State Officials Show Support for North Iowa

FARM BILL VO 6

ORCHARD, IA - Iowa State officials are taking a tour to get a first-hand look at the flood damage left in north Iowa.

It’s not every day you find Iowa State officials show up at your door asking for your thoughts but for one north Iowa farmer it was a pleasant surprise.

On their way to survey flood damage from earlier this spring, officials make a stop at one local farm to discuss what can be done to ease the pressure on area farmers.

“We want to see what kind of damage there was out there. If there are things that can be done to help folks repair some of that damage,” said Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture with the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

It’s a slow recovery, but it’s a recovery none the less.

Especially after heavy rains left much of Mitchell County under water this spring.

“We still see some fields that never made it, never got planted, so it’s hard to see a landscape where these holes between the rest of the fields out there. Where folks are putting in crops just to keep the soil in place from now until the end of the year,” said Northey.

Leroy Zimmerman owns Log Cabin Produce and says that even though he may be a small business owner, he’s happy to see Northey and other officials have his best interest in mind.

“I still feel that Mr. Northey seemed concerned even though we’re in a small-scale. I think that he took the time to ask the questions and see how it’s going on this end. This part of the state and what we grow,” said Zimmerman.

“In spite of all the challenges, they’re optimistic. They’re hopeful and even for us corn and soybean farmers to see good production came out of the fruit and vegetable farmers. It makes you feel hopeful that the year could turn out to be close to normal,” said Northey.

In the struggle to act on the expiring farm bill, Gov. Terry Branstad along with other’s urge congress to pass a new bill and soon.

According to brandstad, the new bill should give more security to farmers who experience losses from causes like severe weather.

It’s this stability that one federal official says can give farmers the breathing room they need to make tough decisions for their crops.

“When we get a new farm bill passed before the 30th of September, which we really need congress to do to give us some assurances. That producers are going to have these programs available, they need to pass a 5 year farm bill,” said John Whitaker, State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency.

Whitaker says that while he understands lawmaker’s want in wanting to balance a tough budget, he says that it’s our responsibility to give back to producers who give so much to us.

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