Click here to view the full letter. ICGA supports the arguments presented, says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, director of government relations for the corn grower association. ICGA policy states, "Flood control, transportation and industrial economic activity should be the priorities for river management. Recreational uses should be allowed but not be prioritized." The transportation of agriculture and corn products will be greatly impacted if commerce on the Mississippi River system is shut down, she emphasizes.
Iowa's two U.S. Senators press for action to keep navigation flowing on Mississippi River
On Friday, November 16 Iowa's two U.S. Senators—Republican Chuck Grassley and Democrat Tom Harkin—joined other senators from states along the Mississippi River to urge the Army Corps of Engineers to remove impediments to navigation on the river, as well as ensure water flow from the Missouri River is not reduced so much that it impedes Mississippi River navigation.
Grassley and Harkin, along with Sens. Roy Blunt, Dick Durbin, Mary Landrieu, Lamar Alexander, Amy Klobuchar, David Vitter, Claire McCaskill, Mark Kirk, Mark Pryor, Roger Wicker, Al Franken, Thad Cochran and John Boozman requested the action from the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to keep commerce flowing on the Mississippi River.
"The drought resulted in low water levels that have created challenging shipping conditions in some spots along the river for grain and other exports," Grassley said. "The action we're requesting is not unprecedented, and could have a major and positive impact on the economy of states up and down the river." Click here for a signed copy of the letter.
U.S. House Committee approves Russia PNTR Bill, which corn growers support
In other news reported by the Iowa Corn Growers Association last week, the U.S. House Rules Committee passed legislation on November 13 that provides for Permanent Normal Trade Relations, or PNTR, with Russia. Russia joined the World Trade Organization, or WTO, in August 2012, and Congress must repeal the Jackson-Vanick amendment before the United States can take advantage of Russia's commitments as a WTO member. Iowa Corn Growers Association policy supports passage of the PNTR with Russia as it would give American farmers the opportunity to compete in the Russian economy and the ability to reach 140 million Russian consumers.
This bill combines the Jackson-Vanick repeal legislation passed by the House Ways and Means Committee in July, along with legislation relating to human rights passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June. The bill will likely be voted on by the full House sometime soon.