankers and merchants, and formed a general farm organization called the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).
Q: Is Farm Bureau just for farmers?
A: Anyone can join. Iowa Farm Bureau is working for Iowa’s farmers, strengthening our rural communities, investing in Iowa’s future, and promoting quality health care. These efforts involve and benefit all Iowans. A Farm Bureau membership also includes discounts and other benefits that offer value to Iowans in all walks of life. Becoming a member is a simple, yet powerful, way to put your support squarely behind the wholesome farm families who produce your food, fuel and fiber.
Q: What does it cost to join?
A: Annual dues are $55 or less per year (varies by county) for an individual, family or business membership. To join in your county, click here.
Q: How is Iowa Farm Bureau structured?
A: The strength of the organization is derived from the more than 156,000 individual families who join their county Farm Bureau. The Iowa Farm Bureau comprises 100 county Farm Bureaus (Pottawattamie is divided into East and West). Each county has a board elected by its members, as well as various committees. Statewide, Iowa Farm Bureau is governed by an 11-member board of directors elected by delegates from each county Farm Bureau.
Q: What is the difference between regular and associate members?
A: Regular members are members who are actively involved in agricultural production and are eligible to serve on county and state boards, create Farm Bureau policy and vote on IFBF issues. Associate members, or ag-supporting members, share many of the same concerns as farmers – as parents, taxpayers, and property owners. All members benefit from Iowa Farm Bureau’s work for farmers, rural communities, education, and health care, and they qualify for the many benefits, savings, and other services.
Q: Isn’t Farm Bureau an insurance company?
A: Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a not-for-profit, grassroots advocacy organization. Farm Bureau Financial Services is a separate entity and is one of many valuable benefits available to members.
Q: How are Farm Bureau’s policies developed?
A: The Iowa Farm Bureau is part of the 50 states and Puerto Rico that make up the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Policy for the organization is a democratic process that starts at the county level by gathering input from members. Each county prioritizes its issues and brings them to the state level, where policy is debated and formed by the elected voting delegate body. Issues of national interest are forwarded to the AFBF annual meeting for debate and approval. See how you can get involved!
Q: How do I join?
A: We offer four convenient ways to join.
Q: What are the benefits of membership?
A: Farm Bureau benefits are as diverse as our membership, but we are committed to supporting and protecting the farm families that produce our food, fiber and energy.
We do that through our strong advocacy work at the local, state and national level on issues ranging from property taxes and school infrastructure to environmental regulations and renewable fuels. What matters to you, matters to us.
As the only farm group in Iowa with a presence in every county, Farm Bureau members have a significant network and infrastructure to reach all corners of the state.
In addition to working for farmers, Farm Bureau is strengthening our rural communities, investing in Iowa’s future, and promoting quality health care. These efforts involve and benefit all Iowans.
A Farm Bureau membership also includes discounts and other benefits that offer value to Iowans in all walks of life.
Q: I heard that IFBF is a politically conservative organization. Is that true?
A: Farm Bureau’s policies represent its members and the issues important to them. Our membership is a diverse group of people with differing viewpoints. Members share their viewpoints and set the policies that determine Farm Bureau’s lobbying positions through a year-long, grassroots process. See how you can get involved!
Q: Does IFBF only support large corporate farms?
A: IFBF is a general farm organization and supports a wide spectrum of agriculture. Members are diverse, ranging from small to large farms, organic to traditional. These farms may be independent or they may be part of a family corporation. They all contribute to an industry that employs one in five Iowans.
Have a question that we haven’t answered? Please contact us.
A Harvest of Data Shows Agriculture’s Value
Iowa’s status as a farm and agriculture powerhouse is known worldwide.
While fewer than five percent of Iowans farm, Iowa farming and agriculture have become increasingly diverse and the role they play in our lives has never been more prominent!
From the farm...
Iowa has roughly 88,000 farms and 129,000 farm operators. More than 97% of Iowa farms are owned by families.
Iowa farms grow more corn, raise more pigs, and produce more eggs than any state in the nation. They also rank fourth in cattle marketed, tenth in sheep and lambs, second in soybeans, ninth in turkeys, and thirteenth in milk production.
But Iowa isn’t all corn, soybeans, and livestock. We have a growing grape industry, with 300 vineyards, and the state ranks second nationally in number of farmers markets per capita.
Not only does the average American farm feed about 168 people worldwide, but one in five Iowans go to work because of agriculture. Iowa agriculture and ag-related industries supported 418,777 jobs in 2012, accounting for 21% of total jobs in Iowa and 17% of household income.
Agriculture accounts for 1/3 of the dollars driving Iowa’s economy. Iowa agriculture and ag-related industries accounted for $112.2 billion in total economic output in 2012.
Iowa leads the nation in producing ethanol and biodiesel – renewable fuels grown on Iowa farms that burn cleaner and reduce our dependence on oil. Farmers also helped Iowa generate more than 31% of its electricity from wind energy in 2015, best in the nation.
See how farmers embrace science and technology to protect our land and water at www.conservationcountsiowa.com. Learn about the care livestock farmers take to ensure the health and comfort of their animals at www.iowafarmanimalcare.org.
Learn about the food choices farmers provide, from organic to conventional and everything in-between, at www.choose2choose.com .
Teach students about the significance of farming and agriculture – in their lives and around the world – through the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.
Tour an Iowa farm online!
Sources: 2012 Census of Agriculture, 2014 Iowa Ag Economic Contribution Study, 2015 Iowa Agricultural Statistics, Iowa State University Viticulture Specialist Michael L. White, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Corn Growers Association, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iowa Biodiesel Board, American Farm Bureau