The Iowa Cattlemen's Association's mission is to grow Iowa's beef business through advocacy, leadership and education. Influencing legislative and regulatory topics affecting cattle producers is a top priority. Read on for more information about ICA's policies and priorities, and contact the association any time you have a policy question or concern.

Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Cattlemen's Association

Policy Priorities

ICA's policy priorities are determined by our members and vary depending on current and proposed legislation.

Scroll down to see the current policy priorities.

Policy Development

ICA's policies are created by members, for members through a series of meetings and surveys annually.
Click here for the policy development process.

Policy Handbook

ICA policies provide the framework for ICA leaders and staff to enforce, improve or change legislation and programming to support Iowa's cattle producers.

Click here to download the policy handbook.

ICA Fact Sheets

Fact sheets are brief, easy-to-read documents focusing on specific topics such as Iowa's Fence Law, Green/Gold Tag Preconditioning Programs, and Environmental Regulations.
Click here for a full list of ICA Fact Sheets.

ICA Political Action Committee

ICA's PAC supports candidates who value beef cattle production in Iowa and support our issues.

Click here to learn about our PAC fundraisers.

Policy Staff

Cora Fox is ICA's Director of Government Relations. She works closely with members to surface policy issues and gather input. She also works with ICA's contract lobbyist and attorney to influence policy topics on behalf of our members.

Click here to contact Cora.

Legislative priorities

The Iowa Cattlemen's Association priorities are set by members and leaders at the annual Leadership Summit. Priorities are based on current and pending legislation and regulatory concerns.

A full listing of ICA policies can be found in the ICA Policy Book.

State Policy Priorities

(Updated 6/3/19)

Foreign Animal Disease (FAD)

  • ICA supports the state's appropriation of $500,000 to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for Foreign Animal Disease preparedness and response.
  • Iowa is the most livestock dense state in the country (4th for cattle on feed, 7th for total cattle,1st for hogs and pigs).
  • Iowa is behind many states with much less at stake when it comes to personnel, technology and other FAD preparedness and response needs.
Accomplishment: $500,000 request granted

Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

  • Funding is needed for the building and renovation of the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL).
    • ICA supported the request for $100 million to be combined with private gifts and university funds.
    • In 2018, the legislature appropriated $63.5 million of the $100 million request.
  • Iowa State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) is an important tool for protecting the animal agriculture industry and its $32.5 billion economic output in Iowa.
  • The VDL's caseload has doubled in recent years; about 1.5 million tests are now conducted annually.
  • Currently facing biosafety, biocontainment and biosecurity issues due to overcrowding, poor layout and outdated systems
    • 500% growth of caseload and staff since 1976
  • Accreditation and critical disease response is as risk
Accomplishment: Funding secured for phase 1 of Veterinary Diagnostic Lab building/renovation

Environmental Regulations

  • Cattlemen understand that clean air, land and water are crucial to the long-term success of not only their family and business, but the entire state and future generations.
  • Livestock producers do more with less now than they ever have while also having less of an impact on the environment.
    • Between 1977 and 2007, we produced each pound of beef using 19% less feed, 33% less land and 12% less water.
  • The cattle industry is a partner in environmental stewardship, but increased regulation that limits the ability to make decisions on individual operations, increases costs and has little to no impact on the environment, is not the answer.
Accomplishment: 8 bills related to the master matrix, CAFOs, and odor complaints failed to advance in the 2019 legislative session

Other Topics:

  • Protect Iowa’s Fence Law
  • Support voluntary efforts and funding for cost-share initiatives, educational outreach and projects to reduce nutrient escape and improve water quality
  • Seek opportunities at the state level to protect against untrue and unfair claims by 'fake meat' companies
  • Support opportunities to help young producers
Accomplishment: SF 444/HF 768 establishes a new Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program to replace the Agricultural Assets Transfer Credit.
  • Investigate government land ownership and its impact on cattle producers and state tax revenue
Accomplishment: SF 548 prohibits local governments from acquiring land from a private entity that purchased the land with federal funds.

National Policy Priorities

(Updated 6/3/19)

Regulatory Reform

ICA is committed to representing members on the following regulatory issues:
  • Find a permanent solution to electronic logging devices/Hours of Service
  • Replace the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule
12/11/18 - proposed rule signed to replace 2015 WOTUS with more clear and limited language
  • Protect producers from Superfund reporting regulations (CERCLA/EPCRA)
10/30/18 - Proposed rule signed to exempt livestock from reporting

Trade and Market Access

  • Cattlemen and women support open markets and science-based trade. Beef exports account for around $300 a head.
  • ICA encourages the United States to overcome current trade barriers with China and continue expanding markets for U.S. beef.
  • ICA supports ratification of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement by Congress. US beef exports to Canada and Mexico account for roughly $2 billion in annual sales.
  • ICA encourages the prioritization of a bi-lateral trade agreement with Japan. Japan is the top export market for US beef, even with a 37.5% tariff.
Accomplishment: US/Japan Trade Agreement signed Oct. 7, 2019

Fake Meat

  • Protect consumers from lowered food safety standards and confusing labels.
    • Cell-cultured alternative proteins should not be subject to any lower food safety standards than other products.
    • Labels should clearly indicate whether meat was produced in a laboratory or by American farmers and ranchers.
  • Protect the beef industry from disparaging claims by fake meat companies
    • Fake meat companies should not be able to market their products with claims like "clean meat", implying that beef raised by American farming and ranching families is unclean or unsafe. 
  • ICA supports USDA oversight of cell-cultured alternative protein production and labeling and will address state provisions for regulation of alternative proteins.


  • ICA will continue to represent Iowa cattle producers in national traceability discussions.
  • ICA leaders have developed a Traceability Task Force.

Cattle Marketing

  • ICA is dedicated to guiding changes to CME cattle futures contracts to increase their usefulness as a risk management tool for cattle producers.
  • Increase cash negotiated trade in all major cattle feeding regions of the U.S.
  • Explore changes to Livestock Mandatory Reporting that would improve its effectiveness for cattle producers.


  • Iowa's agriculture industry is facing a labor shortage. The state's most livestock dense areas are at virtually full employment.
  • In addition to farm labor, the processing sector is experiencing a severe labor shortage. This has a direct impact on producers' ability to market cattle.
  • Iowa's cattle industry needs a timely process for immigrants to gain legal status for employment.