Sen. Ernst addresses economic concerns of Iowans at family-owned koi farm

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, visited the family-owned Kloubec Koi Farm for her Johnson County stop during her 99 Countys Tour.


Grace Kreber

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, stopped in Johnson County on Jan. 27, 2021 as part of her 99 County Tour.

Meg Doster, Politics Reporter

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, toured a family farm in Johnson County on her 14th stop of her 99 County Tour. The senator emphasized the importance of family businesses in the state, and addressed other economic concerns impacting Iowa. 

Ernst said that during the first two weeks of her tour, the most common concerns were inflation and the supply chain.

“Those two issues are hitting our families and our businesses really hard in Iowa,” Ernst said. “We’ve heard that container costs are over the roof.”

Kloubec Koi Farm has been owned by the Kloubec family since 1981. The farm is currently in its third generation.

“We need a labor force where people can make very good money and adequately have a good life,” Myron Kloubec, one of the owners of Kloubec Koi Farm, said. “My son has an earthworks business, he has heavy equipment, and it’s hard for him to find anybody to work.”

Ernst said that rules and regulations have also put small Iowa family farms at a disadvantage, and that making sure that tax laws are well written is the best thing that can be done for farmers.

“That’s why we saw a lot of farmers and ranchers get really worried about a tax package that the Democrats were proposing this year, because it would kill the family farm,” Ernst said.

Ernst said the labor shortage has put Iowa farms in a difficult position.

Sen. Joni Ernst tours the family-owned Kloubec Koi Farm for her Johnson County stop during her 99 County Tour. (Grace Kreber)

“So there’s also a shortage of drivers that have their commercial driver’s licenses,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of retirements through COVID. So we need more people going into that industry so they can move goods.”

Ernst’s 99 County Tour is an annual campaign in which the senator travels through all of Iowa’s counties to hold meetings with constituents. The tour includes town hall meetings, visiting manufacturing plants, hospitals, and schools. This year is Ernst’s eighth tour. 

Fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has been visiting every county in Iowa since he arrived in the Senate in 1981, is also on his tour now. 

On her 2022 tour, Ernst has already visited manufacturing plants and small businesses in eastern Iowa counties.

“There’s a number of things outside of the COVID issue that we can engage in, one is making sure that we are working with our US trade route,” Ernst said. “Because exports are really important for farms here in Iowa.”

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