There’s more than one drought choking the country. On Capitol Hill, there’s a drought of ideas – and compassion – about farmers, rural America and the needy.
Two of Iowa’s political heavyweights spent some time in Lee County this week. They used separate events to tout one of the state’s growing industries.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, visits Lee County at least once a year as part of his annual 99-county tour of the state.
His counterpart, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin’s, D-Iowa, visits are much more sporadic, which made their visits occurring at the same time rather unique.
SENATOR HARKIN VISITS FARM
Steve Newberry of rural Argyle has been farming all of his life. His farm is located down a winding, gravel road just a couple miles west of the Avenue of the Saints in Lee County.
Newberry says his farm has a little bit of everything, including about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans, 150 head of cattle, and about 7,000 hogs split between two buildings.
He says his passion for farming starts with his love of cattle, likening it to someone who loves to go fishing.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said a new farm bill will have to cost less and return to its primary goal of helping farmers during tough times. He calls the current payment system ”lopsided.” Durbin said, “The direct payment system is paying many farmers a lot of federal money at a time when prices were very, very high. We're going to have to change that and farmers know it.”
He is confident the new bill will save money and still protect farmers.
The current farm bill expires at the end of this year.