Local Farm Bureau leader Daweyn Albertsen advocates for Iowa ag in Washington, D.C.

Tama County Farm Bureau Ag Leader, Daweyn Albertsen, center, of Toledo pictured while visiting Washington, D.C. alongside fellow Farm Bureau leaders. PHOTO COURTESY OF IOWA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

TOLEDO, IOWA – Farm Bureau members from across the state departed their Iowa farms for Washington, D.C., Sept. 11-13, to meet with their elected officials and agency representatives. Members shared personal stories and important ag issues impacting their farms, including concerns about the reference point of corn and soybeans, the use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to take highly productive land out of production, California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12) animal welfare law and the development of a new farm bill.

Twenty-one members from the graduating class of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Ag Leaders Institute, which trains members on how to represent their farms, their county Farm Bureaus and the ag industry, joined the trip. Included in the trip (pictured left to right): John Smith of Coggon, Daweyn Albertsen of Toledo and Damien Matt of Clermont.

The graduating Ag Leaders class visited with Iowa Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, as well as Reps. Ashley Hinson, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Zach Nunn and Randy Feenstra. Members discussed how Prop 12 will impact their hog farms in unforeseen ways and poses a significant threat to Iowa pork producers. Members shared concerns about financial hardship and fallout from Prop 12 which ultimately threatens the sustainability of Iowa farms and being able to bring the next generation into the farm operation.

Members also urged lawmakers to get a new farm bill passed in 2023 which strengthens the farm safety net which protects farmers from loss from extreme weather events. Other issues shared by the Ag Leaders class included concerns about how the CRP program works and delays farmers experience when securing a loan through federal offices such as the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In each case members shared personal examples with their local elected officials detailing the impacts of policies on their farms.

The Washington, D.C. trip serves as the culmination of the year-long Ag Leaders Institute program designed to help participants gain an extensive background on agricultural issues, develop advocacy skills and build a network of leaders across Iowa. Graduates will be recognized at the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting, Dec. 5-6 in Des Moines.