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article imageOp-Ed: Bruce Braley gets endorsement of Iowa Corn Growers Association Special

By John Presta     Sep 18, 2014 in Politics
Des Moines - The farmers of Iowa are rallying behind Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, replacing retiring Iowa U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. The Iowa Corn Growers Association PAC (ICGA PAC) last week announced their endorsement of Braley.
The ICGA PAC said Braley is committed to protecting Iowa’s agriculture economy and has a "strong record of fighting to grow Iowa’s rural economy." It credits Braley for his three years of work across party lines to pass the bipartisan Farm Bill, The Agricultural Act of 2014, that the Iowa Corn Growers say is "critical to Iowa jobs and Iowa’s farming communities."
Ernst is on record during her Republican primary campaign that she would not have voted for the 2014 farm bill, which passed the House and Senate in a bipartisan fashion. It was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 7, 2014.
The ICGA PAC also praised Braley for staunchly fight to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard, which supports nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs. The Ernst campaign admits that she is “philosophically opposed” opposed to subsidies for renewable fuels. According to her campaign, in a "perfect world... she would support doing away with (the RFS)."
NextGen Climate, a Political Action Committee which focuses on bringing attention to climate change, is critical of Ernst for her opposition to Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). This is a crucial issue to the farmers of Iowa. RFS is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels, derived from starch feedstocks such as corn, sorghum and wheat. A dismantling of the RFS would harm Iowa farmers in the pocketbook. This category covers corn ethanol, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
NextGen is also critical of Ernst for her opposition to climate change. Dave Miranda, a spokesperson for NextGen, pointed out to the Digital Journal that Ernst has joined forces with Western Fuels Association — a climate change denier — which is hosting a $500 per person fundraiser for Ernst in Washington, D.C., raising thousands for her campaign and placing Ernst in their debt.
"In fact, the Western Fuels Association actually believe we should pump more carbon pollution in the air to prevent another ice age," said Miranda.
Ernst had previously welcomed ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers and the American Petroleum Institute over the interests of Iowans, charged Miranda. All oppose RFS and favor dismantling the program that benefits the farmers of Iowa and deprive the farmers of Iowa sales from starch feedstocks.
This endorsement didn't sit well with the leaders of Koch brothers-linked groups. HuffPost reports that the groups were "so incensed that a farmer's association endorsed the Senate campaign of Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley that they're apparently trying to punish the farmers."
The reason is that this endorsement in Iowa is one of the "crowned jewels" given their status in the state of Iowa. Sandy Greiner, a Republican Iowa state senator and a Koch-controlled Republican is encouraging farm families who disagree with the selection should consider "requesting a refund of your Corn Checkoff assessment," money that goes to the association.
This fall, the bipartisan ICGA PAC, endorsed 35 Democratic candidates and 40 Republican candidates.
Braley has had his share of accomplishments for the farmers of Iowa. The “New Era Act” which authorized the Agriculture Department to make competitive Grants available to support the education and training In bioenergy and renewable energy fields was incorporated into the 2008 Farm Bill.
On Feb. 7, 2007, Braley introduced H.R. 872, the National Endowment for Workforce in Renewables and Agriculture Act of 2007, or NEW ERA Act of 2007. The bill sought to “authorize the secretary of Agriculture to make competitive grants to community colleges and advanced technology education centers partnering with community colleges to support the education and training of technicians in the fields of bioenergy and other agriculture-based, renewable energy resources, and for other purposes.”
The language of this bill was incorporated in the 2008 Farm Bill, H.R. 2149, which included a provision directing “the Secretary to establish a New Era Rural Technology program providing grants to rural community colleges and advanced technological centers for technology development, applied research, and training to support the development of a workforce in bioenergy, agriculture-based renewable energy, and pulp and paper manufacturing. Authorizes appropriations through FY2012.”
The Farm Bill passed the House on May 14, 2008 and became public law 110-234 on May 22, 2008. Since being passed into law, multiple Iowa community colleges have received grants from Rep. Braley’s New Era Rural Technology Grant Program, to train biofuels professionals, including Eastern Iowa Community College, Indian Hills Community College and Northeast Iowa Community College.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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