Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation held a virtual 2020 business session Dec. 18 to elect leaders, with only county voting delegates invited to participate in person.
In lieu of IFBF’s traditional in-person breakout sessions and program this year, IFBF’s annual meeting provided a closer look at lessons learned through COVID-19. “Our goal was ensuring the safety of members while still providing the valuable information they’ve come to expect from our annual meeting educational sessions,” says IFBF President Craig Hill. “Despite not being able to meet in-person in Des Moines this year, we were able to share the expertise of a fantastic lineup of speakers through our webinar series and recognize and acknowledge our outstanding county leaders and award winners virtually.”
Joe Heinrich of Maquoketa was reelected IFBF vice president, a position he has held since 2011. Heinrich was first elected to the IFBF board in 2004, representing District 6. Heinrich has served as Jackson County president, vice president, voting delegate and young farmer chair, and served on the state internal study committee.
Andy Hill of Manly was reelected to the IFBF board in District 2, representing Kossuth, Humboldt, Winnebago, Hancock, Wright, Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Mitchell, Floyd and Butler counties. Hill has been an AFBF voting delegate and is a past chair of the AFBF Budget and Economy Issue Advisory Committee.
Rick Plowman of Douds was reelected to the IFBF board in District 7, representing Muscatine, Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren and Lee counties. Plowman has held several offices in the Van Buren County Farm Bureau, including president and voting delegate. He has served on the Hay and Forage Advisory Committee for both IFBF and AFBF.
Will Frazee of Emerson was re-elected to the IFBF board in District 9, representing East and West Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Fremont, Page, Taylor and Ringgold counties. Frazee previously served as president and vice president of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau and on the State Resolutions Committee. He also has served as the chair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council and was a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Distinguished Service to Ag
For the past four decades, IFBF’s Distinguished Service to Ag honors individuals who have played a significant role in the agricultural industry at the local, state or national level. This year’s honorees are Dave and Pam Boli and Tom Baas. The Bolins and Baas received plaques honoring their extensive achievements and dedication and service to agriculture.
Both Dave and Pam Bolin come from families with years of service through Farm Bureau and the dairy industry. The Bolins have served on the Butler County Farm Bureau Board since 1981 and were active in growing IFBF’s Young Farmer program in the 1980s. Dave currently serves as Butler County’s voting delegate. Today, the Bolins and their son and daughter-in-law operate a dairy on the family’s 125-year old farm.
Baas has left his mark on agriculture not only through the research, technology and industry advancement he led, but also through the hundreds of students he inspired over a 21-year career in education at Iowa State University and ISU Extension. Baas is renowned as a leading researcher in ultrasound technology in swine breeding, playing a leading role in industry advancements improving animal genetics and the quality of pork in the grocery store meat case.
Young Farmer Leadership
Three young Iowa farmers received the IFBF Young Farmer Leadership Award for their work in agriculture and within their communities. Heath Blomquist of Guthrie County, Laura Cunningham of Floyd County, and Kate Edwards of Johnson County were presented the award.
Blomquist, who farms with his family near Guthrie Center, raising corn, beans and hogs, has participated in the local STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) festival in local schools to help younger students learn about opportunities in agriculture. He and his father are working with the Guthrie County Farm Bureau to build a tractor cab simulator to engage with older students. He’s also been a leader in Guthrie County Farm Bureau’s “Grocery Cart Race” program, which highlights real food facts and raises donations for local food pantries serving those in need.
Cunningham is marketing manager for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, and along with her husband, Aaron, operate a cow-calf herd and have built a direct-to-consumer beef business, Sky View Beef. Cunningham has led Floyd County Farm Bureau’s “Farm to Fork” dinners, connecting the community with local farmers to have conversations about modern ag over a locally-sourced meal.
After working in the Twin Cities, Kate Edwards moved back to her home state of Iowa and started a vegetable farm in Johnson County. Edwards founded a Community Supported Agriculture marketing program, where members buy shares in the farm’s harvest. Today, her CSA, Wild Woods Farm, is one of the largest in Iowa, with over 200 members. The farm grows a variety of produce on around 10 acres.
Learn more at iowafarmbureau.com/annualmeeting.Source: Iowa Farm Bureau, which is responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and its subsidiaries aren’t responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.