Cowboy hats and polished boots have been a common sight around the grounds of the Iowa Statehouse in 2018. In addition to the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s lobbyist, who is at the Capitol daily, ICA has been using a boots-on-the-ground approach through the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program, the Cattlemen at the Capitol and the Iowa Youth Beef Team.
ICA is Iowa’s only membership organization dedicated to the needs of cattle producers. With more feedlots than any other state in the country, as well as a robust cow-calf and beef cattle seedstock industry, ICA’s 10,000 members play an important role in Iowa’s economy and communities.
Improving opportunities for cattle
Throughout the year, ICA staff and members work to build relationships with elected and regulatory officials, to protect and improve the opportunities for the cattle production in the state. In addition to events throughout the year with legislators, ICA keeps its members and priorities front and center during the legislative session.
The 2018 Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program visited the capitol Feb. 21. The 22-member class met with several elected officials, as well as Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. YCLP participants emphasized the importance of Iowa’s cattle industry, which contributes almost $7 million to the state’s economy annually.
The class also met with former Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp, DNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman and Steve Ferguson with the Iowa Finance Authority. These meetings provided the young leaders with a firsthand look at ways ICA works cooperatively with state agencies to protect and grow Iowa’s beef business.
Meetings with lawmakers
In March, the annual Cattlemen at the Capitol event brought beef industry leaders from around the state to Des Moines. “Though cattlemen’s priorities are represented at the capitol daily by ICA staff and lobbyists, meeting constituents from their district really strikes a chord with lawmakers,” says JanLee Rowlett, ICA’s regulatory and government affairs manager.
After visiting with the governor and legislators, the elected officials and cattle producers enjoyed a brisket lunch served by Madison County Youth Beef Team members. In conversations throughout the day, cattle producers shared their support for a new ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, as well as additional funds for the state’s Foreign Animal Disease response program.
“We’ve had great participation by members from around the state,” says ICA President David Trowbridge, a cattleman from Tabor in southwest Iowa. “Our lobbying effort has been effective, thanks to ICA’s presence at the capital this year. And we’ve been addressing issues to our legislators that affect not just our membership, but the entire beef industry.”
Youth Beef Team students meet lawmakers
A small group of Youth Beef Team students visited the capitol March 21 to continue to foster the relationships ICA members and staff have been building and to learn about their state’s political process.
Youth Beef Team is open to students in grades seven through 12 who are interested in learning more about the beef industry. This event gives the young participants a firsthand look at how issues which impact their opportunity to continue their families’ legacy of farming are addressed through legislation and regulation.
ICA staff and members will continue to lobby for the beef industry throughout the rest of this year’s legislative session, Trowbridge says.
After the 2018 Legislature adjourns this spring, ICA will gather input from producers this summer and fall to determine the organization’s 2019 policy priorities. Producers impacted by government rules and regulations who wish to ask questions or voice concerns should contact ICA.
Source: Iowa Cattlemen’s Association