Members of the Poweshiek County Farm Bureau Board members meet with area Legislatures at the Iowa State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 23. Board members spent the day discussing issues of importance to Poweshiek County residents. Pictured are, from left: Mike Kleitsch, Brooklyn; President Eric Fynaardt, Searsboro; Jeff Tindle, Montezuma; Tom Cheney, Deep River; Sen. Dawn Driscoll, Senate District 38; Rep. Dave Maxwell, House District 76; guest Ashley DeKoning, Grinnell; Joe Armstrong, Montezuma and Dave King, Guernsey.
By J.O. Parker
The Poweshiek County Farm Bureau is a local grassroots membership-based organization comprised of a 16-member farmer board, one from each township in the county. The board works with national, state and local officials to implement policies that have a positive impact in Poweshiek County agriculture and beyond.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, a number of board members traveled to the Iowa State Capitol to meet with other Farm Bureau members from across the state as well as discuss issues of importance with Rep. Dave Maxwell, House District 76, and Senator Dawn Driscoll, Senate District 38, both of who cover Poweshiek County.
Those making the trip included President Eric Fynaardt, Searsboro; Tom Cheney, Deep River, Jeff Tindle, Montezuma, Dave King, Guernsey; Joe Armstrong, Montezuma; Mike Kleitsch, Brooklyn; and guest, Ashley DeKoning, Grinnell.
Following a brief meeting and photos, Poweshiek County Farm Bureau members were joined by members of the Benton County Farm Bureau and Rep. Thomas D. Gerhold, House District 75, which covers Benton County, along with Rep. Maxwell and Sen. Driscoll.
The group touched on a number of issues including biofuels, land acquisition and capital gains exclusion/beginning farmer tax credit. They also touched on solar energy.
“It was very nice to meet with the local Farm Bureau from my district advocating on behalf of agriculture,” noted Sen. Driscoll. “It is vital to be a voice for our hard-working farmers and agricultural producers. They are an organization that represents the local people in a broader way, ensuring they have a voice, so they will be supported in every endeavor. It is always a great opportunity to get to speak with them at the Iowa State Capitol. Being a farmer myself, I greatly value meeting with them.”
“I think it is good and important that we have constituents visit us at the capitol,” said Rep. Maxwell. “It reinforces what they believe in and it is important enough for them to visit us in person and discuss those issues.”
Eric Fynaardt, Poweshiek County Farm Bureau president, said it was a successful day, noting that one of the main issues was getting the sales tax increase removed from the senate’s tax bill.
“It was good to meet with and have a strong relationship with our local senator and representative,” Fynaardt said. “It is nice to have the opportunity to travel to the Iowa State Capitol and to talk with Sen. Driscoll and Rep. Maxwell and not an aide or staff member.”
“We support grassroots membership-led policies,” said board member Jeff Tindle of Montezuma. “The board of directors tries to get those implemented through the Legislature. We also do that on a local level with the board of supervisors.”
In addition to lobbying government officials, the local Farm Bureau board works to make communities better. With a membership of 1,800 county residents, the local Farm Bureau supports area youth and families. Some of the examples include:
The Poweshiek County Fair where Farm Bureau sponsors showmanship awards.
Local high school athletic programs where students who compete on the state level all receive a Farm Bureau commemorative ball for their chosen sport.
And local causes with financial donations. Farm Bureau most recently made a donation to the Harold “Pie” Keller Memorial project underway in Brooklyn.
The local Farm Bureau also offers scholarships to graduating high school seniors across the county. Each year, $4,000 in scholarships go to students whose family are Farm Bureau members anywhere in the county.
They also promote locally-grown meat products through local grocery stores with promotional events. For instance, in May, Farm Bureau will sponsor a drawing at the Grinnell Fareway called “T-Bone Tuesday” giveaway during the month.
Plans are also in the works to offer a family-friendly community event.
Farm Bureau works in partnership with local Farm Bureau insurance agents. Farm Bureau has agents in Brooklyn, Grinnell and Montezuma.
“All the agents in the county work with us on membership and we work with them on promoting their services,” said Tindle.
The Poweshiek County Farm Bureau office is located at 125 Jackson St., Brooklyn. They can be reached at Poweshiek.firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 641-522-9227.
Iowa Sen. Dawn Driscoll greets Poweshiek County Farm Bureau member Mike Kleitsch, Brooklyn, in the Iowa State Capitol Rotunda as other farm bureau members look on.
Farm Bureau members from Poweshiek and Benton counties meet with legislatures to discuss issues of importance during Farm Bureau Day on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
Sen. Dawn Driscoll, Senate District 38, middle, chuckles at a comment as Rep. Dave Maxwell, House District 76 (Poweshiek County), right, and Thomas D. Gerhold, House District 75 (Benton County), left, listen in during a gathering of Farm Bureau members from the two counties who meet with the representatives to discuss issues of important to their constituents.
Rep. Dave Maxwell, House District 76, discusses an issue with Poweshiek County Farm Bureau President Eric Fynaardt, Searsboro during Farm Bureau Day at the Iowa State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
Sen. Dawn Driscoll, Senate District 38, middle, wraps up business of the day with Poweshiek and Benton County Farm Bureau board members during Iowa Farm Bureau Day at the Iowa State Capitol on Feb. 23.
Sen. Dawn Driscoll, Senate District 38, wraps up business of the day with Poweshiek County Farm Bureau board members, Tom Cheney, Deep River, left, and Mike Kleitsch, Brooklyn, middle.
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