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Iowa History Daily: December 27 - Iowa Farm Bureau's Origins

Iowa History Daily: On December 27, 1918, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation first met in Marshalltown. The important insurance company and powerful lobbying group first organized to bring together farmers, local chambers of commerce, and other community officials in the hopes of supporting agriculture in Iowa.

Although the first Farm Bureau started in New York during 1911, the organization arrived in Iowa as World War I raged. After the initial meeting, counties quickly organized after the founding of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in Marshall County. By the close of the war, each county organized its own Farm Bureau (except Pottawattamie, which organized two) bringing the total in the state to 100.

As efforts to organize locally flourished, the organization also started to formalize on a national level and founded the American Farm Bureau Federation in 1920.The national organization tapped Iowa’s President James R. Howard as the first national president. In 1939, the Iowa Farm Mutual Insurance Company came into being and was followed by the creation of the Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company in 1944.

A powerful lobbying group in the modern era, over the past decade the national Farm Bureau spent $16 million, or 45% of the total amount spent by the 10 largest agribusiness interests in America. Self-described as a “grassroots advocacy organization,” the Farm Bureau stands as one of the most significant organizations in Iowa more than 100 years after its founding. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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