(Posted Tue. Jan 21st, 2020)
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) are partnering with nearly a dozen state corn organizations this winter to put on five trade schools in farmers’ local areas, aiming to educate and empower grower-leaders on trade topics. The regional events build on similar workshops held in Washington, D.C., in 2016 and 2019 and in St. Louis in 2018. Each offered wide-ranging information demonstrating the importance of trade to the agriculture industry and farmers’ profitability; details on hot topics on the trade agenda; and training on how participants can talk about trade issues in their communities. Negotiations on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade agreement with Japan and a trade deal with China dominated much of agriculture news in 2019, spurring interest among those in the ag sector and creating demand for more and more detailed information on trade topics. “In the last several years, we’ve really seen the interest in...
(Posted Wed. Jan 15th, 2020)
NCGA President Kevin Ross today attended a White House ceremony, commemorating the signing of the phase one deal between the United States and China. Ross made the following statement. “Signing the phase one agreement with China is a step in the right direction to resolving the trade dispute with China and restoring the trading relationship between our two countries. China holds tremendous opportunity for American corn, ethanol and DDGs and NCGA looks forward to learning further details of what phase one will mean for these products. As more specifics become available, we will closely monitor implementation to ensure that the commitments are upheld and that U.S. corn farmers resume trading with Chinese customers. NCGA urges the Administration to quickly commence phase two negotiations and work to resolve retaliatory tariffs.”
(Posted Tue. Jan 7th, 2020)
Members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee today voted 25-3 in support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a critical step to moving the new trade agreement toward final passage in the U.S. Senate. “USMCA will bring much-needed certainty, and real benefits to America’s farmers, workers, and businesses. Farmers are getting better and more reliable market access, which they badly need,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in his opening remarks. Members of the House of Representatives in December overwhelmingly approved USMCA. The agreement is critically important to corn farmers. Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In 2018, 21.4 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $4.56 billion. The trade agreement will next need to be approved by the full Senate which could occur as early as next week.
(Posted Wed. Dec 18th, 2019)
National Corn Growers Association members this week traveled to Washington, D.C. to make a final push for passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the House of Representatives. House passage before the end of the year would provide some certainty to farmers facing challenging times and instill confidence in other important trading partners that the United States is open for business. NCGA members shared with lawmakers the importance of USMCA for corn farmers. Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In 2018, 21.4 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $4.56 billion. The NCGA members also met with members of the U.S. Senate, urging they quickly consider and pass USMCA in the new year. Corn farmers cannot afford to lose this North American market which is why it is so important USMCA be ratified.
(Posted Wed. Dec 4th, 2019)
The Japanese Diet, the country’s legislative body, earlier today ratified the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The agreement secures the second-largest export market for corn farmers and is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2020. This agreement formalizes and builds on our long-standing trading relationship with Japan. Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. The agreement reduces U.S. corn and sorghum imports for all purposes to a zero-level tariff and includes a staged tariff reduction for U.S. ethanol and corn. U.S. feed and food corn, corn gluten feed, and DDGS will continue to receive duty-free market access. NCGA President Kevin Ross in October joined leaders of other farm and commodity groups at the White House to commemorate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement
(Posted Mon. Dec 2nd, 2019)
Who you know and your relationship with them can make a big difference in many aspects of your life, but if you are a corn farmer this is likely a huge understatement. You see, trade is critical to farmer’s profitability and relationships can either float or sink the export ship. According to the U.S. Grains Council, U.S. corn exports totaled 52.3 MMT or 2.06 billion bushels in 2018/19 and moved to 62 countries. That’s a lot of relationships to juggle for USGC and a big reason NCGA has made a resolution of trade agreements like the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) a priority. Addressing both components - relationships and the access that comes with trade agreements – is a potent combination. As we head toward 2020, NCGA, USGC and many of their partners will be involved in a “Did You Know” campaign to raise awareness of the importance of free trade and trade agreements to farmers and a strong U.S. economy. Look for these messages on NCGA social channels from Dec. 2 to...
(Posted Mon. Oct 7th, 2019)
NCGA President Kevin Ross today joined leaders of other farm and commodity groups at the White House to commemorate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The agreement secures the second-largest export market for corn farmers. Ross made the following statement. “Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high-value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”
(Posted Wed. Sep 18th, 2019)
NCGA State Executives, representing eleven state associations travelled to Washington, D.C. this week to urge members of Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and continue the education effort on NCGA’s Low Carbon/High Octane proposal. The State Executives also pressed lawmakers to use their influence with President Trump regarding potential Administrative actions to mitigate the effects of RFS waivers. “Having representatives of NCGA’s state affiliates in Washington provides lawmakers and their staffs with a first-hand account of the importance of USMCA and ethanol policy to corn farmers,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “This week was also an opportunity for the State Executives to meet with members of Congress who may not have corn farmers in their district but whose votes will be needed to get USMCA across the finish line.” Passage of USMCA remains NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019. USMCA will solidify a $4.56...
(Posted Mon. Aug 26th, 2019)
The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the announcement that the United States and Japan have reached an agreement in principle that sets the stage for increased market access for American agriculture products in Japan. “This is very encouraging news,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “Japan is the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn and has been an important, longstanding trading partner with America’s corn farmers. We hope the next stage of negotiations are successful in enhancing rules of trade and building on this strong relationship.” Chrisp said NCGA is continuing conversations with the Trump Administration to learn more details on what specifically Sunday’s announcement will mean for America’s corn farmers. The U.S.-Japan announcement follows recent Administrative actions that have added to growing economic concerns across rural America. On Friday, the Chinese government announced it would levy an additional ten percent tariff on U.S. products,...
(Posted Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019)
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of its methodology to determine commodity payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The payment rate for corn is $0.14 per bushel. “NCGA welcomes USDA’s transparency in this process. Corn farmers were understandably disappointed by the one cent per bushel for corn in the first MFP program and we appreciate that it appears USDA considered our recommendations in developing MFP 2.0. Amid farmers’ concern over crop conditions, trade disputes and tariffs, and demand destruction in the ethanol market, this program will not make any farmer whole. NCGA continues to strongly advocate for the Administration to open markets and provide more certainty for corn farmers, including addressing the harm caused by RFS waivers and resolving trade disputes and tariffs.” NCGA analysis showed an average price loss for corn of 20...
(Posted Thu. Jul 25th, 2019)
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of county payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). “It’s no secret that farmers are facing difficult decisions amid wet spring weather, trade disputes and tariffs, and demand destruction in the ethanol market. While NCGA’s focus remains markets, we welcome USDA’s quick rollout of MFP 2.0 and the Department’s creative efforts to reorient MFP to better reflect market impacts and support American farmers. We look forward to learning more about how MFP will work for corn farmers.” Following President Trump’s announcement that the Administration would be pursuing a second round of trade aid, NCGA put forward recommendations that would provide both short-term assistance and support market access for farmers. NCGA continues to encourage the Administration to take additional actions to open markets and provide more...
