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Rohwer pleased with Obama win, says president is good ag supporter

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 11/22/2012 7:05 PM

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PAULLINA, Iowa —Paullina farmer and Iowa Corn Growers Association President Bruce Rohwer was happy to see that his candidate won last week's presidential election.

Rohwer supported President Barack Obama and served on the president's rural Iowa steering committee. He grows corn and soybeans and has a farrow to finish hog operation in O'Brien County.

"It's much nicer to be on the winning side than the losing side of things," Rohwer said. "For me personally, I felt the president did a good job of supporting agriculture, renewable fuels and the things that really reflect right down to my farm."

Rohwer said now is the time to work together.

"The administration president and secretary of agriculture were excellent supporters of agriculture the last four years," Rohwer said. "We have a good working relationship with them and look forward to that continuing for the next four years."

Rohwer pointed to Obama's speech were he said the country is more than red states and blue states, it's the United States.

"It's United States agriculture," Rohwer said. "As corn growers we will work with the people who are in office to make sure agriculture is properly represented."

Iowa corn growers supported all the state's incumbent congressional representatives, but because of redistricting knew that they would lose one, Rohwer said. With state legislative races, it looks like the Senate remains in Democratic control 26 to 24 and the House remains in Republican control but with Democrats gaining some seats.

"Our PAC supported just over 70 candidates, and for the most part, they will be coming back to the Legislature to work on issues related to agriculture," Rohwer said. "The big issue at the state level is increasing the gas tax to improve road and bridge infrastructure in the state."

Corn growers need to know that there is continued support for the Renewable Fuels Standard at the state and national level.

"One aspect of our ethanol production is that it provides an alternative protein source for livestock feeding," Rohwer said. "With the price of protein for feed rations, dried distillers grains from ethanol production have given me an alternative source and makes for competition between soybean meal, distillers grain and other protein sources."

Rohwer said if the country shut down the ethanol industry, it would provide more corn to the market and maybe reduce prices, but it would also reduce his sources of protein.

"Many of these things are multi-faceted and there can be unintended consequences from different actions," Rohwer said.

Rohwer has had no conversations with ag secretary Tom Vilsack about his plans for the coming four years.

"But I will say that we have a secretary of agriculture who understands agriculture and all its nuances, and we would be happy to work with him as long as he cares to retain the job," Rohwer said.