Forty Iowa Farm Bureau leaders, including local member Nick Podhajsky, visited Capitol Hill and their elected officials during the annual national policy trip July 14-17 to discuss key farm issues, including GMO food labeling and biotechnology in agriculture, international trade, and EPA's Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) proposed rule. The farmers had the opportunity to meet with Iowa's Congressional delegation and their staff and department and agency leaders including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Australia Embassy.
One major concern shared by Iowa farmers was the EPA's proposed WOTUS rule and its effect on conservation planning and land use. "The way the EPA wants to define waters of the U.S. is so vague that it's going to be a free-for-all if it doesn't get pulled, said Randy Dreher, an Audubon County farmer. "I think that it's going to prohibit conservation because an agency is going to tell us how to fix everyday challenges on our farms. It's going to add undue cost and provide limited options for farmers."
Those participating in the trip included, (pictured at right, from L to R), Mary and Eldon Fouchek of Johnson County; Joe Golinghorst of Scott County; Nick Podhajsky of Tama County, and Joe Heinrich of Jackson County.
"Iowa farmers brought very real concerns to their lawmakers in Washington, and they asked for commitment to support important matters back home on the farm," said Kevin Kuhle, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation national policy advisor. "Our local Farm Bureau members proved their knowledge of diverse policy issues and engaged Iowa's Congressmen and Senators in conversations regarding the troubling WOTUS rule, food labeling laws, and tax extenders, to just name a few."
The Iowa Farm Bureau national policy trip is an annual spring event for select county leaders. Each year, one-half of Iowa's 100 county Farm Bureaus have the opportunity to send a representative to speak on behalf of agriculture and rural Iowa. To learn more about the national policy trip and other opportunities for Iowa Farm Bureau members, go to www.iowafarmbureau.com.