Editorials

The Corn Feed


Sep 8, 2022

In Recent Story, Reuters Looks Out for Oil, Undermines Clean Energy Progress

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Chris Edgington

Reuters just published a story on ethanol production that, whether intentional or not, advances the interests of oil by ignoring the significant progress corn growers have made in cutting the carbon footprint of the biofuel. This article fails to provide readers with an updated, full and accurate picture of the environmental benefits ethanol provides, including lower GHG and tailpipe emissions compared to gasoline.   Once again, we see outdated projections made in the early days of the Renewable Fuel Standard – nearly 15 years ago –substitute for today’s analysis based on actual corn and ethanol production experience. This keeps old oil arguments afloat when today’s data show otherwise. What does recent research on this issue tell us? The Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab concluded in 2021 that the combined improvements from farmers and ethanol producers cut ethanol’s carbon intensity by 23 percent between 2005 and 2019, resulting in ethanol that is 44 to 52...

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Sep 6, 2022

US farmers can supply long-term energy and climate solutions

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Jon Doggett

Published Fox Business Sept. 6 2022   We must expand fuel choices and make ethanol more accessible across the U.S.   Up before the sun rises and into bed long after it sets, farmers spend their days supporting our nation. In fact, in times of crisis, American farmers have always been there to help. During the Civil War, farmers supplied troops with food, clothes and transportation. During World War II, they accelerated production to feed U.S. troops and allies in Europe.   American farmers are stepping up to the plate once again as our nation and the world face an ongoing energy crisis while battling the effects of record-high inflation and tackling climate change.   Although gas prices are beginning to trend downward and AAA’s national average has fallen below $4 per gallon, consumers are still feeling the pinch and some analysts are warning gas prices could climb back to $5 per gallon later this year. With energy costs continuing to be a major driver of inflation,...

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Sep 1, 2022

As a Long, Hot, Productive Summer Comes to an End, Corn Growers Focus on Policy Priorities this Fall and Beyond

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

If there is anything unforgettable about Washington, it’s that the nation’s capital gets hot and humid during the summer months. Perhaps that’s why historically activity in the city has come to a screeching halt in August as members of Congress head home to meet with constituents.   Yet, this summer leaders in Washington continued to crank out results, some of which will impact corn growers. My team and I hope to build on some of this activity as we move into fall and the next Congress.   The summer was bookended by the president’s decision in April to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority to allow for continued, year-round market access for higher blends of ethanol and with the enactment in August of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.   While the president’s decision on ethanol enjoyed bipartisan praise, passage of his signature piece of legislation was completed along party lines.   While we always like to see Congress act in a bipartisan...

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Aug 16, 2022

Farmers are Adopting Advanced Technology and Employing Environmentally Smart Practices to Protect America’s Waterways

Key Issues: SustainabilityFarm Policy

Author: Chris Edgington

Over the last decade, farmers have been employing some of the most innovative practices in history to reduce nutrient losses and protect the nation’s rivers, lakes and streams. And the research shows that we’re making a difference, as water quality is improving across the country. That’s why I am perplexed by recent news coverage claiming runoff from fertilizer use is causing problems in the nation’s waterways. These stories run counter to the facts being released by some of the country’s most reputable groups in this space. Here are just a few snippets of what these groups are saying:   The US Geological Survey, which monitors the loads of nutrients being delivered to the Gulf of Mexico, reports that the 5-year moving average of total nitrogen load in America’s streams has steadily declined since 2009.   The US Army Corps of Engineers, working with the USGS and others, issued a report in June 2022 providing a 15-year update on the health of the Upper Mississippi and...

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Aug 1, 2022

To Successfully Shape 2023 Farm Bill, Corn Growers Encouraged to Build Bridges with Groups Outside of the Ag Community

Key Issues: TradeFarm Policy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

After Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861, he appointed to his cabinet the very opponents he had vanquished in the bitter and hard-fought battle for the Republican nomination the year before. The team of rivals, representing very different ideological positions within the GOP of the time, helped the president go on to win the Civil War, abolish slavery and keep the country intact.   I thought of Lincoln’s team of rivals as I moderated a recent discussion in Washington on the upcoming farm bill reauthorization.   The panel, composed of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and Richard Fordyce, who served as Farm Service Agency administrator during the Trump administration, echoed the team of rivals' approach by challenging corn growers to take the lead in broadening the coalition engaged in the farm bill and fostering relationships with stakeholders outside of commodity and livestock organizations.   Heitkamp used food security as an example,...

