By Bobby Frederick, Director of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy
Twenty-five NGFA members and staff, along with state affiliates from Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas, met this week with more than 50 congressional offices to hone in on priority issues important to the grain and feed community.
NGFA’s June 13 fly-in occurred on the same day that the Senate Agriculture Committee marked-up its version of the 2018 farm bill, giving NGFA members the opportunity to promote reforms that target the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) towards environmentally sensitive land and hold the line on substantial acreage increases that hurt rural economies. (Fun fact: NGFA’s Committee Apprentice Program fly-in happened on the same day the House Agriculture Committee marked up its farm bill in April!)
NGFA members also used their time in the nation’s capital to:
- Thank members of Congress for their support of increased and critical investments in locks, dams, and ports, which help NGFA members economically and efficiently move grain, through the fiscal year 2019 energy and water appropriations bills.
- Inform members of Congress with on-the-ground views of rail service disruptions and impacts, the need to fill much-needed slots on the Surface Transportation Board, and to provide more scope and detail to the “common-carrier obligation.”
- Make members of Congress aware of the Food and Drug Administration’s non-risked based interpretation on pulse crops and the “solely engaged” provision of its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations, subjecting grain elevators to $57,000 to $127,000 in annual compliance costs per facility.
- Continue to promote the message of both maintaining and gaining trade markets for U.S. agricultural products.
According to a House source, the rest of June and July will be devoted to more appropriations work, immigration, a potential farm bill revote and flood insurance. Meanwhile, in the Senate, which is expected to work through most of August, nominations and appropriations will dominate the schedule and the farm bill is expected to be considered before July 4.
View photos from this week’s Capitol Hill meetings here.