Delegates to the Iowa Corn Growers Association's annual policy conference in Des Moines on Aug. 25 proposed a resolution calling for the government - either state or federal - to provide some sort of tax break to motorists who use E85 fuel. The proposal was discussed, voted on and it passed.
The ICGA already backs ethanol incentives for processors, fuel blenders and retailers. This newly approved ICGA E85 policy would complement existing programs with incentives to encourage consumers to buy E85 flexible-fuel vehicles and use E85 fuel.
"This annual conference is where our grassroots members decide what they want to see happen politically in the coming year, both at the state and federal level," explains Tim Recker, a corn grower from Arlington in northeast Iowa, who became ICGA president on Sept. 1.
Want revenue assurance in farm bill
The conference, which attracted more than 100 county corn grower organization representatives, reviewed and reaffirmed many long-standing ICGA policies, including the ICGA's commitment to a revenue assurance program in the new farm bill. This year's extreme weather is an example of why revenue assurance is important, Recker explains.
"When our farm programs are tied to prices, they are limited to growers who have a crop to sell. But a farmer who gets wiped out by flooding or drought doesn't get any help, even though he really needs it." Since conditions like drought or flood are often localized, Recker says it is critical that a revenue assurance program be based on county-level revenue triggers, not a national trigger.
Transportation issues a hot topic, too
Transportation issues were another major topic of debate as delegates considered infrastructure problems that ranged from obsolete locks and dams on the Mississippi River system and Illinois River system to competition among railroads, trucking weights and the need for increased funding for Iowa roads.
The conference wraps up the ICGA's annual policy development process, which begins with an issues poll sent to all members followed by regional roundtable discussions across the state. New policies proposed at the roundtables are debated and adopted at the policy conference to guide the ICGA's board of directors and staff for the coming year and may also be adopted by the National Corn Growers Association.
"We were especially pleased this year to see many new county leaders who not only attended the conference but were very active participants in the debate," says Recker. The ICGA is a membership organization, lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its 6,000 members.