The November election will give Republicans control of both houses of the Iowa Legislature next year as well as the governor’s mansion for the first time in 20 years.

Iowa Farmers Union President Jana Linderman says having the GOP control the debate agenda in the Iowa House and Senate may create some challenges for her group and its policies.

“When one party controls both those chambers, there tends to be less leverage to get things done,” Linderman says. “I’m looking particularly at our agenda around local foods and pesticide drift, protecting some of our horticulture farmers, our organic farmers and others that are interested in those issues. Those might tend to be less popular.”

Linderman says the farmers union got backing on water quality improvement efforts from legislators in both chambers last session.

“Water quality, I’m hopeful there’s enough bipartisan support for moving forward, that there will continue to be at least a good discussion and good energy behind getting something done this session,” she says. “That remains to be seen but I’m hopeful there will still be lots of opportunity for engagement on that set of issues.”

Linderman says her group can work with either party on important agricultural issues as she says the farmers union has always been a non-partisan organization.

“We’re typically identified as being on the progressive side of a lot of policies but, in fact, our members write our policies and what’s most important to us is finding elected officials who are willing to support us on specific issues,” Linderman says. “Really, I prefer working with people on both sides of the aisle because you get more done that way.”

Besides gearing up to work with state lawmakers on ag issues, Linderman says her group is getting ready for its state convention in the next couple of weeks and will be talking about the need to get going on a new farm bill at the national level.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton