Today (Tuesday) The Iowa Farm Bureau opens its 87th annual meeting. Eastern Iowa dairy farmer Craig Lang, who’s president of the Farm Bureau, says they’ll talk about what interests the 154-thousand members. The price of crops, he says, listing also livestock, renewable energy, pickup licenses, property payments and taxes.
Lang says when the Farm Bureau started 87 years ago, it was important to have a voice in legislation at the state level, and he says now they’ve taken it to the capitol, to Washington, D.C., and to the international level. Lang says members of the Farm Bureau fine-tune their position on farm issues at these meetings, and the rest of the year they “stay on message” when they’re talking with their local, state or national policy and law makers. Those positions include growing the ethanol industry, Lang says, from its current Billion-gallon production into a two-Billion-gallon industry, which would add millions of dollars to the landscape. He says they also want to grow the livestock industry, “in a friendly, neighborly way.”
Lang says Iowa’s livestock industry is smaller today than it was in the 1970s. The cattle on feed total almost half what their numbers were in the 70s, Lang says, but adds it’s important to have enough animals to feed all the byproducts of the ethanol generating process. With fewer landowners, he says the issue of property-tax is changing today, too.
As farmers he says they work diligently with their neighbors in the city to make sure there’s the proper tax structure in Iowa. Seminars today (Tuesday) are on partnering between different generations of farmers.
How to transfer the wealth of agriculture to the next generation, he explains — so the new farmers have opportunity like today’s did. He says with the cost of machinery and land, it’s expensive for young farmers to get started in farming. Estate planning, wills and taxes will make up a lot of the advice at those seminars. The annual Farm Bureau meeting runs today through Thursday in Des Moines.