Iowa Farm Bureau members re-elected Craig Hill of Ackworth to a two-year term as president of the organization at its 101st annual meeting Dec. 3-4 in Des Moines. The Warren County farmer has served as president of IFBF since 2011.
His leadership began with the Warren County Farm Bureau before being elected as the District 8 representative on the state board in 1989, and he later served as IFBF vice president from 2001 to 2011. As IFBF president, Hill serves as chairman of the board of FBL Financial Group Inc. and Farm Bureau Life Cos. In addition, he serves on the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors. Hill and wife Patti have a daughter, Abbie, and son, Adam, who helps grow corn and soybeans, and raise livestock on their Warren County farm.
State board of directors
At the recent annual meeting, IFBF delegates also re-elected Brent Johnson of Calhoun County as District 4 director, and elected Joe Dierickx of Clinton County as District 6 director and Tim Kaldenberg of Monroe County as District 8 director.
Johnson grows corn and soybeans, raises beef cattle, and owns an independent precision ag company specializing in GPS soil sampling, precision ag equipment, data management and the deployment of UAVs for data analysis. Serving on the IFBF board, Johnson represents 11 counties in west-central Iowa: Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Calhoun, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon and Guthrie. He previously served on the Calhoun County Farm Bureau board of directors, chaired the IFBF Young Farmer Committee, and served as a Calhoun County soil commissioner. Brent and wife LuAnn have a daughter, Kaeli, and a married son, Matt.
Dierickx farms with his brother, Paul, growing corn and soybeans in addition to custom-planting, harvesting and spraying. Dierickx will represent 11 counties in east-central Iowa: Tama, Benton, Linn, Jones, Jackson, Poweshiek, Iowa, Johnson, Cedar, Clinton and Scott. Dierickx has held several leadership positions with the Clinton County Farm Bureau and has served on the Farm Bureau PAC committee, chaired the IFBF Internal Study Committee and served as an AFBF voting delegate. Dierickx and wife Barbara have three adult children, Sara, Scott and Kristen, all alums of Iowa State University.
Kaldenberg farms in Monroe County raising a beef cow-calf herd and feeder cattle and grows corn, soybeans and hay. He will represent 10 counties in south- central Iowa: Madison, Warren, Marion, Mahaska, Clarke, Lucas, Monroe, Decatur, Wayne and Appanoose. Kaldenberg has held many leadership positions with Monroe County Farm Bureau, served as IFBF Young Farmer Committee chair, and currently chairs the Monroe County Cattlemen’s Association. Tim and wife Cindy have a son, Layne, a senior at Iowa State University, and a daughter Lauren, a senior in high school.
Representing Iowa at AFBF convention
Nine delegates were elected to represent Iowa at the upcoming AFB annual national convention Jan. 17-22 in Austin, Texas. They are IFBF President Craig Hill, Warren County; IFBF vice president Joe Heinrich, Jackson County; Rick Plowman, Van Buren County; Karen Seipold, Mills County; Dave Bolin, Butler County; Leo Stephas, Clay County; Brent Lorimor, Fremont County; Darrick Hall, Jones County; and Mike Kleitsch, Poweshiek County.
Bryan Reed of Monroe County was elected to a three-year term on the IFBF internal study committee. That committee serves as a liaison between the county Farm Bureau voting delegates and the state board of directors.
Iowa farmers gathered in Des Moines for the 101st IFBF annual meeting at the downtown Convention Center. The program focused on the “People, Progress and Pride” of agriculture in 2019. “Despite the many economic, weather and regulatory challenges facing farmers, agriculture remains the strongest sector driving the state’s economy, accounting for one out of every five jobs in Iowa,” Hill said in his welcoming address.
New ideas, motivational messages
Hill said the 101-year-old grassroots organization remains strong because of the innovative programs and ideas that ensure the sustainability of farming today. He talked about how the IFBF mission of “People, Progress and Pride” fortified members in many ways in 2019. “We know that true greatness of Iowa agriculture stems from our people. People who work hard every day to build their farming operations, care for their families and support their communities.
“That sense of caring for others showed through clearly earlier this year, as flooding overwhelmed farms and communities of southwest Iowa, as well as parts of Nebraska,” Hill noted. “Farm Bureau members and county Farm Bureaus stepped up to provide meals to those working day and night to clean up flooded farms, homes and businesses. In times of need, members respond. And when it comes to ‘progress,’ we need look no further than the role of efficiency in agriculture.”
In 1950, for example, the U.S. dairy herd was 25 million cows, he pointed out. Today, it is 9 million cows, yet milk production is up 60%. And the carbon footprint from milk has been reduced by two-thirds. “This is an astounding and remarkable accomplishment, just one of many in today’s agriculture,” Hill said. “We should be proud of our people, our progress and the way our organization comes together and remains strong through grassroots advocacy. That’s what got us through 100 years and will keep us strong for 100 more.”