Room where Saturday's Ag Summit in Des Moines will be held. pic.twitter.com/Wbm0nwcMcJ
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) March 6, 2015
Following coverage of the Iowa Ag Summit from earlier this week, Jennifer Jacobs reported on Thursday at The Des Moines Register Online that, “The debut of Jeb Bush [related article] on the Iowa presidential landscape is one factor that marks Saturday’s Iowa Agriculture Summit as an important milestone of the early 2016 campaign.
“It’s also the first big multi-contender GOP presidential forum that will attract business Republicans who are more interested in economic issues than social issues or God’s place in the civic arena.”
Ms. Jacobs went on to discuss “eight things to watch for” at the Summit; the list included the following:
1. Who are the hottest speakers?
2. Who will exhibit the best farm savvy?
3. Will anyone be perceived as anti-ag?
4. How will Christie deal with any awkwardness with the moderator? (“[Host Bruce Rastetter, an agribusiness leader and GOP power player] was one of seven Iowa politicos who flew to New Jersey on a 2012 recruitment mission. He has since backed off support for Christie, saying he’s reserving judgment on the 2016 contenders.”)
5. Will Rubio be a new stand-out? Or someone else?
6. How will Patty Judge be received?
7. Will this event elevate Rastetter’s stature among Republicans?
8. Will GOP contenders who skip the summit be hurt by their absence?And reported today at Radio Iowa Online that, ” who say they may compete for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination will be featured at the first-ever Iowa Agricultural Summit tomorrow. The event’s host is of Hubbard, a man who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the past decade and a half — from the fortune he amassed raising hogs and investing in ethanol production.
And, O. Kay Henderson reported today at Radio Iowa Online that, “Eleven politicians who say they may compete for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination will be featured at the first-ever Iowa Agricultural Summit tomorrow. The event’s host is Bruce Rastetter of Hubbard, a man who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the past decade and a half — from the fortune he amassed raising hogs and investing in ethanol production.
“‘Food doesn’t come from a grocery store. You just happen to buy it there,’ Rastetter said during an interview with Radio Iowa, ‘so this is something that affects every American because every American eats and is concerned about food safety, the environment, sustainability — those kinds of things.'”
The article noted that, “‘I hear a number of them are calling around, asking people for their views, their perspective, getting updates on policies and why they exist,’ Rastetter said. ‘So I think that’s all a good thing and we had hoped they would be more up-to-speed with ag policy with just the idea of this summit.’
“Rastetter said the topics for his conversations with the candidates haven’t been kept secret. For example, he plans to ask whether the candidates support federal crop insurance subsidies and pending international trade deals that could boost U.S. ag exports. He will also ask for their views on topics like organic food labeling and immigration policy.”
Today’s update added that, “The event comes at a critical time for agriculture, according to [Iowa GOP Governor Terry Branstad]. He points to falling ag land values, layoffs at John Deere and the USDA’s prediction that net farm income will fall by 32 percent this year. Branstad said the candidates will have an opportunity to ‘articulate a vision’ for bringing ‘prosperity’ to rural America.”