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ICGA Delegates Move on Issues Impacting Iowa Corn Farmers at Annual Grassroots Summit

August 30, 2018

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) held its Annual Grassroots Summit in Des Moines on Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26 where ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities in the coming year.

“I am humbled and honored to be stepping into the role of President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association,” stated Curt Mether, a farmer from Logan. “In a time of great uncertainty in Washington, I want to personally thank you for your dedication as we work together to share your voice along with nearly 7,500 members. We are committed to finding agreement on the key issues that we as corn farmers are facing.”

During the two-day Grassroots Summit, the 100 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 policy 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 relate to national issues can be 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:

Conservation/Water Quality – Maintain legislative funding stream for Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Ethanol – Obtain funding for renewable infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)

Livestock – Support existing regulatory framework for the livestock industry

Research – Ag Extension and Diagnostic Lab funding

Taxes – Protect critical tax credits (Section 179 and biofuels)

* (Listed in alphabetical order, not by priority ranking)

“This meeting reaffirmed our top federal priorities of expanding consumer access to higher blends of ethanol year-round including E15, calling for the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as intended, supporting international marketing of agricultural commodities by expanding trade agreements, and the continued funding of USDA commodity export programs,” Met her confirmed. “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 RFS and reduce regulatory barriers for higher blends

Risk Management - Protect crop insurance funding as part of the Farm Bill

Trade – Expand new and protect existing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements

Trade – Protect/expand the Market Access Program & Foreign Market Development funding as part of the Farm Bill

Transportation – Infrastructure maintenance and upgrade to our inland waterways system

* (Listed in alphabetical order, not by priority ranking)

On Friday, TED talk speaker and author, Adam Carroll kicked off the summit inspiring ICGA’s members to take an active role in their organization and their community. In the afternoon, attendees participated in several small group roundtables with topics ranging from social media, Farm Bill, soil health, research, ethanol to trade promotion. Members enjoyed that evening the I-LEAD graduation ceremony of 22 agriculture industry rising stars. Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, an I-LEAD Class 6 graduate, gave the keynote congratulating Class 8 and reassuring them the impact the leadership program will have on their future.

The Local Leaders Awards Breakfast kicked off Saturday morning with an update from Iowa Corn Grassroots Network & Checkoff Committee Chair, Larry Buss, explaining the plan to increase ICGA’s membership. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig welcomed and thanked members for participating in the policy development of their organization. Wrapping up the program, Buss handed out awards recognizing the efforts of many outstanding local corn farmer-leaders and their programming at the county and district level.

During the final part of the Summit, Incoming President Curt Mether and Incoming President Wayne Humphreys gave their presidential updates outlining their key goals for the upcoming year. ICGA members also heard from National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Skunes.

The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Luncheon concluded the event which included the presentation of the Walter Goeppinger Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an Iowa Corn member who has showcased exemplary leadership skills and service throughout their time with Iowa Corn. This year, Iowa Corn honored Gordon Wassenaar of Prairie City who has shown exceptional dedication and leadership to the agriculture industry. The summit wrapped up with an update from Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series partners University of Iowa Athletic Director, Gary Bara and Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard.

ICGA will release its finalized top 2019 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2018-2019 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing corninfo@iowacorn.org or calling 515-225-9242.

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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 organizations work to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org.

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