Farm Bill Education

Beth Ellen Doran, ISU Extension Beef Field Specialist, Northwest Area


The 2002 Farm Bill will expire within the next year.  The new Farm Bill contains ten titles impacting agriculture and rural communities.  However, the provisions in the new bill are under construction and subject to revision.  ISU Extension staff need to be informed about various aspects of the Farm Bill as it relates to Extension and our clients.  This education must then be shared with stakeholders to help them understand the various aspects of the new proposed legislation, to enable them to present their views to policy makers and to ultimately determine the final version of the Farm Bill. 


On April 5 at a NW Iowa staff meeting the question, What is Extensions response to the new proposed Farm Bill? was directed to Mary Holz-Clause.  The rest of the summer would involve four programming efforts to address this question.

A listening session on the Farm Bill was sponsored by Senator Harkin at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City on April 14.  Selected NW Extension staff Beth Doran, Beef Field Specialist; Abigail Gaffey, Communities Specialist; Sherry McGill, Woodbury County CEED; and Don Nitchie, AEED - were asked by ISU administration to present comments relative to the Rural Development title.  I spoke about Extension value-added programs that foster rural development.  Senator Harkin noted my comments about value-added pork production, Extensions role in value-added agriculture programming and broadband internet access.

A series of four Lunch and Learn sessions dealing with various titles of the Farm Bill were organized and facilitated by NW area staff.  The sessions were as follows: June 1 An Overview of the Federal Farm Bill Titles by Chad Hart (Paul Brown, facilitator); June 15 Rural Development Title by Mark Edelman (Al Grigg, facilitator); July 13 Food Security and Nutrition Title IV by Helen Jensen (Denise Wyland, facilitator); July 31 Conservation, Nutrition, and Energy: The Greening of Federal Farm Policy by John Moreland, Staff Assistant to Senator Tom Harkin (Beth Doran, facilitator).  A total of 25 staff attended the July 31 Lunch and Learn session.          

A Pasture Walk was held on August 8 in Woodbury County and co-sponsored by ISU Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Soil and Water Conservation District in Woodbury County and the Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council.  One of the featured speakers was Wayne Brincks, Agricultural Representative for Congressman Steve King.  Wayne spoke about the impact of 2007 Farm Bill on cow-calf producers.  Despite a rainy afternoon and evening, 38 producers attended. 

On August 21, a Beef Facilities Tour, sponsored by ISU Extension, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Coalition to Support Iowas Farmers, was held in Lyon and Sioux Counties.  During the noon hour, Congressman Steve King was a surprise guest and visited briefly with 124 producers about the 2007 Farm Bill and environmental policy.


Senator Harkin wrote to people who commented at the Listening Session.  He stated, I appreciate the fact that so many people were willing to share comments, observations, and ideasI want the Farm Bill to meet Iowas needs and theres no better way to get unfiltered input than to hear directly from IowansRural communities struggle to keep up in economic growth and job creation.  The upcoming Farm Bill is the single most important piece of federal legislation designed to make a positive difference in rural AmericaPlease continue to keep in touch about the important issues concerning Americas rural communities and farms.

The July 31 Lunch and Learn session had several impacts.  First, John Moreland directly experienced the benefits of broadband access and the capability of internet technology for distance education.  Comments from ISU Extension staff were positive.  One field specialist wrote, Interesting information from Johnand good/interesting questionsIm glad I tuned in.  Mary Holz-Clause remarked, Thanks for taking a leadership role on the Farm Bill and arranging for Senator Harkins office to present.  I thought the event went very well and there were some excellent questions.

At the Pasture Walk, Wayne Brincks shared that the 2007 Farm Bill will include provisions to continue the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, but funding for the Conservation Security Program has been reduced.  There would be no working lands program in the new bill.  This message was received by more than just the 38 producers who attended that evening.  Dennis Morrice, farm correspondent for KMEG television in Sioux City, interviewed Wayne and aired the feature the following morning in Northwest Iowa.

Congressman King commented at the Beef Facilities tour about environmental funding in the new Farm Bill for open feedlots and then asked for questions and comments.  Feedlot producers requested that he work on better interagency (USDA, NRCS, EPA and DNR) communication and cooperation.

140 Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: February 26, 2008
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