Farmers write to let their voices be heard in Washington
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.