Dordt College News

U.S. Ag subcommittee conducts hearing at Dordt College

July 31, 2006

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture conducted a field hearing at Dordt College on Monday, July 31, to receive input from Iowans in formulating the federal 2007 Farm Bill.

Iowa Representative Steve King and North Carolina Representative Robin Hayes chaired the hearing, at which formal testimony was received from 10 farmers and agriculture industry promoters.

Field Hearing

Iowans addressing the panel were Matt Schuiteman, Sioux Center; Allan Kramer, Sioux Center; Bill Scheitler, Le Mars; John Fluit, Jr., Inwood; Roxanne Struve, Manning; Mark Leonard, Holstein; Tom Oswald, Cleghorn; Dustin Bollig, Fenton, Jim Meyer, Odebolt, and Stee Rachut, Floyd. Approximately 100 farmers, House Ag Committee staff, media and area residents attended the hearing, held in Dordt’s Campus Center De Yager Student Activity area.

Dordt College’s Agriculture faculty provided commentary on the hearing to the college radio station, KDCR, which provided a live broadcast for the public and an audio feed to the Associated Press.

Testimony presented at the hearing came from livestock producers, crop farmers, an agricultural lender, a veterinarian, and the founder of pharmaceutical company which utilizes agricultural products to produce medical products. All shared their thoughts on how the 2007 Farm Bill might best assist and promote American agriculture.

Some of the topics covered during the field hearing included removing unfair trade barriers; decoupling farm production from subsidies; development of an animal identification database with trace-back capabilities for diseased animals; environmental and conservation issues; development of alternative renewable energy sources from agricultural products; funding of agricultural research; marketing ag products internationally; use of CRP land for controlled grazing; and helping family farms to survive for future generations.

“Often Washington, D.C., does not always take the time necessary to hear from the people who will be affected by the legislation that Congress considers,” said Congressman Steve King, who represents Iowa’s Fifth District. “I would like to commend the House Committee on Agriculture for taking the time to actually hear from the producers, the farmers, who will be affected by the next farm bill.”

King said that Iowa’s Fifth District is in the top five Congressional Districts for corn production, is the top producing district for soybeans and has 10 producing ethanol and bio-diesel plants, with seven more plants in various stages of planning. This district is also a major producer of pork and eggs.
About a dozen field hearings are being conducted this year across the U.S., after which farm bill debate will be conducted early in 2007. The current farm bill (Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002) expires Sept. 20, 2007.

“Members of the Dordt Agriculture Department were pleased that Dordt could host one of the field hearings,” said Dordt Professor of Agriculture, Dr. Chris Goedhart. “The testimony was a reminder of the complexity of the Farm Bill and of the process needed to gain the support of a majority of congressmen for the bill in the coming year.”

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