In The News

Apr 2020

Apr 30, 2020

Minnesota Corn Farmers Step Up During Time of Need

Key Issues:COVID-19

Corn farmers across the country are taking actions to help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.   In Minnesota, Chippewa County Corn and Soybean Growers donated a pallet of bottled water to its local hospital CCM Health, which serves many of the residents in Chippewa County. The gesture was an opportunity to make the most of an unfortunate situation and help the health care workers bravely serving on the front lines of the pandemic.    Freeborn County Corn and Soybean Growers made a $3,000 donation to three food shelves in Albert Lea and Alden. Recognizing the financial hardship, many families were under due to COVID-19, Freeborn County board member Cole Pestorious said they were eager to be able to help the food shelves experiencing increased traffic.   Murray County Corn and Soybean board members, following the cancellation of this year’s annual meeting, worked with local restaurants to organize a free lunch for the supporters of their organization, as well as...

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Apr 30, 2020

2021 Commodity Classic Show Floor Opens to New Exhibitors Monday, May 11

Trade Show Space Nearly Sold Out   The 2021 Commodity Classic trade show floor opens to new exhibitors at 9:00 a.m. Central on Monday, May 11. Commodity Classic celebrates its 25th anniversary, March 4-6, 2021, at the Henry B. Gonzáles Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.   Due to demand from 2020 exhibitors, floor space for 2021 is nearly sold out. Companies wishing to exhibit in 2021 should complete the online application and contract as soon as possible to secure any remaining booth locations or to get on the waitlist in the event floor space opens up due to cancellations or changes.  At 9:00 a.m. Central on Monday, May 11, the exhibitor application and contract will be posted to the website.    Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience.    For information on exhibiting at the 2021 Commodity Classic—including the trade show floor plan, booth costs and show statistics —visit  

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Apr 29, 2020

Use Crop Protection Products Safely and Responsibly

Key Issues:Sustainability

Deciding how to manage weeds, insects, and diseases that routinely attack crops and landscapes is just one of many decisions farmers and applicators must make each season. When choosing crop protection tools, both effectiveness and potential impact on the environment must be considered.   Protecting bees and other wildlife is a major part of good stewardship practices and why the National Corn Growers Association supports the efforts of Growing Matters and the BeSure Campaign.   Neonicotinoids are important because they are a key part of the integrated pest-management systems used by many farmers. Neonics are selective, effective, and safe for the environment when used correctly and according to label instruction. They also help increase yields and are good for the economy and allows farmers to meet society's needs for corn without farming additional acres.   As you head to the field in the days ahead, please read the label to minimize potential exposure of neonics to bees...

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Apr 28, 2020

NCGA Welcomes Ethanol Infrastructure Legislation

Key Issues:Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed the introduction of the Clean Fuels Deployment Act of 2020, legislation from Reps. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Don Bacon, R-Neb., to incentivize the deployment of fueling infrastructure for ethanol blends greater than 10 percent and biodiesel blends greater than 20 percent.   “The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the leadership of Reps. Finkenauer, Craig, Marshall and Bacon to help grow the market for higher blends of ethanol,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross, an Iowa farmer. “Expanding infrastructure for higher blends will help to increase future demand for farmers and ensure biofuels will continue to be included in federal efforts to provide consumers with cleaner, affordable fuels.”   The bill authorizes $500 million over five years to help retailers offer higher ethanol blends, expand the geographic area selling ethanol blends, support biodiesel fuel...

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Apr 27, 2020

Meat Exports Continue to Rise Despite COVID-19

Key Issues:Animal AgricultureCOVID-19

Despite the current challenges due to COVID-19, U.S. pork and beef exports are on a record pace through February. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently released the data, which showed U.S. pork exports posting the third-largest month on record and U.S. beef exports experiencing double-digit gains, year-over-year.   According to the data, February pork exports were up 46 percent from a year ago, and U.S. beef exports were up 18 percent from a year ago.   “Even as COVID-19 disrupted export markets, demand for U.S. red meats remained strong,” says Dean Meyer, director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and secretary-treasurer of USMEF. “Around the world, consumer demand for high-quality red meat protein is growing and that includes a variety of meats.”   Meyer adds that USMEF is working closely with industry trade partners and the U.S. government in a concerted effort to keep the red meat supply chain from being disrupted in...

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Apr 24, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Support for Agriculture

Key Issues:COVID-19

President Trump on Friday signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266) into law, providing additional funding for small business loans, health care providers and COVID-19 testing. The House and Senate approved the legislation earlier this week.   The legislation provides an additional $320 billion to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). State corn grower associations last week urged Congressional leaders to provide this additional funding to ensure that agricultural businesses can continue to operate during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.   Demand for PPP is expected to remain high. Farmers interested in participating are encouraged to contact their lender as soon as possible.   The legislation also makes farms eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, clarifying that agricultural businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible, and makes a $60 billion available for the...

