With the next legislative funnel tomorrow (Friday), state lawmakers are pushing to bolster the state’s Grain Indemnity Fund through the Iowa Corn Checkoff. The Grain Indemnity Fund was created in 1986 to protect farmers in the event their crop is lost while in storage at a cooperative or elevator. The Corn Checkoff was started in 1977 and collects one penny per bushel sold to help the Iowa Corn Promotion Board find and expand grain markets, educate the public, and more. At last weekend’s Carroll Chamber of Commerce Legislative Forum in Manning, District 6 Senator Jason Schultz of Schleswig said the bill was put together to address a deficiency seen in the Grain Indemnity Fund.
Senate File 556 will use one-quarter of the penny collected from the Corn Checkoff to refill the Grain Indemnity Fund and adjust the fund’s floor and ceiling to $10 million and $20 million, respectively. Additionally, it will raise the protection limit from $300,000 to $600,000. Schultz says he supports the bill, calling it a “bold and innovative solution.”
District 12 Representative Brian Best of Glidden said he has concerns about the government forcing private entities, in this case farmers, from using a portion of volunteered revenues for a specific purpose.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee, which Schultz is a member of, moved the bill out of committee last week. Many organizations in the ag industry, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Farm Credit Service of America and others, oppose the legislation.