(Posted Mon. Aug 27th, 2018)
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today said plans unveiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide aid to farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty would be insufficient to even begin to address the serious damage done to the corn market as a result of the Administration’s actions.
The organization reiterated its call for the Administration to rescind tariffs, secure trade agreements and allow for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol; no-cost actions that would allow for the marketplace to drive demand.
“NCGA members had a spirited debate on the prospect of trade aid during last month’s Corn Congress meeting,” said NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes. “While most members prefer trade over aid, they support relief if it helps some farmers provide assurances to their local bankers and get through another planting season. Unfortunately, this plan provides virtually no relief to corn farmers.”
According to an NCGA-commissioned analysis, which NCGA provided to USDA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), trade disputes are estimated to have lowered corn prices by 44 cents per bushel for crop produced in 2018. This amounts to $6.3 billion in lost value on the 81.8 million acres projected to be harvested in 2018. USDA’s plan sets the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel.
“NCGA has understood from the beginning that this aid package would neither make farmers whole nor offset long-term erosion of export markets. But, even with lowered expectations, it is disappointing that this plan does not consider the extent of the damage done to corn farmers,” Skunes said. “Once again, we are calling on the Administration to settle trade disputes and support a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. These no-cost, immediate actions would deliver a real win for rural America.”