NEWS STORIES

APRIL 2019

CROP Partnership Lends Focus to Broader Goals for Farmers

(Posted Fri. Apr 19th, 2019)

While farmers continue to struggle to plant their crops in these wet, cool spring conditions a group of staff from some of the major crop organizations tackled bigger picture issues in Cary, N.C. this week at a meeting of CROP.   Research and communications staff from corn, soy, sorghum, wheat, and cotton organizations met at Cotton Incorporated to discuss tools for farmer outreach and engagement on important production issues.   CROP represents broad U.S. acre commodities of corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat and works to find synergies in research among row crop agriculture and represent farmers better, with one voice on key issues.   “We have lots of great information resulting from research programs funded by our various organizations, but finding the best way to get that information into the hands of those who need it most, whether farmers, advisors, customers, or consumers, is always a challenge, ”said Robyn Allscheid, National Corn Growers Association’s director...

(Posted Fri. Apr 19th, 2019)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association launched its ninth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Field Notes caught up with Lowell Neitzel, who farms in Lawrence, Kansas, earlier this week. With his planters rolling, he is dedicated to making progress despite the late start but still not overly concerned.     “We are a little bit behind schedule. We usually like to start planting during the first part of April,” Neitzel explained. “Spring has been cooler and both winter and spring were wetter than we are used to here. That has pushed everything back in terms of field work quite a bit.”   To listen to the full interview, including his perspective on why today many farmers feel more...

(Posted Thu. Apr 18th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp made the below statement today following the release of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) economic analysis on the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   “The release of the ITC report is an important step in moving USMCA toward Congressional action. ITC reports typically measure the economic impact of new trade agreements and focus on market access. USMCA is different – it’s an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – which already eliminated most tariffs on exports of U.S. food and agriculture products. So, the ITC report released today doesn’t fully capture the economic benefits of trade with Canada and Mexico, nor the improvements to trade rules in USMCA that benefit agriculture.    “NAFTA has been a resounding success for agriculture. In 2016 alone, American corn growers exported $3.2 billion in corn and corn co-products to Mexico and Canada. USMCA secures and builds upon this...

Corn Growers and Soil Health Partnership Represented at Recent Sustainable Agriculture Event

(Posted Thu. Apr 18th, 2019)

NCGA attended the Coalition for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (C-AGG) Spring 2019 meeting last week in Sacramento, California. The multi-stakeholder coalition sees agricultural lands as playing a key role in building sustainable agriculture and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. The event was sponsored in part by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), Vivayic, Almond Board of California, Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), Dagan, Newtrient, Nutrien Ag Solutions and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).   C-AGG believes that by effectively incentivizing and creating value through tools and opportunities, farmers and ranchers can help the environment while increasing efficiency and profits.  Catalyzing new and improved solutions across regions, sectors, etc., to sequester carbon and reduce GHG emissions. Through creating voluntary, market-based incentive programs, cross-sector...

Corn Farmer Engagement on Water Quality Continues to Grow

(Posted Wed. Apr 17th, 2019)

State and national corn staff gathered in Kansas City, MO this week for their bi-annual Eleven State Water Quality Meeting.   The meeting brings together National Corn Growers Association staff and state corn staff representing Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio.   The group received updates on programs and issues like Water of the U.S. (WOTUS), atrazine reregistration, monarch education and outreach, nutrient management and Farm Bill Conservation Title opportunities.   During the two-day meeting, participants shared lessons learned from state policy efforts and innovative agricultural nutrients and water quality efforts. The nuts and bolts portion of the meeting covered topics such as: assessing current water quality initiatives; costs and benefits of current practices; educating key thought leaders and the public regarding progress in the industry; and farm bill proposals opportunities to expand...

(Posted Wed. Apr 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

By all accounts, the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a resounding success for agriculture. To ensure American farmers continue to have access to these important export markets, the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) needs to be ratified.   USMCA will solidify a $3.2 billion export market for corn farmers and provide some certainty as farmers begin the hard work of planting and harvesting their crop. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations with whom we want to enter into future trade agreements. Opening new markets will ensure U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.   Securing this new agreement allows America to compete. The United States has much more competition in North America now than when NAFTA was signed - Mexico has 46 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Canada has 21.   If Congress does not approve USMCA, and the United States withdraws from NAFTA, American agriculture and rural communities would be...

