Agriculture talk with Democrat candidate for Governor

Published: Jun. 28, 2018 at 7:39 AM CDT
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Agribusiness reporter David Geiger sits down with Fred Hubbell, the Democrat Candidate for Governor, to talk about agriculture.

Q: What are your top issues when it comes to agriculture?

A: “Well, agriculture is a huge part of our state, and it’s a huge part of the culture of our state, too. So, clearly I want to support agriculture as much as I can. Production agriculture is very important, it generates a lot of revenue for families, and individuals and communities in our state. It’s our biggest export product. And I want to be the governor that helps expand markets for our production agriculture. But also stands up to talk about how harmful the tariffs are and the trade war that we have going on or changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, could be also very harmful. So, production agriculture is very important, but it’s also important that we make it easier for young people and new people to get into farming. The average age of our farmer today is getting pretty high. So, we need to encourage opportunities for young people to start smaller organic farms or smaller confinement operations to get them started in farming and agriculture. We need to start more regional and local markets to make it easier for organic farmers to go move their products into local communities, farmers markets and those things. But we also need to support the wind and solar and biomass opportunities all across rural Iowa because those are huge opportunities for jobs as well as incomes in rural Iowa.”

Q: You have mentioned water quality in debates, as governor you would like to do about that?

A: “Water quality is a big issue for everybody. Everybody wants clean water and everybody wants farmers to be successful. So, the question is how do we do that? And I think you do that by bringing people together. We don’t need to fight about whose fault it is. I think all Iowans have to benefit and we’re all part of the problem. So, let’s work together, urban-rural, Democrats-Republicans, and what I think we should do is fund the Natural Outdoor Resources Trust fund. Because that would set aside a permanent piece of money, every year, that can be used for protecting our, basically what you do is endorse the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, allows you to do systems under that that protect and preserve our topsoil, while also protecting our water. Like cover crops and grassey waterways, buffer strips and these kind of things. That’s going to help the farmers keep their soil where it is but it’s also going to protect our water. And I want to do it on a voluntary basis. A cost share basis. But we also need some measurements and transparency so we know it’s working and what’s not working.”

Q: Last off, I do want to get to trade, you did talk a little bit about tariffs, but a unique position the governor of Iowa has is is they can talk about Iowa products to other countries and other states. Is that something that’s important to you? How would you promote or maintain Iowa agriculture products?

A: “Well, I think that’s very important and a trade war today makes it more evident because why don’t we work harder to make our Iowa agricultural products more subject to the control of what’s going on in our state rather than who’s in DC and what their policies are. So, I want to be the governor, and I know my lieutenant governor Rita Hart wants to do the same thing. To go out and take trade missions with our agricultural partners in the state to Canada, to Mexico, to Latin America and develop more bilateral relationships. I’ve actually run businesses in those countries, I’ve been in all those countries working. And there’s no mystery there, they all want our products, we have great agricultural products. Mexico and Canada are two of our biggest agricultural markets. And let’s develop more direct relationships with the entities there that need our products. So we’re not as subjected to or at the risk of these trade wars.”

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