Senators fan out for Farm Bill listening sessions

Market to Market | Clip
Apr 14, 2023 | 3 min

Three members of the Senate Agriculture Committee heard from Iowa commodity groups this week on ideas for inclusion in the next Farm Bill. 


Listening sessions focusing on the next Farm Bill continued this week in Ames, Iowa. Three members of the Senate’s Agriculture committee heard from various Iowa farm groups.  

Sen. John Boozman, R - Arkansas: “it's all about a way of life, it's all about producing the cheapest, safest food supply of any place in the world. The Farm Bill is only about 14% now about farmers. And so we want to make sure that you're well represented. I'm a co chair of the hunger caucus, I understand how important the nutrition programs are, and we're going to support those.” 

Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, who is the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was invited to Iowa by fellow committee members Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.  All three are Republicans.  

Dennis Friest, Iowa Corn Board of Directors: Mexico on the GMO corn issue. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. That's our best market and corn. So that's a big thing.”

Many of the issues brought up were specific to a commodity as comments moved down the line for each of the titles under Congressional review. 

Trish Cook, President, Iowa Pork Producers Association: “The vaccine bank is really important in the Farm Bill. What keeps me up at night is African Swine Fever being a pig producer. And of course, there is no vaccine for that. But for years, we have been asking for money about a vaccine bank for Foot and Mouth Disease.”

Wendy Wintersteen, President, Iowa State University: “How does agricultural research be respected and funded as other federal research agencies are funded at very high levels in comparison.”

Grant Kimberley, Iowa Soybean Association: “About a third of our soybeans are destined for China. They are the largest market for soybeans by far. And there is China by 60% of the world's globally traded soybeans. So there's no market that really can replace them.”

According to Boozman, crop insurance and the ARC and PLC safety nets remain top priorities for producers. The Senator also has heard calls for conservation funding and pandemic planning. However, trade is the one big issue being brought up at every stop on the tour. 

Sen. John Boozman, R - Arkansas: “it's a great opportunity right now, because we do need to diversify from China, for all kinds of different reasons. But the other thing too, when you go to Cambodia, when you go to Asia. They want to diversify too, you know, they don't want to put all their eggs in that basket. And so it's just a good opportunity right now. And again, I'm not being partisan on this, but I think even our Democrat colleagues would agree that we haven't done a good job with trade administration's come and go, we really do have to figure that out.”

For Market to Market, I’m David Miller.