(Posted Tue. Apr 16th, 2019)

Spring is a great time to revisit the use of best management practices (BMPs) as farmers plant a new crop, and the National Corn Growers Association is encouraging thoughtful use and handling of neonic seed treatments to protect crops, pollinators and wildlife.   “Spring is a busy time for farmers. We literally set the stage for the success or failure of our new crop and the future profitability of our farm, said Bob Hemesath, Decorah, IA farmer and chairman of NCGA’s Freedom to Operate Action Team. “It’s also a great time to reset and revisit the steps we are taking to improve stewardship and integrate best management practices as we grow the crops the public needs.”   Specifically, NCGA’s message to farmers is:   Always read and follow the label when using treated seed Use the right amount of an appropriate seed lubricant to minimize dust Clean planters in non-sensitive areas and clean or cover up any seed spills Utilize the wealth of information online including this

(Posted Tue. Apr 16th, 2019)

NCGA this week submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers on the Agencies’ proposed rule revising the definition of waters of the United States, or WOTUS.   Click here to read them in full.   “Overall, NCGA supports the Proposed Rule,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp wrote. Chrisp also highlighted NCGA and state affiliates’ work to balance environmental protection efforts while sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world, pointing to the benefits of the Soil Health Partnership and Field to Market as proactive efforts to help farmers fully utilize sustainability tools.   NCGA also submitted comments on the revised WOTUS rule as part of the organization’s participation in the Agricultural Nutrients Policy Council (ANPC) and the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC). 

(Posted Mon. Apr 15th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol policy

  It was recently reported that the EPA will likely be considering the 39 pending petitions for 2018 small refinery exemptions very soon. The EPA approved 53 small refinery waivers from 2016 and 2017. These waivers have a direct impact on rural America and corn farmers. With an already tough economic environment, more waiver abuse will continue to chip away at farmers’ bottom line by destroying demand for corn. While EPA considers this next round of waivers, we came up with 39 facts and reasons why they should not grant any additional SRE’s.   53 - The number of refinery waivers EPA granted for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years since early 2018. 39 – The number of refinery exemptions EPA Administrator Wheeler has pending for 2018. 9.4 percent -- The percent of the 2017 RFS ethanol volume waived through SREs. 636 million – The difference in the amount of corn bushels needed to meet the RFS volume EPA set for 2017 and the amount needed to meet the effective...

RFA Sets the Record Straight on Rising Gas Prices

(Posted Fri. Apr 12th, 2019)

News coverage of the recent floods suggests ethanol shortages are to blame for rising gas prices. Setting the record straight on this, the Renewable Fuels Association just released an analysis that explains the real reasons why consumers are paying more at the pump. RFA’s analysis says prices are up due to several factors including:   A surge in crude oil prices since the start of the year. Typical seasonal patterns in gasoline pricing, partially reflecting the changeover to summer specifications. Refinery maintenance and unplanned outages.   The analysis states: “While the Midwest floods in mid-March did affect ethanol transportation and some individual facilities, this occurred at a time when ethanol inventories were at record levels. Stocks in most regions, including the Gulf Coast and East Coast, are above year-ago levels. West Coast inventories have been declining since the start of the year but are slightly above the minimum levels experienced over the last 12...

(Posted Fri. Apr 12th, 2019)

Farmers planning to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for 2019 will have until May 10 to sign up. CSP is for working lands, including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. The 2018 Farm Bill made several improvements to the existing CSP, which has shown to increase crop yields, decrease inputs, and improve wildlife habitats among other benefits.   USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has more information.

2017 Census of Agriculture

(Posted Thu. Apr 11th, 2019)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The report includes millions of data points, including number of farms, land in farms, total value of production, demographics and more at the national, state and county levels.    Corn is the #2 commodity by value, behind cattle and calves. The 2017 corn crop was valued at $51.2 billion. Other census highlights include:   There are 2.04 million farms and ranches (down 3.2 percent from 2012) with an average size of 441 acres (up 1.6 percent) on 900 million acres (down 1.6 percent). The average age of all producers is 57.5, up 1.2 years from 2012. Average farm income is $43,053. A total of 43.6 percent of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2017. Ninety-six percent of farms and ranches are family owned. A total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012. There are 321,261 young...

Corn in Pet Food: A Natural Ingredient

(Posted Thu. Apr 11th, 2019)

Today is National Pet Day and there are a lot of benefits to feeding your best friend a diet that includes corn ingredients. The Kansas Corn Growers Association and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) commissioned a study through Kansas State University to look at corn in pet food. We will release and share the results of the study in its entirety in May. Until then, here’s a snapshot of some of the findings and our top 10 reasons why you should include corn in your pets’ diet.     Corn provides energy AND nutritional value to pets. Corn provides kibble binding and expansion due to starch properties when it is cooked in the presence of water and heat (a process known as starch gelatinization). Including >60 percent corn in pet food recipes promotes quality stools and high apparent total tract digestibility in dogs, to levels comparable to sorghum and rice. The disappearance of starch in corn is nearly 100 percent by the point at which it is excreted in...

