In The Farm Bill, Protecting The Productivity Of Iowa Agriculture

Feb 02, 2023

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With our total output ranking second in the nation, Iowa agriculture is truly a productivity powerhouse. We are blessed to grow and raise significantly more than we, ourselves, can consume. Therefore, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to help provide for consumers all over the globe. And Iowans can be immensely proud of that. In our individual roles as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and as a Member of Congress on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, we are well positioned to serve Iowans and deliver real results for our farmers, families, and rural communities this year and beyond.

Farming is a way of life that can be deeply rewarding. One in five jobs in Iowa is connected to agriculture and agriculture is the lifeblood of our economy. But it also brings about daunting challenges. From uncertainty of the weather, markets, and animal diseases to high input costs, supply chain disruptions, and record inflation, there is risk involved with providing the food and fuel that consumers depend upon.

This year, Congress is slated to draft and debate a new Farm Bill and it’s one important way that policymakers in Washington can demonstrate they are focused on the needs of our state. We need a strong, comprehensive Farm Bill that helps farmers manage risk, drives conservation progress, provides effective nutrition assistance for those in need, and invests in long-term rural development. From conservation, energy and trade to nutrition, crop insurance and rural development, every title of the Farm Bill impacts Iowa agriculture. In our many conversations with constituents, we hear the need for fairness and transparency in the cattle market, greater access to foreign markets, consistent crop insurance protections, fair tax policies, solutions to the supply chain crisis, and less red tape. We also need strong protections for biofuels to lower gas prices, build market demand, and protect our environment.

Secondly, our tax policies must be fair, consistent, and accountable. We will fight back against attempts to cap like-kind changes, eliminate step-up in basis, or increase the estate tax, all of which would raise taxes on farmers, disincentivize economic investment in rural America, and threaten the continuation of multi-generational family farms.

Lastly, we need trade agreements that allow our producers to compete fairly and openly in international markets. In recent months, Mexico, which accounts for 25% of American corn exports, has reiterated its intentions to ban biotech corn imports by 2025. This decree violates the USMCA trade agreement and would slash $3.5 billion from our economy, eliminate thousands of jobs nationwide, and devastate Iowa’s economy. As the top corn-producing state in the nation, we will continue to champion trade policies that open foreign markets. When Iowa farmers can compete on a level playing field, nobody else in the world can beat our products.

With a new Farm Bill on the horizon and other consequential tax and trade matters ahead, we urge farmers, producers, and taxpayers to get involved, make your opinions heard, and engage with your elected officials. Our offices stand ready to listen and help.

Iowa’s communities are depending on Iowa agriculture to remain productive now and well into the future. Our farmers are resilient, and with the right policies, we can and will persevere despite the many challenges. Moving forward, we must ensure that we have the conditions that allow us to successfully meet the needs of consumers at home and abroad. Just as crops and livestock need the right conditions to thrive, so do our families, farms, businesses, and communities. How favorable those conditions are will be determined by what happens in Washington in the year ahead.

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