A legislative forum Friday, Feb. 24 at the Fontanelle Community Center was hosted by Adair County Farm Bureau, and it appropriately comprised talks about agriculture.
At the forum were State Representative Ray “Bubba” Sorensen (R-Greenfield) and State Senator Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton). It was moderated by Farm Bureau representative Randy Caviness of Greenfield.
One main facet of the agriculture part of the hour-long discussion centered on veterinary medicine for Iowa’s farms. A major concern to the ag industry right now is attracting and keeping quality veterinarians in Iowa. Of particular concern are food animal veterinarians, such as vets who specialize in large animals as well as poultry, Sinclair said.
A bill that Sorensen recently worked on is House File 434. It works at expanding the scope of what veterinary technicians or veterinary medicine students can do, even on the farm with animals needing care.
“Right now it’s a negotiation with the vets; that’s the big thing,” Sorensen said. “I went to talk to the ag chair and he said they’re trying to work through a compromise. I told him he can run with my bill or add my bill to another as an amendment.”
After meeting with a group of veterinarians last week, Sinclair said she feels all the needed people are on board for a bill like this to become approved.
She said Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine officials have encouraged Iowa lawmakers to move forward with a bill like this as Iowa faces a shortage of veterinarians. They also want the legislators to pump more money into an already-established program that provides student loan repayment assistance to large animal veterinarians who choose to practice in rural areas.
Sinclair added that veterinarians around Iowa are working together on cases now, more than they ever have. She said this younger generation of veterinarians would rather share a case load with other doctors rather than having a 24-hour practice and never having time to be away from the job or being on call.
“They want to be a part of a larger group of doctors so that they can take vacations and not worry about someone needing an emergency C-section,” Sinclair said. “I’m talking with [Iowa State] and the Iowa Economic Development Authority to see if there’s some way we can incentivize those group practices so that the rural vets could have a backup or have mentor so that if something comes to them that’s beyond their scope of experience they would have someone to bounce ideas off of.”
Also in the realm of agriculture, the legislators answered a question regarding more training for aerial applicators, also known as crop dusters, so that less cases of severe overspray occur.
Additional topics touched on were education, property tax reform and rural healthcare.