The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

August 17, 2012

Loebsack: Farm bill must be OK’d

CLINTON — Farmers across Iowa and the U.S. are fraught with uncertainty as they prepare to harvest their corn.

For many, including Dustin Johnson, of rural Clinton, the effects of the drought and intense heat remain to be seen. 

The varying degree of quality Johnson finds as he walks his fields is just one of two issues weighing heavily on his mind.  

Not only are farmers reeling from mother nature’s actions, but those of the U.S. House, which has yet to pass a farm bill.  The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30.  With less than a dozen days in session before that day and an approaching election, it is unclear what — if any — action the house will take to pass a new five-year farm bill.  

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, on Thursday, visited Johnson’s 450-acre farm to discuss the drought effects and the farm bill, which he has been vocal about passing.

Johnson, who also serves as the vice president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau, said he will begin harvesting about three weeks earlier than normal.  He has been farming for five years on his fifth-generation farm, where he grows corn, soybeans and hay and raises cattle and sheep.

“I’ve got about a third of the hay I had last year,” Johnson said to Loebsack.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, reported on Monday that 59 percent of Iowa’s pasture or range land is rated very poor. Only 14 percent is rated in fair or better condition.  None is rated excellent.

Although Johnson has seen substantial losses in hay, his corn crop appears to be doing better than many other farmers throughout the state.

“Our soil has definitely saved us this year,” Johnson said.

Rain during the end of July provided also his farm with some corn-salvaging relief.

“It’s tough for any of us to say what we’re going to have,” he said. “It won’t be disaster, but it won’t be busting the bins.”

The National Agricultural Statistics Service expects U.S. growers will produce 13 percent less corn than last year.  

Cooler temperatures and continued bouts of rain have also helped Johnson’s soybean crop, which has improved statewide for the first time in seven weeks, according to Northey.   

“You’re pretty lucky, but you know other farmers that haven’t been?” Loebsack asked.

“Absolutely,” Johnson replied.  

Loebsack’s visit was not directed at the drought alone.  He, Johnson and Harmsen also discussed the 2012 Farm Bill at length.  Congress passes a Farm Bill, which sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy, every five years.

The Senate passed the 2012 bill in June.  However, the U.S. House, adjourned without taking action on a bill that was passed by the House Agriculture Committee last month, leaving farmers, their families beneath another cloud of uncertainty as the 2008 bill expiration date looms.

“The whole point is, we need the Farm Bill,” Loebsack said. “I’m happy to be back in Iowa, but I don’t think we should have let out without passing the farm bill.”

The U.S. House passed a stand-alone disaster bill that would bring some relief to ranchers and specialty farmers who have experienced hardships during what is the worst drought in more than 25 years.

A full five-year farm bill would provide broader assistance as well as programs for loans, beginning farmers, insurance, energy, and rural business development.

“We’re very willing to do our share,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to feed and fuel the nation.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-15-14 jail photo County hears jail proposal

    CLINTON -- A needs assessment study on the Clinton County Jail and communications department is bringing forth more questions on how the city and county will proceed. Former Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission Coordinator Brian McKenrick a

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sex abuse trial under way in Clinton CLINTON -- Prosecutors will present their case today in the trial of a Clinton man accused of sexual abusing a 3-year-old girl. The trial against Russell S. McColley, 39, began late Monday afternoon. He is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a c

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Clinton School Board Meeting School board finalizes new budget, cuts positions CLINTON -- Cutting 11 district staff positions to make up for a $636,000 shortfall wasn't an easy task for the Clinton School Board, but was a necessary step in balancing the 2014-2015 budget. That budget received unanimous approval Monday as Clinton

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Share My Name cover photo Northeast grad pens book on Egyptians' suffering GOOSE LAKE -- A new book co-written by a native of Clinton County reveals firsthand the suffering of Christians in Egypt at the hands of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. Writing as Rik Doirse to protect those who shared their stories with him, the aut

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fulton park photo Fulton council to pursue new park on donated land

    FULTON, Ill. -- An unexpected turn of events has offered Fulton leaders something they had been hoping to see in the river city-- a community park in the Third Ward. During a Fulton City Council meeting last week, City Administrator Ed Cannon announc

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • County attorney says officer justified in shooting

    The Jackson County Attorney's Office has found a Maquoketa police officer was justified in using deadly force after a motorists fired repeatedly at him.

    The Iowa Department of Public Safety on Monday released details of the April 1 shooting, including dash-cam video played at a news conference.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG_1031.jpg Legislators: Session lacks productivity

    CLINTON -- Iowa legislators are frustrated with the way this year's session has unfolded, but not everything has come with disappointing results. During a legislative coffee gathering Saturday, Sen. Rita Hart, Rep. Steve Olson and Rep. Mary Wolfe exp

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Central eyes name change DEWITT -- It has been more than 50 years, and the Central Community School District of Clinton County is still talking about it -- Its name. Superintendent Dan Peterson for the second time brought the issue to the Central Board at its meeting Wednesd

    April 12, 2014

  • Board mulls over glass recycling CLINTON -- Plans are continuing at the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency to investigate a contract for glass recycling. Director of Operations and Education Brad Seward on Thursday told the CCASWA board that he is still working with Ripple Glass

    April 12, 2014

  • Senior housing plan picks up steam

    CAMANCHE -- The likelihood of a senior housing development in the city of Camanche is gaining momentum as residents came out in full support of the first installment of focus group meetings hosted by Park Vista Senior Housing Management. Two of the f

    April 12, 2014

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.