Iowa Farm Bureau delegates vote out Craig Lang as president

Delegates to the Iowa Farm Bureau's state convention in Des Moines voted Craig Lang out as president of the organization yesterday.

Dan Piller reported for the Des Moines Register,

The possible shakiness of Lang's hold on the delegates, who represent Iowa's 99 counties, first occurred in September. At their annual policymaking session in September the delegates initially agreed to a Lang-endorsed policy declaration in favor of tying conservation compliance with farm insurance subsidies.

A day later the delegates reversed course, refusing to endorse the concept of a mandatory conservation in the farm bill.

In 2010 Lang urged the delegates to vote a policy recommendation calling for end of direct payment subsidies to farmers. The Iowa policy change, the first by a major farm organization, was not adopted by the  American Farm Bureau Federation's national meeting in January.

Dean Kleckner, former president of both the Iowa Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation, was not among delegates who voted on the presidency.

But Kleckner said "I was president of the Iowa Farm Bureau for ten years and Craig had been in for ten years and many people think that is about long enough. Time works against you in a position like that."

Click here for background on Iowa Farm Bureau's reversal over whether compliance with conservation standards should be a condition for receiving federal crop insurance.

The Iowa Farm Bureau's new president will be Craig Hill, up to now the organization's vice president. Hill is a grain and hog farmer in Warren County who has served on various boards, the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean of Agriculture Advisory Committee, and the ISU Plant Sciences Institute Advisory Committee. Joe Heinrich, a crop and livestock farmer from Jackson County, was elected to take Hill's place as vice president.

Lang declined Radio Iowa's request for comment on the leadership change at the Farm Bureau.

A member of the Iowa Board of Regents since 2007 and Regents president since July of this year, Lang skipped yesterday's Board of Regents meeting in order to attend the Iowa Farm Bureau event. Regents President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter presided over that meeting in Lang's absence. The regents approved a 3.75 percent tuition increase at the three state universities. Ruth Harkin was the only regent to vote against the tuition hike; the other seven regents supported it. The board also adopted a policy change to prevent centers or institutes at the state universities from being named after public officials who are still in office. That change stemmed from Republican objections to the new Harkin Institute for Public Policy at Iowa State University. The senator's wife, Ruth Harkin, abstained from that vote; the other seven regents present supported the change.

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