(Posted Tue. Jul 17th, 2012)
Action teams and committees charged with in-depth analysis and consideration of the topics most relevant to corn farmers met in Washington as the initial phase of a full week of meetings held by the National Corn Growers Association. These farmer-led teams discussed changing situations, and the possible ramifications of these changes, in areas including public policy, ethanol, biotechnology, government regulation, trade and grower services in anticipation of NCGA Corn Congress and visits to Capitol Hill scheduled later this week.
“The work of the action teams and committees plays a vital role in ensuring the association’s policies are developed with a careful analysis of each situation while maintaining the grassroots approach vital to its success,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “These small groups allow grower-leaders from our various member states to develop a deep knowledge of specialized areas and then collaborate on solutions that help NCGA create and increase opportunities and markets for our members.”
Many of the team meetings included presentations from special guests. In the Public Policy Action Team meeting, staff from both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees provided updates on progress made thus far into a farm bill in 2012. Their valuable insight helped team members understand the multifaceted situations legislators must take into consideration given the current budgetary environment.
Anthony Bush, chair of the Public Policy Action Team, said the committee agenda is constructed with those legislative visits in mind.
“We want to prepare our grower leaders fully for the important visits they will make with their legislators on Wednesday and Thursday,” he said. ”Right now, Congress faces rapidly evolving issues crucial to our members, particularly the farm bill. The information and understanding coming out of these meetings will help each of our delegations make the strongest case possible for farmers.”
In the Ethanol Committee, team members discussed the path forward for key efforts supporting this vital market. To best assess the current situations facing corn farmers in this market, they heard from a wide variety of guest speakers, including Senate and House staff, an official from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings and Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen.
Action team and committee meetings conclude today, with Corn Congress convening early on Wednesday and running through Thursday. During this meeting, delegates will consider proposed policy changes and will elect leadership to the Corn Board for the 2013 fiscal year beginning October 1.