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Jul 28, 2022

Winning in the Margins

Key Issues: EthanolFarm PolicyProduction

Author: Chris Edgington

Growing up, I often fantasized about winning those little league games in dramatic style, with a walk-off grand-slam to seal the deal. With a bit of age, I began to realize those opportunities are few and far between. Most games are won, as they say, in the margins.   That’s how it’s been so far in 2022 for corn farmers. High corn prices have been all but muted by higher input prices, and many of us aren’t getting all the rain we’d like to this time of year. But thanks to good farm management, this crop still has the potential for a good year. That’s a win.   It’s a similar story of incremental gains in Washington, D.C. Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission delivered a big win to corn farmers when it revoked hefty anti-dumping duties on urea ammonium nitrate fertilizers from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. The National Corn Growers Association, along with our state affiliates have led the charge against these tariffs. The outcome of this decision is proof positive...

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Jul 27, 2022

Opinion: Farming with one hand tied behind our backs?

Key Issues: Farm PolicyProduction

Author: Chris Edgington

Agri-Pulse July 26, 2022   The world is facing serious food and energy shortages as an outgrowth of the war in Ukraine and supply-chain shortages. Farmers are working to solve these problems, but we need help from the federal government if we are going to have any chance of success.   That’s why national corn grower leaders recently called on the Biden administration to address regulatory overreach.   That call comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently revised its atrazine registration, a move that could restrict access to a critical crop protection tool that has been well tested and shown to be safe for use. Farmers fear that new requirements will impose arduous new restrictions and mitigation measures on the herbicide, limiting how much of the product they use.   The atrazine decision comes on the heels of a development involving the herbicide glyphosate. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case decided by a lower court from California, leaving...

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Jul 7, 2022

As July Ushers Heat and Controversial Issues into the Nation’s Capital, I am looking forward to a Cool Corn Congress

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

As news events such as Roe v. Wade and gun legislation have been dominating much of the debate in Washington this summer, we at the National Corn Growers Association have been working to attract the attention of policymakers so that we can elevate the agricultural policies that are important to our membership.   That’s one of the many reasons I am so excited about the upcoming Corn Congress, which will be held in the nation’s capital July 11-14. It provides us an opportunity to take passionate and deeply knowledgeable corn grower leaders to Capitol Hill in mass and get them in front of some of Washington’s key decision-makers.   This year is particularly special, as it is the first time in two years that we have been able to meet in person in the nation’s capital. There is something special that an in-person connection offers that Zoom just can’t. And we have a lot to talk about with our members of Congress.   We will discuss biofuels issues, such as asking lawmakers to...

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Jun 1, 2022

Even with Unprecedented Events in Washington, Good News Abounds for Farmers, Though Challenges Also Lay Ahead

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

I have spent close to 20 years living and working in our nation’s Capital, and I have never seen the number of unprecedented events here that we’ve seen over the last year. From the war in Ukraine to the Roe v. Wade leak to inflation, leaders in this city are moving from one unprecedented event to another, and other important issues are being drowned out as a result. Luckily, NCGA has still been able to secure important wins for farmers, though we face many challenges ahead. Indeed, thanks to the hard work of farmer leaders, we have seen the following results in recent months:   Extension of Access to Higher Ethanol Blends. The president’s recent announcement that his administration is allowing for the continuation of consumer access to higher blends of ethanol through the coming summer months was a major victory for consumers and corn growers alike. Having the president, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders, take time to visit an Iowa ethanol plant and...

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May 31, 2022

Farmers for Soil Health – Commentary from John Johnson, principal of Agricola, LLC and former chief operating officer of the National Pork Board

Key Issues: Sustainability

Author: John Johnson

Farmers are front-line caretakers of the land who work every day to conserve our natural resources. Doing so allows them to remain economically and environmentally sustainable, producing food, feed, fiber and renewable fuel for a growing world population.   Farmers are strengthened by learning and working with other farmers and creating key partnerships to improve their operations. Checkoff programs are one of those partnerships that return value to the farm while collectively working to reach goals that go beyond a single farm operation.   In the fall of 2018, the United Soybean Board, the National Pork Board and the National Corn Growers Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU established a framework for the three organizations to collaborate on sustainability research and programming. As work progressed, the organizations recognized the need for an initiative that would help farmers continue down the path of continuous improvement.   The initiative...

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