Delegates move on issues affecting Iowa corn farmers at Annual Grassroots Summit
JOHNSTON, Iowa — The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) held its Annual Grassroots Summit in Altoona, Iowa, Aug. 26-27 where ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities for the coming year.
During the two-day Summit, 100 delegates in attendance had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. This ICGA policy process includes a member-wide survey in the spring, roundtable discussions held across the state in the summer and the Grassroots Summit in late August. Policies related to national issues can be brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings in February with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) farmer delegates.
ICGA’s delegates deliberated on many important state issues impacting Iowa corn farmers, including these priority issues (listed alphabetically):
• Conservation/water quality – Maintain legislative funding stream for Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
• Ethanol – Obtain funding for renewable infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP).
• Livestock – Support existing regulatory framework for the livestock industry.
• Taxes – Protect critical tax credits (Section 179 and biofuels).
“The future of our organization lies in the hands of our grassroots members, and it is vital our members are engaged,” stated incoming ICGA President Jim Greif. “Throughout the year, there are many ways to get involved to develop ICGA policy. ICGA encourages all members to make their voices heard that these events.”
Delegates also weighed several key federal issues (listed alphabetically):
• Ethanol – Retain the RFS, reallocation of unjustified SREs, and reduce regulatory barriers for higher blends.
• Trade – Expand new and protect existing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
• Trade – Protect/expand the Market Access Program (MAP) & Foreign Market Development (FMD) funding as part of the Farm Bill.
• Transportation – Maintain and upgrade our inland waterways system.
Governor Kim Reynolds spoke to ICGA members during the first day of Summit. The Governor gave a powerful message in these tough economic times and shared that she stands strong with Iowa farmers to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
During the conclusion of the first day of the Summit, ICGA presented two awards to deserving ICGA members and partners. The Friend of Iowa Corn award is given to recognize state and federal legislators, their staff and others who have helped shape and implement priorities of Iowa Corn, and those who have been champions for our issues. This year, the Friend of Iowa Corn award was presented to Jerry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has been an essential part of the Iowa Corn team for over two decades. He is one of Iowa Corn’s contract lobbyists at the Iowa statehouse and has been instrumental in the shaping and passage of every significant piece of Iowa Corn legislation at the statehouse during his tenure.
The second award presented was the Walter Goeppinger Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an Iowa Corn member who has showcased exemplary leadership skills and service throughout their time with Iowa Corn. This year, Iowa Corn honored Jack Kintzle of Toddville, Iowa, who has shown exceptional dedication and leadership to the agriculture industry. Kintzle had a seat at the table for many pivotal conversations that have shaped Iowa Corn into what it is today. He is recognized for his thoughtful input, progressive thinking, and diligent work ethic.
The Local Leaders Awards Breakfast kicked off Tuesday morning with an update from Iowa Corn Grassroots Network & Checkoff Committee Chair, Larry Buss, explaining the plan to grow ICGA membership. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig welcomed and thanked members for participating in the policy development of their organization. Wrapping up the program, Buss handed out awards recognizing the efforts of many outstanding local corn farmer-leaders and their programming at the county and district level.
The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Luncheon concluded with an update from representatives from the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series partnerships, University of Iowa Women’s Basketball Coach, Lisa Bluder and Iowa State University Women’s Basketball Coach, Bill Fennelly.
During the final part of the Summit, incoming ICGA President Jim Greif and incoming Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) President Roger Zylstra gave their presidential updates outlining their key goals for the upcoming year.
ICGA will release its finalized top 2020 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2019-2020 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 515-225-9242.