Iowa Corn Growers Association round table

Northeast Iowa farmers gathered for a discussion of Iowa Corn Growers Association policies, from political support to outreach to water quality.

ARLINGTON, Iowa — Figuring out how to tread choppy political waters is a hot topic for many commodity groups.

Corn growers in northeast Iowa gathered June 26 for a roundtable, where they discussed policy and gave suggestions for how to tackle different issues ahead of the Iowa Corn Growers Associations’ Grassroots Summit in August.

Any ideas and proposals from the group of farmers in attendance would be brought to the state meeting by the ICGA delegates to determine future policy.

The roundtable covered many topics, but where the farmers had the most discussion was trade and how to handle the political climate.

Near the end of the evening, one farmer made a motion that Iowa Corn should show unilateral support for President Donald Trump’s administration. However, that motion was voted down by a majority of the 30 members in attendance.

Trade deals were also on many members’ minds, with a major focus being the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) currently stuck in Congress. Attendees expressed a sense of urgency, with concerns that politicians who represent non-agricultural states don’t fully understand the impact the USMCA would have on producers.

Producers asked, “How do you make it financial and not political? How do you influence non-agriculture states to see our position?”

They were challenged to send more emails and calls to representatives in an attempt to make their voices heard.

Farmers were also unhappy with the issuing of small refinery exemptions. However, there were additional concerns about how opening up that issue may impact the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

When discussing the future of corn growing, northeast Iowa farmer Tim Burrack called for a study to explore what corn demand may look like in 2030. He cited concerns about electric cars and cell-cultured animal protein as reasons demand may fall, and wanted to see where new demand may be generated.

The farmers also discussed:

  • infrastructure after flooding and the handling of locks and dams.
  • a motion to have gene-editing under the purview of USDA.
  • land use by state and federal agencies.
  • the corporate farm tax.
  • consumer education and outreach.
  • water quality.