Iowa Farm Bureau Elects Leaders At Annual Meeting

Iowa Farm Bureau Elects Leaders At Annual Meeting

Over 1,100 farmers attended Iowa Farm Bureau Federation meeting in Des Moines to elect leadership, discuss policy, listen to speakers on key issues.

 Editor's Note: To view and download photos of the election winners, click here.

 An eastern Iowa farmer, Joe Heinrich of Maquoketa was re-elected vice president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, or IFBF, at the organization's 94th annual meeting Dec. 4-5 in Des Moines. County delegates at the 2012 annual meeting also re-elected two district directors to the board. They include Carlton Kjos, District 1, of Decorah and Phil Sundblad, District 3, of Albert City. The board also elected challenger Mark Buskohl of Grundy Center as director of District 5.

94th ANNUAL MEETING: Iowa Farm Bureau members gathered in Des Moines last week and elected their leadership for 2013. Members heard from several key speakers on topics such as government regulation, transportation, animal welfare, the new farm bill, Iowa's new nutrient reduction strategy and other issues.

* Joe Heinrich was originally voted in as vice president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in 2011. He served as a member of the IFBF board of directors, representing District 6 in eastern Iowa. He and his family run a dairy and beef cow-calf farm with his nephew. Together, their diversified farm also grows corn, soybeans, oats and hay. Before Heinrich was elected to the board in 2004, he was active in both county and state Farm Bureau activities, serving as Jackson County president, vice president, voting delegate, young farmer chair and on the state internal study committee. Active in his local church and community, Heinrich also served as Jackson County Dairy Association county president and on the Jackson County Extension Council. Heinrich is a graduate of Kirkwood Community College. He and his wife, Shelley, have two daughters.

* Carlton Kjos, a re-elected board member, represents District 1, which consists of 11 counties in northeast Iowa. He was first elected to the position in 2006. Carlton has served in numerous leadership capacities as a Farm Bureau member, which includes county president, vice president, voting delegate, internal study committee, AFBF voting delegate, PAC committee member, and chairman of the beef advisory committee.

Additionally, Kjos was a member of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors and chairman of the Winneshiek County Planning and Zoning Commission. He was a board member of the Oneota Care Facility and served on the board of Spectrum Industries.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Kjos is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He and wife, Cynthia, raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats, and have a cow/calf herd. Their Winneshiek County farm has been in the family since 1862.

* Phil Sundblad, who also won re-election, represents District 3, which consists of 12 counties in northwest Iowa. He was first elected to the position in 2000. Before Sundblad was elected to the board in November 2000, he served in many leadership positions for the Buena Vista County Farm Bureau, including president, vice president, voting delegate and treasurer. Sundblad currently serves as president of a locally-owned wind farm in Palo Alto County -- Crosswind Energy, LLC; chairman of the Food Board for Albert City Threshermen and Collectors; chairman of IOWA AgSTATE and is active in his local church. He and wife Brenda grow corn and soybeans and have two children.

* Mark Buskohl is the newly-elected District 5 Board member. That district consists of 11 counties in central Iowa. Buskohl and wife Nancy run a diversified cow, cattle, sheep, hay and grain farm near Grundy Center. Active in his local community and church, Buskohl has also served in many Farm Bureau leadership positions including county president, vice president and voting delegate. He most recently served as a member of the state internal study committee.

The IFBF delegates also elected five members to represent Iowa at the 2013 American Farm Bureau Federation, or AFBF, convention in Nashville, Tenn. They are Jim Boyer of Ringsted, David Hommel of Eldora, Kevin Krumwiede of Ledyard, Karen Seipold of Hastings and Kyle Holthaus of Waukon. Guy Petersen of Wyoming (Jones County) was elected to a three-year term on the IFBF internal study committee. Dave Seil of Gowrie (Webster County) was elected to the internal study committee to complete a one-year term vacated by Mark Buskohl. The internal study committee serves as a liaison between the county Farm Bureau voting delegates and the state board of directors.

Transportation issues, farm succession planning and many other topics

The diverse crowd of farmers, community and business leaders filled the newly-remodeled Vet's Auditorium to listen to speakers and to discuss animal welfare, water quality, changing markets and future trends at the meeting in Des Moines. Those trends include transportation issues, farm succession planning and environmental regulations and nutrient runoff management, as well as how to cope with the increasing number of state and federal regulations on livestock production. They also discussed issues related to the new 2012 Farm Bill being formulated in Washington, D.C.

IFBF President Craig Hill told members that "Iowa farmers met many challenges in 2012 and thanks to their innovation, were able to overcome drought and market risks."  The future-forward direction of Farm Bureau and Iowa's farmers also brought several key leaders to the annual meeting. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad spoke to farmers about the pending federal fiscal cliff that the U.S. Congress and President Obama are trying to work out an agreement on. Branstad also talked about government over-regulation, and explained his views regarding the newly-unveiled Iowa Nutrient Strategy Plan, which the governor said he fully supports.

Support voluntary approach to nutrient management rather than regulations

An in-depth discussion forum on the 2012 Nutrient Management Strategy drew capacity crowds at the IFBF meeting. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship water quality specialist Dean Lemke and Iowa State University ag engineering professor and researcher Matt Helmers led the discussion and answered many questions from farmers. The water quality plan, officially titled the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, provides several scenarios for conservation measures that would impact nutrient run-off from fields into lakes, streams and rivers in Iowa, and farther down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. ~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Northey said a science-based voluntary approach to conservation and nutrient management works best with all farmers. "I do believe now is the time for farmers to find these practices that work in our own operation, to figure out how we each can do a better job; this is voluntary,  science-based, but it does not work if we don't put them on our farms.  We want to tell the story that we are making progress. It's a better alternative than one size fits all regulation that limits choices," said Northey.  Farmers were encouraged to familiarize themselves with the water quality plan and participate in the online public comment period by going to the nutrient reduction strategy website.

A look at the changing face of farming, consumer expectations for animal welfare

The 94th Annual Farm Bureau meeting also crew capacity crowds to hear keynote speakers Temple Grandin and Lowell Catlett. Grandin, one of the nation's most-renown animal welfare and livestock handling facility designer, talked about the changing face of farming and consumer expectations of animal welfare. Her lively, off-the-cuff talk encouraged farmers to travel and 'see how the world sees you' when it comes to animal handling practices on the farm. She says today's farmers have 'made great strides' in how they care for their animals compared to the 1970s and 1980s when she first started working with farmers and slaughterhouses.

Economic 'futurist' Lowell Catlett also energized the Farm Bureau crowd by talking about innovation in technology and health care, and how farmers are ideally positioned to 'blow the doors off' of expectations because of their knack for finding better ways to raise animals, grow crops or feed the world. He says one day, farmers may be using specially-equipped cell phones to analyze cattle and crop health.

The IFBF meeting brought education opportunities for farmers, celebrated innovation and also covered the business of the day, including leadership elections. For more information about IFBF's 94th Annual Meeting, including a detailed list of award winners, photos and IFBF President Craig Hill's Annual Meeting address, visit the IFBF website.

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