Written by Mariah Larson
Last week, 18 members of the MCGA and MCR&PC flew out to Washington D.C., to join delegates from across the U.S. for the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) 2017 Corn Congress. Held every July, NCGA’s two-day annual meeting elects officers to the NCGA board, reviews resolutions, hosts discussions related to U.S. agriculture, and meets with political leaders and government officials within agencies and departments in Washington.
A big topic of interest with the upcoming renewal next year, was the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result of the 2014 Farm Bill, farmers were asked to take a $23 billion dollar cut. A CBO analysis now projects that same budget cut to actually exceed a savings of $100 billion—four times what was originally pledged.
The importance of the Farm Bill revolves not only around addressing the current issues in U.S. agriculture, but working to try and protect, sustain, grow, and promote U.S. agriculture with the future years in mind.
During their time on Capitol Hill, Minnesota Corn delegates met with every member of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation, along with USDA staff, and House and Senate Ag Committee members, voicing the importance of the Farm Bill with the values and concerns in mind of Minnesota corn farmers.
The NCGA’s 2017 Corn Congress was held July 18th-20th.
Below are a few of the highlights on key points addressed during discussions for priorities on the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill renewal:
Price Loss Coverage & Agriculture Risk Coverage programs
- If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
- Crop insurance is critical to farmers; between 2008-2014, crop insurance saved $17 billion.
- The Farm Safety Net should be protected and strengthened.
- For PLC and ARC: raise reference prices, reduce disparities between counties, and enhance protection during periods of depressed prices.
Foreign Market Development & the Market Access Program
- Approximately 20 percent of U.S. agricultural products are exported through markets; economic conditions and our current trade policies underscore the importance of reauthorizing FMD and MAP.
- Mexico and Canada are American agriculture’s largest markets, putting great precaution and concern under any renegotiating work on NAFTA. Disrupting trade shares with either country would be potentially devastating to U.S. agriculture.
- Access to foreign markets, trade promotion, and trade agreements are all essential to economic growth. FMD and MAP help to identify new global trade opportunities that will benefit American workers, consumers, and farmers.
Ethanol & the RFS
- American farmers grow enough corn to cover all feed, fuel, and fiber needs.
- The RFS is working for America. It has reduced dependence on imported oil, stimulated rural economies, and lowered gas prices.
- Above the commitments of the RFS, we welcome the opportunity to compete with fossil fuels for market share on a truly level playing field—that’s the importance behind supporting the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act.
- Biofuels remain a vital part of the U.S. energy mix in achieving energy independence and clean air; they are also vital to the economy and jobs in rural communities.
A special thank you to the legislators and political leaders that our Minnesota delegates were able to meet with during their time in Washington.