Members of the Iowa Corn Growers Association gathered in Des Moines August 24 for the organization's annual meeting and policy conference. Delegates reinstated expiring policies and debated or adopted new policies. "This policy meeting is the final step in setting Iowa corn grower policy for the coming year," says Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville who is the newly-elected president of ICGA.
"We had good debate at this year's meeting on the various policy proposals and current issues of importance to corn growers," he adds. "It was good to hear different perspectives from different areas of the state as well as from different types of farms and farming situations. It is important to see that corn growers from across the state are engaged in policy decisions that affect their farming operations."
Some of the newly adopted resolutions include:
* Lift the limit on Iowa's corn checkoff rate. By a unanimous vote, the delegates voted to support the Iowa Corn Promotion Board's recommendation to increase the Iowa Code limit (or cap) for the Iowa corn checkoff. This cap is in the state law that governs the checkoff. Increasing the cap would not increase the checkoff rate a farmer pays, but rather make it possible for farmers to hold a referendum, if necessary, at some point in the future. Timing of any corn checkoff rate decision should be decided by farmers, through farmer referendum, and as recommended by the farmer-elected representatives of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
* Conservation compliance. Corn grower delegates voted to continue support for conservation compliance being tied to traditional USDA farm programs. However, the group determined that if conservation compliance should be tied to crop insurance in the future, certain protections should include:
1. If there is a violation of USDA's conservation compliance rules by a farmer, it should only affect the premium subsidy from the government, not the farmer's eligibility for crop insurance;~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
2. Enforcement should only occur after all rights to appeal are finalized;
3. A grace period should be given to the farmer to come back into compliance, and when back into compliance, the farmer is eligible for full crop insurance policy;
4. Enforcement should not be applied retroactively to prior crop years (example: the "claw back" provision proposed by Congress to require repaying government premiums for prior crop years);
5. Handling spot-checks and appeals, which USDA agency should do this? The ICGA delegates agreed that USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency should continue to handle both spot checks and appeals, not the Risk Management Agency or other government agency.
6. If a penalty occurs, the penalty should only be applicable to the farm with the violation on it, not a farmer's total acres.
* Support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Delegates voted to support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as proposed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and funded by the Iowa Legislature in 2013. ICGA said it shall support and advocate for continued funding of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
* Corn growers want a traditional farm bill. In the area of the new farm bill legislation that is being considered by Congress, the ICGA delegates voted to support the traditional rural/urban coalition approach to farm and nutrition legislation. ICGA does not want a separate farm bill for farm programs and a separate food and nutrition bill. They want to keep these programs together in the same federal legislation.
Corn farmers who attended the annual policy meeting also had a chance to hear from Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
An ICGA Political Action Committee, or PAC, auction followed the annual meeting; a special thanks to Luke and Ed Spencer of Ed Spencer Real Estate and Auction Co., of Beebeetown, Iowa, for volunteering their time, and excellent auctioneering services!
ICGA member opportunity: Iowa vs. Iowa State football tickets auction
As a fundraiser, the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Political Action Committee (PAC) is auctioning off two Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk football game day packages by silent auction via email. The package includes two Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk (Iowa State v. Iowa) football game tickets for September 14, at 5:00 p.m., as well as access to the Iowa Corn hospitality tent before the game. There are two pairs (four tickets total) available for auction, with the option of purchasing all four tickets seated together.
Bidding will close at 12 pm on Friday, September 6. The winning bidder will be contacted via e-mail with instructions. To place a bid or if you have questions, please contact Jessi Hermsen at [email protected] or 515-225-9242.
NCGA publishes "Seed Treatment Stewardship Guide" to protect pollinators
The National Corn Growers Association, together with the American Seed Trade Association, CropLife America, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association and Agricultural Retailers Association, have released the "Seed Treatment Stewardship Guide." This publication provides farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seeds effectively to minimize the risk of exposure to pollinators and other non-target organisms.