IOWA CORN GROWERS ASSN.
Iowa Corn Growers Set New Legislative Policies
Aug 28, 2013 - Grassroots representatives from the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) reinstated expiring policies and debated or adopted new policies at the ICGA annual meeting and policy conference in Des Moines on August 24, 2013.
"This policy meeting is the final step in setting Iowa corn grower policy for the coming year," said Roger Zylstra, a corn farmer from Lynnville and the newly elected ICGA president. "We had good debate on upcoming policy and current events. It was good to hear different perspectives from different areas of the state as well as from different farming situations. I think it is important to see that corn growers from across the state are engaged in policy decisions that affect their operations."
The annual policy conference is the year-end event in the ICGA's annual policy development process, which includes a member survey, regional roundtable discussions across the state and the policy conference. Iowa policies relating to national issues and adopted at this meeting are then brought forward to the National Corn Growers Association winter meetings at Commodity Classic.
A few of the key resolutions approved were:
* By a unanimous vote, the group voted to support the Iowa Corn Promotion Board recommendation to increase the Iowa Code limit (cap) for the Iowa corn checkoff, which 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.
* Corn delegates voted to continue support for conservation compliance being tied to traditional farm programs. However, the group determined that if conservation complaince should be tied to crop insurance in the future, certain protections should include:
1. If there is a violation, it should only affected the premium subsidy from the government, not eligibility for crop insurance;
2. Enforcement only occurs after all rights to appeal are finalized;
3. A grace period should be given 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: claw back provision proposed by Congress to require repaying government premiums for prior crop years);
5. Natural Resources Conservation Service/Farm Service Agency should continues 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.
* Delegates voted to support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as proposed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and funded by the legislature in 2013. ICGA shall support and advocate for continued funding of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
* In the area of the Farm Bill, the group voted to support the traditional rural/urban coalition approach to farm and nutrition 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.
The complete 2013-2014 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (515) 225-9242.
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