Tim Bardole in blue shirt holding soybean plants in a s

(Photo Credit: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Iowa soybean farmer shares impact of storm destruction with Vice President Mike Pence

August 13, 2020

Iowa Soybean Association President Tim Bardole met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence today in Des Moines to discuss challenges farmers are facing, including the damage from Monday’s storm. Following are excerpts from his conversation. Tim raises soybeans, corn and pigs with his family on their diversified Greene County farm.

“My family farm has dealt with tornados, ice storms, flooding and droughts, but nothing has compared to the devastation my farm incurred from the recent derecho. Never before has the damage been so widespread. Every square inch of every acre of every field was impacted. My soybeans have significant hail damage. My corn crop is flattened, with damage so significant that there may not be anything to harvest.

“After three tough years in agriculture stemming from trade impasses, renewable fuels attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic, this catastrophic storm makes it hard to remain optimistic. And it wasn’t just my crops. I found one of my vehicles smashed, augers and fertilizer tenders destroyed and hog buildings damaged.

“The destruction is especially devastating for my son, who has been farming for just four years. Three of them have been marked by events that further depress market prices and significantly impact cash flow. My father and I have leveraged our balance sheets to the breaking point to support his farm through these obstacles. This cannot continue in perpetuity. 

“I urge the Administration and all elected leaders to be mindful of this disaster in America’s breadbasket and to consider the impacts of domestic policies that either burden our markets or allow us to farm efficiently and provide for our families and communities.

“We are only beginning to understand the true scope of the financial, environmental and long-term implications of this derecho. For many farmers, especially those just starting out like my son, this might be the last storm they can weather.

“Restoring a robust Renewable Fuel Standard and swiftly working to restore trade with China are two key policy initiatives that can return optimism and prosperity to our industry and my family.”
The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 15,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.