As news events such as Roe v. Wade and gun legislation have been dominating much of the debate in Washington this summer, we at the National Corn Growers Association have been working to attract the attention of policymakers so that we can elevate the agricultural policies that are important to our membership.
That’s one of the many reasons I am so excited about the upcoming Corn Congress, which will be held in the nation’s capital July 11-14. It provides us an opportunity to take passionate and deeply knowledgeable corn grower leaders to Capitol Hill in mass and get them in front of some of Washington’s key decision-makers.
This year is particularly special, as it is the first time in two years that we have been able to meet in person in the nation’s capital. There is something special that an in-person connection offers that Zoom just can’t. And we have a lot to talk about with our members of Congress.
We will discuss biofuels issues, such as asking lawmakers to co-sponsor the Next Generation Fuels Act, which paves the way to higher ethanol blends in America's fuel supply. And as the International Trade Commission debates duties on nitrogen fertilizers and the Environmental Protection Agency considers restrictions on atrazine, corn grower leaders will be talking about how critical it is that farmers have access to the tools necessary to continue to do more with less.
Corn Congress, composed of over 100 grower delegates from corn-producing states, is held twice a year and allows the organization’s leaders to gather, talk about the issues facing our industry, and vote on policies that guide the association. This month, Corn Congress delegates will debate and vote on the organization’s priorities, which are likely to drive our positioning for the upcoming farm bill.
This discussion will be important, as the farm bill is authorized every five years and includes major programs impacting farmers, from conservation programs to crop insurance to international trade and more. Therefore, being involved in the debate on this bill will be critical to the future success of corn growers and other farmers.
We also want to use Corn Congress as an opportunity to educate NCGA’s members on the coalition necessary to pass a farm bill, especially in such a partisan environment.
That’s why I will be moderating a discussion on the farm bill with former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman and former FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. I look forward to asking these policy veterans what they have learned as they’ve crafted previous farm bills. I am particularly interested in learning how we can apply the lessons they’ve learned to the debate on the upcoming legislation.
Be on the lookout for details from the panel discussion and on updated policies made at Corn Congress in my August column. In the meantime, here's to cooler temps, in-person meetings, great advocacy and to shaping major ag legislation.
Here is to Corn Congress!
Appleton is vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.