Continuing the legacy became the theme echoed many times throughout the 2017 Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Grassroots Summit which took place this weekend in Altoona. While celebrating the many achievements of the last 50 years, ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities in the coming year.
“The hard work that our members put forth and their involvement supports sound policy decisions that will continue to aid in the success of the corn industry,” said ICGA President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “Our members are passionate about making a difference and cultivating a bright future for our industry for generations to come. I cannot wait to see what we accomplish this next year.”
On Saturday, the nearly 150 delegates in attendance had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. The Grassroots Summit is the year-end event in the policy development process. The process includes a member-wide survey in the spring, roundtable discussions held across the state in the summer and the Grassroots Summit in late August. Policies that are related to national issues are adopted and brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings in March with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) farmer delegates.
The delegates deliberated on many important state issues impacting Iowa corn farmers including these priority issues:
Ethanol – obtain funding for infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)
Conservation/Water Quality – long-term, increased funding for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
Regulations – reduce regulatory barriers where possible
Taxes – protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform
Taxes – Section 179 coupling with State of Iowa
“This meeting reaffirmed our top federal priorities of maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and supporting international marketing of agricultural commodities by expanding trade agreements and the continued funding of USDA commodity export programs,” ICGA President Recker. “We are focused on supporting legislation that will build markets and create demand for corn and corn products.”
Delegates weighed several key federal issues:
Ethanol – Retain the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
Trade- Expanding bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements
Trade – Protect/expand funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program as part of the Farm Bill
Safety Net – Protect crop insurance funding as a part of the Farm Bill
Tax- Protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform
During the Grassroots Forum on Friday, incoming ICGA President Recker welcomed attendees with a special video message from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds then Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, a graduate of the Iowa Corn I-LEAD program, addressed the group. Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss moderated an Iowa Corn Leadership Panel of past ICGA farmer-leaders including Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd County who served as National Corn Growers Association President from 2012-13, Glen Moeller, a farmer from Scott County who served as ICGA President from 1995-96, and Pete Wenstrand, a farmer from Page County who served as ICGA President from 1988-89. The panel examined the many challenges and opportunities facing them as leaders then and how several of these issues impact the corn industry today. Attendees then divided into roundtable discussions facilitated by representatives of several of Iowa Corn’s partner organizations.
In addition, many of the Iowa Congressional Delegation recorded special 50th Anniversary congratulatory videos that were played throughout the two-day event and former ICGA President Varel Bailey of Anita who received the Walter Geoppinger Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the corn industry.
ICGA will release its finalized top 2018 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2017-2018 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 515-225-9242.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a 7,500-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. Both organization work to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org.