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

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
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Crop Protection Bulk Storage
LegislationARA: Chemical Security, Biotech Labeling Among Key Issues In 2015
February 12, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association is hopeful Beltway gridlock will lessen in 2015, allowing some key agricultural initiatives to gain legislative ground. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
Latest News
Young soybean field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Announces New Business Unit Head For…
September 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America announces the addition of Rico Christensen, Business Unit Head, North America. Christensen will have responsibility for Read More
Wilbur Ellis Pink Soybean Seed Treatment
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Goes Pink With Soybean Seed Treatments For…
September 1, 2015
This past year, proceeds of pink-dyed soybeans treated and sold to Wilbur-Ellis seed customers in Chester, SD, went to two Read More
SprayersNORAC Active Wing Roll Slated For More Sprayers
September 1, 2015
NORAC Systems, a member of the Topcon Positioning Group, announces the release of Active Wing Roll for RoGator, Apache, New Read More
Syngenta Sign
FungicidesSyngenta’s Newest Fungicide Receives EPA Approval
September 1, 2015
Syngenta announced today that its newest succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) fungicide – Solatenol – has received registration from EPA and Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
Crop InputsDelaying The Fertilizer Decision
September 1, 2015
Comments gathered from several retailers recently evidenced a classic good-news-bad-news scenario. Good news is prices and supplies of nitrogen, phosphate, Read More
StewardshipBee Buffer Strip Initiative Seeks 100 Ohio Farmers
August 31, 2015
The U.S. Bee Buffer Project, an initiative of the Pollinator Partnership (P2), Burt’s Bees and The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Read More
2015 ShowStopper Award, MAGIE
EquipmentA ShowStopper From Case IH: The Patriot 2250
August 31, 2015
For nine years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with not only Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, FMC Expand Roundup Ready PLUS Platform
August 31, 2015
FMC Corp. and Monsanto Co. announced today an expanded agreement to continue their participation in the Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Read More
Deere Nutrient Applicator
Eric SfiligojThe Good & Bad News From MAGIE
August 31, 2015
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries (MAGIE) trade show in Bloomington, IL. Read More
CPS Morenci receiving its 4R certification
StewardshipCPS Morenci Becomes First Michigan Facility Certified I…
August 31, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that Crop Production Services, Inc.’s facility located in Morenci, MI, has been Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Soucy Track Distribution Alliance
August 28, 2015
John Deere announces an alliance with Soucy Track to sell and distribute products through the John Deere dealer channel. “This Read More
FertilizerFall-Applied Phosphorus: A Rooted Investment
August 28, 2015
As commodity prices decrease and input prices continue to rise, farmers are seeking more efficient strategies for meeting a high Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsWhat’s Next For Monsanto, Syngenta?
August 28, 2015
After dropping its $47 billion bid to take over Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta, Monsanto may be turning its focus to Read More
Golden Harvest Corn stalks
Crop InputsMonsanto: Syngenta Not The Only Horse In Crop Protectio…
August 28, 2015
Monsanto Co, having ditched an audacious $46 billion (£30 billion) offer for Syngenta AG, may downshift to a humbler strategy Read More
ManagementConsolidation hits and a miss; And a look at China’s ch…
August 28, 2015
As Monsanto suspends its pursuit of Syngenta, consolidation news at the retail and distribution level heats up. CropLife magazine’s Executive Read More
Corn Field
MicronutrientsHuma Gro Introduces New Boron Liquid Nutrient Formulati…
August 28, 2015
BORO-MAX, a new boron (B) 10% liquid nutrient formulation, has been added to the Huma Gro product line. This new Read More
Crop InputsNFU: Monsanto Decision To Withdraw Syngenta Bid ‘…
August 26, 2015
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the organization was very pleased by the news that Monsanto has withdrawn Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Withdraws Bid For Syngenta
August 26, 2015
Monsanto Co. abandoned its latest effort to acquire Syngenta AG, the world’s top maker of pesticides, after a sweetened bid Read More