(Posted Mon. Jul 11th, 2011)
July 11: Action teams and committees of corn growers began meetings in Washington today talk about farm-related issues in anticipation of Corn Congress and visits to Capitol Hill scheduled for later this week.
"Action teams play a vital role in our organization," said National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott. "They allow small groups of grower-leaders from our various states to develop deep knowledge of specialized areas and then collaborate solutions that help NCGA create and increase opportunities and markets for our members."
Many of the team meetings included presentations from special guests. During the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team meeting, for example, growers spoke with Mike Dunlap, the subcommittee staff director from Rep. Frank Lucas for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture. In their discussion, the action team asked Dunlap about his perspective on the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea.
In the Public Policy Action Team meeting, both Senate Agriculture Committee Majority Staff Director Chris Adamo and House Agriculture Committee Majority Staff Director Nicole Scott spoke with attendees on the issues facing growers going into 2012 farm bill negotiations. Their valuable insight helped team members understand the multifaceted situations legislators must take into consideration given the current budgetary environment.
Anthony Bush, chair of the Public Policy Action Team, said the committee agenda is constructed with those legislative visits in mind.
"We want to prepare our grower leaders fully for the important visits they will make with their legislators on Wednesday and Thursday" he said. "Right now, Congress faces many rapidly evolving issues that affect our members. The information and understanding coming out of these meetings will help each of our delegations make the strongest case possible for farmers."
Action team and committee meetings will continue through tomorrow, with Corn Congress convening Wednesday and running through Thursday. During this meeting, delegates will consider proposed policy changes and will elect leadership to the Corn Board for the 2012 fiscal year beginning October 1.