Transportation funding, strengthening and protecting crop insurance programs, and maintaining strong support for biofuels and renewable fuels lead policy discussion

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) voting delegates joined delegates representing all 50 state Farm Bureaus this week to approve resolutions that will guide the grassroots organization throughout 2016. 

During the 97th American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. this week, IFBF delegates successfully worked to secure several important IFBF state policies as national policy for 2016.  Iowa members successfully added policy provisions to the AFBF national policy book including increased funding for America’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure, strengthening and protecting farmers’ standing in federal crop insurance programs, continued support for renewable fuels, and clarification of rules for unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV).  

“We have to feel very proud because there were many ideas and concepts that came out of Iowa that were incorporated into AFBF policy this year,” said Craig Hill, IFBF president.  “It’s a very good indication that our strong grassroots policy development process in Iowa develops sound policies which resonate with other Farm Bureaus all over the country.”

In addition, AFBF delegates adopted several new polices that coved a wide range of agricultural topics including risk management, regulatory reform, immigration, biofuels and renewable energy.

AFBF policies are developed by Iowa voting delegates and Farm Bureau delegates from 49 other states to secure grassroots lobbying strength in the 2016 legislative session.  The number of delegates awarded to each state is based on the state’s membership total.    

In addition to advocating for policy that will guide the nation’s largest general farm organization, the Iowa Farm Bureau and several of its members received recognition and took home awards during the AFBF Annual Convention.  The Iowa Farm Bureau received the coveted Pinnacle Award, the top honor of national achievement presented to a state Farm Bureau in its membership group that demonstrated outstanding achievements in six program areas: Education and Outreach; Leadership Development; Member Services; Membership Initiatives; Policy Development and Implementation; and Public Relations and Communications.  IFBF was presented the top prize for a state Farm Bureau for an unprecedented third consecutive year. 

"Our organization is extremely proud to receive the most prestigious award that can be presented to a state Farm Bureau," said Hill.  “This year’s award is extra rewarding, as Iowa becomes the first state to receive the coveted Pinnacle Award for three consecutive years, a testament to the strength of our grassroots organization."

AccuGrain, a Rose Hill, Iowa-based agricultural technology startup, was named the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative (REI) Challenge winner during the Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show held January 8-13.  AccuGrain, a participant of Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa business mentoring program, was selected to compete from a field of 165 applicants in the challenge.  By qualifying for the final four of the REI Challenge, AccuGrain had previously been awarded a $15,000 prize.  By winning the competition, the startup received an additional $15,000, bringing their total prize earnings to $30,000 to implement their business model.

In just the second year of the REI Challenge, AccuGrain follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Scout Pro, Inc., another Iowa-based startup mentored by Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program.  “Winning the award means that others validate our ideas and their need in a rural space, and that means a lot,” said AccuGrain founder Ryan Augustine.  “We’ve had quite a few people come up to us and tell us how they could use our product on their farms.”

“Over the past week, we adopted national policy that is important to our Iowa members and received numerous awards and recognition,” said Hill.  This year’s AFBF Annual Convention was certainly a successful week for Iowa, and we are proud of our grassroots organization’s success,” said Hill. 

Farm Bureau members will gather next January in Phoenix, Arizona for the 2017 AFBF Annual Convention.