OCWGA shapes national policy

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) delegates went to the Commodity Classic with a purpose of establishing a national set of guiding principles for policy development that will address changes to ethanol and farm policy. The OCWGA delegates introduced language during the Corn Congress for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) as well as during committee meetings for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). OCWGA has affiliation with both national trade organizations.

In addition to the specific policy pieces, OCWGA introduced a resolution for both national organizations to adopt as a core belief. The resolution stated, we believe the U.S. Government should balance the budget by reducing spending resulting in a reduction of the federal debt. NCGA delegates approved the language as part of the organization’s ‘What We Stand For’ section. NAWG has currently tabled the resolution in order for member states to allow for discussion at the state level across the country.

OCWGA’s introduction of a resolution moving away from direct payments to a stronger risk management program generated discussion on the floor of NCGA’s first Corn Congress session. In a 52-48 percent vote, NCGA delegates rejected the resolution stating the group would “actively pursue transitioning direct-payment dollars into a revenue-based safety net that triggers only when a loss occurs.”

Immediately following the vote, OCWGA was approached by nine other states to work together in crafting language that would be adopted overwhelmingly by farmer delegates from across the country. During the second session of Corn Congress, OCWGA introduced new language stating “NCGA should investigate transitioning direct payments into programs that allow producers the ability to manage risk while assuring food security” The language passed overwhelmingly by a voice vote of farmers across the country.

OCWGA’s efforts with the language during the NAWG committee meetings, while not as successful, did lead to representatives asking for more time in discussing with members in their states before taking action at the next meeting in October. The OCWGA representatives were pleased with these results in opening up dialogue with farmers across the country.

In ethanol policy, NCGA delegates voted to move from the current 45-cent Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) that is set to expire at the end of the year. NCGA delegates voted for ethanol tax policy in priority order: a variable ethanol tax rate then a tax credit at a reduced rate. A number of infrastructure recommendations were approved in the resolution as well: investment in biofuel infrastructure, higher ethanol blends, an increase in flex-fuel vehicles and allowing ethanol from corn starch to be considered an advanced biofuel under the EPA definition in the Renewable Energy Standard.

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