DES MOINES — The Iowa Farm Bureau opened it annual meeting Tuesday  in Des Moines. IFB president Craig Hill, says farmers are looking forward to turning the page on 2019.

“We’ve had a difficult year. One, we’ve had to fight Mother Nature a bit to get our seeds planted. That was a difficult time — harvesting was a difficult time,” Hill says. “We’ve been challenged with uncertain markets, trade agreements. The lack of some progress on USMCA and a number of other policy issues that we are all concerned about.”

Farmers are used to dealing with the weather conditions — but Hill says up and down trade talk added to the concerns. “You get your hopes up with an announcement, and then you find out it’s stashed away because it’s not actually real or it’s not happening. You can’t trust what you actually hear,” Hill says.

He says there is always optimism the new year will be better. “Folks are looking forward to turning the page on next year — they’re starting to make plans for that,” according to Hill. “It’s time to kind of celebrate our success, acknowledge our blessings and also look at those challenges and how we are going to address them going forward.”

Hill says a resolution of trade issues, including USMCA and China, would give farmers a boost heading into 2020. But he is concerned that the polarized political climate in Washington will halt any progress. “I don’t know that anybody really thinks it will get much better any time soon. so, we want to get what we can done, manage our affairs the best we can… we hope Washington improves, but with impeachment and all the things around what’s going on in D.C., it’s going to be very difficult getting anything done in 2020,” Hill says.

The Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting runs through Wednesday.

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