Commodity groups can exercise a key power - members' voices - when an issue arises before state and national lawmakers. The National Corn Growers Association is calling on all of its members to contact their representatives and press for passage of HR 4761 - a compromise bill aimed at boosting supplies of natural gas - a key component in the making of anhydrous ammonia, corn's prime nitrogen source.
The bill will head to the House floor for a vote and "corn growers need their representatives in Washington to know support for this bill is critical to U.S. agriculture," says NCGA Corn Board member Garry Niemeyer. He adds that next week's vote will be the only opportunity to vote on the legislation for the remainder of the 109th Congress. If it fails, it's really back to the drawing board with a new Congress after the fall elections.
HR4761 - the Deep Ocean Resource Act - allows states to have authority over their coastal resources, including opening offshore areas for energy production. In addition to natural gas for fertilizer, the energy source supplies power for drying grain, producing ethanol and powering irrigation equipment.
NCGA notes that a strong showing on the House version of the bill - which came out of committee last week - would send a signal to the Senate to also take action on passing offshore production legislation. There is an effort in the Senate to get a bill moving to open up Lease 181 off Florida's Gulf Coast. NCGA notes a filibuster challenge from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.