Iowa pork producers need expanded export markets, not regulations
“They will come. They will most definitely come.”
In this case, the famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” refers not to people mysteriously drawn to a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, but to well-meaning presidential candidates. They will come, hoping to connect with Iowa farmers like me by promising new policies to ensure our prosperity. These plans deserve serious scrutiny to ensure they address the real needs of both Iowa and American farmers.
Iowa’s production system is the envy of the world. It yields one of our most competitive export products and sustains more than 141,000 jobs in rural Iowa. While those who don’t understand this system use terms to conjure up notions of corporate control and the destruction of red barns, our Iowa pig farmers include both large and small farming operations and they produce the planet’s safest, most affordable and highest-quality pork. We have a highly competitive, free-market system characterized by continuous innovation and opportunity for all who care to invest and assume risk.
It’s a cliché but true: Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
One recent proposal, for example, proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, challenges the contract system that some Iowa pig farmers use. Pig farmers can choose to enter into production contracts or not. Those who do like the risk profile and greater predictability offered by contracts. It gives many farmers the opportunity to preserve their farming lifestyle and focus on what they do best: caring for pigs and the constant improvement of their production practices.