In The News

Dec 2022

Dec 23, 2022

President Signs Water Resources Development Act into Law

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Bryan Goodman

Today President Biden signed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 into law. WRDA 2022, which remains on a biennial schedule in Congress, includes a policy provision that makes permanent the 65% general revenues/35% Inland Waterways Trust Fund cost-share for lock and dam construction and major rehabilitation projects. Congress established a 65%/35% cost-sharing formula in WRDA 2020 that was set to expire in 2031, at which time the cost-share would return to the former formula of a 50%/50% split between the general fund and IWTF. The 65%/35% ratio would allow IWTF dollars to help finance more projects than under the 50%/50% cost-share.   NCGA will push to pass a 75%/25% cost-share and WRDA 2024 in the 118th Congress.

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Dec 22, 2022

McKalip Confirmed as Ag Negotiator with USTR

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The U.S. Senate today voted to approve the nomination of Doug McKalip to serve as chief agricultural negotiator with the United States Trade Representative. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) supported approval of the nomination.   “We are pleased that the Senate voted to confirm this nomination,” said National Corn Growers Association Vice President of public policy Brooke S. Appleton. “We look forward to working with Mr. McKalip as we address Mexico’s looming decree that would ban imports of biotech corn.”   McKalip has worked on agricultural policy and trade for over 28 years. He most recently served as senior advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The position is charged with conducting and overseeing international negotiations related to trade in agricultural products.

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Dec 22, 2022

Review Commissioned by NCGA Confirms USDA is a Vital Source of Market Information for Corn Growers

Key Issues: Research

Author: Krista Swanson

Krista Swanson, the National Corn Growers Association’s lead economist, provides an analysis of a newly published independent study on the accuracy and market impact of USDA information on corn markets.   The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) collects survey data from farmers that is used as a basis for forecasts in several publicly published reports and databases. Agriculture economists, like me, frequently use USDA information in articles and studies that benefit farmers and our industry.   In recent years growers have raised concerns about the complexity of the survey process, report accuracy and declining survey participation. The declining survey response rates have left USDA with a growing rate of insufficient data not only limiting what can be published, but also limiting ways data can be of value to farmers in return. As an example, when making the 2019/2020 farm program selection, farmers in counties with unpublished 2019 county survey yields, which would...

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Dec 21, 2022

NCGA Praises Approval of Alexis Taylor as Undersecretary for Trade and U.S. Agricultural Affairs

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauded the U.S. Senate for approving the nomination of Alexis Taylor today as undersecretary for trade and U.S. agricultural affairs at USDA.   “This is an exciting development,” said NCGA Vice President of public policy Brooke S. Appleton. “Getting Alexis’s confirmation through the Senate has been one of our top priorities, as she is someone with a deep understanding of agricultural issue and is widely respected by policymakers on both sides of the aisle. Approval of this nomination comes at a pivotal time for us as we work to address a pending decree that would block biotech corn imports into Mexico.”   Taylor, who most recently served as the director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, has worked as a policy expert on ag issues for several members of Congress 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 160-year-old...

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Dec 21, 2022

Final Funding Bill Allocates Millions of Dollars to Key Ag Initiatives

Author: Bryan Goodman

Congress passed legislation today that will fund the government through September 2023 and allocate millions of dollars to support key agricultural initiatives.   The bill funds several of the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) top priorities, including research to address aflatoxin, a mycotoxin that has been costly to U.S. corn growers, disaster mitigation efforts and climate change initiatives.   “We are very pleased to see that Congress and the president have prioritized programs that are important to corn growers,” said NCGA Vice President of public policy Brooke S. Appleton. “We are appreciative of our allies who made sure these important initiatives were included in this legislation.” One of the biggest wins for corn growers was the allocation of $1 million to fund aflatoxin research through NCGA’s Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence, in conjunction with Texas A&M. Aflatoxin can cost corn growers between $52.1 million to $1.68 billion in annual losses,...

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Dec 21, 2022

NCGA CEO Set to Depart Organization at Year’s End

Author: Bryan Goodman

Jon Doggett, a forceful and highly successful advocate for agriculture during his 35-year career as a lobbyist and chief executive, is preparing to depart the National Corn Growers Association at the end of the month. While Doggett has said it’s not a retirement, he has indicated he will use his free time to explore some of his passions, including spending more time with his grandchildren and kayaking.   Those who have worked closely with Doggett say his legacy will live on in the nation’s capital. “Anyone who knows anything about agriculture and Washington knows that Jon is one of the best lobbyists and leaders in the city,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “He has left his mark through tremendous policy accomplishments, such as the passage of the Renewable Fuels Standard and through his mentorship of up-and-coming lobbyists and leaders in Washington.” Doggett began his career in 1987 as a legislative aide to the late Rep. Ron Marlenee (R-Mont.). After an 11-year stint at the...

