Year-round policy development process culminates with policies shaping Farm Bill, landowner property protection and veterinary technician expansion 

Iowa Farm Bureau members met in West Des Moines this week to discuss and develop the organization’s legislative policy direction on important issues to its statewide membership.

Voting delegates representing all 100 county Farm Bureaus engaged in robust discussions over the two-day conference, addressing several issues impacting Iowa farmers and rural communities.  As lawmakers in Washington, D.C. ramp up Farm Bill appropriation discussions, voting delegates affirmed crop insurance as a top priority for the coming year.  Additional programs under the Farm Bill, including trade, market development, agricultural research and conservation were identified by the county leaders as priorities.  

“The Farm Bill, and included crop insurance programs, are essential to sustainable agriculture and provide farmers critical protections and recovery when facing challenges out of their control,” said Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson.   Education, outreach and effective communication with key stakeholders will be critical, and Iowa Farm Bureau is prepared and well positioned to engage in these important conversations.” 

Voting delegates discussed a variety of issues regarding landowner protections when energy infrastructure projects are being developed, such as pipelines and transmission lines. Long standing Farm Bureau policy has supported a minimum threshold of voluntary easements before eminent domain authority can be used for infrastructure projects when multiple properties are involved. Voting delegates adopted policy specifically calling for a minimum voluntary easement threshold of 90% of the land in a project area before eminent domain authority is granted. Voting delegates also adopted policy supporting compensation to farmers for crop yield reductions within a pipeline easement, regardless of installation date. Additionally, members supported policy which would allow farmers to file complaints directly with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) if a pipeline company or its contractor fails to follow ag land restoration standards.

Iowa livestock farmers are committed to raising animals responsibly and ensuring adequate access to livestock medical care across the state. Voting delegates adopted policy to expand the scope of practices licensed veterinary technicians can perform, consistent with their training.  

“The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Summer Policy Conference provides our organization with a clear direction on policy, directly from our membership, shaping our legislative efforts,” said Johnson.  “Our policy development process reflects the true grassroots nature of the organization, with active engagement, participation and input from members in each county, ensuring a strong and unified voice to support Iowa agriculture, farm families and their communities.”                       

IFBF’s Summer Policy Conference is the final step of the year-round grassroots policy process in each of the 100 county Farm Bureaus across the state and leads the organization’s policy direction for the upcoming year.  National policies are subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy discussions, which will take place at the AFBF Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, January 6-11, 2023.