The North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) sent delegates to Washington, DC to meet with Congressional staff and attend Corn Congress, a meeting of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) affiliated states, on July 17-20.
The NDCGA delegation included board members Carson Klosterman, Kevin Skunes, Larry Hoffmann, Randy Melvin, Clark Price, Paul Thomas, and Kyle Speich. NDCGA staff Dale Ihry and Jean Henning also attended.
The Corn Congress meetings are used to identify top issues for corn growers across North Dakota and the United States. Some of the NDCGA farmer leaders participated in NCGA action teams to help set the direction of many key programs and activities. Attendees also heard from Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez about the prospects of modernizing NAFTA. Gutiérrez indicated a keen interest in strengthening agricultural trade between the US and Mexico.
The week included visits with the North Dakota Congressional members regarding key agricultural issues affecting North Dakota famers. The NDCGA delegation emphasized the following issues when discussing agriculture on Capitol Hill:
- Identify additional needs of livestock producers affected by the 2017 drought
- Share the importance of trade, including the priorities for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
- Expand consumer access to higher blends of ethanol – E15 or higher
- Farm Bill priorities such as crop insurance and the commodity programs
- Continued reduction of regulations affecting farmers
In addition to meetings on the Hill, North Dakota delegates participated in identifying priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill and approval of NCGA policy resolutions. Many of the priorities identified align with priorities that ND corn growers provided to NDCGA during the Farm Bill listening meetings in January 2017.
“NDCGA and NCGA are asking Congress to fully fund the new Farm Bill with special emphasis on crop insurance, trade and fixing ARC-CO,” said NDCGA President Carson Klosterman. “In a year like this year, where our state is experiencing a devastating drought, crop insurance will once again show its worth to farmers in covering crop losses in the state.” Klosterman also offered his thanks to the North Dakota Congressional delegation and their staffers for working on behalf of all ND farmers and ranchers in recent USDA action to release CRP lands for haying.
The North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) is the farmer-led organization focusing on policy that impacts North Dakota corn producers. The NDCGA consists of 14 growers from 7 districts along with 4 at-large directors. The North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and NDCGA work together to grow a healthy, profitable business climate for northern corn.