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Dec 20, 2022

Our NCGA Elves Have Checked It Twice: 2022’s #NCGANiceList

Author: Stacey Stiens

Our hard-working elves in the Department of Corn-Related Christmas Affairs (DCRCA) have released the very certified, most official and doubly cross-checked the NCGA Nice List of 2022:    Synchronicity in environmental, economic and social sustainability is attainable. Corn growers shared how they aim to accomplish Growing a More Sustainable Future. The current catalog of continued advancements and efforts which being led by NCGA’s Action Teams are at your fingertips in this handy-dandy Pocket Guide to Sustainability. When it comes to mental health, saying something could mean everything and grower-led advocacy will continue to help in Breaking the Stigma in the Agriculture World. Our #CornCommitment was on display during a 3-day water station activation sponsored by Kansas Corn during this year's July Corn Congress in Washington, D.C.  Introduced in the Senate this past July, the Next Generation Fuels Act is doing its part to help save money AND the environment! ‘Tis the...

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Dec 15, 2022

EP. 40 - Newly-Elected Rep from Illinois Angles for Farm Issues & Bipartisanship, with Rep-Elect Nikki Budzinski

Author: Dusty Weis

With roots in farm country, one Congressional freshman says she wants to find common ground in Washington.   When she is sworn in on January 3, 2023, Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski will be tasked with representing the interests of farmers in a vast swath of the state, all the way from Champaign to Springfield to just north of St. Louis.   It’s the heart of corn country, and she knows that agriculture will factor heavily in many of the issues she will have to address in Washington.   But Budzinski, a Democrat, also represents an evenly-divided constituency that previously elected a Republican to the seat. And she recognizes that it’s more important than ever to build bridges, find common ground and strive toward bipartisanship in the Capitol.   In this episode, we ask the newly-elected Congresswoman what she sees as the biggest issues that growers face today, how she’s planning to go to bat for America’s farmers, and what it’s like going to a place like Washington as a...

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Dec 14, 2022

Corn Grower Leaders from Across the Country Call on Biden to Set Quick, Firm Timeline While Pressing Case on Biotech Corn with Mexico

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The presidents of 23 state corn grower groups, joined by the president of the National Corn Growers Association, sent a letter to President Biden today calling for him to take additional steps to address the pending decree by Mexico that would block imports of biotech corn.   The letter encouraged the president to raise the issue during upcoming trade talks and to file a dispute under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement if Mexico doesn’t act expeditiously to withdraw the decree.   “Corn farmers are right now in the process of making planting decisions for next spring, and any additional uncertainty in the market affects their ability to appropriately respond to multiple market signals,” the corn grower leaders said. “If the decree is not completely withdrawn by the established deadline, we ask that your administration initiate a case under USMCA.”   The letter is in response to a promise by President López Obrador to end imports of biotech corn beginning in early 2024....

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Dec 13, 2022

Corn Yield Contest Demonstrates Farmers Ingenuity, Resilience

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

U.S. farmers not only planted and harvested a large crop successfully in 2022, but they also rolled out some impressive yields in the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) National Corn Yield Contest despite an array of weather challenges.   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 58th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.   “Corn plays an incredibly important role in so many aspects of life in America and abroad,” said Lowell Neitzel, chair of NCGA’s Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team. “This contest offers a unique opportunity for all farmers to take part in the innovation and creativity that move our industry forward. Contest winners, at the national and state levels, find new ways to excel while using a variety of techniques. Ultimately, the data generated and insights found by farmers and input providers enable U.S. farmers to continue to meet the future demand for critical food, feed, fuel and fiber.”   The 27 national winners in 9...

