With the 2016 election completed, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has started working with lawmakers at the state and national levels to address key issues brought forward in the organization’s grassroots policy development process, Craig Hill, IFBF president, said last week.
"With the election results in, our key focus now is to implement the policies that have been drafted by our members," Hill said.
At the national level, the IFBF will work with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and others to roll back the regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies, Hill said. A key focus will be working with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to ditch the controversial Waters of the United States or WOTUS rule, he said.
The WOTUS rule, which has been temporarily stayed by a federal court, "is unwarranted and a clear overstepping of federal authority," Hill said.
The IFBF will also work to promote trade, develop a new farm bill that provides an adequate safety net for farmers and work to make health care more affordable for farmers, he said.
In Iowa, Farm Bureau will work to develop long-term dedicated funding for water quality and soil conservation, Hill said. The organization will work to permanently couple Iowa tax code with Section 179 federal tax policy and continue to work to reduce the burden of property taxes, he said.
Candidates designated by Iowa Farm Bureau members as "Friends of Agriculture" did very well in the Nov. 8 election, Hill noted. Voters elected 77 of the 82 candidates designated as Friends of Agriculture.
"You have to consider that success a strong testament to our grassroots process," Hill said. "It shows our members are successful in finding candidates who support agriculture and in working to get them elected."
On the Congressional level, all four candidates designated as Friends of Agriculture’ candidates were successful. Those candidates were U.S., Sen. Charles Grassley, and U.S. Reps. Rod Blum, Steve King and David Young.
In the Iowa Senate, Friend of Agriculture candidates were successful in 15 of the 18 races where the designation was made. In the Iowa House, Friend of Agriculture candidates were successful in 58 of the 60 races where the designation was made. Republicans will have a majority in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate when the 2017 Session begins. AFBF President Zippy Duvall noted that rural voters clearly made a difference in the Nov. 8 presidential and Congressional elections.
"Now it’s time for our newly elected leaders to turn up for rural America and keep their campaign promises by addressing the issues that matter to the people who sent them to Washington," Duvall said. "Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the new administration and Congress on issues such as the farm bill, tax reform and a trade agenda focused on reducing barriers and expanding exports."
Farm Bureau, Hill said, will also push hard to get Congress to pass the TransPacific Partnership or TPP during the late-year "lame duck" session. "We need to get it done yet this year because it will probably be tougher in 2017 with the Trump administration in place," he said.