Amy Klobuchar focuses on agriculture in Iowa City stop

Democratic hopeful Amy Klobuchar makes a stop in Iowa City on a 20-county tour to talk about how she plans to improve opportunities for rural areas and American farmers.


Shivansh Ahuja

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., takes a tour of the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm in Iowa City on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

Democratic presidential-nomination candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar made at stop at the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm on her 20-County Heartland Tour on Aug. 8 to speak with members of Grow: Johnson County about the organization and the challenges beginning farmers face.

Her stop comes a day after the Minnesota senator announced a plan focusing on farmers and rural communities across the country.

Klobuchar’s policy has four main focuses: Heartland economics, those living in rural America, protecting America’s future, and leaving no one behind.

“My idea of student loans — there’s a lot of discussion about this, they have those 10-year payback periods where you can get it paid off, and it’s for people going into teaching.” she said. “And the idea would be to expand it into in-demand occupations, and I think young farmers are one of them.”

In addition to proposing student-loan forgiveness for farmers, the first part of Klobuchar’s policy stresses bringing support to farmers, promoting job growth, expanding rural infrastructure and transportation, increasing agricultural competition, and expanding opportunities for rural small businesses and beginning farmers.

The second part of the policy focuses on expanding rural health care, addressing energy costs and child-care issues experienced in rural areas, supporting rural education, and expanding affordable housing.

The third aspect plans to invest in renewable-energy sources and rural energy development, expand conservation practices, provide incentives for homegrown energy, and expand energy-efficiency programs.

The fourth aspect aims to reduce child poverty in rural areas, help rural veterans, aid farmers in bankruptcy, fight discrimination, partner with Native American tribes, and support rural seniors.


Klobuchar began her visit to the Poor Farm with a tour of the 5-acre fields maintained by local farmers through Grow: Johnson County. Her tour was led by Jason Grimm, the deputy director at Iowa Valley RC&D, who explained what the organization does and what kind of crops are grown on the land.

Grow: Johnson County produces food for those in the county who are food insecure, while providing an education opportunity for beginning farmers, Grimm said.

“Our organization also works with Johnson County, which owns the land, and we run land-access program for it on site, and help other farmers get access to land to start their businesses,” Grimm said.

After her tour, Klobuchar sat down with members of Grow, a local tenant farmer, and a member of Table to Table to answer questions and talk about her policies.

Event attendee Swati Dandekar of Marion said she leans toward Klobuchar because of her Midwestern values.

Klobuchar is someone who understands urban and rural communities, being from the Minnesota, Dandekar said. As an immigrant from India, Dandekar sees Klobuchar as someone who understands and respects the values of those coming to America for a new life.

“It’s important to understand urban and rural values [in the Midwest] are similar,” Dandekar said. “We all value education and want the same opportunities for our children. There shouldn’t be this urban-rural divide because we have the same needs and values.”

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