View From The Heartland

A new adminstration in Washing­ton, DC, means plenty of changes in the Beltway. One of the newcomers is Tom Vilsack, the incoming secretary of agriculture.

To find out more about what the nation’s ag industry can expect from this former governor of Iowa, CropLife® Group Editor Paul Schrimpf talked with Mona Bond, executive director for the Ag­ribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI), to get some perspective.

CropLife: What key issues in ag did Mr. Vilsack face during his tenure as governor? What about his approach to ag in the state provides clues as to how he will approach his new job?

Mona Bond: The Vilsack administration had to work with and address the confinement livestock issues during his tenure. When presented with a reasonable solution to the issue, he supported the bill that we are currently operating with. I anticipate he will continue to weigh all the facts and listen closely to his advisors.

CL: Describe any professional encounters the association had with the Vilsack administration that might provide insight into his leadership on ag issues.

Bond: AAI supports state regulation of the products that we sell, and we currently have state regulation of fertilizer, pesticides, and seed. Under Vilsack, we were successful in getting seed added to that list. He also spent time learning more about the opportunities that the biotech industry has for the future and its impact on Iowa. He chaired the governor’s biotech committee and received very favorable reviews and comments from the newly emerging industry during that time.

CL: How would you describe his leadership personality as a governor?

Bond: He is quick to make decisions. There were times when his patience wore thin and he made some hasty decisions he should have pondered longer.

CL: Did you find it interesting that President Obama mentioned leadership in adoption of biotechnology as a positive attribute among Mr. Vilsack’s credentials representing the state of Iowa?

Bond: No. As stated earlier, Iowa had a great opportunity to work with the ag biotech industry with several basic manufacturers based or with significant operations in Iowa. Iowa is the No. 1 corn state and also No. 1 in several other ag product areas. As governor, he understood the value of this technology to Iowa and the world to fight hunger.

CL: Do you have any concerns about the direction Mr. Vilsack could take USDA over the next four years, given the pressure that he will likely face from the environmental community?

Bond: My intuition tells me the Obama administration will be pragmatic and deliberate. I also believe that as secretary of ag, Gov. Vilsack will follow that lead. There are areas that the environmental community will focus on and push for policy changes, but in my opinion, great strides have been made in water quality and many other areas. The goal is to continue to feed Americans and export to the world. I believe he will keep that goal as his focus in the coming years.

As governor, Tom Vilsack surrounded himself with a staff that acted as strong gatekeepers. There were many comments from constituents that they could not get in to see him and/or to discuss policy.

As the secretary of ag, I hope he will allow himself to be accessible and open to meetings, discussion, and various points of view to better position agriculture to meet the growing needs for food around the world. I would encourage him to create focus groups of individuals from all facets of agriculture and stop to listen as he keeps his fingers on the pulse of the nation. I would encourage him to be pragmatic and realistic as the administration addresses the economic situation we are facing. I would ask him to put to the test each new regulation that the department makes with the question “will this regulation and/or policy aid in the economic recovery of America?”

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

LegislationFall Fertilizer Transportation Could Be At Risk With Possible Rail Stoppage
October 1, 2015
Failure by Congress to extend the deadline for the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on the railroads could gridlock Read More
LegislationEndangered Species Act, Pollinator Health Among Key Issues For CropLife America
September 7, 2015
Recently, CropLife® magazine had the chance to talk with CropLife America about the association’s key objectives and concerns. CropLife (CL): Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
LegislationGov. Kasich Signs Ohio Bill For Lake Erie Water Quality
April 2, 2015
Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill aimed at protecting Lake Erie and Ohio’s water quality, reports editorial staff at Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Opens Dry Fertilizer Storage And Blending Facility In Washington
October 8, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co., ranked No. 4 on the CropLife 100, has constructed and opened a 22,000-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending Read More
Latest News
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More