Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) farmer-leaders convened in Washington, D.C. this week with other corn farmers from across the country to advocate for key agricultural issues as part of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Congress meeting. The Iowa delegation, including ICGA directors and grassroots members, visited 125 Congressional offices, many of which represented areas outside the Corn Belt because it is important that all members of Congress understand the importance of American agriculture and the challenges farmers currently face. These Capitol Hill meetings focused on:
· The necessity for a conclusion to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and an end to the imposed trade tariffs on corn and corn products
· Support of a fully funded 2018 Farm Bill that will meet farmers priorities with crop insurance and increased funding for the for critical trade promotion and export programs (MAP and FMD)
· Expanding consumer access to higher blends of ethanol by allowing for year-round E15 use and reallocate the gallons lost due to small refinery exemptions
“Trade was a key topic of Corn Congress and it was a key message we took to Capitol Hill,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “We need to find a path forward on trade before we see long-term impacts to farmers and rural America. We are counting on the administration and Congress to reach a resolution on responsible trade policies including seeing NAFTA negotiations through and solidify our relationships with Mexico and Canada.”
Recker also joined other ICGA farmer-leaders in meetings with the Iowa Delegation including Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley where they discussed the need of working with EPA Administrator Wheeler to maintain a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “We need year-round E15, so we can expand our use of higher blends of ethanol and we urge the EPA to reallocate the gallons of ethanol already lost due to the small refinery exemptions. We appreciate the support of the entire delegation on this issue, but most notably Senators Ernst and Grassley who championed for Iowa farmers during the recent threats to the RFS.”
“We advocated for a fully funded Farm Bill that will help meet farmers priorities with crop insurance and funding for export programs,” said Recker. “The Federal Crop Insurance programs were written in a way to provide a basic level of risk protection to help offset bad economic times and severe weather. We’re seeing its importance again this year as areas in the Midwest struggle with the weather.”
Iowa Corn farmer-leaders on Monday and Tuesday participated in NCGA Action teams to help set the direction of many key programs and activities. In addition to meetings on the Hill, ICGA delegates debated their priorities and approved national policy resolutions.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is an 8,000-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 to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org.