JUNE 2019

(Posted Fri. Jun 14th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

NCGA today applauded legislation introduced by Sens. Deb Fisher, R-Neb., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., to bring transparency and accountability to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).   Similar to the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 introduced in the House, the Senate bill, S. 1840, would set a deadline for refineries to apply for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process. The Senators’ bill also includes specific actions EPA must take within the annual Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume rule to account for and reallocate waived gallons and requires EPA to report to Congress with a justification for each waiver granted. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are original co-sponsors of S. 1840.   Within the past year, EPA has granted 54 exemptions to refineries, waiving 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel blending...

(Posted Thu. Jun 13th, 2019)

Social media is great to share stories and pictures of your kids, grandkids, or that amazing meal, but did you realize that it can be a powerful advocacy tool?  According to congressional staff, your Facebook comment or tweet is viewed as an authentic constituent message.  Over 60 percent of Hill staff agree that accessing information on social media is an important part of their daily work.   Below are some simple tips to help you be an effective advocate.   “Like” your elected officials on Facebook Like you, legislators will post content throughout the day to let the folks back home know that important work is being done and they are playing a key role. Legislators and their staff do read your comments and take them into consideration.  Posting your story about the impacts of a piece of legislation on your farm, family or community on your legislator’s Facebook page is just as valuable as a letter or phone call. Make sure that you identify yourself as their constituent....

NCGA Board Elects Linder as Next Farmer to Join Organization’s Leadership

(Posted Thu. Jun 13th, 2019)

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected John Linder to become the organization's first vice president for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.   “I am honored my fellow Corn Board volunteers placed their trust in me and granted me the distinct privilege of becoming a part of the organization’s leadership,” said Linder. “Today’s American corn farmers face an ever-changing landscape with numerous challenges, as well as opportunities, on the horizon. It is imperative that we work with our partners in government, in industry and in the public to grow markets at home and abroad. I sincerely look forward to working with our grower leadership to find innovative, impactful ways to grow the markets and the future for U.S. corn farmers.”   Linder, along with his brother, Mike, and wife, Cheryl, run a fifth-generation farm raising corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat and soybeans for seed in central Ohio. In addition to traditional row crop farming, he also...

NCGA Applauds Administrations Efforts to Further Ag Biotech, Streamline Regulation

(Posted Wed. Jun 12th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the Administration after President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order yesterday. This important declaration will streamline the approval process for agricultural products produced through biotechnology while reinforcing the move toward a product and not process-based approach.   The order promotes a science- and risk-based program that will lay out a clear, predictable and efficient regulatory framework. This will offer cost savings to technology developers, open the pipeline for product approval to a larger sphere and allow farmers more rapid access to the tools that they need in the field.   This order also furthers policies important to farmers by expanding markets by urging USDA, along with USTR and the Department of State, to work with our trade partners abroad to synchronize approval processes internationally and help remove barriers to trade...

NCGA Joins President at Iowa Ethanol Plant

(Posted Tue. Jun 11th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross today represented NCGA in hosting President Trump for a tour of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Ross farms in nearby Minden and sells corn to the ethanol plant.   The visit was an opportunity for NCGA to thank the President for following through on the commitment to allow for year-round sales of E15, a priority for corn farmers. On May 31, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule for E15. In addition to increasing demand for farmers, higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 reduce fuel prices for drivers by three to ten cents per gallon and result in lower emissions, improving air quality and providing greater greenhouse gas reductions.   Ross also urged President Trump to address EPA's waivers to large refiners that are undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and work with members of Congress to pass an infrastructure bill.    Members of NCGA's board of directors,...

NCGA Joins Call for Ratification of USMCA

(Posted Tue. Jun 11th, 2019)

NCGA today joined more than 950 food and agriculture organizations representing to call on members of Congress to swiftly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   In a letter to Congressional leaders, the groups reiterated that USMCA will benefit the U.S. agriculture and food industry while providing consumers a more abundant supply of high-quality, safe food at affordable prices.   “Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA – growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018. NAFTA has significantly helped create a reliable, high-quality supply of food products for U.S. consumers, while supporting more than 900,000 American jobs in food and agriculture and related sectors of the economy. USMCA builds on the success of the NAFTA agreement, and will ultimately lead to freer markets and fairer trade. This modernized trade agreement makes improvements to further enhance U.S. food and...

