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Amid Legislative Doubts, ICGA Advocates for Strong Farm Bill

The IL Corn Growers Association (ICGA) will push to ensure the farm bill does not fall off the political radar during ICGA's annual July fly-in to Washington D.C.

On Monday, Punchbowl News reported 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 a wain in momentum and national attention pulled towards upcoming elections, ICGA is calling on lawmakers to pass sound legislation.    

“Although there is skepticism a farm bill will have little forward movement this year, we continue to stand firm,” Victoria farmer and President of the IL Corn Growers Association Dave Rylander said. “American farmers need a strong farm bill, as soon as possible. Our July D.C. meetings will magnify the voice of our farmers and the urgency of this bill.” However, much work is needed before a bill can cross the finish line. The Senate has yet to consider legislation on the subject in their chamber.   

The 2018 farm bill was set to expire September 30, 2023. After an extension, the bill’s 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, 33-21 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 supports increased trade funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program.

“The political landscape is divisive right now in Washington,” ICGA Director of Public Policy Brad Stotler said. “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 electric by 2032. ICGA, a coalition of farmer groups, and oil industry representatives sued the administration for the decision. ICGA points to the Next Generation Fuels Act as a solution to the EPA’s inequitable mandate.

In addition to ethanol priorities, ICGA will ask Illinois’s representatives to support the Senate’s version of the Water Resources Development Act. The act includes needed 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. It’s my privilege to affirm we are as active as we have ever been in these spaces and will continue to be outspoke despite current narratives,” Rylander said.

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