It is said that creating a successful relationship is like farming: you have to start over again every morning.
That is why CRA strives to be a good neighbor in the agriculture policy community.
Looking south, the U.S.-Mexico relationship yields mutual benefits for each country’s food and agriculture sector. In 2022, to nurture this crucial partnership, CRA engaged in a number of activities. We sponsored the North Capital Forum in Mexico City and had numerous conversations with U.S. and Mexican leaders. CRA also held regular meetings with major food and agriculture trade associations to discuss the critical relationship between the two nations and spearheaded a vital economic impact study on President López Obrador’s initial ban on genetically modified corn. We will keep working to nurture a strong agricultural trade relationship that supports North American sustainability and food security.
Our work regarding Mexico is one example of how CRA strives to be a good neighbor. Other examples include: bringing together more than 25 food and agriculture organizations for Feeding the Economy, a study on the food and agriculture sector’s influence on the U.S. economy; working with Food and Beverage Issue Alliance members to provide regular updates to the Food and Drug Administration on the state of the food industry supply chain amid multiple potential rail stoppages; and organizing trade advocacy calls with CEOs of major food and agriculture trade associations and disseminating the weekly CRA Trade Update to bring attention to trade policy issues impacting our industries.
In 2022, we met our goal to make strong contributions to the industry we serve and the communities in which we live. In 2023, we will work to build on that momentum.
John W. Bode
CRA President & CEO
CRA VALUES STATEMENT IN PRACTICE
In 2022, CRA worked to advance causes and issues that have long mattered to us and our member companies.
We continue to cultivate future agriculture and policy leaders both within and outside CRA.
Building on CRA President and CEO John Bode’s signing of the CEO Action Pledge in 2021, CRA staff participated in Collective Perspectives in November. This CEO Action initiative consisted of a candid conversation about representation and the power of being one’s authentic self.
CRA staff and interns volunteered at Food & Friends, the only community-based organization in the D.C. region providing home-delivered, medically tailored meals and nutrition therapy to our neighbors living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses.
ADVANCED BIOPRODUCT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
With today’s innovations, corn-based bioproducts vary greatly.
Performance is critical to today’s consumer and, because bioproducts can be chemically identical to ones derived from fossil fuels, they perform just as well. In fact, with the diversity of feedstocks available, American agriculture can make bioproducts that outperform their fossil fuel-based counterparts.
In addition to CRA’s work with the Plant Based Products Council, we engaged on a number of important issues related to advanced bioproducts in 2022.
SAFE WORKPLACE PRIORITIES
In March, CRA Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Workplace Safety Eamon Monahan attended the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America’s Safety Summit to present on the success of CRA’s workplace safety program. Monahan’s presentation centered on CRA’s analysis of two decades of monthly injury data to identify trends and areas of improvement.
He found that, in the early 2000s, corn refining had a recordable incident rate (RIR) hovering near 6.0. This rate is common in relatively dangerous industries like aluminum smelting and auto manufacturing. Since then, the industry’s injury rate has declined to nearly 1.0. An RIR of 1.0 is common in occupations considered safe, such as office work. CRA celebrates members’ commitment to safety every year through our Safety Awards Program.
OUR INDUSTRY’S COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
Corn refiners are primarily engaged in sustainability initiatives that aim to tackle two major factors contributing to our industry’s environmental impact: corn production and emissions from energy consumption. Nearly every CRA member company has producer outreach or engagement programs at various levels to improve corn sourcing sustainability. Furthermore, CRA member companies’ efforts to shift from higher-impact to lower-impact energy sources have made great reductions in greenhouse gas emissions throughout the refining process.
CRA actions in 2022 included:
A GOOD NEIGHBOR IN FOOD AND AG POLICY
National Ag Day
In 2022, the agriculture community took National Ag Day to new heights.
Feeding the Economy
CRA served as Vice Chair of the Food and Beverage Issue Alliance (FBIA) in 2022. FBIA represents critical infrastructure industries and companies feeding the nation. It is an informational resource and conduit for members and the agencies and policymakers that care about our country’s food system. In 2023, CRA will chair FBIA.
In 2022, CRA worked to improve food policy on its own and as part of FBIA:
The food and agriculture industries wrestled with supply chain challenges throughout 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to generate unprecedented supply chain challenges and disruptions that contributed to higher prices and rising inflation across many sectors, including food and feed.
In addition, the war in Ukraine severely reduced the country’s ability to supply grain, oil, and other agriculture commodities, which further disrupted global food supply chains.
Finally, a potential rail strike – on top of already inconsistent performance by rail service providers – forced temporary shutdowns at food processing facilities and prevented delivery of finished goods.
CRA worked with our food and agriculture neighbors to inform Congress and the Biden Administration about critical supply chain problems and potential solutions.
Also, CRA celebrated the passage of the 2022 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The final bill, passed in December, delivered on two priorities for our industry: it amends the cost share for inland waterway projects to allow more general Treasury funds, which will expedite modernization of locks and dams; and it maintains navigational access to the Lower Snake River Dams, which transport nearly 30% of U.S. grain and oilseed exports.
One of CRA’s signature trade accomplishments is the publication of the Trade Update. The Trade Update establishes CRA as a leading expert on food and agricultural trade developments and policy. While readership predominately consists of Capitol Hill staffers, the Trade Update is also read throughout North America and in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and Oceania.
In 2022, CRA’s major trade work included:
CRA’S 2022 STAFF HIGHLIGHTS
CRA's 2022 EVENTS
National Ag Day/Ag on the Mall
CRA, US-Mexico Foundation, and Hispanic Lobbyist Association Cinco de Mayo Reception
National Pollinators Week
National Safety Month
Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Biannual Ag Café
Washington International Trade Association/Washington International Trade Foundation Annual Dinner
Taste of the South
Avanza Awards, Hispanic Lobbyists Association
U.S. Mexico Foundation’s North Capital Forum
Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) Dinner Under the Stars
Black Professionals in Food and Agriculture Congressional Black Caucus Reception
The Manufacturing Institute’s Annual MFG Day
21st Annual Spirit of Mt. Vernon Dinner
COP27 “Integrating Across Sectors: Business Leaders in Energy, Buildings & Circular Economy”