Supporting Iowa's livestock and poultry producers is considered the single most important policy priority of the Iowa Soybean Association for the 2008 state legislative session, as determined by ISA directors at the January board meeting.
ISA directors chose pursuit of strong ag research programs focused primarily on increasing soybean yield as their No. 2 legislative priority. This is followed very closely by support for environmental management and water quality efforts led by farmers. John Heisdorffer of Keota, ISA president-elect and chair of ISA's public affairs committee, says these three top priorities are interconnected.
"Livestock and poultry producers are the top users of Iowa-grown soybean meal," he says. "Research to increase yield makes supplies of meal more plentiful for livestock feed and other uses as well. When soybean growers support research to develop specialized practices for odor control and better ways to store, handle and apply manure for crop production, they help maintain the health of the livestock industry and address environmental issues at the same time."
Biotechnology, biodiesel also on the list
Support for biotechnology products and helping to expand acceptance of biotech products, ranked as ISA's fourth priority. Support for incentives for biodiesel and increasing blends of biodiesel fuel ranked fifth.
"From a biotechnology standpoint, the more countries that will accept biotech beans, the stronger and more consistent our international markets will become," says Dan Beenken, an ISA director from Bancroft. "And supporting and promoting biodiesel use in the state and nationally makes sense for the nation's energy supplies and for the environment, as well."
Heisdorffer adds, "All of our policy priorities are intended to help insure that Iowa growers can continue to profit from soybean production."
He says ISA will continue to work with Iowa legislators, Iowa regulatory agencies, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and with Iowa's Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. to be sure ISA's legislative priorities are understood by government decision makers. For more information about ISA's legislative process and policies, contact Carol Balvanz, director of policy, at 515-251-8640.