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Farm Bill passage receives mixed reaction from Iowa organizations

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 11:14 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 2:13 p.m. CST
(Kate Malott/Daily News)
Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville and tPresident of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, and his organization have shown support for the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

When the 2014 Agricultural Act, more commonly known as the Farm Bill, was signed by President Barack Obama, it was very well-received by many and ended an ongoing process of speculation and negotiations.

A lot of the positive comments on the Farm Bill have come from some of Iowa’s most prominent agriculture supporters and organizations.

“We are pleased to see some common sense finally prevail in Washington, D.C. in order to reach this compromise,” Lynnville farmer and President Iowa Corn Growers Association President Roger Zylstra said in ICGA release. “We are particularly satisfied  that we are maintaining and strengthening crop insurance along with a market orientated farm safety net. As we approach planting, it is reassuring to see some certainty in farm planning.”

Iowa’s politicians have also been very supportive of the Farm Bill finally passing. Rep. Dave Loebasack, who has been a strong supporter of measure, commented on the matter.

“While this legislation is long past due and does not contain everything I would have included, I am pleased that Congress finally came together and completed a long-term, bipartisan farm bill,” Loebsack said. “This bill contains much needed reforms, lowers the deficit, and provides farmers and rural communities with the stability they need. “

While a majority of Iowans seem to be rejoicing in the bill’s passing, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association felt its industry was handed the short end of the stick on the matter. ICA released a collective statement on the matter.

“The final bill passed by the U.S. Senate and House did not provide any solutions for mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. The current rules, which require muscle meats to be labeled with the locations of the birth, care and slaughter of the animal, have been challenged by Canada and Mexico, the number two and three markets for U.S. beef.

“Currently, those two countries add nearly $2 billion to the U.S. economy through their beef purchases. Both countries are challenging the implementation of mCOOL by the U.S.; if the U.S. loses, Canada and Mexico have each indicated they will implement 100-percent tariffs (taxes) on beef products brought into their countries.

“mCOOL will add expenses to the work of cow/calf producers and cattle feeders. It will also increase costs for consumers, and that is not positive in today’s beef market … Mostly, the cattle community is disappointed that the conference committee did not include language to handle the issue in the final farm bill. Both the U.S. House and Senate had adopted.”

The Iowa Soybean Association also acknowledged the measure was in no ways a perfect resolution, but the organization has thrown its support towards it.

“After years of delay, a bipartisan agreement has been reached on important food and farm policy that will guide decisions by farmers while continuing to provide security for all Americans,” ISA President Brian Kemp said in a release.

“The new five-year farm bill is not perfect but does address key production, demand and conservation priorities raised by the (ISA) on behalf of Iowa’s nearly 45,000 soybean farmers,” Kemp said. “We now look forward to working closely with the American Soybean Association, Iowa soybean farmers and local, state and national officials to ensure its successful implementation.”

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