Marty Danzer is ready to give Biden a chance

By Jonathan Got

Nov. 3, 2020


Marty Danzer cast his vote in mid-October. Photo provided by Marty Danzer

Marty Danzer cast his vote in mid-October. Photo provided by Marty Danzer

Marty Danzer has farmed soybean, corn, oats and hay in Carroll, Iowa for 43 years. He believes that Joe Biden’s energy policy will benefit him and the nation.  

“I’ve been registered as a Democrat for the last 16 years,” said Danzer, who supported Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year.  

One in five jobs in Iowa are related to agriculture, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau. Farmers in Iowa are impacted by the Trump administration’s $7 billion aid for farmers affected by a severe windstorm in August and energy policy that contributes to demand for soybean and corn. 

Danzer cast his vote at the Carroll County Courthouse on Oct. 19. He voted for Biden.   

But he isn’t certain of the outcome. “[It’s] kind of a tossup between Biden and Trump right now, so we’ll see what happens,” said Danzer. “What do you play? The cards we’re dealt.” 

The farmer, a former Democratic Carroll County supervisor between 2002 and 2018, said, “I’m more a person that votes on issues than I will on party.”  

Marty Danzer planting on his farm in Carroll, Iowa. Photo by: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association 

After spending all morning salvaging crop destroyed by the August windstorm, he had an afternoon break in his farm shop. The average yield for corn is about 200 bushels per acre, but it halved to about 100, due to the storms and drought.  

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the windstorm was the most expensivein recorded U.S. history at $7.5 billion in damages. 

When asked about whether he received assistance from the government, Danzer said he is “not a person in believing bailouts.” Danzer said he didn’t like that Trump was handing bailouts to farmers over the past four years and would rather receive fair market value for his products.  

“We have crop insurance,” he said. “Our crop insurance will cover some of the shortfall.” He emphasized that he pays for his crop insurance premiums, so it’s nothing like a government handout. Crop insurance compensates farmers for losses in crop quantity or quality due to natual causes.  

Iowa is a swing state, but farmers on both sides believe in policies promoting market prices. Tom Vincent, a soybean and corn farmer in Perry, Iowa, has “been involved in Republican politics for many years.” Despite voting for Donald Trump, he too said that it’s best for the farmer when policy is “directed at allowing the market to function.” 

Gene Meiners spent over 30 years in the agriculture business. He has worked alongside Danzer on the Carroll County board of supervisors for over a decade on a wide array of county issues.  

“He’s a hard workerhe was good to work with on the board of supervisors,” said Meiners. He agreed it’s typical of a farmer to want to earn their living from the market and not rely on government handouts.  

Another key factor for farmers in the Midwest is ethanol production, said Danzer.  He estimates that 10 per cent of corn and soybean price comes from demand for biofuels and biodiesel.  

Danzer has a son who works in an ethanol plant closed for over four months due to low oil prices. “[Trump] has got big oil money behind him and he’s not helping,” he added.  

Since Trump took office, the Environmental Protection Agency issued retroactive exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard to 31 refineries. The standard compels refineries to blend a minimum volume of biofuels into the transportation fuel supply. The exempted volume has nearly doubled from 0.79 to 1.43 billion gallons of fuel between 2016 and 2018. Retroactive exemptions for 2019 are still pending government approval. 

When Danzer attended the National Biodiesel Board Meeting in Tampa, Florida this January, he learned that biofuels generate heat for the north-eastern US and has lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.   

Biden wants the US to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To this point, Danzer said “I think it’s coming at us and we just got to be really ready to adapt to it.” 

Danzers said he believes the biofuel tax credits and the replacement of propane with biodiesel in Democratic states like California and New York will help boost demand for corn and soybean used to produce those biofuels. 

“As far as the agriculture side, I’m siding more with Biden,” said Danzer. “We have to give him a chance.”