Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig has been traversing the state on a 99-county tour listening to from farmers and others concerned within the trade all year long, and he wrapped up the tour Thursday with a lunch on the award-winning Flying Elbow restaurant in Marshalltown and a roundtable dialogue with native cattle producers and Tama Livestock Public sale Proprietor Jason Lekin.
Naig, a Republican who’s up for re-election in November, ordered a Jerry the King burger and, like a lot of the different patrons who’ve visited the institution in latest months, left glad with a full abdomen.
“I possibly wasn’t as daring as I may’ve been by ordering off the entrance of the menu, however the burger itself was unbelievable,” Naig stated. “We obtained right here simply because it was opening (for the day), and so to observe the quantity of site visitors that’s are available in by means of right here on a Thursday, it’s nice.”
Throughout the luncheon, Naig mentioned among the most urgent issues producers are going through, together with provide chain interruptions, inflation and ever-increasing enter prices to boost animals. Because of the provide chain scenario, Naig stated objects as small as ear tags have turn into way more troublesome to acquire for livestock farmers throughout an interview with the T-R after the meal.
Nonetheless, it isn’t all doom and gloom, and Naig is doing his greatest to take the great with the unhealthy.
“What we’ve been usually seeing throughout the ag panorama is (that) costs are good. Costs for livestock and for crops are good. Demand is up right here on this nation and all over the world, however that’s solely half the story,” he stated. “You’ve additionally obtained the rise in the price of manufacturing, and so that’s regarding… In some unspecified time in the future demand will, or the worth might drop, after which if the prices of inputs stays excessive, then you definately’re underwater. You’re the wrong way up.”
The secretary and his friends additionally mentioned preparedness and potential responses to international animal ailments like foot and mouth and the upcoming Farm Invoice. Naig stated he hopes the invoice will keep away from inserting the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in direct competitors with farmers who want land for crop manufacturing or pasture area.
“These people agree, and I agree with them, we wish to maintain lands working lands. Sure, do the suitable issues from a conservation standpoint, however grazing cattle on grass, that’s an awesome factor from an environmental standpoint and for the producer,” Naig stated. “You don’t need these packages to displace what would in any other case be productive operations.”
When requested about options to a few of these issues, Naig opined that it was vital to maintain Iowa’s home so as and maintain the state business-friendly whereas additionally addressing water high quality enchancment and conservation practices. He then took a query on one other recurring concern for livestock producers — the competition that processing giants proceed to see larger income with out passing them on to the farmers themselves.
“We’ve seen consolidation in that area, which is regarding. You wish to ensure that there’s wholesome competitors for producers. I feel we’ve got seen a packer taking increasingly more of that margin themselves and never sharing that with the producer,” Naig stated. “That’s regarding since you’ve obtained to have stability in that. Everyone in that offer chain wants to have the ability to be worthwhile, in any other case you don’t have a steady provide chain.”
The COVID-19 pandemic led to an enormous surge in enterprise for unbiased butchers and meat processors, and Naig hopes to construct on that momentum going ahead by means of some state incentives accredited by the Iowa Legislature and signed into regulation by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
“If you happen to can have a small livestock producer who sells direct to client and processes domestically, you simply stored all the worth in that neighborhood,” Naig stated. “We see great alternative for that. That’s one thing that the state of Iowa is doing and we’re going to do much more of.”
Naig, a local of Cylinder, was first appointed to his place in 2018 after his predecessor, Invoice Northey, took a place with america Division of Agriculture beneath former President Donald Trump. He received his first full time period that very same yr in an in depth race towards Democratic challenger Tim Gannon, and he’ll face John Norwood, who made a cease in Marshalltown final week, on this yr’s normal election.
In making the case for why he deserves one other time period, Naig pointed to continued will increase in soil conservation and water high quality practices beneath his management and stated he would proceed to work towards opening new markets for Iowa farmers — citing a lately signed settlement with Taiwan — and selling renewable fuels and bio-based manufacturing.
“There’s by no means been extra work getting completed within the state of Iowa when it comes to conservation — and I’m speaking within the city areas and rural areas — than there’s immediately, and we’ve been working laborious to perform that with a number of companions,” he stated. “We’ve modified the trajectory in terms of conservation work and water high quality within the state of Iowa. I’m happy with that. I feel we’ve obtained loads to point out that we’ve completed and contributed to, and we’re actually centered on scaling up. I feel we’ve completed loads. I’m happy with that, however we’re not glad. We wish to do extra.”
Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or email@example.com.