Conservation programs should be targeted to maximize environmental benefits while keeping productive farmland in use to create opportunities and economic activity in rural communities, voting delegates representing Iowa’s 100 county Farm Bureaus said last week.

"We just want to target the CRP program where it’s best used and where it provides the most benefits," said Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill, a Warren County farmer. "We want to see fragile acres retired where they need to be, but we don’t want to retire Iowa. We don’t want to retire our farmers. We don’t want to retire our economy."

Delegates also adopted policies to protect taxpayers, more flexible programs to control the state’s deer herd and more vigilant efforts to control Palmer amaranth on conservation acres, among other issues at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s Summer Policy Con­ference in West Des Moines.

The annual conference marks the last step of Farm Bureau’s year-long grassroots policy development process, during which delegates adopted state policies to guide the organization’s efforts during the...