KNOXVILLE — Like many farmers, Ray Gaesser makes challenging choices, such as whether to plant cover crops or how to pass the farm along to his son. But his national experience developing farm policy and trade deals sets him apart from the field in a crowded Republican primary for state ag secretary, he said recently.
Gaesser’s efforts beyond the 5,500 acres he farms between Corning and Lenox have given him connections that would benefit Iowa if he is elected, he said. These began with an Adams County rural development effort and led to leadership roles with the Iowa Soybean Checkoff, the Iowa Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association. Being a spokesperson for soybean growers kept him involved in trade missions and provided insights about their impact on farmers, he said during an April 26 visit to Knoxville.
“It’s those relationships that you build when you do those kind of volunteer things, when farmers go on trade missions and you talk with the ministers of agriculture, the big companies and the small companies that buy your products and you create a relationship,” Gaesser said. “Then they come to your farm and visit you and see that you actually are who you say you are.”