Credit: Contributed photo
(L-R) Southeastern Idaho farmer Justin Place and state director for the Idaho Grain Producers Association Jonathan Rosenau stand before the Lincoln Memorial. The pair traveled to Washington, D.C., in February as part of the IGPA’s young farmers mentor program.
As of Tuesday, April 12, 2016
“You meet good people from all across the nation who are fighting the same fight as you,” said Jonathan Rosenau, Idaho County state director for Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA).
IGPA’s mission is to serve the grain producers of Idaho by representing their production interests at the county, state and federal levels in order to enhance their profitability and long-term viability.
Rosenau, a fourth generation dryland Camas Prairie crop producer, is passionate about this mission and jumped at the chance to speak for Idaho agriculture.
“There is so much misinformation out there,” said Rosenau.
In February, Rosenau traveled to the federal level as part of the young farmers mentor program for Idaho Grain Producers Association representing the National Barley Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG).
“I was surprised to see just how wide the gap is between what farmers do and what people in Washington, D.C., think they do,” Rosenau said.
Rosenau was joined on this adventure by another young farmer, Justin Place, from southeastern Idaho.
“We were fortunate to meet personally with all four of Idaho’s delegation: Representative Mike Simpson, Representative Raul Labrador, Senator Mike Crapo, and Senator Jim Risch.”
“Idaho’s delegation has been very supportive of agriculture and agricultural issues,” Rosenau continued, “even in a big city like Boise there is still some connection to agriculture, but Washington, D.C., has a different mentality.”
“We also met with USDA, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Krysta Harden about Idaho ag, and what she sees coming, and what we can do to help,” said Rosenau.
Some big issues Rosenau and Place discussed included the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, Federal Crop Insurance, and trade covering the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Referring to last summer’s drought in the Grangeville area, Rosenau shared, “Without federal crop insurance, many of the farmers in this area would have gone broke last year.”
After attending meetings with the USDA, Risk Management Agency and the NAWG, Rosenau stated, “We are continuing to work with RMA to better justify our crop insurance grades.”
Talk on the Hill about reducing federal subsidies for crop insurance has Rosenau concerned. He’s also concerned that the price loss coverage and agricultural risk coverage policies are not the safety net legislators think they are.
Rosenau also noticed a significant research gap between the American average corn grower, making approximately $270 per acre, and the average wheat farmer making approximately $107 per acre.
“I knew we were behind, but I didn’t know we were that far behind,” said Rosenau.
Discussion on how to make up this research gap entailed land grant universities and other agencies, better collaboration between researchers, and increased germ plasm sharing. With a draft sequence of the bread wheat genome now published, wheat research can move forward faster.
Both Rosenau and Place appreciated the opportunity to make the trip to Capitol Hill and encourage other growers to attend when asked.
“I came back believing farmers need to spend more time telling their story,” Rosenau said.
by Shelley Neal, Lucile, firstname.lastname@example.org.