The Iowa Corn Growers Association has launched an effort to form a relationship with the presidential candidates campaigning in the state. Bruce Rohwer is the organization’s Political Action Committee chair and a farmer from Paullina in northwest Iowa. He says the Corn Caucus Project’s goal is to discuss important agricultural issues with all the campaigns.
“That gives us an opportunity to get our positions across to these candidates, so they can have an understanding of agriculture,” Rohwer said. “Not every candidate comes from the Midwest or Iowa and they, quite frankly, have a lot to learn.” The Iowa Corn Growers Association will not endorse a candidate, but Rohwer says the group will be pushing candidate to keep “safety nets” in place like the Crop Insurance Program.
“Likewise, the Title One Commodity funds in the past have been utilized when agriculture was in a downturn – which we’re not right now, but we know agriculture is cyclical,” Rohwer said. “There may come a time when we need assistance again, so we would like to see some funding be available.”
The Corn Caucus Project will also include a policy survey for candidates and media tracking. Rohwer says corn growers will get involved in the campaigns by volunteering and attending candidate events. He notes it’s worthwhile to meet with candidates who fail to win the party’s nomination.
“Some go back to legislative work, whether it be the House or Senate, and hopefully we’ve been able to give them a better understanding of what agriculture is in America,” Rohwer said. The Corn Growers Association will evaluate candidate positions on corn policy issues and share the results with its members, other agricultural groups and the media prior to the Iowa Caucuses in February 2012.