WASHINGTON, December 30, 2015 – With national security, terrorism and renewable energy topping their list of election-related concerns, a plurality of Iowa farmers say their preference for president is businessman and self-acclaimed Washington outsider Donald Trump.

 In an online survey conducted from Dec. 8-18, nearly 18 percent of 157 farmers indicated they support GOP front runner Trump. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz garnered 16 percent support from respondents while slightly more than 10 percent backed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Other candidates receiving support of significance were Gov. Jeb Bush (9 percent), Sen. Marco Rubio (6 percent), businesswoman Carly Fiorina (5 percent) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (3 percent).

Poll participants were also asked to rank the importance of 15 national and international issues impacting the race for president. Sixty-six percent of respondents rated national security as a top priority while 57 percent said the same about terrorism. Fifty percent selected "renewable fuels" as a top priority, followed by “regulatory issues” (48 percent), crop insurance/farm bill/farm policy (44 percent) and immigration (33 percent). The issue of climate change received the least attention with just 11 percent of respondents citing it as a high priority for them in the presidential campaign.
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 The Agri-Pulse Farm Opinion Poll, conducted in partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) via an online survey sent to over 1,000 Iowa farmers, also provided timely insights about how farmers plan to manage low commodity prices and their use of conservation practices to improve environmental performance. Highlights included:

  • Nearly 37 percent of respondents said they’re planting cover crops to improve soil health and nutrient management. Rye was the most popular cover crop seeded followed by radish and oats.
  • When asked who they would prefer to conduct additional research on environmental, land and nutrient management issues, 73 percent of farmers cited state universities followed by Iowa Soybean Association (55 percent), Iowa State University Extension (45 percent) and private companies (33 percent).
  • Even with substantially weaker commodity prices, there appears to be somewhat of a stalemate on cash rent negotiations with landlords – 36 percent of the farmers surveyed were able to lower cash rents to be paid in 2016; 37 percent were unable to do so.
  • Of those who successfully reduced cash rents, about a quarter of the farmers lowered rents by 6-20 percent.
  • Nearly three of four farmers surveyed have taken action to reduce 2016 input costs. Fifty-four percent said they have successfully reduced seed and fertilizer expenses while 26 percent have cut insecticide expenses.
  • Soybean prices are lower, but farmers harvested a bumper crop in 2015. Forty-one percent saw a 10 percent bump in soybean yields while 27 percent said they tallied an increase of 20 percent. Twenty-eight percent of farmers said they harvested either the same or fewer bushels this year than average. 
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