- Farming & Ranching, Fishing, Guest Column, Humane Society of the United States, Hunting, Pet Ownership
Getting to Know Protect the Harvest Board Member, Erik Helland —
Growing up on a seventh-generation family farm in Iowa, I learned some valuable lessons. I remember the countless hours with my family sorting, feeding, and caring for our hogs. Rain or shine, seven days a week, our priority was caring for our animals.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself working in the complete opposite of an Iowa farm field.
Graduating from Drake Law School, I began my professional career as a lawyer and a compliance consultant, but still made time to lend a helping hand on our family farm every now and again.
Shortly into my career, I was given the great opportunity to serve in the Iowa House of Representatives for House District 69. As a legislator, I worked with state and local lawmakers to protect the rural values and agricultural way of life that had so greatly influenced my upbringing.
Representing an urban district outside of Des Moines presented certain challenges like standing up for my constituents while honoring Iowa’s rural communities. Through no fault of their own, I realized that many of my colleagues were very disconnected from the struggles and the joys of daily farm life. Many of them were led to believe the myths and deceptions peddled by various animal rights organizations.
As I transitioned from my time as a state legislator, I was asked to be a founding board member of Protect the Harvest. My legislative experience at the state level, where I advocated for Iowa farmers and our rural way of life, made for a seamless transition into my role with Protect The Harvest, advocating for rural America on a state-by-state and national level.
In my opinion, one of the most important issues facing our agriculture industry today is the disconnect between consumers and food producers. There are many self-proclaimed agriculture and animal care “experts,” but growing up I quickly learned that the only real experts are hard working American farmers and ranchers, whose livelihood depends on the animals they raise, providing the rest of us with safe, affordable food.
I want every American to be aware of the influence of animal rights activists in Washington, D.C. and state capitol buildings across the country. Laws are being pushed through the legislative process and the ballot box with the end goal of eliminating ALL animal agriculture, hunting, fishing, and animal ownership and someone needs to take the fight head-on.
That’s why I believe in Protect The Harvest and our mission to Inform, Protect, and Respond.
I refuse to accept the radical agenda of animal rights groups who are trying to tell me, and every other American farmer, how to best care for our animals. While I may not be out on the farm, everyday, I still remember the value of hard work and the lessons I learned in rural Iowa. I intend to put those values to good work as we stand up for the American farmer who feeds our families and preserves our heritage.