Category: Policy

NCGA President Skunes reflects on year of highs and lows

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council welcomed National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Skunes to its joint board meeting last week. For Skunes, it was an opportunity to recap what was a tumultuous year for NCGA as it worked to overcome federal issues impacting the nation’s corn farmers.

Skunes, who farms in Arthur, N.D., said when his one-year term started last October he envisioned the farm bill would occupy the majority of his efforts.

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Market Facilitation Program now open for recipients of trade aid

As of Tuesday, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) is providing direct payments to farmers who have been negatively impacted by recently imposed foreign tariffs. To ensure a smooth application process, all producers are encouraged to follow a few recommendations.

MFP sign-up began on Sept. 4, with farmers having until Jan. 15 to apply for payment. The September timeframe was intended for pork and dairy producers who qualify for aid, with crop producers applying later in the fall after harvest to spread out requests and not overload county offices.

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MCGA raises Groundwater Protection Rule concerns in latest comment period

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is committed to protecting drinking water in Minnesota. The vast majority of Minnesota farm families rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water. Since 2012, MCGA has invested nearly $6 million dollars to fund research and educate farmers on ways to improve the efficient use of fertilizer in their farming operations.

MCGA has actively been involved and advocating on behalf of Minnesota corn farmers as the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been considering and eventually proposing a rule that would prohibit fall application of nitrogen fertilizer in vulnerable groundwater areas and drinking water supply management areas (DWSMAs) with additional mitigation requirements in DWSMAs.

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Corn Congress brings growers to nation’s capital to advocate for top priorities

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association Senior Public Policy Director

Last week the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) was in Washington D.C. with our fellow state corn organizations to participate in Corn Congress. Corn grower delegates and alternates from across the U.S. come together twice a year to debate and adopt new policy positions that make up the National Corn Growers Association policy book, which gives direction on federal policy positions.

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Groundwater Protection Rule: Your input is needed

The formal rulemaking process for the Groundwater Protection Rule continues to move forward. Five public Administrative Law Judge hearings will be held around the state starting next week and written comments on the proposed  rule may be submitted through August 2. It is vital all corn farmers engage in this process and provide comment to ensure the rule accomplishes its goal of protecting the state’s groundwater while making sense in implementation.

To help growers stay up to date on the rule and better understand the formal rulemaking process,

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With Senate and House versions passed, new optimism for 2018 farm bill

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

Earlier this year the road to passing a farm bill in 2018 seemed bleak, as controversial reforms brought a new level of contention between both political parties. But after the Senate passed their farm bill last week, we now have a version from both chambers to reconcile, producing cautious optimism. We offer a quick recap below on how the House and Senate farm bills stack up to Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) farm bill priorities.

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Legislative Update: Session ends with a lot to be decided (Updated)

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

Update: On May 23, Gov. Dayton vetoed the tax and budget bills. During his press conference, the Governor indicated he would make a decision on the bonding bill by the end of the week. MCGA is disappointed in the veto of the tax bill, but we will continue to communicate the importance of Section 179 conformity for Minnesota farmers and work to advance agricultural tax relief in future legislative sessions.

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Farm Bill defeated in first House vote, but negotiations continue

Last week, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) called on its members to contact their United States representative and ask they vote against poison pill amendments that would potentially kill the 2018 farm bill. While the potentially disastrous amendments were defeated, the momentum was not enough to overcome Democratic opposition to pass the farm bill on the House floor Friday.

H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, otherwise known as the farm bill,

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MCGA: Enact the ag policy bill for the sensible legislation it is (Updated)

Update: A few hours after posting this blog, Governor Dayton vetoed the Agriculture Policy bill. MCGA is disappointed in Gov. Dayton’s decision to not enact this sensible bipartisan legislation.

 

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association and its grower leaders have worked tirelessly throughout the Minnesota legislative session to advance important priorities for Minnesota corn farmers, including an agriculture policy bill that includes several broadly supported provisions to support agricultural production and Minnesota farm families.

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Take Action Now: Stop amendments that would kill the 2018 farm bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is now debating H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018—also known as the farm bill. As part of this process, some very lethal amendments will receive a vote in the House this afternoon or tomorrow morning that would kill the 2018 farm bill if passed.

It is imperative Minnesota’s agricultural community contacts their representative and ask they help defeat the below poison pill amendments to preserve the farm bill:

  • Farm Policy Amendment #93: This amendment proposed by Tom McClintock (R-CA) eliminates the entire farm safety net,

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