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Thursday, March 5, 2015
Ag Round Table with Lieutenant Governor: #kimtours99
I’ve only been involved in agriculture for a few years, but I’ve had some really neat opportunities since then. Traveling to NYC to talk with media about my farm, representing family farmers in a Food Dialogues panel discussion, and speaking to a group of national ag leaders at their conference in Orlando come to mind as some of the most amazing “If you’d have told me 5 years ago that I’d be here…” moments I’ve experienced.
Yesterday’s round table discussion with Iowa’s lieutenant governor was another one of those moments. If you’d have told me 5 years ago that someday I’d sit at a table with north central Iowa’s female ag leaders and discuss the issues facing Iowa’s farmers with the state’s second in command, a fellow female leader, I’d have laughed at you.
But there I was, surrounded by women I look up to, as we chatted with the Lt. Gov. like we were old friends. She visited Webster City as part of her #kimtours99, an initiative to meet with women leaders throughout Iowa’s 99 counties. We talked about our favorite programs for farmers (Annie’s Project was discussed at length) the importance of high speed internet in rural areas, and programs to help young farmers.
Lt. Gov. Reynolds said, “I know just enough to be dangerous.” But I was impressed by her knowledge of farming. In a state where 1 in 5 is employed in agriculture, it’s important that our elected officials have a good understanding of our industry. It’s important that we share the concerns we have and the issues we face.
Although we focused mostly on economic issues that affect our farm businesses, the underlying thread throughout the conversation was our farm values. All of the women who were there yesterday work hard to carry on their family’s farm and improve agriculture as a whole. We all come from (or married into) a family that has been farming for generations. And more than anything else, we want our farms to be successful for the next generation. What the government does or doesn’t do can have an impact on our family’s future, so it’s important that we let them get to know us, get to know our farms, and get to know our problems.
And I appreciate that the lieutenant governor gave us the opportunity to do just that.