In The News

May 2022

May 31, 2022

Learning Lessons from Chesapeake Bay’s TMDL Implementation

Key Issues: Sustainability

Author: Stacey Stiens

The Water Quality Working Group (WQWG)—comprised of state and national staff—assembled two weeks ago in Grasonville, Maryland, for the spring session of their biannual meetings. On Wednesday morning, the group discussed the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), NRCS Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) and the work of the Agriculture Nutrient Policy Coalition (ANPC). The afternoon included a visit to Corteva Agriscience’s Chesapeake Farms, where the group toured the grounds and learned about the conservation practices being utilized in the Chesapeake Bay. Attendees also gained insight from a Maryland grower on the area’s required nutrient management planning.   Thursday’s agenda focused on state updates regarding regional policy and programs and included a discussion of the broader implications of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay.  Panelists from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the

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May 26, 2022

EP. 34 - Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma in the Agriculture World, with Lowell Neitzel and Dr. Heather Sedges

Author: Dusty Weis

With May designated as "Mental Health Awareness Month," a reminder that saying something can save lives.   Farmers work in a business where the finances keep getting tighter and the stakes keep getting higher.   That kind of pressure takes a toll. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate in the agriculture industry is nearly 10 points above the national average, and about one in four farmers struggle with mental health issues.   But mental health doesn’t typically get talked about a lot in the ag community.   So in this episode, we meet Lowell Neitzel, a grower from Kansas who’s trying to change that by sharing his personal story about mental health. Lowell also leads the NCGA Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team, which has targeted grower mental health as a priority.   Lowell is joined by Dr. Heather Sedges, an associate professor from the University of Tennessee who’s working to prioritize mental health...

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May 24, 2022

NCGA President Provides Input on Pending Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

A strong 2022 volume requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is important as American leaders seek to lower gas prices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with inflation, said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Chris Edgington to federal agency staff during a Monday meeting on the final RFS volume rule currently under review.   Corn growers support the proposed 2022 RFS numbers, Edgington told the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff. But he reiterated NCGA’s concerns with EPA’s proposal of retroactive 2021 volumes below actual use and the proposed reopening and revising already final 2020 standards.   “It’s important to share our perspective on corn supply and corn growers’ increasing productivity and sustainability, which allow us to meet demand for food, feed, fuel and exports with bushels to spare,” said Edgington. “Americans are feeling the effects of inflation, and they see the connection between...

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May 23, 2022

Corn Growers Weigh-In on Redefining WOTUS

Author: Bryan Goodman

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are holding ten regional roundtables to gauge the implications of recently proposed changes to the definition of Waters of the U.S.   Megan Dwyer, Director of Conservation and Nutrient Stewardship at Illinois Corn Growers Association, is participating in one of the agency’s roundtables today.   “Farmers and ag groups have embraced the need to tackle challenges around conservation and are more than ready to continue our efforts,” she said. “I plan to ask EPA to work collaboratively with farmers to address actual, real on the ground needs as a practical and realistic alternative to making  these features Waters of the United States and getting in the way of farmers’ efforts.”   Last November, EPA released a proposed rule to re-establish the pre-2015 definition of “Waters of the United States,” often referred to as WOTUS. The proposed rule removes the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, eliminating the long-overdue certainty and clarity for...

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May 23, 2022

Ag Groups Call For Withdrawal of Solicitor General’s Supreme Court Brief on Glyphosate That Would Create a Patchwork of Problems

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

In a letter to President Biden, 54 agricultural groups expressed grave concern with a recent amicus brief submitted by the U.S. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court advising the court against taking up a case regarding pesticide labels. The groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council, and American Sugarbeet Growers Association, listed in full here in the letter, called on the president to swiftly withdraw the brief. They warned the new policy would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the science-based regulatory process. The groups are worried this new policy, along with having environmental impacts, could ultimately hinder the ability of U.S. farmers to help meet growing global food needs intensified by the invasion of Ukraine.   In the May 10 brief, the Solicitor General advised the court against taking up a case concerning whether...