(Posted Thu. Jul 18th, 2019)
National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today presented NCGA’s 2019 President’s Award to Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer. The President’s Award is given annually at NCGA’s Corn Congress meeting in Washington, D.C. to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture. “It is my great pleasure to present the NCGA President’s Award to Senator Fischer,” Chrisp said. “Senator Fischer has been an outspoken advocate for corn farmers from our shared home state of Nebraska and across the country, supporting policies that will help create market opportunities for corn.” In her remarks to corn farmers, Fischer voiced her support for the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the top legislative priority for corn growers this year. Fisher was a strong advocate for removing the barrier to year-round sales of E15 and continues to stand up for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and against the Environmental Protection Agency’s...
(Posted Tue. Jul 16th, 2019)
More than 70 farmers, state staff and college students interested in agriculture yesterday participated in the 2019 Trade School, a one-day session meant to deepen their knowledge on trade issues and hone their messaging to help better convey the benefits of agricultural trade to outside audiences. The event is held annually by NCGA and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and was held this year in association with Corn Congress in Washington, D.C. NCGA is closely following ongoing trade disputes and negotiations, and members in Washington, D.C. this week will be urging lawmakers to ratify the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement would solidify a $4.56 billion export market for America’s corn farmers and provide certainty to farmers facing challenging times. “Agricultural trade has vastly expanded market opportunities for U.S. farmers. Today, it seems like everyday farmers wake up to a new headline regarding trade. Whether it is the pursuit of new...
(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 Fri. May 31st, 2019)
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement in response to tweets from President Trump announcing tariffs on all Mexican imports beginning June 10, in an effort to stop illegal immigration. “NCGA strongly urges the President to rethink applying new tariffs to Mexican goods and to reconsider using tariffs to address non-trade issues. Mexico is the top customer for U.S. corn. Corn farmers want to continue working with the Administration and Congress to ratify the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and pursue new trade agreements. The recent deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada was an important breakthrough for USCMA but new tariffs threaten to reverse that progress. Amid a perfect storm of challenges in farm country, we cannot afford the uncertainty this action would bring.” Mexico was the top market for U.S. corn in 2017/2018, with corn and corn product exports valued at $3.3 billion. Corn exports to...
(Posted Tue. May 28th, 2019)
The U.S. Meat Export Federation held their annual Spring Conference last week in Kansas City. Staff and members from the National Corn Growers Association and state corn associations were present. The conference featured updates on the positive growth of red meat exports and included presentations on U.S. trade related challenges and opportunities, an update from United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, country and region-specific marketing efforts and the global impact of African Swine Fever (ASF). “There were a number of items on the trade front discussed at the meeting, including Japan’s lifting of longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “That equates to $23 million in incremental value to corn growers in the U.S. Updates from other markets included, Mexico removing retaliatory duties on U.S. pork and Canada eliminating a 10 percent duty on...
(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2019)
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed the Trump Administration’s announcement of up to $16 billion in assistance to help farmers to make up for potential agriculture losses due, in part, to the most recent tariff increases and prolonged trade dispute with China. “Farmers across the country are struggling. Wet spring weather, trade disputes and tariffs and demand destruction in the ethanol market are forcing farmers to make difficult decisions. We appreciate the Administration’s recognition of these challenges and support for America’s farmers,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp who joined President Trump for the White House announcement. Following President Trump’s announcement that the Administration would be pursuing a second round of trade aid, NCGA put forward recommendations that would provide both short-term assistance and support market access for farmers. NCGA called on USDA to update the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to factor market...
(Posted Tue. May 21st, 2019)
NCGA continues to celebrate World Trade Month and Friday’s announcement that the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada had been lifted was a major positive step for passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Lawmakers on Capitol Hill frequently cited this tariff as a roadblock for the bill. USMCA would update the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to further solidify the U.S. trading relationship with Canada and Mexico, two of the largest markets for U.S. corn. Passing this agreement would help farmers in the frontlines of the economy. Exports to Mexico and Canada produced $4.1 billion in economic activity, supporting 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms in 2016. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated on Friday: “Today’s announcement is a big win for American agriculture and the economy as a whole. I thank President Trump for negotiating a great deal and for negotiating the removal of these tariffs. Canada and Mexico are...
(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2019)
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with recommendations outlining both short and long-term actions that would provide assistance to farmers facing losses due, in part, to the most recent tariff increases and prolonged trade dispute with China. NCGA analysis, capturing corn market impacts from May 2018 to April 2019, showed an average price loss of $0.20/bushel. In March and April of 2019, as trade talks with China lagged on, that loss widened again to closer to $0.40/bushel. Given these losses, NCGA is urging USDA to improve upon last year’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) which set the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel, to make sure that assistance more equitably compensates farmers for market losses. Beyond USDA, NCGA is also urging the Administration to address demand destruction caused by the EPA’s small refinery exemptions to oil refiners, among other actions. NCGA members have...
(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2019)
Leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada today announced that a deal has been reached to lift the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill frequently cited the tariffs as a roadblock to passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley leading the charge. NCGA appreciates lawmakers’ support for USMCA, along with the Administration’s willingness to hear from agriculture and work to resolve the industry’s concerns. Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In 2016 alone, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion. USMCA secures and builds upon this important partnership, which is why ratifying USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019. Tell Congress to Pass USMCA!
(Posted Wed. May 15th, 2019)
We need your help. Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration is increasing the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China’s retaliatory tariffs, could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers, bringing more uncertainty to markets and impacting commodity prices. In an effort to ease this impact, the Administration is now pursuing a second round of trade assistance for agriculture with the intent of making an announcement in the next few days. As you’ll recall, the previous Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment rate for corn farmers was just one cent per bushel. Please tell the president that a penny didn’t cut it then and won’t cut it now. On top of trade disputes and tariffs, EPA granting RFS waivers to oil refiners, devastating weather conditions, farm incomes on a downward trend, and crumbling infrastructure have all created a perfect storm for agriculture. Tell the President that one penny won’t provide the market certainty that...
(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2019)
Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration was moving forward to increase the tariff rate from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers. As NCGA President Lynn Chrisp noted, “Corn farmers are watching commodity prices decline amid ongoing tariff threats, even while many can’t get to spring planting because of wet weather.” This spring’s heavy rains have impacted farmers across the country, with the most recent WASDE report showing that only 30 percent of the corn crop has been planted, half the five year average of 66 percent. Trade disputes and tariffs, devastating weather conditions, stagnant farm incomes, crumbling infrastructures and EPA waivers to oil refiners have all combined to create a perfect storm for agriculture. Times are tough for farmers. More tariffs won’t help, neither will another penny per bushel trade assistance payment. Simply put, farmers need a win and they need...
(Posted Tue. May 7th, 2019)
A new study shows access to international export markets for U.S. grains supported nearly $38 billion in business sales in the U.S. economy during 2016 beyond the value of the products themselves. The analysis commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) found a total economic impact of U.S. grains exports of $55 billion that year, supporting 271,000 jobs directly or indirectly. These sales supported U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $19 billion over what would have occurred without such exports. The analysis dives deep into the benefits to farmers, rural communities and the nation as a whole derived from overseas sales driven by strong trade policy and robust in-country market development for grains and grains products. “Every sale counts for farmers, especially in this market, and this analysis shows just how much the grain sector is supported by regular and growing purchases from our overseas customers,” said Jim...
