Six board members from the North Dakota Corn Growers Association and its executive director just returned from Washington D.C., participating in National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) action teams, Corn Congress, and visits on Capitol Hill.
A full day of appointments on July 13 included, Farm Service Agency Zach Ducheneaux the ag counselor at the Embassy of Canada, North Dakota three members of Congress Senator John Hoeven, Senator Kevin Cramer and Representative Kelly Armstrong, and U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member John Boozman of Arkansas. The ag leaders conveyed priorities to the public officials including roll-out of the new Emergency Relief Program, the Upcoming Farm Bill, biofuels and ethanol, pesticides and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed restrictions, vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the border with value-added ag products, trade, and climate policy in agriculture. The group also presented to the state’s Congressional delegation photos of North Dakota corn as depicted by NDCGA’s photo contest winners across the state.
President Andrew Mauch served as a delegate and also on the Production Technology Access Action Team, Board members Joe Sheldon serves on the Risk Management and Transportation Action, Board member Greg Amundson serves on the Stewardship Action Team, executive director Brenda Elmer on the Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team, and Vice-President Brian Leier and Secretary-Treasurer Drew Courtney served as delegates. Board member Ben Bakko served on the NCGA election committee for Corn Board elections.
During Corn Congress session, where delegates consider the public policy priorities of NCGA and proposed changes, North Dakota proposed an action item that was adopted to ask federal officials to consider how the vaccination mandates to cross the border are impacting trade, and worsening inflation and supply chain problems. This Department of Homeland Security regulation prompted during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and renewed as recently as April of this year without an end date. Growers gave examples of workforce shortage made worse as fewer trucks can get through. The item was passed by the corn delegation.
During this time too, NCGA presented the organization’s prestigious President’s Award to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for his significant contributions to agriculture policy that is advantageous to corn growers.
The delegates also elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board. Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2023 fiscal year, are new board members Matt Frostic of Michigan and J.R. Roesner of Indiana. Current board members Kelly Harsh of Ohio, Brian Thalmann of Minnesota and Dan Wesely of Nebraska were re-elected.
The delegation also heard from a guest panel discussing the upcoming farm bill, that included Brooke Appleton, VP Public Policy for NCGA, Richard Fordyce, former Administrator, Farm Service Agency; the Honorable Daniel Glickman, former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Heidi Heitkamp, former Senator from North Dakota