Harvest provides a time to look back at the results of all our labor
By Scott Smith, President
Indiana Corn Growers Association
There is no better time of the year than “harvest time.” Then we roll from there into the holiday season – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Despite the dropping temperatures, I look forward to time with family, friends and enjoying good food.
In the spring, you have the hope of another good crop, but there’s no guarantee that it will happen. Plus, spring usually includes the stress of getting the seed in the ground by a certain date. In the summer, farmers often worry if there will be enough rain or if we’ll have to battle insects, weeds or fungus – or all three.
In the fall, though, the results of all our labor wait in the field to be gleaned. This is my XXth harvest. There have been some lean years, of course; but overall, we’ve been blessed with good yields and great memories. Autumn is a good time for looking back and looking ahead.
As my time as President of the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) winds down at the end of this year, now is another time for assessment.
In the past couple of years, we have tackled many policy issues for Indiana’s farmers. We have worked hard to promote ethanol, which is a major driver of bushel prices for corn growers. ICGA worked with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and other state policy organizations to secure another temporary waiver for year-round sales of E15. We need to make year-round sales of E15 permanent, but I think we are taking steps in the right direction.
ICGA and NCGA have successfully campaigned to get the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to dispute Mexico’s ban on biotech corn. Mexico is a key market for U.S.-grown corn, and we need to keep it open. Mexico’s ban on biotech corn is not based in science. We don’t want to lose a large market due to poor public opinion or bad science. We believe the USTR will be successful in striking down Mexico’s ban.
At the organizational level, ICGA has maintained its strong membership numbers, and we’ve added the option of lifetime membership – which is a true savings, especially for younger farmers. ICGA has emerged from the COVID-19 restrictions to host several events per year, such as Shop Talks with state and federal lawmakers, the Ag Policy Summit, the Bacon Bar and Brunch at the Indiana Statehouse.
Each of these events adhere to our goals of getting to know the decision-makers who affect farm policy and engaging Indiana farmers in those efforts.
There is still much to be done, though. Even though there is a proposed extension of the 2018 Farm Bill, we still don’t have the five-year legislation passed through Congress. Our representatives and senators need to understand that this bill is vital to farmers’ planning each year. We are working hard to make sure crop insurance protection and common-sense environmental policy is in the new bill.
I may no longer be the ICGA president, but I will remain on the board and advocate as strongly as ever.
Finally, I’d like to thank my fellow ICGA Board of Directors for making my two years in leadership such a pleasant experience. We are farmers who truly want the best for all of the state’s farmers.
Looking back at our successes is a good thing, but keeping an eye on the future is important, too. Thank you for walking with me, and “Keep the Faith.”