Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks spoke with officials at Sinclair Tractor in Sigourney and also took a tour of the facilities Monday morning.
During the meeting, Miller-Meeks and Sinclair executives discussed numerous concerns in the agriculture industry including high costs, energy, and Artificial Intelligence.
Miller-Meeks says as a member of the Conservative Climate Caucus, part of her job is to highlight the good things Iowa producers are doing for the environment. For example, Miller-Meeks says 50 percent of the fuel the Iowa ag industry uses is renewable.
Some time was devoted to the ag industry’s possible transition to electric farm equipment. Sinclair officials and Miller-Meeks were both apprehensive about the infrastructure changes that would have to occur to transition vehicles from diesel fuel to electric.
The U.S. currently doesn’t have the means to mine, refine, or process any of the metals needed to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, according to Miller-Meeks. She adds that would force the U.S. to go overseas to competitors like China for the materials
“People love to talk about an all-electric economy but We don’t know how to get there.” Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks
Sinclair executives expressed a need for a “safety net” in the form of a new Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expired in December but President Biden signed an extension which moved the expiration date to this September.
Miller-Meeks says the Farm Bill, which is renewed every five years, needs to pass and she has been vocal to leadership.
The Farm Bill covers programs such as farm loans, conservation programs, and disaster assistance.