Our Policy Work
IFU members participating in 2020 Farm & Food Lobby Day at the Iowa State Capitol
The Iowa Farmers Union is a grassroots organization made stronger by the ideas and participation of our members. When you join IFU, you give us a more powerful voice for the policies that you care about. IFU promotes our member priorities in Des Moines & Washington, DC, with a powerful & effective combination of advocacy efforts:
- A high-quality professional government relations team that brings the voices of our members directly to policymakers;
- The grassroots advocacy of our members, including the annual IFU Farm & Food Lobby Day at the State Capitol and the annual NFU Fall Fly-In in Washington, DC.
Our legislative policy and priorities originate with our members and are debated and voted on each year at our annual convention.
IFU’s policy book was last altered at the 2022 State Convention in Marshalltown, IA. Download a copy of the 2023 Legislative Policy HERE
This document contains the official legislative policy positions of the Iowa Farmers Union and addresses a broad range of federal & state issues impacting family farms and rural communities.
In addition, our members have identified a list of priority issues that are the primary focus of our state-level legislative advocacy:
(1) Water Quality
Water quality is not only important to the success of our farms, but also imperative to the success of our farmers and their families. The legislature has taken some steps to improve Iowa’s water quality, but there is more work to be done because the quality of Iowa’s water is not getting better. Over the past five years more than 60 Iowa communities have reported unsafe nitrate levels in their drinker water and the clean-up costs for nutrient pollution is estimated at $4 billion.
- Monitoring of potential impacts of CAFOs on Iowa’s economic, environmental, and public health and the implementation of a moratorium on factory farm livestock operations until Iowa successfully addresses the massive number of impaired waterways
- Watershed approach to water quality with comprehensive and consistent assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring of all contaminants
- A water quality monitoring program for private wells to allow rural residents and local public health agencies to assess potential contamination of rural water supplies
- Funding the Nature Resources Trust Fund and maintaining the current funding formula supported by an overwhelming majority of Iowa voters. Funding the trust should not be done in a way that leads to a drastic repressive tax structure or a depleted state government.
(2) Soil Health
Farmers rely on healthy soils to support their livelihood. Strong conservation, regenerative, and climate-smart farming techniques build soil health and contribute to farm profitability. Iowa should focus efforts to reward practices which build healthy soils and healthy watersheds.
- Including initiatives for soil health improvement in the duties and responsibilities of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
- Directing IDALS and Iowa State University (ISU) to lead research efforts to develop practical soil health indicators and plans for farmer engagement.
(3) Growing Local Food Systems
We can build a more vibrant and resilient farm and food economy in Iowa by pursuing a policy of food independence, supporting the growth of diversified family farms, and investing in local, farmer-owned marketing & processing facilities.
Download IFU’s expanded local food talking points HERE.
(4) Protecting Farms from Pesticide Drift
We are committed to protecting our farmers from crop losses and injuries caused by pesticide drift. Farmers are experiencing more problems with herbicide-resistant weeds. Several states have placed bans on specific chemicals and others have adopted date restrictions for applications. Iowa needs to develop a systematic response to this challenge now to protect our farmers from tough market losses.
- Allowing fees to be collected into a designated fund used by IDALS (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship) Pesticide Bureau
- Requiring the availability of online incident reporting and electronic record keeping of usage
- Increasing fees for licensed pesticide distributors and applicators and increasing the $500 maximum fine for pesticide misuse
- Increasing staff capacity to enforce existing rules