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Expanding farmers' opportunities

Dan Hanrahan

Since the seeds of Farm Bureau were planted a century ago, the organization has worked to expand income opportunities for Iowa farmers.

We’ve done that by helping to pioneer the development of new crop markets, such as biofuels and bio-materials, and by building and sustaining strong and reliable domestic and export markets.

We’ve also led the way in helping farmers reduce energy costs through the development of alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass.

Farm Bureau’s long-standing support for biofuels helped make Iowa the nation’s leader in both ethanol and biodiesel. That has, in turn, significantly boosted demand for corn and soybeans.

“Farm Bureau was a big part of farmer-led resurgence of the biofuel industry in Iowa,” said Lucy Norton, managing director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “It was instrumental in bringing expertise that farmers needed as they led the way to making Iowa the renewable fuels leader.”

Farm Bureau was also instrumental in keeping Iowa the leader in renewable research for both biofuels and bio-based materials, says Robert Brown, director of ISU’s Bioeconomy Institute. “We saw a tremendous surge in interest in biofuels and we worried that Iowa would be left behind,” he said. “But Farm Bureau stepped up with a significant investment in 2006 which gave us a tremendous competitive edge in research. It was probably the single most important thing that happened to keep us in the lead.”

Long a strong supporter of trade, Farm Bureau has led efforts to expand global demand for Iowa crops, livestock and other products.

“Farm Bureau has been a leader in pushing for free trade agreements and reducing barriers so we can export more,” said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, who has been a Butler County Farm Bureau member for 62 years. “And really, nothing has meant as much to the success of Iowa agriculture as the growth in trade.”

As we move into Farm Bureau’s second century, we will continue to focus on expanding existing markets and developing new ones for Iowa farmers to ensure that agriculture thrives for generations to come.




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