Federal Budget Deficit Needs to Be Brought Under Control

Iowa farmers help shape federal budget reform policy at American Farm Bureau convention.

Published on: Jan 18, 2010
Each American's share of the federal debt is more than $38,000, nearly equal to the median income of a one-earner family in Iowa, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/statemedfaminc.html).  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation members told delegates at the 91st American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting last week that enacting an immediate plan to cut our nation's debt is the best way to lessen that burden on families and shared their plan for balancing the federal budget.  The AFBF annual meeting concluded January 13 in Seattle. A number of Iowa Farm Bureau members attended. "We invest in our children's and grandchildren's college accounts because we want to establish a solid foundation for their futures. It's time for us to start taking the same approach with our federal budget if we want to avoid burdening future generations," says IFBF president Craig Lang. Lang chaired AFBF's eight-member Federal Deficit Task Force and presented the group's recommendations for bringing the federal deficit under control.

Iowans outline proposal for reaching balanced budget by 2019

Iowa leaders helped shape the language for AFBF's new federal deficit policy by outlining steps to reach a balanced federal budget by 2019. Specifically, Farm Bureau policy calls for reductions in spending on government services and entitlements.  "Social Security and Medicare are the largest items in the federal budget, and we have to address them; they're not sustainable," said Tama County farmer and voting delegate Nick Podhajsky, addressing the other AFBF delegates. "I think we are kidding ourselves if we ignore the two big programs. Nobody wants to address them, but they are obviously the programs that are really onerous in our current federal budget." The Iowa delegation also helped shape AFBF policy on the subjects of interstate weight limits, conservation compliance, agricultural transaction and contract sales, the beginning farmer program, methods of evaluating for private levee repair, farmer easement payouts for temporary flood water storage and more. And the group helped AFBF reaffirm its opposition to cap-and-trade legislation that is currently before Congress and supported legislative action that would suspend EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Delegates establish strong position on global climate change

"I think we established a strong position on greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change," says IFBF vice president and voting delegate Craig Hill. "We know there are going to be costs associated with climate change legislation, and we have a hard time seeing the benefits of it. So far it appears to us that the cost of this legislation to agriculture is going to be loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of acres and a shrinking capacity at a time when you've got to feed a growing population and a hungry world." Nine delegates represented Iowa at the 2010 AFBF annual meeting. In total, 369 voting delegates representing every state and agricultural commodity deliberated on policies affecting farmers' and ranchers' productivity and profitability. The policies approved at the annual meeting will guide the national farm organization's legislative and regulatory efforts throughout 2010.