(Posted Wed. May 1st, 2019)
May is World Trade Month and NCGA is using the occasion to highlight the importance of trade for future profitability and global food security. NCGA has a deeply-rooted policy of working to eliminate barriers to trade, supporting market development and promoting a transportation infrastructure that moves grain efficiently. Exports of grains in all forms provide critical support across the economy, offering billions in direct and indirect economic benefits to farmers and rural communities. Exports of corn in all forms support 33 percent of corn farmer incomes. In the 2016/2017 crop marketing year, the United States exported nearly 120 million metric tons of feed grains in all forms (GIAF), translating into roughly 4.75 billion bushels or a third of U.S. production. Feed grains in all forms include corn, barley and sorghum and products made with them as inputs including the corn equivalent of co-products like ethanol, DDGS and corn gluten feed/meal as well as beef, pork and...
(Posted Thu. Apr 25th, 2019)
We know that ratifying USMCA will secure 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. Passing USMCA will also open the door to other markets and new opportunities for American farmers. Locking in USMCA establishes some important new standards for what can be achieved in future trade agreements and would also build confidence in other nations with whom the United States wants to more closely engage. Japan is the perfect example of a very important long-time customer for the U.S. corn industry and a nation with which a trade agreement is urgent for U.S. agriculture. Japan was the second largest buyer of U.S. corn in the 2017/2018 marketing year, purchasing nearly 13.2 million metric tons (520 million bushels) of corn for a value of $2.39 billion. Japan also serves as the ninth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS, setting a new record for DDGS imports in 2017/2018, increasing 8.4 percent from...
(Posted Thu. Apr 18th, 2019)
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...
(Posted Wed. Apr 17th, 2019)
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 Mon. Apr 1st, 2019)
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...
(Posted Mon. Mar 25th, 2019)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service announced Friday an export sale of 300,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China.
“The corn purchase by China announced today in USDA’s export sales report is very welcome news for U.S. agriculture, and we see it as a positive sign for the U.S.-China relationship as intense negotiations continue. The outcome of these talks is crucial to U.S. grains and ethanol, and we appreciate continued engagement by our negotiators and their counterparts in China,” U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight said.
Sleight also discussed the purchases and ongoing trade negotiations with Agri-Pulse, telling the publication, “This is very encouraging — that the negotiations have been going well and getting after some of the key issues that have been blocking trade with the U.S. and China on corn."
(Posted Fri. Mar 1st, 2019)
The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers today announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Members representing the four organizations will be advocating members of Congress to ratify USMCA this year while also urging the Administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement intact until the new agreement is ratified. “Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable corn market; Mexico is corn’s number one buyer and Canada is one of our largest ethanol importers. We cannot afford to risk losing this market,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019, and we will be working closely with the Administration...
(Posted Fri. Jan 25th, 2019)
In a follow-up to its October 2018 meeting, five members of MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, were in Geneva this month to advocate for agricultural innovation with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo and five other WTO country representatives. Rapid innovation in agriculture benefits farmers who can grow more and higher quality crops using fewer natural resources. But these same innovations push governments around the world to determine the best ways to regulate these modern practices, and the WTO helps determine whether these policies are fair. MAIZALL encourages countries to adopt science-based policies to prevent disruptions to trade. “It is extremely important to show the Director-General that the farmer alliance that is MAIZALL believes innovation is important and we need to draw attention to innovation at the highest levels within the WTO,” said MAIZALL Board Member Chip Councell. MAIZALL President Cesario Ramalho, MAIZALL...
(Posted Fri. Jan 25th, 2019)
Today on Off the Cob, meet Lindsey Bowers, a Texas farmer who also works as a grain merchandiser and hedger near the southern border. From the storage situation in her part of Texas to the importance of the Mexico market to all U.S. corn farmers, she provides unique insights and a fresh perspective on American agriculture. To listen, click here.
(Posted Wed. Jan 23rd, 2019)
NCGA is committed to helping corn producers weather this tough economy by creating market opportunities for U.S. corn, including expanding market access for our products around the globe. Exports of corn and corn products account for a third of corn farmers’ incomes. To accomplish these goals, we work closely with our partners at the U.S. Grains Council. NCGA advocates for elimination of barriers to corn and corn products in the U.S trade policy agenda, passage of strong trade agreements by Congress and helps secure market development funds that USGC puts into action. USGC’s mission is clear - develop markets, enable trade and improve lives. USGC leaders, staff members, and consultants strive to be the most relevant, passionate and trusted ambassadors for free and fair trade between U.S. agriculture and our customers around the world. The flow of goods, ideas, capital, and people are essential for prosperity, and for American competitiveness in the global economy. This is...
(Posted Thu. Jan 10th, 2019)
NCGA is committed to creating new market opportunities for U.S. corn. This includes expanding market access for U.S. corn around the globe and securing our most important markets by injecting certainty back into our relationships with Mexico and Canada. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been an unequivocal success for American corn farmers. Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to these regional partners have increased 300 percent and Mexico is now the top export destination for U.S. corn. Corn exports to Mexico were up nearly 13 percent for 2017/2018 from the previous year, reaching a record high of 15.7 million tons or 618 million bushels. In 2016 alone, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion. These exports produced $4.1 billion in economic activity as well as supported 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms. Now, as Congress looks to consider the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,...
(Posted Mon. Dec 17th, 2018)
The National Corn Growers Association today expressed disappointment that corn farmers impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty would receive virtually no relief through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Market Facilitation Program (MFP). NCGA’s comments follow USDA’s announcement of the second round of MFP payments, again setting the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel, despite the fact that corn farmers have suffered an average 44 cent per bushel loss since tariffs were first announced. “Farmers of all crops have felt the impact of trade tariffs,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “NCGA appreciates the progress the administration has made to advance ethanol, reach a new agreement with Mexico and Canada and move forward on negotiations with Japan, but the benefits of these efforts will take time to materialize and farmers are hurting now.” “One cent per bushel is woefully inadequate to even begin to cover the losses being felt by...
(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2018)
National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement applauding the important step taken by U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials today in signing the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). “U.S. corn farmers are proud of the strong trading relationships NAFTA has enabled us to build with our North American trading partners, exporting more than $3 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada last year. Today’s signing is an important step toward cementing a modernized relationship with these important partners. NCGA commends leaders from all three nations and looks forward to engaging on next steps as the USMCA moves to Congress for consideration.”
