Who do Iowans trust? It’s a big issue today as more and more everyday citizens report losing confidence in government agencies, in institutions and in the media. And, please, don’t get folks started on discussing their trust of politicians.
A recent poll by the Des Moines Register
asked some 800 Iowans the rate their trust level in a list of about 20 government, cultural and spiritual institutions. The poll’s results were somewhat surprising, but also very encouraging.
Our organization, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), is strongly trusted or mostly trusted by 70% of the respondents. That’s a very solid ranking, really, when you consider it trailed only God (OK, that’s a given) the armed forces, the Iowa State Patrol and few other well-respected institutions. The Farm Bureau’s ranking tied Iowa Supreme Court and was ahead of the FBI, organized religion and Congress. Incidentally, the poll respondents ranked cable news and social media at the bottom of the list.
It was a second time I’ve seen the Register include Farm Bureau to a poll of Iowans about trust. The results have held up over time.
So why do Iowans put so much trust in Farm Bureau?
First off, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation was founded in 1918 and has been serving Iowa farmers and others for more than a century. The organization has been a vital voice for farmers, rural Iowans and the entire state through good times and tough times and across vast changes in society, technology and about everything else.
But maybe a bigger reason that Iowans rank Farm Bureau so high is the organization’s strong focus on grassroots involvement of its member families. Farm Bureau is local, with 100 County Farm Bureau stretching across our state. Members have an opportunity to work through their county Farm Bureau to shape and promote policies on both the state and national levels.
Add to that all of the good things that Farm Bureau offers for Iowans
. Farm Bureau provides nearly $500,000 per year in college scholarships and is a key supporter of high school athletic and academic programs. It helps foster rural businesses through its Renew Rural Iowa program, building economic vitality and creating jobs. Farm Bureau’s Take Root workshops help farm families work through the often-difficult plans for farm growth and succession. We offer the Farm Bureau Health Plan, that provides comprehensive benefits and a broad provider network at rates that reduce members’ costs.
The list of programs to help Iowans goes on, but the bottom line is that Farm Bureau represents the strong values of Iowans: dedication to hard work, care for the land, water and livestock, and character rooted in faith and family.
That’s how you build trust. And it’s something that’s clear to Iowans.
By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is News Services Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and editor of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.