BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Surveys indicate that Illinois corn farmers become members in the Illinois Corn Growers Association for better representation in Springfield, Ill., and Washington, DC. With that in mind, ICGA farmer leaders and staff will make the following our top priorities for 2020.
- Finalize U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) for trade
- Pass a low carbon, high octane standard for fuel
- Secure funds for pre-engineering and design work for one lock on the Illinois or Mississippi River
Lucky for Illinois farmers, finalizing USMCA is nearly complete! With action in the House late in 2019 and a Senate nod in early 2020, this ever so important trade agreement is only awaiting a signature from the President.
Why is USMCA a top priority? Mexico is our number one market for corn and dried distillers grains with soluables exports and a number two market for pork. Canada is our second largest market for ethanol. Together, these neighbors make up 25 percent of all U.S. ag trade. Finalizing our relationship is a big deal for Illinois farmers who are well-positioned to use the river system to get goods to Canada and Mexico very cost effectively.
Farmers want to help the nation figure out the need for more efficient transportation with a lower carbon footprint. The way we can contribute to those goals is to pass a low carbon, high octane standard for fuel that allows for blended fuels with 20 percent ethanol or higher. Corn-based ethanol presents a great opportunity to add octane to fuels, improving efficiency. Corn-based ethanol is also cleaner burning and renewable, with something big to add to carbon sequestration goals. While farmers benefit from more efficient and more environmentally friendly vehicles, the real win for farmers here is increased ethanol demand.
Finally, to move forward on work that began more than 20 years ago, ICGA will advocate for pre-engineering and design funds on one lock on the Illinois or Mississippi Rivers. Pre-engineering and design funds allow for the work of designing and planning the new locks farmers desperately need to begin. ICGA does see a pathway for further gains in the lock and dam modernization push, so we are hopeful to deliver on this needed infrastructure investment in 2020.
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— Lindsay Mitchell, Illinois Corn Growers Association
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