In The News

May 14, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Rural Broadband

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Liz Friedlander

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers. Rural Americans rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to compete in the global marketplace and access to a fast, reliable broadband connection is critical for all Americans.   Technology is a part of nearly every aspect of the farming operation, allowing farmers to be more efficient and sustainable on their operations. But, 14 million Americans living in rural communities lack access to reliable internet.   The Biden plan proposes $100 billion to expand high-speed internet to enable 100 percent access across the entire country. This proposal will prioritize support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and cooperatives. This will also reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption.   The broadband industry supports jobs in rural America...

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May 13, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Inland Waterways and Ports

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Liz Friedlander

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers.   Sixty million rural Americans live and work in rural communities. They rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to effectively move their products and compete globally and roads, bridges, highways and waterways provide the first and last links in the supply chain. America’s inland waterways system provides the most fuel-efficient, lowest cost, and environmentally friendly method of transporting products.   Included in the Biden Administration plan is a proposed $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries. The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to export, with more than 60 percent of the grain produced in the United States being transported by barge, but work needs to be done to bring the nearly 12,000 miles of commercially navigable channels and 240 lock sites up to...

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May 10, 2021

Focus on Infrastructure: Roads and Bridges

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Liz Friedlander

The American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, includes several provisions directly impacting corn growers. Rural Americans rely on reliable and safe infrastructure to effectively move their products and compete globally and roads, bridges, highways and waterways provide the first and last links in the supply chain.   The proposal’s $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways as well as roads and bridges would target the most economically significant large bridges and repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges.   If approved by Congress, this funding would meet the needs of our crumbling infrastructure. The nation’s rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies due to underfunding. 15 percent of the nation’s major rural roads have pavements rated in poor condition, 21% in mediocre condition, and 10 percent rated structurally deficient.   Congress will ultimately decide, and vote on, the provisions included in any...

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Apr 6, 2021

USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 24 Pandemic Assistance for Producers (PAP). The new initiative will bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions.   The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 passed by Congress in December 2020 included additional Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) assistance of $20 per acre for producers of eligible crops, including corn. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will automatically issue payments to eligible producers based on the eligible acres included on their CFAP 2 applications. These payments should start being distributed this month.   The Consolidated Appropriations Act also granted USDA with the authority to provide support for ethanol producers who were impacted by a drop in ethanol demand. USDA is expected to share details of this assistance in a proposed rule likely to be released in the next few months.   USDA will be holding a webinar...

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Mar 31, 2021

President Biden Outlines Infrastructure Proposal

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Liz Friedlander

President Biden today unveiled his American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal investing in a wide range of infrastructure areas. The White House describes the American Jobs Plan as “an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.”   The proposal includes: $115 billion to repair roads and bridges $100 billion to expand high-speed broadband across the country $100 billion to upgrade and build new schools Investment in climate and clean energy infrastructure   Congress will ultimately decide and vote on, the provisions included in any infrastructure legislation. Discussions on Capitol Hill regarding an infrastructure package are currently taking place and NCGA is sharing corn farmer priorities with members of the House and Senate.   The proposal’s $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways as well as roads and bridges would target the most...

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Mar 17, 2021

Senate Confirms Tai for U.S. Trade Representative

Key Issues: TradeFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Senate today confirmed Katherine Tai to serve as U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), overseeing the development and promotion of U.S. trade policy.   In her prior role as Chief Trade Counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Tai was closely involved in negotiations between the House and USTR to reach an agreement on a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) implementing bill that received strong bipartisan support in Congress.   For generations, America's farmers and ranchers have built strong trading relationships to help maintain a competitive edge in the global economy and bolster job creation across the United States. Today, exports are responsible for 33 percent of U.S. corn farmers’ income and more than 20 percent of the U.S. corn crop is exported annually when accounting for corn and value-added products like ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS).   U.S. corn exports for the current marketing year are on track to surpass...

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Mar 11, 2021

Regan Confirmed to Lead EPA

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Michael Regan, on a 66-34 vote, to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   The EPA oversees implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), a top priority for corn farmers.   Following his nomination by President Bident, NCGA President John Linder said, “The National Corn Growers Association looks forward to working with Regan on issues of importance to corn farmers overseen by the EPA, most notably the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS was a game-changer for corn farmers nearly 20 years ago but previous administrations have failed to uphold the law and implement it as Congress intended. NCGA hopes to have an open dialogue with the new Administrator upon his confirmation and work together to uphold the RFS, reduce emissions through greater use of biofuels, ensure farmers’ access to crop protection products based on sound science and seek practical solutions to issues important to...

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Mar 10, 2021

American Rescue Plan to Provide Additional Relief Amid COVID-19

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), providing additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation last week, and President Biden is expected to quickly sign the bill into law.   The Act includes $7 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $15 billion for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. Agricultural businesses have utilized both programs to ensure they can continue to operate during the pandemic.   Similar to previous COVID relief efforts, the legislation provides food assistance for those facing hunger through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) food and nutrition programs, including extending the 15 percent increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through September 30,...

