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ICGA advocates for strong farm bill amid legislative doubts

ICGA advocates for strong farm bill amid legislative doubts

By Andi Anderson

The Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is determined to ensure the farm bill remains a priority during their annual July fly-in to Washington, D.C.

On Monday, Punchbowl News reported that 68% of senior congressional staff members do not believe a farm bill will pass this Congress, and 40% of Congressmen oppose the House’s bill.

Despite the waning momentum and the upcoming elections diverting attention, ICGA is urging lawmakers to pass sound legislation.

“Although there is skepticism that a farm bill will have little forward movement this year, we continue to stand firm,” said Dave Rylander, a Victoria farmer and President of the IL Corn Growers Association.

“American farmers need a strong farm bill as soon as possible. Our July D.C. meetings will amplify the voice of our farmers and the urgency of this bill.” However, much work is needed before a bill can be finalized, as the Senate has yet to consider legislation on the subject.

The 2018 farm bill was set to expire on September 30, 2023. After an extension, the new expiration date is September 30, 2024.

This spring, the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Agriculture Committee’s majority and minority parties released their versions of the bill. House Republicans passed legislation out of the Agriculture committee earlier this year with some bipartisan support.

A crop insurance program protecting Illinois farmers is ICGA’s number one priority in the bill.

The association supports a mandatory base acre update in Title 1, which was not included in the bill that passed out of committee but would add integrity to current farm programs. ICGA also supports increased trade funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program.

“The political landscape is divisive right now in Washington,” said Brad Stotler, ICGA Director of Public Policy. “However, agriculture has traditionally been a bipartisan issue, and we need to continue to move forward advocating policies that will be able to gain majority support in Congress.”

In addition to a well-written farm bill, ICGA will advocate for other issues impacting its membership. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) released final rules this year electrifying America’s vehicle fleet. The EPA mandate requires 67% of new cars and 50% of trucks to be electric by 2032. ICGA, along with a coalition of farmer groups and oil industry representatives, sued the administration over this decision. ICGA points to the Next Generation Fuels Act as a solution to the EPA’s inequitable mandate.

Besides ethanol priorities, ICGA will ask Illinois’s representatives to support the Senate’s version of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes necessary funding for the state’s lock and dam infrastructure.

“Our membership’s number one goal for the association is to represent the needs of corn farmers in Springfield and Washington, D.C.,” Rylander said.

“It’s my privilege to affirm we are as active as we have ever been in these spaces and will continue to be outspoken despite current narratives.”

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Categories: Illinois, Government & Policy

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