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June 21, 2019 Corn Insider

On the Hill

Iowa Corn Growers Association shares top concerns with Congressman Loebsack

The Iowa Corn Growers Association Board on Wednesday, via conference call, expressed concerns and appreciation to Congressman Loebsack for his hard work on calling out the EPA for destroying ethanol demand through unjustified refinery waivers.  ICGA also asked Congressman Loebsack for help in passing USMCA when it comes up for a vote in the US House.

Iowa Corn Speaks at Vilsack Event

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack spoke to Iowa Corn and other agriculture representatives about the need for USMCA to be passed now.  “Having this agreement passed creates optimism and creates hopefulness about the future,” Vilsack said.  Kevin Studer, Iowa Corn, was asked to speak at the event and called USMCA the “kind of break farmers need.”  Studer continued to say that “spring has been a mess.  We’ve got to get this anxiety off the table” and we need to be able to focus on China.  The Trump Administration has not yet sent USMCA to Congress.  Once it does reach Congress, the Hill will have thirty days to ratify the bill.  Vilsack encourages this to be done before 2020 surrounding an election.  Vilsack said, “This isn’t about giving President Trump a victory.  It’s about giving the farmers in this room a victory.  It’s about giving all the people who are connected to the food and agriculture industry a victory.  It’s about giving the American economy a victory.”  Iowa Corn will continue to fight for our farmers and a USMCA victory.

ICGA Praises Introduction of Bipartisan Senate Bill to Tackle RFS Waivers

Friday, June 14, Senators Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. The bill offers more transparency by the EPA as they grant Small Refinery Exemptions through the Renewable Fuel Standard and is strongly supported by the ICGA. Through its language, the bill would set a strict deadline of June 1 for all waivers and reveal the names of applicants for the program. Furthermore, the bill would also require Congress to be notified by the EPA of waivers being granted.

Lighthizer Announces the U.S. is Ready to Reengage in China Trade Talks

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to hold talks at the G20 summit in Japan at the end of this month. Lighthizer has said he will be talking with his Chinese counterpart “in the next day and a half.”  It’s still uncertain when actual negotiations will start, but the countries are at least in communication.  Lighthizer is quoted saying that “we’re ready to engage” if China comes back to the table.

Submit ICGA Member Survey by June 24th

An email was sent out two weeks ago with additional details about our policy process and a link to this year’s member survey. As a member your voice is critical, so please take a few minutes to complete the survey by Monday June 24. If you can’t find the email, you can click here to access the survey.  Thank you to all who have submitted survey responses already!

Other Happenings:        

  • Mexico becomes the first county to pass USMCA.  The bill passed Wednesday, making Mexico the first country to ratify the agreement.
  • The European Union, China, Canada, and other WTO members are questioning if the latest trade aid package for farmers puts the U.S. in violation of its trade commitments.  Under WTO rules, the U.S. is limited to $19.1 billion per year in payments to agriculture that can affect trade.  A document on WTO’s website shows questions some countries plan to ask the U.S. at the next meeting of the WTO Committee on Agriculture next week.
  • Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is agreeable with US Trade Representative Lighthizer’s praise of the way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is handling the USMCA trade agreement. Pelosi recently appointed a small working group to talk with Lighthizer about attending to Democratic concerns with the agreement.

In the News

Iowa Corn Farmer Leader Advocates for an Agreement on USMCA

Pam Johnson, Iowa farmer and past Iowa Corn Promotion Board President advocates in the Global Farmer Network for the passage of USMCA. “Please join together now and approve a deal that will begin to turn the page on the harmful trade wars of the last two and a half years. Ongoing trade disputes have damaged our economy, threatened our global leadership and divided our country. It’s time to take the high road.” Click here to read more from Johnson.

American Drivers Reach 10 Billion Miles Driven on E15

Last week, Iowa Corn partner, Growth Energy, announced drivers across the United States have reached a new milestone of logging 10 billion miles on the road using E15. Leading retailers include Casey’s, Cumberland Farms, Family Express, Holiday, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, QuickTrip, RaceTrac, Royal Farms, Rutters, Sheetz, and Thorntons to give more drivers access to cleaner burning, high-octane E15 at more than 1,800 stations across America. Click here to read more.

Iowa Corn Leader and Farmer Featured in Brownfield

Northwest Iowa farmer and Iowa Corn Promotion Board District 1 Director Kelly Nieuwenhuis was featured during his planting season by Brownfield news. Nieuwenhuis states the 2019 planting season was a long one starting April 26th and finishing June 10th-that’s not normal. Click here to read more.

