As 2018 gets off to a fast, but chilly, start here in Iowa, folks in agriculture are looking over some very long to-do lists for the new year.
There’s a bumper crop of trade issues to tackle, starting with saving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Congress is gearing up to write a new farm bill, and it will be critical for agriculture to protect key parts of the farm safety net at a time of low commodity prices and tight margins. Big oil interests will undoubtedly take more swipes at the Renewable Fuels Standard, and there are plenty of regulatory issues to address.
At the state level, the push is on to secure long-term, dedicated state funding to support farmers’ ongoing efforts to improve water quality and conserve Iowa’s precious topsoil. There are also key tax issues to work through.
Yes, agriculture’s 2018 to-do list sounds daunting, doesn’t it?
But dealing with a full plate of tough issues is really nothing new to Iowa Farm Bureau members. For a century, they have come together to develop grassroots policy to deal with the toughest issues facing Iowa farmers and our state’s rural communities.
There’s something to be said about belonging to an organization whose members have experience at tackling agriculture’s toughest issues, including severe economic downturns, wars, export embargoes and brutal weather. Even more important is the vitality that I see in Farm Bureau today, with members from all over the state and from all age groups who are stepping up to give their precious time and energy to develop policy, meet with lawmakers, work in their communities and do all they can to support agriculture.
It’s been a winning formula for 100 years, and it will keep working for many more, no matter the length of the to-do list.