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Apr 23, 2020

Calculated, Data-Driven, Measured and Profitable Success Key to Growing Stewardship

Key Issues:Sustainability

It may sound like heresy, but getting the highest yields possible on your farm may not be the most direct path to a profitable farm. In fact, a heavily data-driven program called Precision Conservation Management (PCM) indicates to truly utilize the economic benefit of conservation practices, you must suspend the belief that higher corn yields equal increased profitability.   According to Travis Deppe, director of Precision Conservation Management for the Illinois Corn Growers Association, “the quest for higher yields has been baked into farmers’ psyche for generations. PCM challenges participants to consider that obtaining high yields, and the higher input costs that goal often requires, may not be the best economic or conservation model for many farms.”   Ben Wurmnest, who farms near Sibley, Ill. has spent the last five years active in PCM. He and his brother, Josh, have taken a stewardship journey that tests this theory and utilizes information from a formal cost-benefit...

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Apr 22, 2020

Minnesota Farmers Successfully Merge Pursuit for Efficiency and Stewardship

Key Issues:Sustainability

Matt Alford and Sam Peterson’s Minnesota farms maybe 100 miles apart, but when it comes to conservation and stewardship, they might as well live next door. Both share a common mind regarding their desire to explore and embrace new ideas, improve their farm's environmental footprint and business profile, and network with other farmers.   The conservation-minded Alford, aptly from Blue Earth, Minn., says in his search to make the farm more sustainable, he has learned, “it’s not just doing the right thing but doing the right thing in an optimal way.  You have to do your homework, pay attention to the details and make a commitment.”   However, sometimes finding the right path and balancing goals like cleaner water, healthier soil and business profitability can involve significant risk. In a low margin enterprise like farming, risk can be a deal-breaker and stifle innovation. Both men found a way around this conundrum by matching up their desire to focus on stewardship with a...

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Apr 21, 2020

NCGA Analysis Shows $50 Per Acre Revenue Declines for Corn Due to COVID-19

Key Issues:COVID-19

Analysis released by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today showed cash corn prices have declined by 16 percent on average, with several regions experiencing declines of more than 20 percent, since March 1 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis projects a $50 per acre revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop.   “The COVID-19 pandemic is being felt across all sectors of our economy,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross. “This analysis clearly illustrates its impact on corn growers and will be beneficial as we work to ensure they have the resources needed to navigate these very difficult times.”   NCGA commissioned the economic analysis, conducted by Dr. Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, as part of the organization’s efforts to better understand the economic impact of the global pandemic on the corn industry and work to create solutions to help corn farmers and their customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.   The analysis was...

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Apr 20, 2020

NCGA Welcomes USDA Assistance Amid COVID-19

Key Issues:COVID-19

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today said much-needed assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would begin to help farmers and their customers recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.   USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), providing $19 billion in immediate relief to support farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of the food supply chain and ensure Americans continue to receive and have access to food.   The program provides $3.9 billion for row crop producers, including corn farmers. The livestock industry, corn farmers’ number one customer, will receive $9.6 billion in assistance, ensuring this important market keeps functioning.   “Agriculture is facing immense uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross. “This much-needed relief will not only provide direct assistance to our nation’s corn farmers but also deliver much-needed...

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Apr 20, 2020

Corn Growers Urge Increased Funds for PPP

Key Issues:COVID-19

State corn grower associations, representing corn growers across the country, today urged Congressional leaders to provide additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to ensure that agricultural businesses can continue to operate during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.   “America’s corn farmers have watched our largest buyers, the ethanol and livestock industry, be pummeled by low prices and closed processing plants. Nearly 40% of corn goes to feed livestock across the country with roughly another 40% of corn going towards the ethanol industry. The ethanol market has slowed and even halted as some plants shut down production while protein demand is rapidly declining due to restaurant closures and other factors across the country,” the associations wrote in the letter. “Our farmers and businesses are unable to keep up with paying rent, bills, input costs, and payroll amid the struggle of a slowing economy.”   The associations thanked lawmakers for making...

