LEGISLATION AND REGULATION
Profitability is your number one concern. So we're working on corn farmer profitability by:
Working to open markets
With a new administration, it seems as though the Trans-Pacific Partnership is off the table. But we will continue advocating for trade in Washington, DC and hope that Congress will quickly give President Trump authority to negotiate trade deals and we'll see a new package come back to the U.S. for full passage. We are also advocating for trade opportunities with Cuba. But mostly, helping our legislators understand that trade and international markets are a vital part of your market opportunity.
Fighting against regulations
The new administration will likely make this fight a little easier in terms of environmental regulations, but that doesn't mean we'll quit talking about how costly and time-consuming ineffective regulations are for you on the farm! We'll fight against the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule, we'll keep promoting faster times to get new technologies to market, and we'll argue to save old technologies that you rely on from losing their status. The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and working with the IL EPA to continue making water quality progress remains a top priority.
Thinking ahead to a new farm bill
Farm Bill negotiations are starting this year in earnest - with plans to pass a Farm Bill in 2018 - but that doesn't mean we aren't already thinking about farm bill, asking you what your priorities are, and starting to understand what the most difficult negotiations will be. Illinois is in a reasonably good place with important leaders like Congressmen Rodney Davis, Cheri Bustos, and Mike Bost on the House Ag Committee, but money will be tight and compromises will have to be made. We'll be at the table for it all to make sure you have a safety net to fall back on.
Ethanol is the growing market behind the profitability boom you saw a few years ago, and we're trying to position it for continuous growth in the future. Ethanol regulations get some complicated and the barriers to higher market opportunities seem arbitrary, but we're still advocating for an RVP waiver for E15, CAFE credits that give the automobile industry incentive to produce flex fuel vehicles, and defending the RFS. This year, we saw the EPA finally allow ethanol to hit its 15 billion gallon mark. What will the future hold?
Funding new locks and dams
Working transportation systems lower your basis and put money back in your pockets. Recent legislative changes are helping with the lock and dam funding situation. We've lessened our funding of the considerably over budget Olmsted Lock and Dam, and we've increased the money going into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to help upgrade our system. President Trump's promise of a massive infrastructure bill could help our efforts considerably! Keep your fingers crossed and we'll keep working on it!