When I became Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in January of this year, I had one primary goal: to ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers have the policies in place that they need to feed, fuel, and clothe the nation while ensuring stability and consistency for farmers, ranchers, consumers, markets, and rural communities. After all, agriculture is the foundation of our livelihood and the lifeblood of rural America. And, while our work will never be done, we are off to a great start.
Subcommittee Hears from Iowa's Farmers and Ranchers
SIOUX CENTER, IA, July 31 – Today, Rep. Robin Hayes, Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture, convened a hearing in Sioux Center, Iowa to hear from Iowa’s agricultural producers about current farm policy and gather input about future farm policy. This is the Subcommittee’s first field hearing to review agriculture programs in anticipation of reauthorizing the 2002 Farm Bill next year.
“Today, we are here in Iowa to gather feedback about how current farm policy is working in fields and on the farms of America’s agricultural producers. I am very happy to be here in Mr. King’s district and I thank him for inviting the Subcommittee to Sioux Center. Rep. King is a great voice in Congress for Iowa producers. He’s been very active in policy involving animal identification and has represented Iowa’s agricultural interests at most of the Agriculture Committee’s farm bill hearings. I am pleased to join my colleague and good friend today to hear from Iowa’s finest: Iowa’s farmers and ranchers,” said Subcommittee Chairman Hayes.
Recently, the House Committee on Agriculture completed a series of 11 field hearings to review federal farm policy in preparation for compiling the 2007 Farm Bill. The Subcommittee will be hearing from producers in various regions of the country the Full Committee did not visit in its farm bill field hearing series. The Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture maintains oversight over programs, inspections, and marketing involving livestock, poultry, meat, seafood and seafood products, and fruits and vegetables, as well as aquaculture, animal welfare, and grazing. These programs, as well as a variety of other farm bill programs, play a significant role in agricultural production in Iowa.
The hearing was hosted by Rep. Steve King who represents Iowa’s 5th Congressional District in Washington, DC. “The Agriculture Committee is working to gather input from all agriculture producers as we head to the negotiating table for the next farm bill,” said Rep. King. “Producers representing all of Iowa’s farm industry came to discuss the future of our nation’s farm policy. All new wealth comes from the land, and Iowa’s farmers are taking agriculture beyond producing food and fiber, to producing food, fiber, and fuel, which will help ensure our financial future.”
In 2004, Iowa’s total cash receipts for farm commodities totaled $15.9 billion, the third highest in the country. Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of pork, corn, soybeans, and eggs. Iowa’s producers are leaders in conservation practices as well. Iowa is first in the nation in number of acres set aside as riparian buffers, grassed waterways, contour buffer strips, field borders and other buffers on private farmlands to reduce soil erosion, protect water quality, and stabilize stream banks. As of March 31, 2006, Iowa had 514,680 acres enrolled in conservation programs. Additionally, Iowa is a leading ethanol producing state, producing 1.2 billion gallons a year.
The Subcommittee heard from two panels of witnesses representing Iowa agriculture including livestock, crop, vegetable, and grain producers. Subcommittee Chairman Hayes intends to convene several other hearings to gather feedback from a variety of U.S. producers. The next Subcommittee field hearing will be held in Missouri in August (details to be announced).
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be available on the Committee website 4-6 weeks following the hearing.
Mr. Bill Scheitler, Cattle Producer, LeMars, Iowa
Dr. Rexanne Struve, Hog Producer, Manning, Iowa
Mr. Mark Leonard, Cattle Producer, Holstein, Iowa
Mr. John Fluit, Jr., Cattle Producer, Inwood, Iowa
Mr. Tom Oswald, Soybean and Corn Producer, Cleghorn, Iowa
Mr. Dustin Bollig, Corn and Soybean Producer, Fenton, Iowa
Mr. Jim Meyer, Corn Producer, Odebolt, Iowa
Mr. Matt Schuiteman, Corn, Soybean and Hog Producer, Sioux Center, Iowa
Mr. Steve Rachut, Sweet Corn, Onion, Hay, Soybean and Corn Producer, Floyd, Iowa
Dr. Allan Kramer, Grain Producer, Sioux Center, Iowa