(Posted Tue. Jun 11th, 2019)

Unprecedented planting delays seriously impacted corn crop forecasts issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. With the forecast number of acres both planted and harvested both revised down by three million acres and national average yield revised downward by 10 bushels-per-acre from last month, current forecasts show U.S. farmers producing the smallest corn crop since 2015/16 at 13.7 billion bushels.   In light of lowered production, and despite decreased demand, the season-average farm price raised by 50 cents over May estimates to $3.80 per bushel. While production forecasts were lowered, ending stocks are still forecast to exceed 1.6 billion bushels given the more than 2 billion bushels of beginning stocks forecast.   Export market demand forecasts were lowered by 100 million bushels. While price competitiveness and current outstanding sales caused export forecasts to lower, the ratification of trade deals such...

(Posted Mon. Jun 10th, 2019)

At this year’s Bio World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and AgTech in Des Moines, Iowa, the Consider Corn Challenge II winners will be announced. The National Corn Growers Association is also a sponsor of the event and will be participating in a number of sessions.   “This is a great opportunity to be engaged with researchers, end users and leaders in industrial biotech and tell corn’s positive story around sustainability, abundance, and affordability,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “Announcing the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II at this event allows us to showcase all the various potential uses of corn as an industrial feedstock. The submissions this year were very diverse and further emphasized that corn is a versatile crop.”   BIO World Congress brings in roughly 900 attendees from 35 countries. Topics discussed vary from biobased chemicals to advanced biofuels to food ingredients and more.   NCGA is either participating in or sponsoring...

Ag Innovation and Sustainability on Display at DC Area Farm

(Posted Fri. Jun 7th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservation

Key staff from multiple government agencies are getting a crash course in the latest farming techniques and agricultural technology from industry experts at the Modern Ag Sustainability Field Day Demo Day outside of Washington, D.C. today.   The Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Pest Policy Management and Foreign Ag Service are all represented at the event on the family farm of Chip Bowling in Newburg, Maryland.   Bowling, a former NCGA president and current chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, hosted the event along with NCGA, Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers, American Soybean Association, American Seed Trade Association, National Agricultural Aviation Association and the Fertilizer Institute.   The day featured in-field demonstrations of modern conservation tillage, precision planting, spraying and harvesting equipment. The group also saw drones and the latest in seed and fertilizer...

(Posted Fri. Jun 7th, 2019)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued 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.   Yesterday, Field Notes checked in with Lindsey Bowers, a farmer and grain merchandiser from southeastern Texas. Further along in terms of crop progress than her counterparts further north, she has experienced a mixture of conditions simultaneously similar to and quite different than those seen throughout the Corn Belt.   “Over the last four weeks, we have been too dry and too wet at the same time,” said Bowers. “It had dried out significantly, and some farmers in our area even started watering crops. Then, over just the past two days, a little disturbance built up in the Gulf of Mexico. We...

NCGA Highlights Negative Effect of Ethanol Waivers

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol

NCGA Renewable Fuels Public Policy Director Kathy Bergren participated in a Capitol Hill briefing today for U.S. House of Representatives staff to help explain the damaging effects the EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to large, profitable refineries and recommend solutions.   Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. EPA currently has 39 waiver petitions pending for the 2018 RFS compliance year. These waivers have taken a toll on farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.   NCGA President Lynn Chrisp recently touched on the negative impact of these waivers, following the announcement that EPA had completed action to allow for year-round sales of E15. “While corn farmers are immensely grateful that the barrier to year-round E15 has been lifted, we won’t be able to reap the full benefits if EPA continues to...

