New Iowa livestock group focuses on independent producers

On March 7, 2023, livestock producers from across Iowa joined together to form the Iowa Stock Growers Association.  Directors hail from all parts of the state.

Eric Nelson, a cow calf producer and feeder from Moville, said livestock producers in his state want an organization to speak on behalf of independent agriculture, and to help lawmakers understand how economically important independent agriculture is.

“It’s time that we double down on our efforts to get involved in affecting livestock policy with the crazy things going on in this state. The hog integration has been going on so long that the communist Chinese now own more hogs in Iowa than anyone else,” said Nelson.

The Iowa Stock Growers is an independent group that will set its own policy and will not be beholden to a national organization, he said, although it will be affiliated with R-CALF USA, and will rely on that group for data, information and more.

“I’ve always been a believer that all politics are local,” said Nelson.

Some of the group’s priorities will be Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and policy to require packers to buy more cattle on the cash market (50-14 or something similar). “We want to work hard on forcing packers to pay for cattle on the cash market – there aren’t enough hogs traded on a weekly basis to know what the real value of hogs is. I think we are already facing that with cattle and it’s why we are losing money even though demand is great,” he said.

 The founding members, though primarily cattle producers, vow to represent independent producers of all species of livestock in Iowa. ISGA president Eric Nelson issued the following statements concerning the need for a new livestock producers’ organization in the state. “As livestock production in Iowa has become integrated and controlled by a hand full of companies, most recently Iowa’s hog industry, non-integrated livestock producers are often left unrepresented in political debate over policy that affects them.”

Nelson said even the sheep industry can look to his group for representation, and he pointed out that growers of different species of livestock can work together. “The United States was made of neighbors helping neighbors,” he said.

“Today, with more hogs in Iowa owned by the Chinese government than by anyone else, there has obviously been a disconnect with who is representing Iowa livestock producers and how they are being represented. With the example of how Iowa’s hog industry succumbed to corporate control in just a few years, and with sheep producers today ravaged by uncontrolled imports of lamb causing serious market problems, the founders of Iowa Stock Growers Association felt it time to step forward to accurately represent all Iowa livestock producers. As large global meat companies lobby elected officials and existing livestock & farm groups (unfortunately often successfully) to further enhance their businesses, Iowa Stock Growers Association vows to represent all of Iowa’s independent livestock producing businesses, large & small. While many livestock producers have been underserved and left fighting for survival, U.S. food security at the same time has been called into question as foreign owned companies often dominate U.S. food supply chains,” he said.

Nelson added, “it has become painfully obvious that a more robust discussion involving all participants in Iowa’s livestock industry needs to happen not only in the halls of Congress but also up and down main street of every city & town in Iowa. The future of Iowa agriculture hinges on entrepreneurial livestock production as an entry point for future generations. Iowa Stock Growers Association will fight for a place, the opportunity  for future generations to profitably own & raise livestock.”

Iowa Stock Growers Association (ISGA) is an Iowa Corporation filed under the Iowa Nonprofit Corporation Act, Chapter 504A of the 2023 Code of Iowa. Non-profit status is being applied for.

For more information, contact Eric Nelson at 712-540-5633.