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, grassroots members, the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team (CAT) and the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) Class 8 visited 50 Congressional offices, many of which represented areas outside the Corn Belt because it is important that all member of Congress understand the importance of American agriculture. These Capitol Hill meetings focused on:
Expanding consumer access to higher blends of ethanol
Funding for critical trade promotion and export programs (MAP and FMD)
Agricultural priorities for the renegotiation of NAFTA
“Corn is a widely universal topic; it touches almost every area of everyone’s life,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Kurt Hora, a farmer from Washington. “This year, we had the opportunity to talk with non-Iowa, non-corn states on the Hill and we had a lot of great conversations. I appreciate all of the offices and staffers that took the time to meet with us on our issues. ICGA and NCGA work hard to keep a strong voice on the Hill.”
Iowa Corn farmer-leaders on Monday and Tuesday participated in NCGA Action teams to help set the direction of many key programs and activities. On Wednesday, farmers attending Corn Congress heard from Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez about the prospects of modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Ambassador Gutiérrez expressed a strong desire to continue strengthening agricultural trade between the U.S. and Mexico.
In addition to meetings on the Hill, ICGA delegates debated their priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill and approved national policy resolutions. NCGA Director Bob Bowman also received recognition for his service as a retiring director of the board.
“We’re advocating for a fully funded Farm Bill that will help meet farmers priorities with crop insurance and funding for export programs,” said Hora. “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 weather.”
The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a membership organization lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its 7,500 farmer members. Both organizations work on the joint mission to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability.