Iowa Farmers Support 2002 Farm Bill as Model for 2007 Bill

July 6th, 2005

The majority of Iowa farmers responding to an Iowa State University survey said the basic directions of the 2002 Farm Bill should be continued, the income protection it offers is adequate and overall, the program has been successful.

The current federal farm program legislation, adopted in 2002, will expire in 2007. Questions about the 2002 bill were asked as part of this year's Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. The responses were summarized July 6 during the opening session of the "New Directions in Federal Farm Policy: Issues for the 2007 Farm Bill" conference in Ames.

Paul Lasley, chair of the ISU sociology department and co-investigator of the study, said questionnaires were mailed April 1 to more than 1,800 farm operators, with responses from more than 1,200. "Twelve items about the 2002 farm bill were included on the survey. Producers expressed their opinions by checking a five-point scale that ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree," he said.

Lasley said producers expressed support for developing markets through the promotion of exports and alternative energy development. They also expressed support for conservation through the continuation of the Conservation Reserve Program, the need to address environmental issues and general support for conservation.

Producers were evenly split on supply management policies, with 29 percent agreeing, 26 percent disagreeing and 25 percent saying they are not sure.

Producers also were divided in their opinions about the cost of the 2002 Farm Bill, with 33 percent agreeing it has been too expensive, 34 percent disagreeing and 33 percent saying they are not sure.

"There was agreement that the next farm bill should pay more attention to beginning farmers, with 45 percent disagreeing with the statement that the current farm bill has adequately addressed this issue," Lasley said.

The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, established in 1982, is a joint venture of the Iowa State University College of Agriculture, ISU Extension and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and land Stewardship. It's an annual survey of a random sample of Iowa farm operators.

The 12 statements about the farm bill on the 2005 survey on which producers were asked to rate their opinion on a five-point scale were:The government should devote more efforts to the promotion of exports through the 2007 Farm Bill.The Conservation Reserve Program should be continued.The 2007 Farm Bill should provide incentives to allow farmers to participate in alternative energy development.The basic directions in the 2002 Farm Bill should be continued in the 2007 Farm Bill.The 2007 Farm bill should provide better income protection.Overall, the 2002 Farm Bill has provided an adequate income protection for farmers.The 2007 Farm Bill should do more to address environmental issues in agriculture.Overall, the 2002 Farm Bill has been successful.Overall, the 2002 Farm Bill has provided good support for conservation efforts.Grain production policy should return to supply management (acreage set aside and deficiency payments.)The 2002 Farm Bill has proven to be too expensive.The 2002 Farm Bill has adequately addressed the needs of beginning farmers.A copy of Lasley's presentation at the farm bill summit will be available in the proceedings as well as online at http://www.soc.iastate.edu/extension.html. The complete summary of the 2005 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll also will be posted on this Web site later this summer.

Contacts: 

Paul Lasley, Sociology, (515) 294-0937, plasley@iastate.edu
Susan Thompson, Communications Service, (515) 294-0705, sander@iastate.edu