The voting delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest general farm organization, met in West Des Moines this week to develop policy direction on issues important to farmers and all Iowans. 

Protecting landowners’ property rights and eminent domain scenarios were discussed in depth, and the voting delegates adopted policy to protect the interests of individual property owners.  

“The intent is to encourage good faith negotiations for the bulk of land acquisitions or easements,” said Terry Murray, the voting delegate representing Buena Vista County.  “The condemnation process was never intended to be the primary method for establishing fair market value or fair treatment.   Ben Hollingshead, representing Boone County, added, “We don’t want to stop progress; we just want to promote fair, due process in easement negotiations.”

Farm Bureau voting delegates from across the state gathered with a common goal of continued improvement in statewide conservation of soil and water protection.  Members adopted policy to extend the state cover crop cost share funding program to maximize environmental benefits. 

“Conservation funding targets were achieved to further our environmental efforts,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.  “As farmers, we have been adopting new methods and investing in conservation for many, many years with demonstrable results.  Let’s face it, improving water quality and holding soil in place is not a temporary fix; we have been investing in this for a very long time and continue to see progress.”   

The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is the culmination of a grassroots policy process in each of the 100 county Farm Bureaus across the state.  National policies are subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation policy discussions, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, January 10-13, 2016.