Throughout its history, Iowa Farm Bureau has been a big proponent of livestock production through policy efforts, programs and services. Livestock is essential to a strong agricultural economy, creating jobs in rural Iowa and providing strong markets for Iowa’s crops.
Today, Iowa tops the United States in the production of pork and eggs, and is a national leader in production of other key products, including beef and milk. Indeed, a recent report showed that livestock production and further processing created more than $31 billion in statewide economic activity and is responsible for nearly 123,000 jobs.
One of Farm Bureau’s key livestock initiatives has been the organization’s leading role in establishing the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF). More than a decade ago, Farm Bureau led the formation of the coalition, which is now backed by all of Iowa’s commodity organizations.
CSIF works one-on-one with farmers to help implement best-management practices for raising livestock responsibly and successfully.
CSIF, livestock farmers say, has been a tremendous help in navigating the maze of state and federal regulations, siting for livestock barns and building neighbor relations.
“As a diversified family farm, we just don’t have the time to keep up on all the rules and regulations that you have today in livestock production,” said Brian Feldpausch, a Grundy County Farm Bureau member. “That’s a big reason that CSIF has been so valuable to us.”
Farm Bureau’s support of livestock comes in many forms, including boosting the turkey industry. After the closure of a processing plant threatened to sharply diminish turkey demand about 20 years ago, Farm Bureau stepped up to help turkey raisers buy and remodel a plant in West Liberty. That leadership was instrumental in keeping the plant, and turkey farmers in business, says Paul Hill, a veteran turkey raiser and a founder of West Liberty Foods.
“Farm Bureau was really the key for us; they acted as a facilitator and helped us get it done,” Hill said. “Because of Farm Bureau, we were able to add value for our ag products and create a lot of jobs.”
Farm Bureau also partnered with the Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa State University to launch the Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition, a first-of-its-kind network of professionals, veterinarians, animal behavior scientists and farmers who are committed to addressing Iowans’ questions concerning farm animal care.