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May 23, 2022

2023 Commodity Classic Show Floor Opens Thursday, May 26

Author: Kris Martinez

The 2023 Commodity Classic trade show floor opens to new exhibitors at 10:00 a.m. Central on Thursday, May 26. Commodity Classic’s “Preparing for the Next Generation” will be held March 9-11, 2023, in Orlando, Florida.     “It was so exciting to be back in person for Commodity Classic this year in New Orleans,” said George Goblish, a Minnesota farmer, ASA member, and co-chair of the 2023 Commodity Classic. “Being able to connect in-person with so many progressive farmers from around the country – there’s just nothing like it.”   Fellow 2023 co-chair Kenny Hartman, an Illinois farmer and NCGA member, echoed George’s comments. “We had nearly 8,000 attendees in New Orleans, so we can’t wait to see how many farmers come to 2023 in Orlando. The educational sessions are so valuable, and walking the floor to see all the latest farming technologies can really put any producer a step ahead in their own operation.”   At 10:00 a.m. Central on Thursday, May 26, the exhibitor application...

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May 20, 2022

USDA Releases Emergency Relief Program Details for Producers Impacted by 2020 and 2021 Natural Disasters

Key Issues: Farm Policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week details of the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Relief Program that provides assistance for producers who were impacted by qualifying disasters from 2020 and 2021. FSA will soon mail pre-filled application forms to producers who have crop insurance and NAP data are already on file. Assistance for eligible commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 through phase one of the Emergency Relief Program is estimated to total approximately $6 billion.   While there is not currently an announced deadline for phase one of the program, eligible growers will need to finish the application and return it to their local FSA office. When phase one payment processing is complete, the remaining funds will be used to cover gaps identified under phase two. You can learn more about eligibility and payment calculation by visiting the FSA website.

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May 19, 2022

RFD-TV Takes a Fresh Look at CommonGround’s Fresh Look

Key Issues: Consumer Engagement

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

CommonGround continues to open the farm gate and bring together the women who grow and raise our food with those who buy it. After 12 years, the program’s fresh look reflects the amazing, timely conversations being had today.      Sara Ross, a farmer from Iowa who is also one of the fifteen founding CommonGround volunteers, recently spoke with RFD-TV’s Suzanne Alexander about the program’s purpose, history and evolution. Having grown along with the program, she shared her perspective as a volunteer and celebrated the growth and accomplishments of the women who make this grassroots program so impactful.   “80% of U.S. women make the household grocery shopping decisions,” said Ross. “They have important questions about what to buy in the store, what to feed their family to keep them safe and healthy. As women farmers, we connect with these women. We have the same values and share similar life experiences. We want the women purchasing food in the grocery store to be able to...

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May 17, 2022

Interested in Learning More about Trade? Join us for Trade School!

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Julie Busse

The Texas Corn Producers Board, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and U.S. Grains Council are teaming up to host Trade School for farmer members and stakeholders in Belton, Texas, on Tuesday, June 14. Held at the Bell County Expo Center, the agenda will cover the benefits of trade, current hot button issues, regional trade topics, and key updates pertaining to policy initiatives and market development efforts.   “Trade School gives attendees an opportunity to learn more about the current global market that we all operate within and how to share that message with members of Congress or their local communities,” said NCGA Manager of Market Development Michael Granché. “In 2020, the U.S. exported 2,550 million bushels of corn, which makes up roughly 17.5% of our entire demand portfolio, so it’s important that we’re all aware of current trade barriers and that we’re all equipped with the information needed to talk about trade within our communities.”   Trade school started...

