Trust is a big issue today throughout America. Experts often say everyday citizens are losing confidence in government agencies, in institutions and in the media. And, please, don’t get folks started on discussing politicians.
That’s why the results of a recent poll in the Des Moines Register caught my attention. In the poll, some 800 Iowans were asked to rate their confidence in a list of 17 government, cultural and spiritual institutions. The respondents ranked them on a scale of one to six.
Our organization, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), was on the poll’s list and came out with a rank of four. That’s pretty solid, really, when you consider it trailed only God (OK, that’s a given) the armed forces, the Iowa State Patrol and few other institutions. The Farm Bureau’s ranking tied with the FBI and was well above others. Incidentally, the poll respondents ranking of the media was near the bottom of the list with a 2.9 rating, just ahead of Congress.
I wasn’t aware that the Register had added Farm Bureau to a poll of Iowans about trust, but I’m not all that surprised about the result. There are a lot of good reasons that Iowans place a lot of trust in Farm Bureau.
First off, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation has been around for nearly 100 years. That means the organization has remained 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 Farm Bureau ranked high is the organization’s adherence to grassroots involvement of its member families. 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 the good things that Farm Bureau does 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.
The list goes on, but the bottom line is that Farm Bureau really represents the values Iowans embody: dedication to hard work, passion for the land, and character rooted in faith and family.
That’s a great foundation to build trust. Just ask Iowans.
By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is News Services Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and editor of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.