MCGA growers join the voices of farm leaders from around America calling for a farm bill this year

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Commodity Classic 2012 included the annual resolutions meeting of National Corn Growers Association where the most important and unified message was a call to congress to produce a new farm bill this year and not just an extension of the current farm bill. Record attendance at the farm convention and trade show, held this year in Nashville, was well over 5,000 people.

Minnesota brought the third largest state delegation to the NCGA resolutions meeting, with 15 representatives and four alternates. State organizations are allotted delegate seats according to a calculation based on total number of corn acres in the state, the number of members in the state organization, and the state’s dollar contribution to NCGA.

“We would like to see the Farm Bill get done before the elections this year,” said John Mages, a farmer in Belgrade, Minnesota, who serves as president of MCGA. Mages was a delegate at the NCGA resolutions meeting. He said, “There’s a better chance of getting a good farm bill that provides an adequate safety net if we get it done now, rather than waiting.”

Garry Niemeyer, an Illinois corn producer, and president of National Corn Growers Association, joined leaders of national wheat, soybeans and sorghum groups and released a joint statement representing the views of tens of thousands of American farmers regarding the Farm Bill:

“Commodity Classic provides our organizations an opportunity to come together to discuss important policy issues facing our industry.  As Congress continues work on the next farm bill, our organizations agree that an affordable crop insurance program is our No. 1 priority.  We also stand ready to work with House and Senate Ag Committee leaders to create farm programs that provide risk-management tools to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control.” 

The four national farm commodity groups–corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum– represent 70 percent of the farm acreage in the United States. The groups acknowledged the current efforts to reduce the federal budget and pledged to work with Congress to develop a very cost effective program:

The joint statement continued, “We urge Congress to pass a new farm bill this year to provide the level of certainty in America that a short-term extension cannot. The nation is currently facing record high federal deficits and this requires difficult decisions.  We stand ready to do our part to develop more efficient farm policy that will be responsive to taxpayers and effective in helping farms remain viable and productive.”

The NCGA resolutions meeting is a chance for the grassroots membership from across the country to help shape the policy directives for the coming year. Minnesota contributed a resolution regarding water management.

“We brought a resolution in supporting water management through irrigation and tiling,” said Mages. “We want to let the government and elected officials now that these management tools are key to the farmer’s protection of resources, and efficient use of nutrients.”

Minnesota also presented a resolution in favor of expediting the necessary investigations that would lay the groundwork for adoption of higher ethanol blends as accepted, EPA regulated fuels.

“We believe that down the road, as CAFE standards rise and require higher mileage efficiency, auto engineers will find that ethanol can be part of the solution for providing higher octane and higher mileage.”

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