[US to Australia 2013] Megan Hess: A New, Global Perspective of Home
It is no secret I love my home state of Iowa.
I came to Australia naïve about the connection my home state would have with this beautiful nation. Just a few days into our trip, it was clear: from producers to politics, Australians have a connection to Iowa.
Meeting with CropLife Australia, I instantly found a connection. CropLife Australia is the voice, advocate, and representative of the plant science industry in Australia. The organization works to ensure the appropriate level of governmental regulation in agriculture, the safety of farmers, and the sustainability of Australian agriculture. Iowa ranks #1 in the United States for production of corn and soybeans and so CropLife Australia’s goals resonated with me as an Iowan. I, too, am concerned about excessive regulation negatively impacting farmers, and as a citizen of the world, land stewardship, farmer safety, and the sustainability of agriculture are of vital importance to food security.
Australia is the 11th largest market for Iowa goods exports, worth over $199.6 million in 2007. Iowa’s major exports to Australia include tractors, pork, agricultural machinery, and drilling equipment. Iowa and Australia have a strong economic relationship – one that I would likely not have experienced or realized without ACYPL.
Our delegation spent the last few days in Canberra and from lobbyists to staffers, several Australians mentioned their travels to my home state which makes sense since our First in the Nation caucuses makes Iowa a natural draw for any politico. One Australian even mentioned to me they spent time in Dyersville and made a visit our famous Field of Dreams.
While I missed home, the Australians we met and the Australian Political Exchange Council went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to explore Australia and I have learned not only about Australia’s place in our global economy, but Iowa’s too. Even more, I will leave with a greater understanding of the importance of Australia and Iowa’s interdependent relationship to the world.
Megan Hess is a member of the Iowa House of Representatives.