ISA’s Policy Process in Progress
Fall is a busy time in the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA’s) policy process.
The first step of ISA’s policy development process for 2012 was the mailing of the annual ISA Policy Survey to about 3,100 policy members in August.
Nearly 400 members, or about 12 percent, returned their surveys, providing input on what they believe are key issues ISA should be addressing. In addition to the usual prioritizing of political and regulatory issues, this year’s survey included an open-ended question section where producers could bring up emerging issues. Most respondents took advantage of this opportunity, and many good ideas have emerged.
“Policy surveys indicate state priority issues include taking action to improve rural roads and bridges, addressing increasing environmental regulations and maintaining private property rights,” ISA Director of Policy Carol Balvanz says. “National priorities mirror those issues with EPA regulations and federal transportation infrastructure joining concerns about increasing foreign trade and reining in the federal deficit.”
Many of the same concerns were expressed in late August when ISA District Advisory Councils hosted events in each of Iowa’s new Congressional Districts, which gave soybean farmers the opportunity to get acquainted with policymakers and candidates who might be new to their area. Farmers in attendance provided their views on priority issues to legislators attending. In return, legislators described what they see as priorities for action and encouraged farmers to build relationships and share agricultural issues with urban representatives, who will become more numerous following the 2012 elections.
The ISA board reviewed the policy survey findings and district discussions at its September meeting. This grassroots input will be reviewed and refined at ISA’s annual District Advisory Council (DAC) Policy Conferences held in November in each of ISA’s nine districts.
Members are encouraged to watch for a postcard invitation to attend the DAC Policy Conference in their respective district. From those nine conferences, delegates will be selected to attend the ISA State Policy Conference on December 15 in Ankeny.
Balvanz extends thanks on behalf of ISA to all members who returned their surveys and participated in district meetings. She also encourages farmers to contact their District Coordinator with issues particular to their local area that they would like included in the program discussion. Members may also contact Carol Balvanz at 515-334-1025 with issues and ideas for ISA action.