Farm­ers write to let their voices be heard in Wash­ing­ton

Record Observer - - News - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — “Mary­land grain farmer, here’s the bot­tom line. If Amer­ica’s grain farm­ers aren’t at the ta­ble, we’ll be on the menu. The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and Congress need to hear from you to­day” was the mes­sage pre­sented by Chip Bowl­ing, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Corn Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, and on be­half of Don­nie Ten­nyson, pres­i­dent of the Mary­land Grain Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, at the an­nual Mary­land Com­mod­ity Clas­sic, held Thurs­day, July 28 at the Queen Anne’s 4-H Park near Cen­tre­ville.

The Com­mod­ity Clas­sic was an op­por­tu­nity for NCGA and MGPA to en­cour­age farm­ers to weigh in with the EPA and leg­is­la­tors on three crit­i­cal is­sues af­fect­ing farm­ers in Mary­land. Farm­ers were given the op­por­tu­nity to read and sign let­ters ad­dressed to Congress and the EPA ex­press­ing con­cern over her­bi­cide Atrazine, the use of ethanol and free trade agree­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to the NCGA and MGPA, re­cent stud­ies con­ducted by the EPA of the eco­log­i­cal risk of atrazine used faulty stan­dards. If the as­sess­ment stands, NCGA and MGPA con­cludes it would curb the avail­abil­ity and use of atrazine, which is widely used to com­bat re­sis­tant weeds and re­duce soil ero­sion in con­ser­va­tion tillage and notill farming, hurt­ing con­ser­va­tion ef­forts and leav­ing farm­ers to use a more costly, po­ten­tially less ef­fec­tive alternative.

Regarding ethanol, the as­so­ci­a­tion for corn and grain pro­duc­ers ex­pressed con­cern over the pro­posed Re­new­able Vol­ume Obli­ga­tion rule, cit­ing the EPA’s in­tent to blend 200 mil­lion fewer gal­lons of ethanol than the law presently stip­u­lates. Thereby, “thwart­ing the Re­new­able Fuel Stan­dard and reducing the amount of home­grown ethanol avail­able for con­sumers across the county,” as­serted the MGPA.

MGPA and NCGA also en­cour­aged farm­ers to sign a let­ter to Congress in sup­port of the Trans-Pacific Part­ner­ship, a free trade agree­ment be­tween the United States and 11 Asia-Pacific coun­tries. MGPA and NCGA spokes­men said they be­lieve the trade agree­ment will lead to the es­tab­lish­ment of high stan­dard rules for trade and open mar­kets for U.S. agri­cul­ture, in­creas­ing agri­cul­ture ex­ports, par­tic­u­larly for pork and beef, which help drive the de­mand for U.S. corn and co-prod­ucts.

The signed let­ters were col­lected at the MGPA ex­hibit dur­ing the Com­mod­ity Clas­sic. Elec­tronic comments can be sent via the E-Ad­vo­cacy page at cap­wix.com/ngca.

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