A trio of former Iowa farm group leaders today renewed their complaints about the Iowa Farm Bureau’s endorsement of Democrat Senator Tom Harkin, who’s chairman of the Senate Ag Committee. Former American Farm Bureau president Dean Kleckner of Urbandale thought the Farm Bureau would endorse Harkin and his opponent, Republican Congressman Greg Ganske. Klecker says he was surprised, puzzled and still puzzled by the decision. He says he still supports the Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau’s political action committee cited Harkin’s work on the new Farm Bill, which Ganske voted against. Kleckner says farmers aren’t wild about that Farm Bill.Former Iowa Farm Bureau president Ed Wiederstein appointed the members of the group that picked Harkin instead of Gankse, and says he respects their decision.But Wiederstein says the move has energized farmers, as he says a lot of people have a long history with Senator Harkin and most of it, in Wiederstein’s opinion, “has not been pleasant.” Wiederstein says the only thing he can think of that Harkin’s done for farmers is the Farm Bill. But former National Corn Growers Association president Varel Bailey of Anita says the Farm Bill Harkin shepherded through the U-S Senate heads federal ag policy in the wrong direction, back toward “controlled production.”Bailey says the new U-S Farm Bill is strikingly similar to the five year plans the Soviet Union used to put out. Bailey, Wiederstein and Kleckner organized a news conference today at the state capitol.
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