Date: 4/2/2014 12:00:00 AM

Title: ICA lobbies for increased dollars for Ag Experiment Station

Fifty people representing the beef cattle industry made an impact with Iowa legislators and state workers during Cattlemen at the Capitol on April 2.

First, there was the face-to-face lobbying that took place in the morning as ICA members met with their elected representatives in the Iowa House and Senate. A key priority for ICA is increased funding for the Ag Experiment Station. The Governor and the Iowa House have both agreed that a $2.5 million increase is necessary to broaden research into an efficient and sustainable ag production system.

That would bring the funding for the Ag Experiment Station to $30.6 million. “That’s just getting ag research funding back to 1994 levels,” said ICA member Jim Christensen of Royal. “We know that ag research funding, especially in the area of livestock technology, generates economic growth.”

Christensen is leading a Grow Iowa Agriculture coalition group that has been working on the proposed funding increase for two years.

ICA President Ed Greiman that Iowa cattle producers have a lot at stake. “We need more feed efficiency research, and we need to look at lots of questions about feeding cattle in deep-pitted buildings,” he said. “Builders tell us that Eastern Iowa has added 30,000 head spaces in buildings the past couple of years. We need to know what that means for air and water quality, animal welfare, and the impact on feed efficiency. Iowa is the only place this is happening, and it’s up to our state to answer those questions.”

Members of the Iowa Senate are most reluctant to add $2.5 million to the budget; instead, they’re proposing just $500,000.

ICA members are encouraged to contact members of the Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee to support the ICA position. Those members are Sen. Brian Schoenjahn, Arlington; Sen. Wally Horn, Cedar Rapids; Sen. Roby Smith, Davenport; Sen. Herman Quirmbach, Ames; and Sen. Amy Sinclair, Allerton.

ICA wasn’t done delivering messages at the statehouse. Through the lunch hour, 500 people enjoyed a beef brisket sandwich lunch prepared and served by the Madison and Johnson County Cattlemen, including their county beef queens and youth beef teams.