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Apr 16, 2020

Ethanol: The Future of the Fuel Industry, with RFA's Bob Dinneen and NCGA's Mark Palmer

This may be a tumultuous time for corn farmers and ethanol producers.   But then again, the ethanol industry's entire history has been a roller coaster ride.   In this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett revisits the battles that got us to this point with "the Godfather of Ethanol" himself, Bob Dinneen from the Renewable Fuels Association. Plus, they're joined by NCGA's Director of Renewable Fuels, Mark Palmer, to discuss what the future might hold as the ethanol industry navigates a new set of uncertain times.     Direct Share

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Apr 15, 2020

Managing On-Farm Stress Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Key Issues:COVID-19

Back in July, NCGA broached the subject of increased stress on the farm and its potential impact on mental health. Low commodity prices, high debt load, and wet weather were identified as key culprits on the list of things that can put a major kink in a farmer’s day. I guess now we can add in the unknown of COVID-19.   The Center for Disease Control notes the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) may be stressful for people driving fear and anxiety. Imagine being a farmer who has a short window to plant a crop that is critical to your economic future.   Whenever there is increased stress on the farm, it’s a good time to recognize escalating stress in yourself and your friends, family and neighbors in the ag community, according to Charles Schuster and Jeanette M. Jeffrey, with the University of Maryland Extension. That’s because unaddressed issues can lead to health and addiction problems and even suicide.   The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently...

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Apr 14, 2020

New Analysis Shows U.S. Agriculture Reducing Per-Unit GHG Emissions

Key Issues:Ethanol

New analysis of updated data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, combined with U.S. Department of Agriculture data, shows U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to reduce per-unit greenhouse gas emissions. All told, the U.S. agricultural sector accounts for less than 10% of total U.S. emissions. That’s less than the emissions from the transportation, electricity generation and industrial sectors. Globally, agriculture accounts for about 24% of GHG emissions.   The EPA’s U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions provides a first look at 2018 U.S. emissions data, which is incorporated into a new Market Intel report from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Market Intel report finds that per-unit methane emissions from livestock have declined since 1990 as livestock producers have increased productivity. During the past 30 years, U.S. milk production has increased 71% while per-unit emissions of milk have declined by almost 25%. Beef production has increased almost 50%,...

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Apr 13, 2020

Get a Quick Crash Course in Tar Spot Disease Management

Key Issues:Production

National Corn Growers Association’s research partner on Tar Spot disease Dr. Nathan Kleczewski has posted a brief educational webinar to help you prepare to identify this emerging - and potentially yield killing - fungus in corn.   Kleczewski, an assistant professor and Extension Field Crop Pathologist at the University of Illinois, offers suggestions such as identification, management and treatment of the pathogen.   National Corn Growers Association, with the support of state corn checkoff dollars and an FFAR grant, is working to begin assessing germplasm for potential sources of resistance, identify and better understand what management practices work and ultimately control this pathogen.       If you are looking for some resources, go to: http://cropdisease.cropsciences.illinois.edu http://cropprotectionnetwork.org https://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic

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Apr 10, 2020

Update on NCGA Actions Related to Coronavirus

Key Issues:COVID-19

NCGA Family,   A few weeks ago, you heard from us about NCGA actions surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As we continue to monitor the virus’s impact on farm country, we wanted to provide an update on steps taken by NCGA to help mitigate the impact of this crisis on agriculture.   As we shared previously, a Task Force was formed and has been meeting regularly to prioritize the immediate and longer-term needs of corn growers.   NCGA played an active role in the development of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The wide-ranging legislation includes funding for USDA to assist agriculture producers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, along with a number of small business programs that farmers can utilize.   We know there are many outstanding questions on how corn farmers can navigate these new programs and we encourage you to contact your individual lender for additional information. NCGA is also working closely with members of...

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Apr 9, 2020

Emily Schneider Joins NCGA, U.S. Grains Council As Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

Emily Schneider joined the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) on April 2 as the receptionist/administrative assistant in the organizations’ co-located offices in Washington, D.C.   In addition to various administrative duties, Schneider will represent the NCGA and Council by serving as the first point of contact for callers and visitors. While both organizations are in telework status, she is learning operations for each group as well as providing administrative support related to information technology, accounting and other departments.   “Emily’s positive attitude and ability to handle situations in a calm and professional manner make her a great asset,” said Helen Elmore, USGC director of finance and administration. “Her prior work familiarized her with the programs we use and gave her exposure to customer service – both of which are of benefit to her new role.”   Prior to the NCGA and Council, Schneider worked at Bright Horizons, a...

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Apr 8, 2020

Using Existing Programs to Confront the Impact of COVID-19

Key Issues:COVID-19

While farmers are used to uncertainty, the COVID-19 pandemic represents yet another level of unpredictability during a time when the agriculture economy was already struggling. As NCGA works with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on ways to mitigate the pandemic’s impact and help farmers recover, we are also looking to existing farm programs and risk management tools that help farmers continue to operate in uncertain times.   NCGA has been a leader in developing strong risk management tools, advocating for their inclusion in farm bill reauthorization legislation and working with federal agencies to ensure they function as intended. Although COVID-19 will continue to bring unique challenges, NCGA is prepared to meet them.   The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program were authorized by the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. These programs provide the front line of defense for producers as prices or revenues fall. If corn prices stay at their current...