(Posted Tue. Nov 27th, 2018)
National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp yesterday submitted NCGA’s negotiating objectives for a United States-Japan Trade Agreement to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Japan is the second largest market for U.S. corn exports and U.S. corn farmers have been a reliable supplier to this market for more than 50 years. “Corn farmers have long counted on Japan as a leading export market and have spent decades developing this important partnership,” Chrisp wrote. “NCGA has been advocating for a formal trade agreement with Japan for years and we are pleased to see the Trump administration take this important step, one that we hope will be followed up with other trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region.” NCGA’s top priorities for this negotiation are to secure this market access for corn amid intensifying competition from other corn suppliers, to improve market access for other corn co-products, and to address technical, sanitary and phytosanitary, and...
(Posted Tue. Nov 20th, 2018)
National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today urged U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider changes to the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) ahead of the second round of payments. In a letter to Perdue, Chrisp said that he continues to hear from farmers who are disappointed in USDA’s approach to calculating the first round of MFP payments because it was too narrow in scope and did not capture the real-time impacts of trade disruptions on our markets. Chrisp asked Perdue to add ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to the calculation of damages for corn. Using USDA’s methodology, gross trade damages for ethanol and DDGS amounts to $254 million, which was not accounted for in the first MFP payments. Chrisp also asked the Secretary to allow farmers who suffer production losses from disasters to use an alternative to 2018 production for their MFP calculation. This would ensure farmers suffering from drought,...
(Posted Thu. Nov 8th, 2018)
Agricultural innovation continues to develop rapidly, benefiting farmers who are able to grow more and better crops using fewer inputs and natural resources. As governments around the world work to determine how to regulate these ever-evolving technologies, MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, is encouraging countries to adopt science-based policies to prevent disruptions to trade. MAIZALL was formed in January 2013 by the corn growers associations in Argentina, Brazil and the United States to work together to tackle global market access barriers related to the introduction of new technologies in agriculture, particularly biotechnology. The alliance focuses on three areas: communicating the benefits of modern agricultural production methods and technologies, addressing asynchronous approval of biotech products and promoting regulatory harmonization. During an October mission to Geneva and Rome, a group of MAIZALL leaders met with World Trade Organization (WTO) and...
(Posted Tue. Nov 6th, 2018)
Leaders from the U.S. feed grains value chain traveled together to Mexico last week to meet with longtime customers and incoming officials from the Mexican government on the heels of the recently-concluded U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations. The annual officers mission brings together leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the national organizations representing the feed grains it promotes in international markets, including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA). Mexico is the top foreign buyer of U.S. corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and barley and a significant buyer of U.S. sorghum. The country also holds near-term potential for increased use of U.S. ethanol following energy policy changes in recent years. "Mexico is the most critical market for our members and an amazing example of...
(Posted Mon. Oct 1st, 2018)
The National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement after an announcement that the United States, Canada, and Mexico reached an agreement in principle on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). “Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and reminding the administration of its promise to ‘do no harm’ to agriculture.” “NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture, opening markets that since enactment have become vitally important to U.S. corn farmers, and providing certainty to farmers and the rural economy. We applaud USTR for reaching a new agreement and look forward to thoroughly evaluating it to determine if it continues to benefit American agriculture.” Last year the United States exported $3.2 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada, supporting 25,000 rural jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce...
(Posted Thu. Sep 27th, 2018)
National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes made the following statement on the announcement that the United States and Japan would begin formal trade negotiations. “Japan is a top export market for U.S. corn and, for many years, U.S. corn farmers have valued this long-standing partnership. Since withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NCGA has urged the administration to re-engage Japan in negotiating a trade agreement. The announcement that talks will begin is welcome news to American corn farmers.”
(Posted Tue. Sep 25th, 2018)
President Trump on Monday signed the new United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). The National Corn Growers Association has advocated for continuing our trading relationship with Korea and appreciates President Trump and President Moon reaffirming the two countries’ important partnership. Korea is the third largest export market for U.S. corn farmers, and KORUS has been instrumental in solidifying this important market. Farmers voiced their support for KORUS loud and clear, and NCGA is pleased the agreement has been updated. The new KORUS also paves the way for U.S. trade negotiators to work on opening new export markets for agriculture.
(Posted Fri. Aug 31st, 2018)
In The Hill Friday, NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes shared the challenges facing corn farmers this year and the frustration following USDA’s announcement of just one cent per bushel in trade relief for corn farmers. “It is insulting that USDA’s plan sells corn farmers so short. As history has shown, once you lose a market it is very difficult to get it back. Our global competitors are aggressively pursuing every opportunity we miss and our margin for error is shrinking. Corn farmers direly need a win,” Skunes wrote. The op-ed cites NCGA-commissioned analysis, provided to both USDA and OMB, estimating trade disputes 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. LINK: http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/404516-pitiful-subsidy-to-corn-farmers-adds-insult-to-trump-tariff-injuries
(Posted Fri. Aug 31st, 2018)
National Corn Growers Association farmer leaders and staff attended this week’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa to let attendees know the importance of trade, the RFS and Farm Bill. Chairman Wesley Spurlock, President Kevin Skunes and First-Vice President-elect Kevin Ross attended the show. President Skunes participated in a pro-RFS rally and a Farmers for Free Trade news conference. After the RFS rally, Skunes had the opportunity to talk with Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue one-on-one. “I wanted to let the Secretary know that farmers appreciate his support in Washington D.C. and thank him for carrying our message with the administration,” Skunes said. “However, I was very direct and let the Secretary know that there are steps that can be taken now to help farmers and the rural economy and that’s getting RVP (allowing year-round E15 ethanol sales) done now. I also voiced our displeasure with the one-cent per bushel for corn in the trade mitigation package is...
(Posted Tue. Aug 28th, 2018)
Last week, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a Chinese agricultural delegation for an informative presentation and discussions about the U.S. corn crop, the association’s programs and an overview of the U.S. agricultural environment in relation to biotechnology, advanced breeding techniques and market opportunities. The group, organized by Bayer, included this year’s Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellows, who specialize in areas from functional genomics to characterizing novel circadian components in plants. “While NCGA hosts a number of teams interested in biotechnology and the corn crop outlook, this breadth of topics in which this team showed interest was somewhat unique,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Jim Bauman. “Working together, our staff was able to provide them with insight into a number of sectors which influence U.S. corn production and markets.” Following an in-depth examination of NCGA’s history, mission and structure, the team had an...
(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...
(Posted Mon. Aug 27th, 2018)
The National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes today released the following statement after an announcement that the United States and Mexico reached a trade agreement and that President Trump intends to replace NAFTA with the new agreement. “NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture, dramatically expanding market access for all parties, integrating supply chains and providing economic opportunity to farmers and rural communities. Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. corn farmers and we are pleased the United States and Mexico are reaffirming mutual commitment to this important relationship. “Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and NCGA welcomes the opportunity to evaluate the details of this agreement with Mexico. However, the trilateral relationship is important, and we urge President Trump not to terminate the underlying agreement until full trilateral negotiations have been concluded...