NCGA Provides Input Into Future Mycotoxin Research at USDA Lab

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2019)

Keywords: Research

Representatives of NCGA visited the Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology (MPM) research unit of USDA laboratory this week in Peoria, Ill. to gain insight and provide input into the group’s mycotoxin research.   The lab aims to enhance food safety and crop production in the U.S. and around the world. Researchers use information from genetics, microbiology, chemistry and plant biology to develop new ways to limit mycotoxin contamination, control foodborne diseases, and improve crop production.   Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence (AMCOE) chair Charles Ring, a producer from Texas, visited the MPM unit along with Texas Corn Producers Executive Director David Gibson and NCGA Director of Research & Productivity, Robyn Allscheid.   As the unit develops its next five-year plan, NCGA was invited to give feedback on priorities through both a survey and in-person meetings. “Mycotoxin research is critically important for food safety and security,” said Ring. “Choices are...

U.S. Farmers Should Take a Bow on World Environment Day

(Posted Wed. Jun 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Environment; Sustainability SHP

Today is World Environment Day and for U.S. farmers that makes it a great time to celebrate their success in modernizing agriculture and make it more environmentally sustainable. Improved soil management like no till and use of cover crops, precision farming tactics that better utilize nutrients and pesticides, and reducing trips across fields reduces fuel use and air pollution.   This list could go on, but suffice it to say, caring for the planet is vital to our survival. As caretakers of massive tracts of land farmers play a key role in improving our environment and they take this responsibility seriously.   From the Soil Health Partnership, which is building new soil for future generations; to the Take Action initiative that is constantly educating farmers on the latest and best ways to use crop products like herbicides and pesticides; to our efforts to save honey bees and Monarch butterflies, NCGA is working hard to keep farming profitable and assure environmental...

(Posted Tue. Jun 4th, 2019)

Farmers confronting weather-related challenges are one step closer to receiving relief.   The U.S. House of Representatives last night passed a disaster assistance package that will provide $3 billion to USDA to assist farmers confronting weather-related losses. The Senate passed the disaster bill on May 24, the legislation now goes to the President’s desk where it is expected he will sign it into law.   The disaster assistance covers expenses related to the losses of crops as a consequence of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms and wildfires in the 2018 and 2019 calendar year. The term “losses of crops” includes on-farm stored commodities and crops prevented from planting in 2019.     The legislation gives the Secretary of Agriculture and USDA discretion to decide where and how to spend the $3 billion. These determinations will likely be made in the coming weeks.

(Posted Mon. Jun 3rd, 2019)

Check the weather, check the markets, check stored corn, check your planter, check emerging crops (if you have any planted.) There’s a good chance farmers are leaving a critical “to do” off the list...check on yourself!   In farming, there’s a lot out of your control, creating stress that can potentially lead to serious impacts on your well-being, even in a normal year. And there is nothing normal about the 2019 planting season. So, take a minute to assess your mental health, that of your family and even your employees.   After six years of low farm prices stress is at very high levels on the farm and it’s becoming harder to remain resilient with every new rain. Farmers and farmworkers recently surveyed said financial issues (91 percent), farm or business problems (88 percent) and fear of losing the farm (87 percent) impact farmers’ mental health. Other factors included stress, weather, the economy, isolation and social stigma.   The new national Morning Consult research poll...

NCGA Congratulates Corteva on Successful Spin-Off

(Posted Mon. Jun 3rd, 2019)

Today, Corteva AgriscienceTM became a standalone company completing the spin-off from DowDuPontTM by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp was in attendance, with senior leaders from Corteva and other agriculture commodity representatives.   “We congratulate Corteva AgriscienceTM on becoming a standalone company and look forward to our continued partnership moving forward,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “We’ve been fortunate to have their support for a number of our programs over the years and will work closely with Corteva on issues and programs important to U.S. corn farmers.”   Corteva has been a sponsor of leadership development and sustainability programs and is a vital sponsor of NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and Commodity Classic.   “As Corteva Agriscience™ has made its journey to this important milestone, we have greatly appreciated the National Corn Grower Association’s advice, input...