Agriculture talk with Gov. Kim Reynolds
Agribusiness reporter David Geiger sits down with Governor Kim Reynolds to talk about agriculture.
Q: What do you think is the biggest need for Iowa farmers and Iowa producers?
A: “Well, it’s always going to be market access. Our farmers are going to do what they’ve always done. And that’s produce. I am so proud of our brand of safe, reliable, quality products. And we’re known for that across the world. And so, especially with technology and innovation, they’re going to continue to produce and so we need to make sure we’re finding and growing access to new markets. So that we can continue to grow the economy. And make sure that farmers and Iowans in rural Iowa continue to be successful.”
Q: That’s a great follow up to my next question, which is, as governor you are the main spokesperson for agriculture, for industries in the state. How do you hope to keep, or maintain, access to Iowa products?
A: “Well, I’m really proud to say, that I started this as lieutenant governor and of course, continued it as governor. Led multiple trade missions around the world. To really talk about the amazing products that we make between our commodities and our manufactured goods. One in five jobs in Iowa are attributed to our ability to export our goods. And so, in fact, the very first trade mission that I led as the governor of the great state of Iowa was an all ag trade mission to China. And when we look at the market, and the opportunity. That’s a great opportunity for us to build those relationships. It is relational. We host them in Iowa and then have the opportunity to have all the commodity groups participate in an all ag trade mission. It was very successful. We got to meet with the minister of agriculture as well as the vice premier and so very, very good meetings.”
Q: What are other bills or laws that you want to see going into effect here as we move forward? A: “I want to highlight a couple as we passed this year because it was really important to our farm families. And that was affordable health care plans. And we were hearing from farmers as I traveled the state about, they were having to make decisions between health care and mortgage and sometimes the health care was costing more than the mortgage. Premiums were off the charts. If you didn’t qualify for a subsidy in the individual health care market then they were faced with these kind of decisions. And so, while I believe that Washington still needs to get something done. I wasn’t just going to wait on them to get that done. And so, we passed bipartisan bill this year that gives our farm families, our small businesses. Just working families access to affordable health plans. The water quality bill that we passed, that was long-term dedicated funding for water quality. We were working on it for five years. So, I was happy to get that done. Again, with bipartisan support. We’re going to be launching here shortly a rural Iowa initiative. I come from rural Iowa, my dad worked 40 years with John Deere and farmed. So, we know if Iowa’s going to be successful, we have to see growth in every single corner of the state. And so, we’re looking at opportunities to invest in Iowa, to really connect rural Iowa, when we talk about farming, and precision farming and how that technology is available. And that is a tool that helps with the input cost as well as water quality, soil health. We want to make sure they have access to all of the tools that are available. Especially when I talk about young people getting back on the farm. Big data is very appealing to them and it’s also another tool to help us with our farming operations and growing the next generation of leaders. So, I’m really excited about my governor’s empower rural Iowa initiative and will be sharing some details on that soon.”