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May 16, 2022

Action Team Raises Awareness on Farmer Mental Health

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

Approximately one in four farmers struggle with mental health issues. NCGA asks farmers, their families, and the people they do business with to look for signs. NCGA’s Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team (MCEAT) distributed a short, one-minute video asking our industry partners to assist in this effort. Working with allies in the lending communities, retailer networks, grain elevator operators, and others, we are distributing this video widely throughout our networks and helping raise awareness.       “The Membership and Consumer Engagement Action Team has a real passion for this topic,” said Dan Nerud, vice chair of MCEAT and a farmer from Nebraska. “We wanted to do something in this space that would have a real impact. A lot of organizations have done great work on creating resources. We decided that continuing to raise awareness amongst our closest industry partners, those who we see and interact with almost daily, had the potential to bring something unique to the...

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May 13, 2022

NCGA on Ag Undersecretary Nominee Taylor: No Better Person for Position

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

President Biden announced today that he is appointing Alexis Taylor as undersecretary for trade and U.S. agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   Taylor, currently the director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, has extensive experience working on agricultural issues.   “I have known Alexis in a professional capacity for well over a decade, and she is someone with a deep understanding of agriculture, particularly as it relates to foreign markets, and she is widely respected by policymakers on both sides of the aisle,” said Brooke S. Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association. “I cannot think of a better person to represent the Biden administration on this issue.”   Taylor has served as a policy expert on ag issues for several members of Congress on Capitol Hill and managed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. An Iraq veteran, Taylor grew up in Iowa on her family’s...

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May 11, 2022

In Visit to Illinois Farm, Biden Commits to Helping Growers

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

Appearing on an Illinois family farm, President Biden announced today that his administration would be giving farmers additional tools and resources to boost crop production and maintain global food security.   The announcement comes as the administration is working to help farmers, American consumers and food insecure communities around the globe who are feeling the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   “American corn growers continue to feed and fuel the world even as they face challenges stemming from the war in Ukraine and high input costs,” said National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett, who attended the announcement. “We’re appreciative of the efforts that President Biden and USDA are making to help farmers navigate these challenges, and the recognition of the key role farmers play in providing solutions.”   During his announcement, Biden committed to:   Increase the number of counties eligible for double cropping insurance, which will allow farmers to...

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May 11, 2022

Time is Running Out! Apply for the Women and Mentors Program Today!

Author: Julie Busse

There’s still time to apply for the second class of the NCGA Women and Mentors Program to be held in St. Louis on June 27-28. In addition to networking with other women committed to their success, participants learn how to quiet their inner critic, explore what they can learn from another woman’s leadership journey, and develop an action plan for their own mentorship journey. Each participant will leave the retreat with an action plan and mentorship pairing to help each other reach their goals.   In this second year of the program, participation is expanding to include a state, national, and industry staff component—creating a support network and a place for these women to discuss issues they face as women in a male-dominated industry.   Members of the new class will be welcomed to ongoing quarterly virtual leadership lunch and learn sessions already underway with the prior year’s participants.   Do you know of any women looking for the next step in their leadership journey?...

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May 10, 2022

Sharing the Story of the Path for Corn as an Industrial Feedstock

Key Issues: New Uses

Author: Julie Busse

At the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC) in Washington D.C., the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held a session on Corn-to-Chemicals, outlining the uses of corn as an industrial feedstock.   The panel was moderated by McKay, and participants included John Hannon, COO, Vertimass; Nathan Danielson, Principal, BioCognito; Erick Lutt, Senior Director, Biotechnology Innovation Organization and Jessica Bowman, Executive Director, Plant Based Products Council. The panel highlighted the evolution of the biotechnology industry and how each organization is working to overcome barriers to commercialization. Further, the panel had a robust Q&A session with the audience on programs and policies, including national incentives for biobased materials.   “U.S. corn farmers continue to produce an affordable, high quality and reliable crop each year,” said NCGA Market Development Director Sarah McKay. “That crop can be turned into more than just food, feed and fuel. The...

