ICGA: An active organization for active members who care about agriculture
Mike Beard, President, Indiana Corn Growers Association
Hello from rural Clinton County! This growing season has been an interesting one. We had snow in May after some crops were planted, and in recent weeks we’ve had a little too much rain. Still, the corn crop in Indiana appears to be progressing well, and I expect Indiana farmers will deliver a good crop, as usual.
I’d like to give you an update about the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA). We’ve had a busy year, so far, and we have a lot planned for the rest of the year.
The ICGA is an active organization made for and led by active members who care about the future of Indiana agriculture. Ted McKinney, who was the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs in President Trump’s administration, was a speaker at our recent meeting. Your membership dollars invested in ICGA helps us to advocate for policies that will help all Hoosier farmers.
This year’s Indiana General Assembly was full of action. Few farm issues received more attention than Senate Bill 303, which was vetoed by Gov. Eric Holcomb. That veto is a victory for Indiana corn farmers. Senate Bill 303 would have required fuel retailers to display an additional warning label on pumps that dispense E15, which is a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol with 85 percent gasoline. A special Indiana E15 label was unnecessary because existing labels are already required.
After the General Assembly adopted this proposal, ICGA members and staff appealed to Gov. Holcomb that this new label would harm the state’s ethanol industry, which is vital to Indiana’s economy. Gov. Holcomb agreed and vetoed the bill. The state legislature could still override the veto, and we’re keeping an eye on it.
But we’ve also got to keep our eyes on national politics, too. Recently many of us traveled to D.C. to talk to Indiana’s senators and representatives in Congress. Among our leading topics of discussion were carbon credit markets and Sen. Mike Braun’s Growing Climate Solutions Act.
President Biden has promised to run a “Green,” environmentally friendly administration, and he’s encouraging carbon credit markets. ICGA is working to make sure that farmers are helped and not hurt by that policy. Braun worked with ICGA and other farm groups to develop the Growing Climate Solutions Act for more than a year. The Growing Climate Solutions Act, which you can read about in detail on page 14 of this magazine, would create a USDA program to help farmers access carbon credit markets.
The U.S. Senate provided overwhelming support, by a 92-8 vote on June 24, of the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This is another victory for ICGA’s efforts and Indiana farmers. The Growing Climate Solutions Act has broad bipartisan support as it goes to the U.S. House of Representatives for debate later this summer.
I can’t say enough about the hard work and dedication of ICGA staff. Steve Howell, our Senior Director of Industry Affairs, takes the lead on studying state and federal bills and represents our position when talking to lawmakers. Rachel Conner, our Industry Affairs Program Manager, also keeps a close eye on potential legislation and helps organize events such as our Ag Policy Summit later this month and Shop Talk meetings with federal lawmakers on Indiana farms. Macy Mead, our Industry Affairs Project Manager, works to recruit new ICGA members. We have won the National Corn Growers Association award for new members three years in a row, and we’re looking to make it four!
The Ag Policy Summit is July 27, and I’d like to invite all of you to this free event at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville, Ind. Steve Howell will lead a panel discussion, and Purdue ag economist Dr. Jayson Lusk and ISDA Director Bruce Kettler will speak. This is also a valuable time to network with other Hoosier farmers.
If you’re not a member, yet, join us! Help us make a difference for all Indiana farmers.