Monday, January 25, 2016

Cattlemen's Guide to the Caucuses

The First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses are only a week away!
(Find your caucus location here.)

While the Iowa Cattlemen's Association has not endorsed any candidates in the presidential race, we have been following it closely. There are several hot issues that could affect the beef business in Iowa.

Curious where the candidates stand? ICA intern Mathias Peters researched the stance of each candidate on 4 big issues: EPA's Waters of the US rule (WOTUS), the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Estate Tax and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Check out the candidates' views on these issues in the lastest issue of the Iowa Cattleman magazine. 

Here are some thoughts you might use as you prep for engagement, influence and eventually a vote:

1. Identify the topics of importance to you, your family and your livelihood.

From our membership’s perspective there are several topics that routinely come up in conversations across the state.  In addition to the standard tax relief needs of our industry other topics drill down toward the sustainability of our industry.

      i. Foreign trade is a priority and Iowa benefits from foreign trade agreements to the tune of $9 billion each year.  In 2015, nearly $292 worth of gross value per fed steer came from the export market.  Regardless of the size of your operation or the sector, the foreign trade value applies to your operation. Free trade agreements level the playing field regardless of world economic factors.

     ii. An alternative to the Conservation Reserve Program that provides a Working Lands component is a very important topic for many of our members across the state.  A “set-aside” program that pairs grazing livestock with conservation and will ultimately do a much better job of preventing the land use competition that is currently experienced with producers renting both pasture and crop ground.  This topic too will likely address the candidate’s perspective on farm subsidies.

    iii. The candidate’s view on regulatory burden is very important.  Whether it’s the process the EPA worked through to implement a new rule or other agencies alignment with outside interests, regulatory burden continually causes challenges to how practices are adapted and their efficacy.
   
2. Engage your voice – it’s the only way to help the candidate understand our industry and get others thinking and involved.

     Step one: Be bold and ask the questions…at the town hall, on the phone and via email.
     Step two: If the answer isn’t clear, ask more specifically.
     Step three: Share your experiences and interests with others.
     Step four: Support the candidate you feel most qualified and important.
     Final step: Get everyone you know and more out to vote.

3. Take time, show up and vote – and make sure those in your family and community do, too.

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