Editorials

The Corn Feed


Sep 30, 2022

Time to Drain the Swamp as Elections Near? Not So Fast.

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

There is just something about Washington that comes across swampy.   During particularly brutal heatwaves, Washingtonians like to remind themselves that of course it’s hot; after all, the capital city was built on a swamp. In recent years, voters, who have grown disenchanted with Washington, have been increasingly referring to the capital as the swamp and to its political inhabitants as creatures of the swamp.   But as we look at the facts, Washington the swamp, both metaphorically and as a geographical feature, appears to exist less in reality and more as part of the popular imagination. It’s important that voters understand the circumstances as attacks on Washington can elicit the kind of cynicism that is harmful to the democratic process, as it tempts voters to vote against something they dislike rather than vote for what is in their own best interest. Don’t get me wrong. As someone who grew up on a farm in the Midwest, I understand the frustrations that can arise from...

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Sep 1, 2022

As a Long, Hot, Productive Summer Comes to an End, Corn Growers Focus on Policy Priorities this Fall and Beyond

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

If there is anything unforgettable about Washington, it’s that the nation’s capital gets hot and humid during the summer months. Perhaps that’s why historically activity in the city has come to a screeching halt in August as members of Congress head home to meet with constituents.   Yet, this summer leaders in Washington continued to crank out results, some of which will impact corn growers. My team and I hope to build on some of this activity as we move into fall and the next Congress.   The summer was bookended by the president’s decision in April to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority to allow for continued, year-round market access for higher blends of ethanol and with the enactment in August of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.   While the president’s decision on ethanol enjoyed bipartisan praise, passage of his signature piece of legislation was completed along party lines.   While we always like to see Congress act in a bipartisan...

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Aug 1, 2022

To Successfully Shape 2023 Farm Bill, Corn Growers Encouraged to Build Bridges with Groups Outside of the Ag Community

Key Issues: TradeFarm Policy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

After Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861, he appointed to his cabinet the very opponents he had vanquished in the bitter and hard-fought battle for the Republican nomination the year before. The team of rivals, representing very different ideological positions within the GOP of the time, helped the president go on to win the Civil War, abolish slavery and keep the country intact.   I thought of Lincoln’s team of rivals as I moderated a recent discussion in Washington on the upcoming farm bill reauthorization.   The panel, composed of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and Richard Fordyce, who served as Farm Service Agency administrator during the Trump administration, echoed the team of rivals' approach by challenging corn growers to take the lead in broadening the coalition engaged in the farm bill and fostering relationships with stakeholders outside of commodity and livestock organizations.   Heitkamp used food security as an example,...

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Jul 7, 2022

As July Ushers Heat and Controversial Issues into the Nation’s Capital, I am looking forward to a Cool Corn Congress

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

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...

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Jun 1, 2022

Even with Unprecedented Events in Washington, Good News Abounds for Farmers, Though Challenges Also Lay Ahead

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

I have spent close to 20 years living and working in our nation’s Capital, and I have never seen the number of unprecedented events here that we’ve seen over the last year. From the war in Ukraine to the Roe v. Wade leak to inflation, leaders in this city are moving from one unprecedented event to another, and other important issues are being drowned out as a result. Luckily, NCGA has still been able to secure important wins for farmers, though we face many challenges ahead. Indeed, thanks to the hard work of farmer leaders, we have seen the following results in recent months:   Extension of Access to Higher Ethanol Blends. The president’s recent announcement that his administration is allowing for the continuation of consumer access to higher blends of ethanol through the coming summer months was a major victory for consumers and corn growers alike. Having the president, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders, take time to visit an Iowa ethanol plant and...

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