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Apr 8, 2020

Tenth Circuit Denies Refiners’ Rehearing Request

Key Issues:Ethanol

In welcome news to corn farmers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit yesterday denied a request for a rehearing of a recent ruling that struck down certain small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   On January 24, a panel of Tenth Circuit judges unanimously ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had vastly exceeded its authority in granting exemptions from 2016 and 2017 RFS requirements to three refineries.   NCGA, along with the Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union, brought the challenge against EPA in May 2018 in response to the massive demand destruction caused by the Agency’s illegal and indiscriminate use of SREs.   With the Court’s denial of refiners’ appeal request, NCGA strongly urges EPA to act quickly to appropriately apply the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide and deny pending SREs. 

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Apr 7, 2020

Planting Contingency Plan a Must This Spring

Key Issues:COVID-19

Pat Holloway, a field agronomist with Beck’s Hybrids in Iowa, is big on planning, especially when it comes to planting corn. As he says, “you get one shot to get it right.” And while planting a crop is far more complicated than non-farmers know, COVID-19 has provided another layer of complexity in 2020.   Farmers may feel the odds are in their favor to stay healthy because of the remote nature of their business, but being wrong can create some serious complications. Most of these issues can be avoided with a formal contingency plan for the farm.   It doesn’t need to be pretty or formal, but it needs to be in writing; it needs to have some essential details, and you need to make it readily available and share with several others, Holloway said. Things you need to include:   Seed Plan - Have your seed plan available.  Each seed company can provide you one if you don’t already have it available. They can be called different names depending on the company, but this is a...

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Apr 6, 2020

Value of Online Education Resources Growing

The value of online teaching resources that can be used while students are learning from home continues to grow as the shelter at home hits three to four weeks for many schools and families. The good news is that corn growers are here to help with Continuous Learning resources.   If you are a teacher or parent looking for resources tailored to at-home use and available for digital and hard copy distribution, you might find your state corn grower association is a great source. Kansas Corn Commission provides an excellent example of offering a great selection of K-12 teaching resources.   Kansas has a team of teachers continuing to create educational resources with the goal of providing “hands-on” lessons that can be done using items commonly found around the home. And lessons are being added all the time.   The innovative STEM-based programs provide curriculum, lab materials and training for teachers at all levels and even provides programs for college students interested in...

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Apr 3, 2020

Cover Crop Survey Seeks Farmer Insights

Key Issues:SustainabilityProduction

An online survey at https://bit.ly/CCSurvey2020 is gathering perspective on cover crops from farmers and crop advisors nationwide. This is the sixth cover crop survey by USDA's SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) program, the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA).   The questionnaire takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Participants who complete the survey can enter a drawing for Visa gift cards worth $100 and $200.   SARE, CTIC and ASTA say they are seeking insights not just from long-time cover crop users, but also from farmers with little or no experience with cover crops.   In past years, the SARE/CTIC/ASTA Cover Crop Survey has been used by conservation district and agency personnel, farm suppliers, researchers and policymakers to guide resources into research, communications and policy around cover crops, says Mike Smith, project director for CTIC. The report has even been cited in Congressional...

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Apr 2, 2020

Ep. 5 - Breaking Our Political Addictions, with U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Dusty Johnson

Key Issues:Farm Policy

Creating a place to have a conversation instead of yelling at each other is one reason why NCGA CEO Jon Doggett started this podcast.    And in this episode, he takes that philosophy to one of the most contentious places in America—Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.   From the Congressional office of Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Jon interviews the Democratic Congresswoman and her Republican colleague, South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, about what it takes to bridge the partisan divide in Washington. As members of the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus,” Spanberger and Johnson discuss their efforts to pass the USMCA trade agreement and find common ground on other topics that are important, not just to farmers, but to Americans nationwide.   They’re also joined by NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton.     Direct Share   Transcript   Jon Doggett: We wanted to create an opportunity to talk to one another instead of yelling at one another. So we're going...

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Apr 1, 2020

Staying Healthy on the Farm a Priority as 2020 Planting Shift into Gear

Key Issues:COVID-19

According to a recent survey of farmers, 70 percent have no formal back-up plan should a key member of the family farming operation become ill with COVID-19. This doesn’t mean farmers aren’t thinking about the issue, but in most cases, it has not resulted in a plan of action.   Granted, most corn farms continue to be family-run operations with minimal employees and or seasonal help, so much of the advice currently being shared with businesses may not apply. However, there are some basic things you can do and should consider.   Schedule a brainstorming meeting with all family and employees involved in the operation to discuss possible scenarios, solutions to potential disruptions during planting and subsequent fieldwork. Make a list of immediate changes that can lower risk. Minimize the exposure of outsiders. Use telephone, emails or texts for communications with employees or contractors who do not reside on the farm. Observe appropriate social distancing if someone needs to...

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