Grain Bins


Ears in Washington: January

Posted on January 11, 2024
Ears In Washington DC 002

Like the Year Before It, 2024 Will Be Filled with Challenges and Opportunities as We Advocate for Corn Grower Priorities

By Brooke S. Appleton

The new year offers many opportunities on the policy front, and my staff and I will spend the year building on the successes of corn grower advocates from 2023.

Last year, we successfully convinced the Biden administration to take action in response to Mexico’s ban on biotech corn, made great progress in ensuring consumers have year-round access to E15, won a round in our fight against tariffs on fertilizer imports, and set ourselves up for success in the upcoming farm bill reauthorization.

But if we are buoyed by last year’s wins, we are also feeling the continued presence of its challenges, many of which promise to be more pronounced in the year ahead.

One of the biggest challenges will be working with a divided Congress in which a slim number of seats is determining control of the U.S. House of Representatives, making it difficult to advance legislation.

In fact, according to a recent New York Times analysis, there was less lawmaking in 2023 than at any other time in a decade. The article reports that, in 2023, the House held 727 votes but only enacted 27 laws. This is compared to 2022, when the House voted 549 times with 248 laws enacted.

With what is sure to be a highly contentious presidential election on the horizon, we can only expect these challenges to intensify.

Yet, I am convinced that, like last year, we can navigate the current climate and secure big wins for corn growers. Fortunately, NCGA has built close relationships with key members of Congress across party lines. Moreover, agricultural issues in general and corn grower priorities in particular, continue to enjoy bipartisan support.

This is all good news, as we will need all the goodwill we can muster as we work to secure reauthorization of a Farm Bill that includes our priorities, including protecting crop insurance and getting Congress to make access to commodity programs fairer by updating base acres.

Our relationships will also be important as we push the Biden administration to eliminate trade barriers and provide us with the tools we need to open and cultivate new markets. This work includes quickly resolving the impasse with Mexico over biotech corn and reducing tariffs on fertilizers imported from Morocco.

We will continue to make the argument to Congress and the Biden administration that ethanol is key to achieving the country’s ambitious climate goals. The push to move the country to an all-electric fleet despite consumer preference presents us with an opportunity to continue to elevate the environmental benefits of ethanol.

As part of these efforts, we are working to garner more congressional support for the Next Generation Fuels Act, which would help address the country’s most pressing energy issues through a transition to cleaner fuels and vehicles.

These are but a few examples of our many priorities for 2024. With such an ambitious agenda, we are going to need your help. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our advocacy alerts and act when we notify you of pending legislation and issues.

It won’t be easy, but, with your help and the help of our allies in Congress, our advocacy goals can be fully realized. I look forward to working with you and other corn grower advocates in 2024 to make this happen.

Happy New Year!

Appleton is vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.

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