(Posted Tue. Jul 24th, 2018)
North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the below statement following this afternoon’s USDA announcement of an aid package for farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty. “NCGA appreciates the Administration’s recognition of the harm to producers caused by tariffs and trade uncertainty. The fine print will be important. We know the package won’t make farmers whole but look forward to working with USDA on the details and implementation of this plan. “NCGA’s grower members are confronting their fifth consecutive year of declining farm incomes while facing high levels of uncertainty due to ongoing trade disputes and disruptions in the ethanol markets. Corn farmers prefer to rely on markets, not an aid package, for their livelihoods. “NCGA will continue to advocate for Administrative actions including: rescinding the section 232 and 301 tariffs; securing NAFTA’s future; entering new...
(Posted Mon. Jun 18th, 2018)
If you have been following the roller coaster ride that is trade policy these days and are trying to decide how you feel about it, remember two things: Most of our customers live outside the U.S. and it’s impossible to find historic examples of tariffs or related trade wars that accomplished the intended goal. NCGA Executive Vice President Jon Doggett told 50 corn farmer leaders attending a Trade School in St. Louis it is critical farmers engage in the ongoing trade issues and while they do, they should reference their history books. A good example of failed trade policy is President Carter’s Russian grain embargo in the 1980’s. The embargo removed them as a customer and ultimately caused Russia to increase their own grain production. One positive development in the current trade arena is tariffs and ongoing trade rhetoric have raised the profile of trade as a key issue farmers care about. Maintaining and growing exports of U.S. agricultural goods has migrated to the top of...
(Posted Thu. Jun 14th, 2018)
After weeks of engaging with the Trump Administration to gain insight into the future of trade tariffs, agriculture producers and related industries dependent on exports to China are turning to Congress for help. The White House has declared that by June 15 it would announce its final list of $50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. In response, China’s Commerce Department announced several months ago that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on 106 U.S. goods amounting to roughly $50 billion in imports. In the announcement, China specifically stated that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans, a tax that could be devastating to growers of the number one U.S. agricultural export, with sales to China last year totaling $14 billion. Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower and vice president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), is among growers distraught over the...
(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2018)
North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement after the White House announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, triggering potential retaliatory actions against American agriculture. “Farmers are busy with planting season but are moving forward without knowing who will buy their crop when it’s harvested later this year. With a 52 percent drop in net farm income over the last five years, and depressed commodity prices, this is not the time to face such a burden. This uncertainty impacts every step of the agriculture economy, from securing financing to marketing. “Imposing tariffs has the potential to undermine positive relationships with our closest allies and erode long-standing market access. NCGA urges policymakers to strengthen cooperation with our trading partners and stay at the negotiating table.”
(Posted Tue. Apr 17th, 2018)
Earlier today, the U.S. Grains Council announced that Japan had finalized a change to the country’s biofuels policy. As a result of this policy change, Japan will now allow the use of U.S. ethanol to meet its greenhouse gas reduction standard. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased with today’s announcement. “We applaud the Japanese government for recognizing the benefits of U.S. ethanol and its improved lifecycle assessment resulting from farmers’ production efficiency and sustainability,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “We appreciate Japan’s consumers putting their trust in America’s corn farmers and the ethanol industry to be a consistent and reliable supplier of bio-ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) made from U.S. corn-based ethanol.” To read the full announcement, click here.
(Posted Thu. Apr 12th, 2018)
The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on proposed tariffs and trade with China. “Ag exports support more than one million American jobs and are a major driver of the U.S. economy. With 95 percent of consumers living outside the U.S., the future of American agriculture depends largely on the ability to sell to foreign markets. “As corn farmers, we need open markets for our agricultural goods and want the trade doors with China to remain open. While not a lot of U.S. corn is exported to China today, we view China as having great potential as a market for U.S. corn and corn products. We appreciate President Trump’s commitment to agriculture by offering Secretary Perdue the option to make emergency assistance payments to farmers, but farmers prefer having a market for their crops. “With commodity prices so low, we cannot afford another...
(Posted Wed. Apr 4th, 2018)
The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on proposed tariffs and trade with China. “There are no winners in a trade war, only casualties. As trade tensions continue to mount with China, the expanded list of tariffs on food and agriculture exports are making America’s farmers the first casualties. “Our corn farmers have worked for decades to support fair and open trade practices because we understand that trade is a two-way street. In today’s global economy, we know that we need to be competitive to grow and maintain our market share. Our farmers have done that, which is why agriculture has a positive trade balance. In 2018, the U.S. is forecast to export $139.5 billion in agricultural goods to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the U.S. Instead of new protectionist policies, our nation’s focus should be on growing market access and promoting expanded trade from our most...
(Posted Thu. Mar 8th, 2018)
The National Corn Growers Association issued the following statement in response to the trade tariff actions taken today by the Administration: “Trade plays an important role in many facets of the U.S. economy and impacts various industries in different ways. Agricultural trade has been a bright spot for U.S. economy, positively impacting our overall trade balance, while providing an important avenue to grow demand for America’s farmers and ranchers. New tariffs on steel and aluminum might not only trigger retaliation from our trading partners, but could also increase the prices farmers pay for necessary equipment, such as tractors and combines. The National Corn Growers Association is hopeful that, as the Administration moves forward, it will work to minimize the impacts upon America’s agricultural sector.”
(Posted Thu. Jan 18th, 2018)
A broad-based group of over 30 organizations representing growers, refiners, producers, transporters, retailers and consumers announced the formation of Americans for Farmers & Families (AFF), a coalition that will work to ensure President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders understand the importance of preserving and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to America’s agricultural and retail economies. Since taking effect in 1994, the positive impacts of NAFTA extend beyond America’s farming community, and have helped the food and agricultural industries to grow to support more than 43 million jobs. But it is rural economies and communities that are among the biggest winners under NAFTA, the very same communities that powered President Trump to victory in 2016. Under NAFTA, food and agriculture exports have more than quadrupled and account for 25 percent of American exports. One in every 10 acres of American crops is for export to NAFTA partners. ...
(Posted Thu. Dec 14th, 2017)
Members of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), USA Rice, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA) welcomed a joint statement issued this week from 17 countries participating in the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, emphasizing the importance of supporting farmer access to the full range of tools and technologies available and opposing regulatory barriers lacking sufficient scientific justification. “Having in mind the importance of transparency and predictability to international trade, we call on all Members to strengthen the implementation of the WTO [Sanitary and Phytosanitary] Agreement by reinforcing the work of relevant international standards organizations and ensuring the scientific basis of SPS measures is sound,” the statement reads. “The development...
(Posted Thu. Dec 7th, 2017)
More than four decades of partnership and a free trade agreement have benefitted agribusinesses in both the United States and South Korea. But the preservation of past success must be coupled with an innovative look at the future in order for that positive trading relationship to continue in years to come, South Korea customers told a delegation of leaders and staff from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) last week. The joint mission visited with local cooperatives, a grocery store, a major port and a Korean farm using U.S. grains in addition to other activities. South Korea is a highly developed country with an equally highly developed food and feed market. The country has state of the art and efficient systems in place from slaughter plants to meat auctioning and more. However, similar to elsewhere in the world, feed consumption is expected to increase as per capita income continues to rise. South Korean imports of feed grains...