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Feb 24, 2021

NCGA Leads Call for Farmer Participation in Paycheck Protection Program

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), along with K·Coe Isom, today led a coalition of 35 agriculture organizations urging Congress to work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure that farming partnerships and limited liability corporations (LLCs) are able to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).   In a letter to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the House Committee on Small Business, the organizations said it is critical for agricultural producers, many of whom have structured their operations as partnerships and LLCs, to receive PPP funding regardless of tax structure.   “As you know, farming and ranching are capital-intensive operations often operating at a loss and with owners who frequently do not work for wages,” the organizations wrote.   Section 313 of The Economic Aid Act made changes to the initial eligibility requirements for PPP, recognizing the special circumstances of those...

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Feb 23, 2021

NCGA Congratulates Tom Vilsack on Senate Confirmation to Lead USDA

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today congratulated Tom Vilsack on his Senate confirmation to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). NCGA President John Linder made the following statement.   “NCGA congratulates Secretary Vilsack on his confirmation. Corn growers appreciated his comments in support of biofuels, along with the positive role he sees agriculture playing in addressing climate change, during his confirmation hearing. Secretary Vilsack has consistently shown a willingness to listen to corn growers, to understand the issues they face on their farms, and we’ve welcomed his outreach to agriculture. Corn growers are looking forward to working together to build long-term demand for our product, mitigate the impact of climate change, seek new markets around the globe, and continue to feed and fuel the world.”

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Feb 22, 2021

NCGA Joins Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance

Key Issues: Sustainability

Author: Liz Friedlander

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) today announced expanded membership, including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). NCGA’s membership in FACA is part of the organization’s commitment to sustainability and support for market-based, voluntary opportunities for farmers to advance environmental goals.   FACA consists of organizations representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, agribusinesses, manufacturers, the food and innovation sector, state governments, sportsmen and environmental advocates. These groups have broken through historical barriers to develop and promote shared climate policy priorities across the entire agriculture, food and forestry value chains.   FACA was formed in February 2020 by American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives...

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Feb 16, 2021

Enrollment for 2021 Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage Programs Deadline Nears

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2021 must do so by March 15. Producers who have not yet signed a 2021 enrollment contract or who want to make an election change should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to make an appointment.   For more information on ARC and PLC including web-based decision tools, visit farmers.gov/arc-plc. During the 2018 Farm Bill negotiations, NCGA supported providing corn growers additional opportunities to choose between the commodity programs. This year starts a now annual opportunity for producers to make elections between the ARC and PLC programs.   FSA Acting Administrator Steve Peterson urged farmers not to delay starting the enrollment process. “FSA offices have multiple programs competing for the time and attention of our staff. Because of the importance and complexities of...

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Feb 10, 2021

Economic Boom From Grain Exports Highlights Need For Trade Access, Market Development

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

Access to international markets for U.S. grain supported an additional $41.8 billion in business sales during 2018 over and above the value of the grain sold, according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) - highlighting the importance of new market access and robust market development for the profitability of U.S. grain farmers.    The study - the fourth in a series conducted by Informa Economics/IHS Markit - pegged the direct value of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and the grain components of ethanol, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and certain meat products at $22.7 billion, for a total economic output of $64.5 billion in 2018.    This analysis and that preceding it based on 2014, 2015 and 2016 sales help make the case for trade as a top priority for U.S. agriculture and the new administration's outreach to the global community.    "Exports are a driver for our economy in general, but nowhere...

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Feb 4, 2021

Senate Shows Support for Ethanol

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

A flurry of positive action in support of renewable fuels took place in the U.S. Senate this week.   On Wednesday, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, led a letter signed by 13 other farm-state Senators to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to highlight the “pressing concern of restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and to alert you to pressing policy decisions that the Administration must make to bring regulatory certainty to the transportation fuels sector of the economy.”   Also, Wednesday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., along with Klobuchar, reintroduced the Adopt GREET Act, legislation that would require the EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel.   “This bill will ensure EPA uses the most recent science and data to accurately measure the greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits of ethanol,” said NCGA President John Linder, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “The Department of...

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Jan 28, 2021

NCGA Welcomes New Members of Congress with Virtual Open House

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association Officer Team on Tuesday hosted a virtual open house for new members of the 117th Congress. Members of the freshman class representing districts in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas, from both political parties participated in the event.   The virtual open house was an opportunity to begin to develop a meaningful relationship with these new members. NCGA’s Officer Team shared the organization’s legislative priorities, including support for increasing sales of higher ethanol blends through the Next Generation Fuels Act and expanding opportunities for corn in new global markets. Participants also discussed the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the positive role corn growers can play in future climate policy.   The participating members shared their priorities for the new session and were thankful for the outreach. They encouraged NCGA and farmers to continue reaching out in the...