NCGA Testifies on Importance of Inland Waterways

(Posted Wed. Apr 10th, 2019)

Keywords: Transportation Public Policy

NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross testified before the U.S. House Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment today at a hearing titled, “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Investment in our Nation’s Waterways Matter.”   The hearing was an opportunity for NCGA to share the importance of the inland waterway system to farmers and serve as a resource for future discussions regarding water transport.   “America’s corn farmers need reliable means of moving our crops to customers, whether it’s to livestock feed yards, grain elevators, the ethanol plant, or ports for export. Farmers use many modes of transportation, with the inland waterway system being a vital artery of transportation for our products, especially for farmers in the Midwest,” Ross told the Subcommittee.   Read Ross’s Testimony   Video Highlights

Explore the World of Corn Online

(Posted Wed. Apr 10th, 2019)

U.S. corn farmers grew an abundant crop in 2018 with a near-record national average yield of 176.4 bushels per acre and 14.4 billion bushels of corn produced in the United States, the third-highest production on record.   To highlight these achievements and all they mean, the National Corn Growers Association delves into the facts about corn production, using a historical comparison in its newest edition of the World of Corn. This statistical look at the corn industry, both domestic and worldwide, features a wide array of information on corn production and usage.   In addition to the traditional statistics guide, this year’s distribution includes a poster highlighting the many incredible ways in which corn farming practices and uses make a more sustainable world. The companion piece this year allows for greater exploration through a new augmented reality function.    “In 2018, America’s corn farmers demonstrated again how the world of opportunities corn farmers create truly...

Spring into Action! Get your Lawn Equipment in Tip-Top Shape!

(Posted Tue. Apr 9th, 2019)

Spring is officially here, and yardwork is getting underway. As you pull your various gas-powered tools, there are a few steps you can take to get your machine ready for use for the season.   There are several online resources available with tips and tricks to get your equipment ready to use, but the best place to find specifics is in your owner’s manual.   Here are a few standard practices to keep in mind:   Refresh Fuel: Before attempting to start your machine, make sure the fuel from last season has been drained and fresh fuel added. Check Oil & Filters: This keeps your engine clean by preventing buildup of particles and foreign materials. Inspect Blade: Safely remove the blade and replace it or bring it into the local hardware store to have the blade sharpened. A sharp blade cuts effectively and puts less stress on your machine. Check Spark Plugs: Replacing spark plugs periodically is a cheap way to keep your engine running smoothly. Review...

(Posted Tue. Apr 9th, 2019)

Despite decreased use estimates and a rise in projected ending stocks, U.S. corn projected prices remained steady in reports issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use estimates declined overall due to lowered use projections in the feed and residual categories, exports and corn used to produce ethanol categories. With overall supply projections unchanged and the lowered use projections, ending stock projections were raised by 200 million bushels to 2.03 billion.    Feed and residual forecasts were lowered by 75 million bushels below last month’s report. At the same time, corn used to produce ethanol forecasts were lowered by 50 million bushels below last month’s report based upon the most recent data from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report and pace of production the prior month indicated by Energy Information Administration data. Exports were reduced by 75 million bushels to reflect increased competition and outstanding sales.   The prices...

Opening Dialogue, Forging New Relationships

(Posted Fri. Apr 5th, 2019)

Engaging with and continuing to build new relationships is a key priority for building and increasing demand for corn. Earlier this month, members of the Feed, Food and Industrial Action Team (FFIAT) traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with representatives from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service; USDA Rural Development, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA).   “Having conversations with government entities like the Department of Energy is a great way for us to start the conversation and help educate the agency on the uses of corn, annual carryout and the value of corn as a feedstock,” said FFIAT Chair and Nebraska farmer Dan Wesley. “There are a lot of potential opportunities where we could work together with these agencies and engaging in conversation and opening the dialogue was a great first step.”   These...

