Iowa corn farmers joined with other corn grower association members from 26 states representing the National Corn Growers Association at the annual Commodity Classic meeting in San Antonio, Texas last week. Iowa's grassroots policy process brought forth a number of resolutions that were debated and voted on. In the end, 6 of the Iowa resolutions were accepted by the national NCGA delegation on February 26, 2014.
NCGA farmer delegates discussed issues related to crop insurance, biotechnology, communications, farmer confidentiality, ethanol and the new 2014 federal farm bill.
The Iowa resolutions included:
1) Support maintaining or increasing funding of research at all levels to improve corn quality, lower input costs, and increase the use of corn.
2) Support the protection of farmers who have planted approved biotechnology products without threat of judicial proceedings requiring them to terminate crops.
3) Support a complete, science-based, yet expeditious, regulatory process in the U.S. for all biotechnology events.
4) Support a farm bill that includes both farm programs and a nutrition title.
5) Support no hard dollar cap on the government's share of the crop insurance premium.
6) Support the current public/private partnership for the delivery of the federal crop insurance program and keep implementation with private crop insurance agents, not government agencies.
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The single most important thing the Iowa Corn Growers Association can do for its members is lobby on state and federal issues and protect the rights of corn growers, notes Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville, Iowa and current president of ICGA. He points out that ICGA policy is developed at grassroots meetings around the state each year and discussed and confirmed at ICGA's annual meeting. The resolutions are then taken to the national level and debated at the National Corn Growers Association annual policy meeting, which takes place at the Commodity Classic.
"We are proud of the thorough process that we have in Iowa and the grassroots policy development we go through to bring Iowa farmer concerns to the national platform. It starts with our local roundtable meetings, proceeds to our ICGA annual meeting, and then on to the national policy at the NCGA Corn Congress at the Commodity Classic," says Zylstra. "Iowa farmers who attend these meetings are hard at work representing the policy positions that matter back at home in Iowa."
Process helps ensure sound policy for corn farmers
Additional NCGA policy discussions took place on Saturday afternoon last week at the Corn Congress. "Mother Nature has dealt us some interesting weather the last couple of years," says Zylstra. "Our task at Commodity Classic is to make sure we have and maintain sound policy for Iowa's corn farmers."
The new NCGA policy document will be posted at the ICGA website when it becomes available. For more information on upcoming summer policy development meetings in your area, contact the Iowa Corn Growers Association at 515-225-9242 or by email at [email protected]. ICGA is a membership organization, lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its nearly 7,600 farmer members. For more information or to view the complete policy position book, log onto www.iowacorn.org.
Another highlight of this year's Commodity Classic was a talk by US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Krysta Harden, who visited with the corn and soybean grower groups and answered questions in regard to implementation of the new 2014 Farm Bill.