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May 9, 2022

MCEAT Shares Importance of Mental Health Awareness with RFD-TV Audiences

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

Many farm families and others in the agricultural industry often struggle, suffering silently, with mental health. This Mental Health Awareness Month, Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team Chair Lowell Neitzel, along with other farmers and industry leaders, urged farmers to speak up and share their struggles, reminding them that they are not alone.   During an interview with RFD-TV's Suzanne Alexander, Neitzel shared how this topic hits home for him and urged those struggling personally, or who see others who may be, to support one another and seek help.   “If you see someone who is acting not quite like themselves, just pick up the phone,” said Neitzel. “You just have to start a conversation. And, if you are feeling bad, reach out to that one person that you know that has your back – a friend, partner, family member, your preacher, your doctor – someone who will help you seek the help that you need.”   To watch, click here: Mental Health Awareness Month hits home for...

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May 5, 2022

EP. 33 – 4-Time National Corn Yield Contest Record Holder David Hula’s Winning Formula

Author: Dusty Weis

Along the banks of the James River in Virginia, David Hula is harvesting some real bin-busters.   The NCGA National Corn Yield Contest is an annual tradition that dates back to 1965.   But in that time, no one has had quite the sustained success as Charles City, Virginia’s David Hula, who has won the contest with record-setting yields on four separate occasions.   In this episode, we talk to David about his formula for success, which includes a combination of precisely-targeted fertilizer applications and a blend of strip-till and no-till.   Plus, we discuss the unique environmental challenges he faces as he works tirelessly to preserve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and how his farm traces its historic roots back to a time when growers planted a dead catfish with their corn seed.     DIRECT SHARE LINK   TRANSCRIPT   David Hula: I like to say there's three great things that produce high yield and corn. A good Lord blesses you. Number two, you got...

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May 4, 2022

NCGA Launches Call-to-Action Urging USDA to Help Ensure Fair Markets

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Gaylen Holloway

Are you concerned about the rising input costs of your operation?   In response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s public comment period on Access to Fertilizer: Competition and Supply Chain Concerns, the National Corn Growers Association has launched a call-to-action to aid corn growers in raising a collective voice on this important and timely matter.   “We need a unified message if we’re going to effectively reach Washington decision-makers on this important issue,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke S. Appleton. “That’s why it’s critical that corn growers take this opportunity to submit comments to USDA, including detailed information about how rising input costs are impacting their operation.”   The call-to-action encourages corn growers to comment specifically on accessibility, price volatility and market competition.   You can submit comments directly to USDA here. The public comment period closes on Monday, May 16.   This opportunity gives us a...

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May 3, 2022

BeSure! with Stewardship BMPs

Key Issues: SustainabilityPollinators

Author: Stacey Stiens

#Plant22 is underway and the BeSure! initiative is back with its fourth annual national campaign to promote best management practices (BMPs) when applying neonicotinoid insecticides. Ag stakeholders appreciate how neonicotinoid seed treatments and other products increase yields and boost revenues, but they are also committed to protecting bees and other wildlife. This spring, growers and applicators can follow a few simple guidelines to BeSure! they’re using pesticides safely.   For Growers:   Follow directions on the label for appropriate storage, use and disposal practices. When planting treated seed, use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust. Additionally, when planting treated seed, eliminate flowering plants and weeds in the field prior to planting. For foliar applications, ensure that sprays are directed away from any flowering plants, follow established buffer zones and calibrate equipment to minimize spray drift. Before making an application, be aware of...

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May 2, 2022

Grow Like a Champion!

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

Want to join a few thousand farmers from across the country in a friendly competition? Take part in a tradition that stretches back more than five decades? Grow your knowledge and skills and have fun while doing it?   “The farmers who enter the National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC) build a brighter future for America’s farm families,” said Lowell Neitzel, a Kansas farmer who chairs NCGA’s Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team. “Together, entrants generate a pool of collective knowledge and spark innovation. These champions actively contribute to the advances that will continue to keep U.S. farmers meeting growing demands for feed, fuel and fiber sustainably for generations to come.”   Enter by June 30 to save with a special $75 early entry rate. Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through August 17, 2022. All harvest forms will be due by November 30. Contest winners will be announced on December 14.   Winners will receive national recognition in publications,...

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