Sessions Include Expert Insight on International Trade, Farm Bill Implementation and Crop Insurance and Risk Management Strategies

With critical trade deals awaiting congressional approval and negotiations with China evolving constantly, the future for many Iowa farmers is uncertain as they look for proactive ways to generate income and manage risk.  “Managing Through Challenging Times” is the focus for the 2019 Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit on June 28 th at the Des Moines Marriott-Downtown where the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is bringing a variety of experts and resources to help farmers navigate the uncertainty of the current farm economy and develop a strategy moving forward. 

Farmers are mired in a six-year downturn in farm income where U.S. net farm income has plummeted 45 percent, and while a recently announced aid package is welcome, they continue their search for effective insight and strategies to weather the economic storm.  

 “The tariffs and counter-tariffs we’ve seen are raising fundamental questions and concerns about the future for several key export markets for Iowa farmers,” says IFBF Senior Economist Dr. Sam Funk.  “That’s especially true with China, the country that has been a key driver of our soybean and pork demand.”

The one-day event features a variety of nationally-known risk management, banking, trade and new market experts to help Iowa farmers remain sustainable.  Funk says the featured speakers bring timely advice to help farmers at a crossroads learn how they can remain sustainable. 

Not all recent trade news has been doom and gloom; however, as the Trump Administration lifted metal tariffs imposed on Mexico and Canada, paving the way to curtail retaliatory duties from Mexico and Canada on farm goods is welcomed news for Iowa pork farmers.  More than 40 percent of pork exported from the U.S. goes to Canada and Mexico, and as the top pork producing state, Iowa is responsible for nearly one-third of all U.S. pork production, so the future for pork exports is looking brighter than previous months.   But, featured speakers, including John Hinners, Vice President of Industry Relations with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and Ed Beaman, Senior Director of Basic Market Development with the U.S. Soybean Export Council, will provide farmers with expert perspectives on the international trade front.  “Both of these speakers will provide summit participants knowledge and insights on trade that go beyond the daily news headlines about trade issues,” Funk says.

Farm bill implementation and risk management strategies are also top of mind for farmers, and Dr. Art Barnaby, Emeritus Professor at Kansas State University, will share his insight on farm risk management, particularly government crop insurance programs, which will likely be utilized by thousands of Iowa farmers still facing floods that are drowning out spring planting hopes.      

Summit registration , which includes access to all presentations and lunch, is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $150 for non-members before June 19.  Tickets will be available at the door--$60 for members and $150 for non-members.  Visit or contact Lavonne Baldwin (515-225-5633; ) for more information.