Furlong awarded 2016 Citizenship Award

Bill Furlong, of Iowa City, Iowa, was awarded the Center for Rural Affairs’ 2016 Citizenship Award. He was recognized at an awards ceremony on March 10 in York, Neb.

The Citizenship Award is given to an individual or individuals who actively participate in the civic process for creating public policy and who work closely with the Center for Rural Affairs to advance public policies that strengthen family farms, ranches and rural communities.

Furlong has been a champion for crop insurance modernization since the Center for Rural Affairs began work on the issue. He has lent his expertise in planning meetings, played a leadership role in listening sessions, and joined staff at National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to aid in developing a national strategy. He works to share his views on how crop insurance can better serve family and beginning farmers in Iowa.

“Bill is a strong champion for reforming the structure of agriculture policy in the United States,” said Johnathan Hladik, Center for Rural Affairs’ Policy Program director. “He is always willing to share his perspective with lawmakers and does not shy away from emphasizing the importance of capping crop insurance payments.”

In addition to his dedication to agriculture policy, Furlong serves farmers across the state as an advisory board member with Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health.

“Bill is passionate about ensuring beginning farmers have the tools and information they need to safely manage farm equipment and transition into a successful farming career,” said Stephanie Enloe, policy program associate, who works closely with Furlong. “Although he’s been a longtime supporter, I met Bill a little over a year ago at a meeting in Des Moines where we started laying the groundwork for a regional effort to modernize crop insurance in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill.”

Furlong farms in eastern Iowa, raising corn, soybeans and hay.

“Bill is this invaluable resource in helping us come up with and vette some of our policy ideas that will be key as we move forward to fix crop insurance in the next Farm Bill,” Enloe said. “He has helped us understand how to level the playing field for small, mid-sized beginning farmers as well as to better incentivize federal conservation.”

She said Furlong has helped the policy staff during the past several years, and is always up for a conversation.

“I think I can speak for the policy team when I say that it’s people like Bill who make our jobs really fun, exciting, and worthwhile,” Enloe said.

Furlong was not able to attend the ceremony, but sent a message.

“For more than 40 years, I have been proud to contribute to the Center for Rural Affairs and am proud of their dedication to the rural Midwest and the people who reside there,” he wrote. “Thank you for this award, I am honored to be a part of your work.”