The Iowa Caucuses are behind us now. Mitt Romney took the overall win, Rick Santorum took farm areas and Ron Paul placed second in rural counties with his support of ethanol. However there's still a long way to go until the November election.
Pam Johnson, First Vice President of the National Corn Growers Association and an Iowa corn producer, had good things to say about the caucus.
“I just think is was a great process,” Johnson said. “Now that we have a snapshot of these candidates keep probing and asking the deep questions and making sure we’re all engaged and getting our message out too.”
Johnson also says a lot of important agriculture issues were asked about right upfront.
“When candidates come to Iowa of course the first question is where do they stand on ethanol and the future of ethanol going forward, so that was an important thing,” Johnson said. “And also as we enter in the farm bill discussions now, even though from the outside in, like I said, the farm economy looks good there are several issues that we need to explain to those candidates about how things change in the farm economy and what we as farmers need.”
While ethanol was still an important question it has become less of an issue than in previous caucuses because its growth and rising acceptance that it no longer needs tax credits and trade protection. That reduces the political importance of a fuel that once stood as a litmus test for candidates. Johnson says it all comes back to agriculture.
“You look at the ag economy but then you have to take a good, hard look at what the national economy is and the global economy,” Johnson said. “And all of those things just like affecting every consumer really can hit the farmer in his or her business."