The Iowa Corn Growers Association is voicing concern over recent public statements and positions that do not support sound agricultural policy in the 2008 Presidential race. The ICGA believes Iowa voters should understand the potential impact to Iowa's economy and overall ag stability on those positions.
"It is not our job to tell you who you should vote for or what party you should follow," says Gary Edwards, president of ICGA. "But it is our duty to stand up to promote the interests of Iowa corn growers, Iowa consumers and their future."
"In our current economic crunch, the importance of agriculture has never been more obvious," he says. "Iowa currently has $640 million in cash reserves due to our strong ag industry, not to mention ethanol has reduced our dependence on foreign oil, lowered gas prices at the pump, stimulated rural America, created millions of green jobs and lowered federal farm program costs by billions."
Ag has never been more important to U.S. economy
According to USDA, the ethanol industry added nearly $48 billion to the nation's GDP and generated $4.6 billion in federal tax revenues. The production and use of ethanol just last year, cut oil imports by 228 million barrels as a savings of over $16 billion.
"Change is a theme for both presidential campaigns and no matter what happens this November, there will be a change. What we need to do for our corn grower members is to make sure the new President understands the importance of agriculture and agricultural products."
Current ICGA policy positions include:
o Energy Policy: As the first environmentalists, Iowa's corn growers have worked to build market demand for our current viable source for energy independence. ICGA supports the continuation of the 45 cent per gallon blenders' credit for ethanol, the 54 cent per gallon ethanol import tariff, the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, and other tax incentives for ethanol (such as E85) that will reduce prices at the pump for consumers.
o Farm Bill: In the farm bill, the ICGA supports a safety net for farmers that is based on revenue and not price, which supports production and market demand. ICGA policy supports farm policy that is trade compliant and supports strong conservation programs that protect our environment. ICGA also supports a crop insurance program at rate levels sufficient to induce crop insurance and designed to avoid the need for disaster assistance.
Current Presidential positions include:
o McCain*: Opposes agricultural subsidies and has stated he would have vetoed the 2008 Farm Bill. Supports trade compliance.
o Obama*: Pledges to support a strong safety net for farmers. Supports crop revenue insurance program and voted for the 2008 Farm Bill. Pledges to support a permanent mechanism to encourage wide use of crop insurance.
o McCain*: Opposes tariffs and price supports for ethanol. Signed a letter urging the EPA to exercise its authority to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). His presidential platform calls for an end to the RFS.
o Obama*: Pledges to continue the 45 cent blenders' tax credit and maintain the 54 cent tariff on ethanol. Pledges to increase the RFS to 60 billion gallons by 2030. Pledges to support maximum funding for the Department of Energy's alternative fuels program, with a focus on E85.