Harrison County Project Finds Weed Resistance

The Harrison County Pest Resistance Management Project, led by Iowa Corn Promotion Board director Larry Buss, has tested weed seeds for resistance to common herbicides. “These results suggest that herbicide-resistant weeds are common in Harrison County and will continue to spread,” said Buss, who farms with his family near Logan. The Harrison County project is one of several community-led resistance projects implemented across the state as part of the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Project. Click here for more information.

Deadline Extended to June 25 for Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards

The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award applications have been extended! Applications are now due June 25. Nominate your outstanding farmer. Click here to find more information including past winners and nomination forms.

 

Upcoming Events

Register Today for Your Local Roundtable

Roundtable meetings are key for Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) policy development. The meetings allow ICGA members to come together, share a meal and discuss key issues impacting corn farmers. Policies brought forward and approved at roundtable meetings go on to the Annual Grassroots Summit in August for the ICGA delegates to debate. Come stand with us. Click here to register for your roundtable.

Below is a listing of the 2019 roundtables:

  • June 24: North Iowa Events Center, 3700 4th St. SW, 6 p.m. Mason City
  • June 24: Quad County Corn Processor, 5 p.m. optional tour 6059 159th St., 6 p.m. Roundtable beings 100 E 3rd St., Galva
  • June 25: AgriVision, 2405 N. 4th St., 6 p.m., Red Oak
  • June 26: Mark Recker Farm, 9768 70th St., 5:30 p.m., Arlington
  • June 26: Ottumwa Golf & Social Club, 304 E. Golf Ave, 6 p.m., Ottumwa
  • July 2: Henry A Wallace Life Center, 2773 290th St., 6 p.m., Orient
  • July 8: Pete Brecht Farm, 3925 Jordans Grove Road, 6 p.m., Central City
  • July 9: Johnny’s at Hilton Coliseum, 1705 Center Dr. 5 p.m., Ames

Place Your Bids to Provide Sweet Corn at the 2019 RAGBRAI Stops!

Again this year, Iowa Corn will be welcoming cyclist with homegrown, fresh Iowa sweet corn! Stops along the 500 mile plus route will be offering sweet corn to riders, the opportunity to talk with local farmers and tour the Iowa Corn trailer. Iowa Corn members and relatives of Iowa Corn members are invited to place bids on the sweet corn provided at the stops. Click here to see the locations of the 2019 stops. To place a bid, click here to fill out the form. Bids are due July 1.

Soil Sessions Webinar on June 25

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) has launched the Soil Sessions webinar series to provide updates on its various programs and research findings. The next webinar will be at 10 am on June 25 and will discuss SHP’s soil sampling and what they are seeing. Click here for more information and to register.

 

Spotlight

ICGA Members and Dairy Farmers Awarded Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability

John and Joan Maxwell, owners of Cinnamon Ridge Farms in Donahue, were awarded the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for their successful work in raising healthier crops, soil and cows.

                                                                                 

John Maxwell began his dairy farm business after graduating from college in 1984 and immediately faced a challenge: He needed cow feed.

Maxwell used his ingenuity and found a way grow feed and benefit the environment by using cover crops. Many farmers may not keep a crop in the ground all year because of unfavorable growing conditions during certain months.

Maxwell began experimenting and found that rye grass survived the winter and was a great feed option for his herd of Jersey cows.

The 400-acre cover crop offers a destination for his cows’ manure as a natural fertilizer. Maxwell saw that opting not to till minimized soil and earthworm disruption, thereby preventing nutrient runoff and erosion. This created fertile ground for the ensuing corn or soybean crops to thrive while cutting his feed bill in half.

 Having a variety of crops for feed allows for a higher-quality and balanced diet for the cows, resulting in increased milk production for the farm.

Maxwell enjoys sharing his cover crops story with other farmers and sees momentum growing.

The dairy, Cinnamon Ridge Farms, also repurposes food for its cows that couldn’t be sold at retail, such as products that simply may have been mislabeled. One such product was coffee creamer. The Maxwells checked with their cow nutritionist, who determined the creamer was a good addition to the cows’ diet as a carbohydrate source. The creamer also gives the feed an added flavor the cows love. Now, about 2,000 pounds of creamer arrive at the farm each week instead of a landfill.

Successes such as these keep the Maxwells seeking more. “It’s important to be curious in everything you do,” Maxwell said. “Don’t be satisfied where you are. What fuels me is not only how can we grow but how can we educate others.”

Part of being sustainable is being economically solvent to keep producing dairy foods. Cinnamon Ridge is an agritourism destination and last year hosted 7,000 visitors from 50 countries. The farm hosts an annual ag summit and farm-to-table events to connect farmers with consumers and key thought leaders. Congratulations to John and Joan Maxwell on being leaders and stewards in Iowa agriculture.

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