Grassroots representatives from the Iowa Corn Growers Association reinstated expiring policies, adopted new issues and found plenty to debate at the ICGA's annual policy conference Aug. 23 in Des Moines. The corn growers also heard from their new incoming president, Gary Edwards, who takes over for Tim Recker who served as president this past year.
"We were especially pleased this year by the healthy turnout at the conference, the new faces and the number of delegates who spoke up about their policy concerns," says Edwards, an Anamosa corn grower who officially became ICGA president on Sept. 1, 2008.
"Each year this meeting provides our board and staff with 'marching orders' for the next year's legislative session," he notes. "It's healthy for our industry when growers are prepared to speak out about what we should do."
New resolutions adopted, policy discussed
New resolutions were adopted to increase the availability of ethanol by increasing blending capabilities and encouraging the development and certification of conversion kits that would allow consumers with conventional (nonflex-fuel) vehicles to use E85 ethanol blends.
Delegates approved a resolution on streamlining the process of modernizing drainage districts. They also approved positions on using savings from the early release of CRP acres to enhance conservation efforts on working lands, they support a simplified regulatory process for renewable fuels, and they support increasing research funds for corn and other crops of economic importance.
Growers voted to support more funding for Iowa roads and infrastructure improvements with an increase in the state's fuel tax. Another proposal was tabled until 2009 that would have directed the increase in property tax that comes from improvements--to be used for road improvements.
ICGA delegates also approved a recommendation from Kossuth County growers that when counties close unneeded roads, ownership of the land should revert to the adjacent landowner.
A proposal to make contract laws more equitable when dealing with disasters like the 2008 floods was extensively debated and referred to an ICGA committee for further research.
Nearly 100 delegates participated in this year's policy conference, representing 55 county corn grower organizations across the state. The conference is the year -end event in ICGA's annual policy development process. The process includes a poll of all members on the issues, and regional roundtable discussions across the state on issues that concern corn growers.
The ICGA is a membership organization lobbying on local, state and national agricultural issues on behalf of its 6,000 members.