(Posted Thu. Dec 7th, 2017)
Mexican Market Is Growing, But Will the U.S. Capture That Demand? Increasing demand in Mexico could mean big business for U.S. agriculture, but U.S. farmers and agribusinesses may have to work harder to capture a share due to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexican customers and government officials conveyed that message to officers and staff leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) who traveled to Mexico last week as part of a joint officers’ mission. The group met with agriculture officials, grain association representatives and top buyers of U.S. grain products. Mexican customers emphasized the United States will always be an important supplier, but organizations are moving forward with plans to diversify imports to not be solely reliant on the United States. “Twenty-five years of history with the United States cannot be easily replaced,” said Jim Stitzlein, USGC vice chairman....
(Posted Thu. Dec 7th, 2017)
Farmers and ranchers across the country took to Twitter on Wednesday to let the President and other administration officials know that staying in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a win for farmers. Corn growers from around the United States tweeted about the economic benefits of NAFTA, which supports 25,000 corn industry jobs and stimulates the rural economy. For the past twenty-three years, NAFTA has been a landmark trade success story for U.S. agriculture, particularly grains. U.S. corn and corn products (ethanol, DDGs and corn gluten feed) have duty free access to Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. Mexico has become the number one trading partner for U.S. corn, buying 25 percent of all exports. Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to NAFTA partners have increased more than seven-fold. In the 2015-2016 marketing year alone, U.S. exports of corn to Mexico and Canada totaled more than 14 million metric tons, valued at $2.68 billion. For America’s corn...
(Posted Thu. Nov 30th, 2017)
The leaders of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) traveled to South Korea and Mexico this week in concurrent missions to engage with customers and government officials during a period of policy uncertainty in the U.S. corn industry’s #1 and #3 markets. “Trade equals huge success for U.S. feed grains in all forms,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and farmer from Iowa. “The Council has helped build relationships over decades with a large and loyal customer base in both Mexico and South Korea, reflected by increased demand and integrated grain supply systems. These missions helped reinforce those ties and let us hear directly from our customers.” The delegation in South Korea included Keller; Wesley Spurlock, NCGA chairman from Texas; Lynn Chrisp, NCGA first vice president from Nebraska; Darren Armstrong, USGC secretary/treasurer from North Carolina; and Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer. The joint mission in...
(Posted Wed. Sep 20th, 2017)
The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction today of the CREAATE Act, a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year. MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue—$309 billion since 1977. “MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of NCGA. “These programs deliver a strong...
(Posted Mon. Sep 11th, 2017)
Trade teams from South Korea have met face-to-face with U.S. farmers and grain suppliers in eight states in the last three months - all part of work by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to secure and expand U.S. exports to the third largest market for U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The four teams represented the diverse sectors with which the Council works, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, on developing markets in South Korea, including government officials, industrial corn buyers, feed grain importers and bioethanol advisory teams. The breadth and depth of representation on these teams reflect the importance of the South Korean market as well as the dedication by the Council and our member organizations to further develop the long-standing relationship and future growth opportunities with this large market. “South Korea is a mature market, but one that is still growing significantly,” said Cary Sifferath,...
(Posted Tue. Aug 8th, 2017)
Last month, a delegation from the International Maize Alliance (MAIZALL), including NCGA Past and MAIZALL current President Pam Johnson, met with their South American counterparts in Argentina to collaborate on strategic planning for MAIZALL and to meet with a number of senior Argentine government officials. While the participants in MAIZALL compete for markets abroad, they came together to reaffirm their commitment to and discuss their work toward common goals that benefit corn farmers in America, Brazil and Argentina. MAIZALL works to: enhance public support for trade, grow public understanding of and support for biotechnology; encourage transparent, predictable, science-based regulatory systems; promote synchronicity in approval processes; and encourage trade-enabling low level presence policies. During the meetings, the board also re-established its priority activities. It was determined that tier one priorities included: working through the World Trade Organization to...
(Posted Thu. Jul 27th, 2017)
Farmers attending last week’s National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits. The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace. “Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president. “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.” The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system. By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting...
(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is critical for corn farmers and agriculture at large, and continuing its long-term success is a top priority to our members, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Kevin Skunes testified Tuesday at a hearing of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to examine priorities for the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations. “North America has become the most important export market for the U.S. corn industry,” Skunes testified. “Corn farmers export about 20 percent of our annual corn crop, and exports account for about one-third of our income. Today, the agriculture economy is experiencing its fourth year of a downturn marked by low commodity prices. I cannot stress enough how important export markets are to our ability to stay in business.” Skunes, a farmer from Arthur, North Dakota, highlighted how NAFTA has positively impacted U.S. agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico since its implementation in 1994. “Free...
(Posted Fri. Jun 16th, 2017)
The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement on U.S. policy toward Cuba. “Cuba should be an easy market for U.S. corn farmers. Instead, that market has gone to our competitors—costing us an estimated $125 million in lost opportunity each year. If trade with Cuba were normalized, it would represent our 11th largest market for corn. Instead, we have just 11 percent market share in a country only 90 miles from our border. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, we ask our leaders in Washington not to close doors on market opportunities for American agriculture.”
(Posted Mon. Jun 12th, 2017)
Trade equals huge success for exports of U.S. feed grains in all forms, particularly to the 20 countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA). Exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partner countries have increased by nearly 24 percent over the last 10 marketing years (2006/2007 to 2015/2016), according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade data and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). Last marketing year (2015/2016), exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partners saw a record high of more than 49.6 million tons (1.95 billion bushels). The preferential trade terms included in the 14 FTAs the United States has in place with 20 international markets have helped lead to these significant increases during their tenure. FTA partners now represent 49 percent of total U.S. exports of feed grains in all forms. In terms of quantity, the spread between exports to FTA partners compared to non-FTA partners has shifted...
(Posted Thu. May 18th, 2017)
U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have quintupled since the ink dried on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than 20 years ago. And Mexico’s animal agriculture and feed manufacturing industries want to keep buying even more U.S. corn, sorghum, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other products, according to a team of Mexican grain buyers, livestock and feed processing representatives who traveled to Nebraska and Washington, D.C. this week. The agribusiness industry team, organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) with support from Nebraska Corn, spoke directly with farmers in Nebraska at a roundtable on Tuesday, followed by a press conference with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. The team then traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings with the House Ways and Means Committee, House Agriculture Committee, Senate Finance Committee and Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and...
(Posted Thu. May 18th, 2017)
Today U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified Congress of the Trump Administration’s plans to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock urged Lighthizer to remember the interests of U.S. agriculture as they begin modernizing the agreement. “The Trump Administration understands that NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture,” said Spurlock. “Exports are one pillar of a strong farm economy, accounting for 31 percent of farmer income. Nowhere is the importance of trade stronger than right here in North America. Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have tripled and quintupled, respectively. We export billions of dollars of corn and corn products to these countries each year.” “The National Corn Growers Association will work closely with the Trump Administration and Congress to build on...
