Iowa has a global reputation as an agricultural powerhouse. As a leading producer of pork, corn, soybeans, and eggs, production agriculture anchors the state’s economy, helps ensure America’s food security and feeds and fuels millions of people around the world. From the farm to the fork, Iowa’s agricultural abundance creates jobs in multiple sectors of the food supply chain.
As one of only a handful of farmers in Congress, Senator Grassley brings real world experience to the policymaking fields in Washington, D.C. His leadership positions on the Senate Finance, Judiciary, Agriculture, and Budget Committees provide a unique opportunity to shape tax, international trade, regulatory and spending policy that will shape the future of farming in the 21st century.
Both on and off the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Grassley is an outspoken and effective voice for American agriculture. Senator Grassley farms corn and soybeans 50-50 with his family in Butler County, Iowa, and works to stay in close touch with the realities facing producers of farm commodities, including livestock.
Senator Grassley has been actively involved in the development of the last three Farm Bills. The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive omnibus bill authorizes vital programs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the areas of crop insurance, conservation, nutrition, agriculture research, and rural development.
For the past three Farm Bills, Senator Grassley has advocated for caps on farm subsidies. In 2008, 2014, and again in 2018, he advanced amendments that would limit payments to $125,000 per year per person, $250,000 per couple, to be paid to one manager per farm – one that is actively engaged in the farming operation. The current system rewards corporate farms at the expense of family farms and new and beginning farmers. Senator Grassley’s reforms would restore the intent of the farm safety net for family farmers without subsidizing large factory farms. Each time, he garnered strong, bipartisan and grassroots support for his amendments, only to see them dropped behind closed doors later.
Senator Grassley has also been an outspoken critic of the concentrated meatpacking industry. The industry’s anti-competitive practices hurt independent producers that make up rural Iowa. He has long supported strengthening enforcement measures at USDA to ensure producers are being treated fairly by corporate packers. He also led legislation (2020) mandating packers to buy a certain percentage of their animals on the negotiated cash trade market.
Recognizing the unique risk family farmers face in their work, Senator Grassley established the Chapter 12 of the bankruptcy code in 1986 to help farm families successfully reorganize when they fall on hard times. He updated the law in 2019 to meet farmers’ current needs. Recognizing the strain caused by uncertainty in farming, he’s led efforts to promote mental health services for America’s farmers.
Senator Grassley has earned a reputation in Washington as a voice for American agriculture. And for as long as he is serving Iowans in the U.S. Senate, he’ll always work to do right by the family farmer.