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Dec 12, 2022

USDA Lowers Expected Corn Exports and Raises Ending Stocks for 2022/23

Key Issues: Production

Author: Krista Swanson

The following is a brief analysis by Krista Swanson, the lead economist for the National Corn Growers Association.   The United States Department of Agriculture released the December World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates (WASDE) report on Friday. Most United States grain and oilseeds estimates were unchanged from last month. Citing slow sales and shipments through early December and competition from other exporters, the USDA lowered corn exports for the 2022/23 marketing year by 75 million bushels resulting in an equivalent increase in projected ending stocks with no other changes on the corn balance sheet. To dig into USDA’s assessment of slow sales, here is a look at corn export sales so far this marketing year. With data through Week 14 of the marketing year, weekly exports for 2022/23 are represented by the solid blue line. Exports to date in this year are notably trailing last year and the five-year average pace represented by the blue dashed and dotted lines. The...

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Dec 12, 2022

Butterfly Habitat Brings Beauty and Biodiversity!

Key Issues: SustainabilityPollinators

Author: Rachel Bush

Guest Contributor: Rachel Bush - Private Lands Conservation Programs Manager with Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever     The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has partnered with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever for the second year to help increase pollinator habitat on agricultural lands. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is a non-profit conservation organization with a 40-year history of working with private landowners to help them meet their on-farm habitat goals. With over 250 field staff providing technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners in 35 states, they are the experts in creating high-quality habitat.   Creating high-quality pollinator habitat benefits more than just bees and butterflies. Many species of birds, including upland species like pheasants and quail, along with other wildlife species benefit from these areas, too. In addition, a well-planned pollinator habitat can increase biodiversity, sequester carbon, and...

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Dec 8, 2022

Bipartisan Members of House Ways and Means Committee Call on USTR to Act on Trade Dispute with Mexico

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

Twenty-four members of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee sent a letter today to Ambassador Katherine Tai, calling on her to act to resolve a lingering trade dispute with Mexico over biotech corn imports. Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) led the bipartisan effort.    “We have been working closely with Congress on this issue, and it’s inspiring to see congressional champions from both parties faithfully taking up the mantle,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Tom Haag. “These members of Congress are now looking to Ambassador Tai to uphold the integrity of USMCA.”   The letter is the latest development and response from U.S. officials as the ag community braces for the fallout if President Andrés Manuel López Obrador follows through with a promise to ban biotech corn shipments beginning in early 2024. Ninety percent of U.S. corn is biotech corn.   NCGA has been sounding the alarm on this issue for months. USDA...

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Dec 8, 2022

NCGA Advocates for Corn Growers in Comments Submitted to USDA and IRS

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Bryan Goodman

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) recently filed two sets of comments to help shape implementation of key biofuel provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act IRA major legislation that was passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this year. One set of comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture addresses the IRA’s $500 million biofuels infrastructure program, and the other set of comments provides recommendations to the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service for their pending guidance for new tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel and clean fuel production, which will include ethanol. Both sets of comments highlighted the positive role farmers and ethanol play in saving drivers money and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.   NCGA’s input for USDA’s biofuels infrastructure program was developed with feedback from state corn grower associations based on states’ on-the-ground experience with prior programs. NCGA President Tom Haag also noted...

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Dec 8, 2022

NCGA Applauds U.S. House Members for Introducing Bill Ensuring Consumer Access to E15

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Bryan Goodman

U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), with the support of 21 bipartisan co-sponsors, introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022, new legislation that would enable the year-round, nationwide sale of ethanol blends higher than 10%. The legislation would help lower fuel prices and improve stability and certainty in the U.S. fuel market.   “We applaud Reps. Angie Craig and Adrian Smith, along with their bipartisan cosponsors, for introducing new legislation to keep higher ethanol blends accessible, saving consumer money at the pump and enhancing our energy security,” said Tom Haag, President of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). “This bill provides a commonsense resolution to a long-standing outdated barrier to ensure drivers across the country continue to have year-round access to safe, low-cost, low-emission E15.”   The new House legislation, H.R. 9455, is a companion to legislation introduced last week by Sens. Deb Fischer...

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Dec 7, 2022

NCGA Consider Corn Challenge Winner Gets Another Step Closer to Commercialization

Key Issues: New Uses

Author: Julie Busse

ExoPolymer, Inc., a winner of the Consider Corn Challenge II, recently announced a new partnership with CP Kelco, which takes ExoPolymer’s technology one step closer to commercialization. The partnership with CP Kelco will help ExoPolymer scale up production of a polysaccharide-based biopolymer. ExoPolymer is creating a new profile of customizable, polysaccharide-based hydrocolloids that are domestically produced by microbial fermentation using corn sugar as a feedstock. These new hydrocolloids will meet the growing needs and performance gaps in the healthcare, personal care, food, pharmaceutical and energy industries.   “We are thrilled to see one of our previous Consider Corn Challenge Winners, Derek Wells and ExoPolymer, continue to reach key milestones in becoming closer to commercialization,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “This is our hope for all of our winners and is the goal of the contest. We want to help bring to light some of the great research...

