Corn farmers: Time to make your voices heard on ethanol, atrazine and trade

Anna Boroff

Anna Boroff, MCGA Senior Public Policy Director.

Written by Anna Boroff, MCGA Senior Public Policy Director

Bad news: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once again attempting to slash the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and cut the amount of corn ethanol blended in our fuel supply. The EPA is also using faulty science in a risk assessment for atrazine, which could curb the availability and use of the effective herbicide. Finally, Congress has yet to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would help break down trade barriers, establish high standard rules for trade and open new markets for U.S. farmers.

Good news: Corn farmers have an opportunity to make their voices heard on each of these issues that affect their farm and their wallet. Here’s how:

NCGA mailer
If you’re a member of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), you should have received a mailer recently from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). All you have to do is sign each of the three postcards that address the RFS, atrazine and TPP and mail them back in the envelope provided.

From there, NCGA will send the RFS and atrazine postcards directly to EPA. The TPP postcard will be sent to your Congressional representative.

Other options
If you did not receive the mailer (or maybe your dog ate it) and you’d still like to make your voice heard on these important issues, here’s how:

  • EPA is accepting public comments through July 11 on its proposal to slash the corn ethanol portion of the RFS. If EPA carries out its proposal, it could result in $271 million in lost revenue for American corn farmers. You can easily make your voice heard and submit comments on EPA’s misguided proposal here.
  • The comment period on EPA’s preliminary risk assessment of atrazine has been extended to Oct. 4, 2016. To express your support for a fair review of atrazine — one that doesn’t use study’s deemed “flawed” by EPA’s own Science Advisory Panel — go here.
  • Since 2010, corn prices have declined 34 percent and net farm income is at its lowest level in nearly 15 years. Passing TPP can help reverse this trend. Let your Congressional representative or Senator know just how important TPP is to your farm by clicking here.

Why speak out?
We know you’re probably worn down by the gridlock in Washington and the feeling that your voice simply doesn’t matter any more. We also understand that it gets tiresome constantly battling with the likes of EPA on ethanol and other issues.

It’s tempting to just throw in the towel and stand silently on the sidelines.

Take it from those of us at MCGA who work daily on important agriculture policy issues like TPP, atrazine and ethanol: The voice of the corn farmer still matters. A lot.

For example, a proposal last Fall would have effectively ended crop insurance as we knew it. This would have had a devastating impact on America’s corn farmers and the entire economy, especially in rural areas. What defeated the misguided proposal was the grassroots actions of corn farmers, many of them from Minnesota.

Farmers contacted their Congressional representatives and Senators and told them just how damaging an end to crop insurance would be. Those farmers’ voices were heard and the proposal was defeated.

It’s time to take action again on the RFS, atrazine and TPP. We might not win every battle, but we can make sure that our voices are heard.

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