Iowa Farm Bureau proposals win national approval
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation farmers brought forth and won national approval of several key issues during the American Farm Bureau Federation national convention this week in Nashville, Tennessee.
One particular issue that won overwhelming national support was the continuation of the Renewable Fuels Standard, an over-arching federal policy to encourage development and use of renewable fuels of all types. "Renewable fuels have been important to the continued economic growth of the Midwest for decades, which include expansion and development of all kinds of green energy including cellulosic, biomass-based diesel, sugar ethanol and next-generation renewable corn ethanol," said Craig Hill, IFBF president. "This is an opportunity for our nation because we all know we must work to end our nation's reliance on foreign fuels." AFBF approved Iowa's proposal to continue support of RFS targets as well as retaining Environmental Protect Agency administrator authority to waive the RFS if conditions merit, such as a national drought or other unforeseen circumstances.
Another priority issue for many families in Iowa involves proposed changes in the nation's school lunch program. IFBF policy supports a school lunch program that promotes a balanced meal containing dairy products, eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables and grains to make sure every child has their nutritional and caloric needs met for proper growth. "But when it comes to school lunch, it's not always a case where the government knows best. Local school districts should have authority in this, and the current guidelines are too restrictive and inflexible, especially when it comes to those who want to bring their own school lunches, such as athletes or those with dietary or health restrictions," said Hill. Several states agreed with those points and AFBF policy was adopted.
Another food safety issue that IFBF members proposed included the headline-making issue of milk pasteurization. "We believe in consumer food choices, but for the protection of consumer health, raw milk sales should not be permitted across state lines. If someone wants to consume unpasteurized milk from their own supply, that's up to them, but generations of food science should be the guide on this issue," said Hill. AFBF policy was adopted on this issue.
The 2012 farm bill, which recently won an extension, is still a key concern for AFBF members. "The lack of action in Congress that led to this extension amounts to 'kicking the can down the road' and it leaves farmers and consumers with a lot of uncertainty. Farming today is a capital intensive business that requires long-term investment decisions, not only for production and risk management, but also for conservation, investment in grain storage facilities, etc., that are frankly very difficult to make when not knowing the rules of the game. With real risks such as a continuing drought staring us down in 2013, the passage of a new farm bill is key. Our farmers found national support today for the continuation of crop insurance, to cover big risks such as drought and other natural disasters." Hill added.
For more information on AFBF-approved resolutions, leadership awards or to hear IFBF farmers discuss key issues from the AFBF annual convention, visit the media section of www.iowafarmbureau.com.
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa. More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.