Six state commodity and farm groups have formed a new coalition aimed at helping Iowa’s livestock farmers. Tim Niess is a regional manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and will also serve as executive director of the new “Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.” Niess says the coalition believes it’s critical to help livestock farmers survive and prosper in the state. He says farmers will be able to ask the coalition for help on a variety of issues dealing with their operations.He says once they ask for help, they’re going to do a background check on applicants and find out, “have they been a good neighbor to this point.” Niess says they’ll then conduct a detail survey of the applicant’s operation.He says they’ll find out what it is they need to do and then put the right people in place to help them “make those responsible changes that they need.”Niess says the coalition will serve as a clearinghouse for information on starting, maintaining and making changes to a livestock operations. He says there are professionals in the state that have made it their job to put together manure-management plans, to get through the regulation process. He says the coalition will help match farmers to the right person. Niess says they’ll also work to tell the rest of Iowa about the importance of livestock operations in the state. He says if there are skills that’re lacking in the average farmer, it’s in the public relations area. Niess says the coalition will help farmers communicate the message of the economic importance of livestock operations. He says farmers will adhere to the coalition’s “Good Neighbor Statement.” Niess was asked if farmers have lost the P-R battle with vocal opposition to some livestock facilities.”No, we’re not losing that battle. Research we’ve done prior to starting this organization proves just the opposite.” He says that research shows 78-percent of Iowans support a viable livestock industry when it means farmers will be staying and raising their families. Niess says the services won’t cost farmers anything as they get going. He says all the partner groups have committed to contributing, and he says they also have contributions from farmers and individuals who’re committed to what they’re doing. Niess farmers may be asked to contribute for the services as the organization moves forward. The coalition includes the Iowa Cattlemens Association, the Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Pork Producers Council, Iowa Poultry Producers Association, and the Soybean Association. For more information on the coalition, call 515-225-5414, or surf to:www.supportiowasfarmers.org.
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