March 15, 2023
Iowa, US livestock producers establish new stock growers association
Livestock producers from across Iowa, the United States, joined together to form the Iowa Stock Growers Association on March 7.
Directors hail from all parts of the state.
Eric Nelson, a cow calf producer and feeder from Moville, said livestock producers in his state want an organisation to speak on behalf of independent agriculture and to help lawmakers understand how economically important independent agriculture is.
"It's time that we double down on our efforts to get involved in affecting livestock policy with the crazy things going on in this state," said Nelson. "The hog integration has been going on so long that (China) now (owns) more hogs in Iowa than anyone else."
The Iowa Stock Growers is an independent group that will set its own policy and will not be beholden to a national organization, he said, although it will be affiliated with R-CALF USA, and will rely on that group for data, information and more.
Some of the group's priorities will be Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and policy to require packers to buy more cattle on the cash market (50-14 or something similar). "We want to work hard on forcing packers to pay for cattle on the cash market – there aren't enough hogs traded on a weekly basis to know what the real value of hogs is. I think we are already facing that with cattle and it's why we are losing money even though demand is great," Nelson added.
The founding members, though primarily cattle producers, vow to represent independent producers of all species of livestock in Iowa.
"As livestock production in Iowa has become integrated and controlled by a hand full of companies, most recently Iowa's hog industry, non-integrated livestock producers are often left unrepresented in political debate over policy that affects them," said ISGA president Eric Nelson.
He added that the sheep industry can look to his group for representation, while pointing out that growers of different species of livestock can work together. "The United States was made of neighbors helping neighbors," he said.
"Today, with more hogs in Iowa owned by the Chinese government than by anyone else, there has obviously been a disconnect with who is representing Iowa livestock producers and how they are being represented," Nelson remarked. "With the example of how Iowa's hog industry succumbed to corporate control in just a few years, and with sheep producers today ravaged by uncontrolled imports of lamb causing serious market problems, the founders of Iowa Stock Growers Association felt it time to step forward to accurately represent all Iowa livestock producers. As large global meat companies lobby elected officials and existing livestock and farm groups to further enhance their businesses, Iowa Stock Growers Association vows to represent all of Iowa's independent livestock producing businesses, large and small. While many livestock producers have been underserved and left fighting for survival, US food security at the same time has been called into question as foreign owned companies often dominate US food supply chains."
"The future of Iowa agriculture hinges on entrepreneurial livestock production as an entry point for future generations," said Nelson. "Iowa Stock Growers Association will fight for a place, the opportunity for future generations to profitably own and raise livestock."
- Tri-State Livestock News