(Posted Tue. May 16th, 2017)
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a boon for America’s farmers and ranchers, and we must maintain a strong partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and national and state grain industry leaders told Mexican officials today at a press conference highlighting the importance of Mexico to U.S. agriculture. “Bilateral trade with Mexico has helped grow agriculture in our state over the years,” said Governor Ricketts. “Mexico is Nebraska’s largest export market for corn, dairy, sugar, and sweeteners, and second largest market for soybeans, wheat, sorghum and distiller’s grains. All of this combined accounts for thousands of Nebraska jobs. I’m encouraged by local and national discussions to expand trade, and am committed to helping grow our trade relationship with Mexico so we can continue to grow Nebraska.” The Nebraska Corn Board, the U.S. Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association are hosting a team of Mexican...
(Posted Fri. May 12th, 2017)
The Canadian government has set an aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 megatons by 2030 - and U.S. ethanol is a proven and economically viable tool to help achieve that objective. A U.S. ethanol industry mission delivered that message and more information about the benefits of U.S. ethanol during a mission to Canada in April, followed by formal comments on the proposed Canadian Clean Fuel Standard. One-third of all U.S. ethanol exports are destined for Canada, making it the top export market for U.S. ethanol for the past four marketing years. In the first six months of the 2016/2017 marketing year, U.S. ethanol exports to Canada have already increased 40 percent year-over-year, totaling 166.2 million gallons or 1.51 million metric tons (59.4 million bushels) in corn equivalent. “The U.S. ethanol industry applauds Canada’s desire to reduce the carbon intensity of its transportation fuel market, and we see our northern neighbor as a strong partner in...
(Posted Thu. May 11th, 2017)
Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of a USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs as part of a broader reorganization of the department. The following is a statement from Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association: “The National Corn Growers Association has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing U.S. agricultural exports, and we pushed for this provision in the 2014 farm bill. We are pleased to see that post finally become a reality today. “Secretary Perdue’s announcement signals to farm country that the Trump Administration is listening to America’s farmers and ranchers. In this farm economy, trade is more important than ever to farmers’ incomes. Overseas markets represent 73 percent of the world’s purchasing power, 87 percent of economic growth, and 95 percent of the world’s customers. Now is the time for U.S. agriculture to fully capitalize on growing...
(Posted Thu. May 11th, 2017)
Join the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Grains Council in highlighting agricultural exports during World Trade Month this May. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agricultural exports reached $134.8 billion in 2016, and imports totaled $114.6 billion, creating a trade surplus of $20.3 billion. Exports remain a bright spot in a challenged farm economy. More than 26 percent of U.S. corn in all forms, including 30 percent of distiller's dried grains with solubles, as well as more than 60 percent of U.S. sorghum are now exported. The United States exported 863 million gallons of ethanol in 2015/2016, representative of increased international opportunities for not only U.S. feed grains, but also value-added products. Much of this success is due to the push by the U.S. farm sector for strong trade agreements and long-term market development work supported by farmers and the federal government through USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign...
(Posted Tue. May 9th, 2017)
Recent events in foreign policy and the ongoing conversation about the value of U.S. trade agreements have put a spotlight on South Korea as a close U.S. ally and an important customer for U.S. products, including grains. South Korea is now the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $6.2 billion in purchases in 2016. The country was the fourth largest importer of both U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as the seventh largest importer of U.S. barley in the 2015/2016 marketing year. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, has worked in South Korea since 1972, providing technical assistance and expertise on how to best utilize corn and value-added products like DDGS, educating government officials on the advantages of biotechnology and promoting free trade between the United States and South Korea. Those investments, using both member dollars and matching grants...
(Posted Tue. May 9th, 2017)
The National Corn Growers Association, along with the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development, welcomed the introduction late last week of a bill to gradually increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs, ultimately improving the competitiveness of the U.S. agricultural community in the global economy. H.R. 2321, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, was introduced by Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and is co-sponsored by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Jimmy Panetta (D-California), and Thomas Rooney (R-Florida). The MAP and FMD programs match dollars contributed by U.S. farmers and ranchers for programs that create, expand and maintain access to foreign markets. Independent evaluations have shown that MAP and FMD and the activities...
(Posted Wed. Apr 26th, 2017)
The National Corn Growers Association today denounced reports that the White House has drafted plans to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The following is a statement from NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. "Mr. President, America's corn farmers helped elect you. We are strong supporters of your administration and continue to stand ready to work with you to build a better farm economy. That begins with strong trade policy. "Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture. We cannot disrupt trade with two of our top trade partners and allies. This decision will cost America's farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover. "NAFTA has been a huge win for American agriculture. Corn and corn product exports today account for 31 percent of farmer income. Mexico is the top export market for corn. Canada is also a top market for corn and ethanol. With a farm economy that is already weak, losing access to these markets will...
(Posted Tue. Apr 25th, 2017)
Selling 50 metric tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) may seem minor, but Javier Chávez, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Mexico marketing specialist, views these small sales to cattle and dairy producers in southeastern Mexico as the start of another big opportunity for U.S. feed grains. DDGS is a well-known and frequently-used feed source in northern Mexico but does not benefit from the same recognition in the southeastern region of the country. Instead, both cattle and dairy operations rely on grazing pasture to feed the region’s estimated seven million cattle. Chávez explained this substantial market is largely undeveloped due to a lack of knowledge of superior feeding practices and inefficient distribution of feed ingredients. There, available forage provides inadequate nutrition, resulting in poor body condition scores, insufficient daily weight increases, late pregnancies and very large calving intervals. USGC identified the need in this area for...
(Posted Mon. Apr 3rd, 2017)
U.S. grain farmers are voicing their support and appreciation for trade with Mexico, a message U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Chairman and Maryland farmer Chip Councell carried with him when he traveled to meet with Mexican buyers in March. “If you look at the logistics of Mexico, no other country can replace it as a customer for U.S. grain,” Councell said this week to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting about the mission. “The logistics by rail, truck and boat give the United States such a huge advantage.” Councell and USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight, accompanied by USGC Mexico Director Ryan LeGrand and Assistant Director Heidi Bringenberg, offered reassurance about U.S. grain producers’ dedication to customers in Mexico, who in turn expressed serious concerns about the state of trade relations between the two countries. “Quite honestly, they are a little bit confused and they are pretty upset,” Councell said. “They have always depended on the United States...
(Posted Wed. Feb 15th, 2017)
More than 350 attendees had a firsthand look at the new Panama Canal expansion on Monday to kick off events at the U.S. Grains Council 14th International Marketing Conference & 57th Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City, Panama. The tour of the Agua Clara locks in Colon, Panama, was a unique opportunity to see trade in action, and an important reminder of the dynamic global trade environment for those who last visited the Canal shortly after construction on the new locks began. “When USGC last met in Panama, the canal expansion was only a construction site,” said Chip Councell, USGC chairman and a grain farmer in Maryland. “Visiting the new locks reflects the long-term commitment of the Council and its members to enable more and expanded trade opportunities for American agriculture.” Before the tour, meeting attendees in a general session were welcomed to the region by USGC Western Hemisphere Regional Director Marri Carrow and Erik Hansen, agricultural counselor at...
