When I was elected to represent Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, I made a solemn promise to Iowa farmers and producers that I would be the strongest voice for agriculture and our farm families in Congress. From the Farm Bill to energy policy, I believe that the hardworking men and women who feed and fuel our country deserve a loud voice and a seat at the table when lawmakers craft legislation that impacts their livelihoods and pocketbooks. Honoring this commitment, I launched my Feenstra Agriculture Tour earlier this year to hear directly from our agriculture community about their suggestions to protect the productivity of Iowa agriculture and their priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization.
To date, I have made roughly 23 different stops meeting with agriculture students at Morningside University’s new state-of-the-art greenhouse, crop insurance agents in Sibley, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee in Sioux City, pork producers in Nevada, cattlemen in Moorhead, turkey farmers in Manson, equipment manufacturers in Harlan, and FFA students at Akron-Westfield High School.
I have also held town halls with producers in Sanborn, Alexander, Ida Grove, Humboldt, Audubon, and Britt to hear their thoughts about the Farm Bill and provide an update about the legislation that I am working on for Iowa agriculture. In my conversations, I have repeatedly heard that we must protect and strengthen crop insurance programs, invest in foreign animal disease (FAD) prevention initiatives, open new markets for Iowa agricultural products, and keep conservation efforts voluntary. At every stop, folks have equally voiced their real concerns about China’s relentless and dangerous efforts to buy up American farmland – threatening our national, economic, energy, and food security.
My discussions with farmers don’t go in one ear and out the other. Back in Washington, I put pen to paper and come up with real solutions to the challenges facing our producers. When farmers raised concerns about FAD outbreaks, I cosponsored legislation to defend American agriculture from Hi-Path Avian Influenza and African Swine Fever and introduced the Safe American Food Exports Act, which ensures that our farmers can continue to safely export their product during a FAD outbreak by establishing regionalization agreements with our trading partners. When seasoned producers highlighted the need to support the next generation of farmers, I introduced the Crop Insurance for Future Farmers Act, which extends vital crop and livestock insurance protections to new, beginning, and veteran farmers to lower their insurance payments for their first ten years in business. When my constituents asked me to stand up to China, I introduced – and the U.S. House of Representatives passed – my Defend America’s Rural Energy Act, which bans China from buying American farmland suitable for ethanol and biodiesel production. When my constituents speak, I listen and act.
Agriculture is the economic engine of Iowa. Our families rely on a strong farm economy that provides good jobs and financial security. Serving on both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, I will continue to my work to include Iowa’s priorities in the upcoming Farm Bill and advocate for policies that support our agriculture community, grow our economy, and empower our rural communities.
We are government together, and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Please contact my office at Feenstra.House.Gov or by phone at 202-225-4426 if I can ever be of assistance. I am proud to represent our families, farmers, main street businesses, and rural communities in Congress.