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Dec 6, 2022

NCGA Thanks BASF for 15 Years Supporting Future of U.S. Corn

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) thanks BASF for 15 years of partnership in offering scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who plan to use their degrees to benefit the agriculture sector. Through the five William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarships offered through the BASF and NCGA partnerships, industry and association come together to foster the bright young minds which will help find solutions, tools, and support that create a bright future for U.S. corn farmers.   “Their consistent support for this scholarship demonstrates the deep commitment of BASF to fostering the next crop of talented leaders in ag,” said Lowell Neitzel, chair of NCGA’s Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team. “These scholarships aid bright young minds pursuing careers in ag, but they pay back dividends for corn farmers. The innovative thinking, dedication and talent scholarship winners bring will provide generations of critical growth in our industry.”   Renamed...

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Dec 5, 2022

NCGA Promotes Julie Busse to Director of Renewable Fuels

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Julie Busse

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is pleased to announce Julie Busse has accepted the role of Director of Renewable Fuels. In her new position, Busse will serve as lead staff for the Ethanol Action Team (ETHAT) driving the organization’s ethanol related development, promotion, research, and education efforts.    For the past five years, Busse has worked in the NCGA communications department first as a manager, then sr. manager and most recently as director. She has supported the entire market development portfolio, which includes ethanol, animal agriculture and new uses. She also has served as the media relations lead for ag media, managed the organization's content calendar, led NCGA’s communications metrics reporting efforts, and more. Last year, she was recognized at Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference with the TOBI award for Public Affairs for the communications campaign she launched and managed in Washington D.C.   “Throughout her career, Julie has a...

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Dec 1, 2022

NCGA Applauds Passage of Bill that Blocks Rail Strike

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Bryan Goodman

The Senate voted 80-15 today to pass a bill that would head off a potential rail strike that could have disrupted the movement of grain and input shipments. The vote comes a day after the House approved similar legislation.   The National Corn Growers Association applauded the development.   “We are extremely relieved that Congress took action to head off a strike that would have had serious consequences for America’s farmers, who are grappling with an increase in input costs and barge rates due to severe drought conditions on the Mississippi River,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “Today’s actions are an excellent example of Congress working together to get things done on behalf of the American people.”   A deal to avert a strike appeared imminent in recent months, but a disagreement over paid sick days put the country back on the pathway to a strike, which could have begun as early as Dec. 9. Left with no other options, Pres. Biden urged Congress to act.   The bill will now...

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Dec 1, 2022

NCGA: Mexico’s Proposed Ban on Biotech Corn Illegal Under USMCA; Banning White Corn a Non-Starter in Negotiations

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

This week, Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Mexico City to meet with Mexican Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador to discuss Mexico’s promise to block biotech corn imports beginning in 2024. During the meeting, Vilsack spoke of the importance of finding an acceptable resolution on the matter.   Pres. López Obrador indicated this week that there might be room for compromise, suggesting the country could allow imports of yellow corn, used for livestock, while blocking white corn, which is imported mainly for human consumption.   The idea that white corn is for food and yellow corn is for feed overlooks the fact that yellow corn is also food grade and a nutritious ingredient in hundreds of products consumers enjoy. From bakery products to chewing gum, aspirin to antibiotics, condiments to corn bread, yellow corn also feeds the world.   In response to these developments, Tom Haag, President of the National Corn Growers Association released the following statement:   “Any decision to...

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Dec 1, 2022

EPA Proposes Annual Growth in Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Bryan Goodman

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released proposed renewable fuel volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, 2024 and 2025, proposing annual growth in volumes. The RFS requires annual volumes of renewable fuels, such as ethanol, be used in the fuel supply to reduce emissions, expand and diversify the fuel supply, improve energy security and lower costs.   “We are pleased with EPA’s forward-looking approach of annual increases in the proposal,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “EPA clearly recognizes that renewable fuels like ethanol play a critical role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, increasing U.S. energy independence and providing long-term relief to consumers at the pump. With continued pressure on energy security and costs and the need to accelerate carbon emission reductions, biofuels can contribute even more, and we will make that case to EPA for the final volumes.”   For 2023, EPA’s proposal includes an...

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