Melvin named to CFTC Ag Advisory Committee

(Posted Thu. Apr 4th, 2019)

North Dakota Corn Growers Association President and Risk Management Action Team Chairman Randy Melvin has been named a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Agricultural Advisory Committee.   According to the CFTC, the Agricultural Advisory Committee was created in 1985 to advise the Commission on issues involving the trading of agricultural commodity futures and options and facilitate communications between the CFTC, the agricultural community, and agriculture-related organizations.   Members include representatives of national farm organizations, major commodity groups, agribusiness concerns, and agricultural bankers.   The CFTC announced yesterday that the next Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting would be held on April 11. The meeting is open to the public and also available via webcast.

Beating the Drum on Capitol Hill: Grower Leaders Attend ACE Fly-In

(Posted Thu. Apr 4th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

This week corn farmers, state and national corn staff and ethanol producers attended the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Government Affairs Summit in Washington, D.C. Attendees took to the Hill for congressional visits to talk about the importance of E15 year-round, the overall benefits of ethanol and how refinery waivers undermine the renewable fuel standard (RFS).   “Being able to show we have a unified voice in Washington, D.C. is critical,” said Ethanol Action Team Chair and Missouri farmer Jay Schutte. “We have a lot of new members of Congress. Attending events like this helps us tell the positive story of corn ethanol and how it benefits consumers, rural America and the environment.”   The conference started with an update from ACE CEO Brian Jennings on the latest policy priorities for the organization: 1) E15 year-round, free of harmful changes to the RIN market; 2) reallocation of RFS blending obligations waived for small refineries and future refinery waivers; and...

Exploring the Role of Corn Sustainability in the Beef Supply Chain

(Posted Wed. Apr 3rd, 2019)

Keywords: Sustainability Livestock Animal Agr

The National Corn Growers Association participated in the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s Feed Transparency Summit at McDonalds Headquarters in Chicago last week. Representatives from the major grain aggregators, feed yards, packers, brands and retailers, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were also present.   “Continuing to be a part of these conversations is extremely important, as corn and DDGs are a primary component of rations fed to beef cattle,” said NCGA First Vice President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross. “The meeting was the first step towards exploring opportunities to pilot a collaborative project between the grain and beef value chains to improve transparency. Consumers are asking more and more questions about where their food comes from. The summit brought together stakeholders from across the beef supply chain to discuss that.”   Each group in attendance had the opportunity to expand upon the challenges and opportunities within their industry and...

 NCGA Releases Pollinator Protection Guide

(Posted Tue. Apr 2nd, 2019)

Keywords: Sustainability Conservation

The National Corn Growers Association – in partnership with the Honey Bee Health Coalition – is releasing new best management practices (BMPs) to protect bees and other pollinators in and around corn fields.   At roughly 92 million acres, field corn covers more land than any other row crop in the country, and in the Midwest Corn Belt, corn often makes up to 40 percent of the landscape or more. The BMPs presented in the NCGA’s new guide identify potential effects of agricultural practices on bees at each stage of production and recommend ways to mitigate those impacts.   The digital publication showcases specific strategies such as reducing dust and drift while planting a pesticide-treated seed.   “While corn does not rely on honey bees for pollination like some crops, bees depend on neighboring plants for forage,” said Nathan Fields, NCGA vice president of production and sustainability. “As good stewards of the land, corn growers can follow these BMPs to help protect honey...

U.S. Remains A Model in Farming Productivity for Much of the World

(Posted Tue. Apr 2nd, 2019)

In the U.S. we often take food security and nutrition for granted, but that is not the case in many areas of the globe, where nations constantly work on developing better, more strategic approaches to food production and marketing. A team of overseas visitors recently visited the National Corn Growers Association with this in mind.   Scientists, government officials representing agriculture, food and rural development, and even a company that works with students in schools in under-served areas met with key NCGA staff recently. Representatives from Mozambique, Senegal, Bangladesh, Thailand, and the Philippines met with Nathan Fields, NCGA vice president of production and sustainability, and Robyn Allscheid, NCGA director of research and productivity.   The meeting ended up being a free-wheeling discussion related to how U.S. agricultural production works. Fields stated the group had a special interest in how U.S. farmers achieve the consistent high yields they do, the role...

(Posted Mon. Apr 1st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

Corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers recently joined together to announce their support for the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   Agriculture’s support for USMCA makes sense. Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all corn exports, and in 2016 alone, this market generated $4.1 billion in economic activity and supported 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms.   For corn farmers, USMCA will solidify a $3.2 billion export market and provide some certainty as farmers begin the hard work of planting and harvesting their crop. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.   Withdrawing from the existing NAFTA agreement, closing the U.S.-Mexico border, or implementing other policies that jeopardize the future of this important economic partnership, would be catastrophic for farmers...