(Posted Mon. Feb 6th, 2017)
By the Numbers $1.5 trillion: Increase in real incomes due to liberalizing trade efforts since World War II (Peterson Economics) $82 billion: Annual economic output in 2014 due to exports of feed grains and grain products (Informa Economics) 371,536: Number of full-time equivalent jobs linked directly or indirectly to grain and grain product exports in 2014 (Informa Economics) With trade suddenly a hot topic among Americans who usually may not question where their consumer goods come from - or their agricultural goods go - a few background facts offer important context. For agriculture, the fact is that trade has served the United States very well. One of the most important issues to many Americans - and rightfully so - related to trade is the impact on our pocketbooks. Critics of trade are often quick to warn that an expansion of trade could significantly drive down wages. But the numbers tell a different story. In fact, the U.S has 20 free trade agreements...
(Posted Fri. Jan 27th, 2017)
Newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump has already followed through with key campaign promises related to trade policy - moves that have rightfully caused concern among grain farmers whose price is being supported by robust export sales of this year. Early this week, the Administration announced it would aim to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Monday, the president signed an executive order to withdraw the United States from participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiated with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. These moves are intended to pave the way for new negotiations. However, in the short term – and coming soon after serious trade policy issues with China – they could severely curtail U.S. grain farmers’ market access globally and open up existing export markets to new levels of competition. TPP was the product of years of work and dedication on behalf of negotiators and stakeholders and stood to...
(Posted Mon. Jan 23rd, 2017)
Exports of U.S. feed grains have a promising outlook after the completion of the first quarter of the 2016/2017 marketing year, according to recently published U.S. Department of Agriculture trade data. Total exports of feed grains in all forms in September, October and November 2016 reached 1.1 billion bushels, up 32 percent from the same quarter last year. The feed grains in all forms calculation takes into account the grain equivalent of the value-added and processed forms of feed grains as well as unprocessed grains. Sharply higher exports of corn (up 83 percent) and ethanol (up 85 percent) and moderately higher beef (up 19 percent), pork (up 15 percent) and poultry (up 13 percent) exports offset lower shipments of barley (down 82 percent), sorghum (down 60 percent) and distiller's dried grains with solubles (down four percent) in this timeframe. The strong first quarter and USDA's latest full-year forecasts for many of the product categories indicate that worldwide...
(Posted Fri. Oct 21st, 2016)
A study recently released by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, finds that a significant portion of U.S.-produced corn ethanol will likely meet Japan's 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction threshold over gasoline, supporting the case for that fuel's competitiveness and its sustainability compared to other fuel sources. These results will help the Council and its industry partners dispel myths about U.S. ethanol and help make the case for opening the door for U.S. ethanol in the Japanese market. In particular, the study will help show key Japanese government officials and industry stakeholders that U.S. corn ethanol meets Japan's rigorous international sustainability requirements. The ongoing efficiency improvements in corn ethanol production, an increased number of co-products from that production and improvements in U.S. corn cultivation practices have resulted in significant reductions in ethanol's greenhouse gas...
(Posted Wed. Sep 21st, 2016)
To date, 6,325 corn farmers from across the country have written letters to Members of Congress, urging them to take up and pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2016. The National Corn Growers Association will be delivering them to Capitol Hill starting today. “America’s farmers and ranchers need Congress to step up and pass TPP now,” said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “At a time when the farm economy is struggling, exports represent a rare bright spot for American agriculture. America’s farmers and ranchers stand ready to share our bounty and meet the challenge of feeding and fueling a growing world. But we can’t do that without trade agreements like TPP.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries, representing 40 percent of the global economy and one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. President Obama signed the TPP...
(Posted Mon. Sep 19th, 2016)
The United States exported more than 1.8 billion bushels of corn in the 2015/2016 marketing year, a 1.8 percent increase from the prior year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly sales reports. Mexico, Japan and Colombia ranked in the top three for total accumulated exports of U.S. corn with more than 492.1 million bushels, 413.4 million bushels and 177.2 million bushels, respectively. Export sales rose 16 percent to Mexico and 5 percent to Colombia from the previous year. Both of these markets have benefited from aggressive marketing and long-term development efforts by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member. The weekly sales report issued Sept. 15 also showed that the 2016/2017 marketing year is starting off strong for corn with more than 55.1 million bushels in sales and carried over sales from the prior marketing year, an increase of 33 percent from a year ago. USDA provides weekly export sales...
(Posted Fri. Sep 16th, 2016)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Asian Trade Mission completed meetings in Hong Kong last Friday that explored the many opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in the region. National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team member Janna Fritz, who farms in Michigan, and Communications Manager Cathryn Wojcicki participated in three days of intensive briefings, meetings and exploratory visits designed to gain a better understanding of both the market in Hong Kong and the possibilities this regional trade hub offers. “While Hong Kong may not come to mind as an obvious market for U.S. commodity corn, it certainly holds excellent potential for exporting a wide variety of products produced with ingredients made from U.S. corn,” said Fritz. “From their desire for increased food safety to their need for environmentally-friendly fuel options, Hong Kong’s growing economy and regional importance offer great opportunities for U.S....
(Posted Tue. Sep 13th, 2016)
Statement by Chip Bowling, President of the National Corn Growers Association: “The National Corn Growers Association is committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade practices and policies as part of our efforts to feed and fuel a growing world. We believe in both strong trade policy and market development. As a facilitator and arbitrator of global trade, the World Trade Organization provides structure and accountability to the process. We welcome USTR’s and USDA’s trade enforcement action, and will closely monitor these developments. China is an important trading partner for U.S. agriculture, and we continue to support a trading relationship between our two nations that is long-term, stable, and mutually beneficial.”
(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2016)
With the largest corn crop on record about to be harvested, the need for trade policies that open export markets even further has never been stronger. The 2014/2015 marketing year saw U.S. corn exports of more than 43 million metric tons, with total U.S. feed grains in all forms exports exceeding 91 million tons equivalent. Similar success is expected from the 2015/2016 marketing year, which ended last week. Now that Labor Day is over and fall is here, it’s time to reach out and discuss the benefits of trade, trade agreements and the still-pending Trans-Pacific Partnership in your community. USGC and its sister grower organizations have ready resources to make this outreach easier and fun. The USGC Trade Toolkit page offers tweets, sharegraphics, useful links, videos and main messages for use online and in person. Visit the page here at grains.org.
(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2016)
Representatives of the National Corn Growers Association, along with leaders from seven state departments of agriculture and 22 U.S. ag organizations and companies have embarked upon a trade mission to Hong Kong and Shanghai led by Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Alexis Taylor. This mission extends activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Women in Agriculture initiative into foreign markets while working to grow export opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers. "Women play an important role in U.S. agriculture, and they have a story that is powerful both for those in domestic and foreign markets," said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team member Janna Fritz, who is with the delegation. "This trade mission allows us to examine opportunities and strengthen relationships between the United States and China from a unique perspective. Together, we are working to grow trade for tomorrow while expanding...