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Jan 27, 2021

Court Seeks Status Report on EPA Compliance with Order on Renewable Volumes

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit a status report every 60 days “on its progress in complying with the court’s remand” stemming from the July 2017 ruling in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA.  The 2017 ruling required EPA to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of 2016 renewable fuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.   Today’s order from the D.C. Circuit was in response to a motion filed in December 2020 by biofuel and farm organizations, in which the groups asked the court to enforce its 2017 decision by requiring EPA to fully restore the 500 million gallons that were inappropriately waived from the 2016 RFS requirements. While the court denied the motion, the groups welcomed the court’s requirement that EPA provide status reports every 60 days on its progress in responding to the court’s decision.   The coalition, which includes the Renewable...

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Jan 27, 2021

Registration for 2021 Special Edition Commodity Classic Now Open

Author: Liz Friedlander

Registration for the 2021 Special Edition of Commodity Classic is now open at CommodityClassic.com. The 2021 Commodity Classic will be delivered digitally March 2-5, 2021.   The registration fee is waived for the first 5,000 farmers, thanks to the generous support of sponsors.  All other registrants and farmers after the first 5,000 will be charged $20. The registration covers all online educational sessions and events as well as access to all archived sessions through April 30, 2021.   In October 2020, Commodity Classic announced that it was pivoting to a digital event due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Commodity Classic, originally scheduled for San Antonio, Texas, in early March, is the Silver Anniversary of America’s largest farmer-owned, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience.   The digital experience will focus on providing top-quality educational sessions and farmer networking opportunities that are hallmarks of Commodity...

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Jan 20, 2021

Corn Grower Leaders to President Biden: We Stand Ready to Work with You

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today congratulated President Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States. NCGA President John Linder, along with 21 state corn grower association presidents, sent a letter to Biden outlining the opportunities for corn growers and agriculture over the next four years.   “As you know, farmers are optimistic by nature. Each year we plant seeds in the ground, rely on a combination of mother nature and innovation, and we are hopeful that those seeds will generate a profitable commodity. In that same regard, we are optimistic about the opportunity for farmers to play an innovative role in combating climate change and expanding our overseas markets,” the corn grower leaders wrote.   NCGA and corn growers across the country are looking forward to being a part of efforts to address climate change, one of the Biden-Harris Administration’s top policy priorities. In their letter, the corn grower leaders...

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Jan 19, 2021

NCGA: EPA Undercuts Corn Farmers, Ethanol Again

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President John Linder today made the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted oil refineries two Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs), or waivers, for 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending and one SRE for 2018.    “It shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have been paying attention for the last four years that this EPA would undermine corn farmers and the ethanol market on its way out the door. There is no reason for the EPA to take this action now, especially with the Supreme Court set to consider the Tenth Circuit ruling in the new term. Corn farmers need an EPA that will follow the law as written and intended by Congress. NCGA looks forward to working with the Biden Administration to rectify the harm caused by this EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions and restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard.”   Today’s waivers roughly account for 260 million ethanol equivalent gallons. NCGA last...

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Jan 15, 2021

EPA Takes Positive Steps Forward for Ethanol

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued proposed regulatory changes related to required pump labeling and infrastructure compatibility for E15. This is a long-awaited proposal and gives stakeholders, including NCGA, the opportunity to provide comments that will be considered by the incoming Biden Administration to complete this rulemaking process to address retail barriers.   The agency today also issued a request for comments on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waiver requests made by oil state Governors and refiners in 2020.   “Today’s announcement is a positive step forward for corn growers,” said NCGA Public Policy Director, Renewable Fuels, Kathy Bergren. “NCGA looks forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration to restore RFS integrity and stop RFS waiver abuse.  We also stand ready to work with them on a final rule that supports greater E15 distribution and sales by addressing labeling and infrastructure barriers.”   EPA’s announcements today...

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Jan 13, 2021

U.S. Farm & Biofuel Leaders Condemn Rumors of Last-Minute RFS Waivers

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on President Trump to reject last-minute attacks on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and American farmers throughout the country, a plan reported to be under consideration by Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The following joint statement was issued by the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Fuels America, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union, and the Renewable Fuels Association: “Reports indicate that the EPA is considering a last-minute flood of oil industry waivers, along with other regulatory favors, that would sabotage the rural recovery and shatter this administration’s promises to supporters across the heartland. There is no justification for President Trump, Andrew Wheeler, and their allies to award a massive, short-sighted handout to oil companies at the expense of farm communities. While no one benefits from...

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Jan 6, 2021

USDA Announces Quality Loss Assistance

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) yesterday announced details for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program. Producer signup for the program will begin today, January 6 and run through March 5, 2021.   QLA is intended to help growers who suffered crop quality losses due to weather-related disasters in 2018 and 2019. Corn growers in several states were impacted by these events.   For more information, growers can visit farmers.gov/quality-loss, or contact your local USDA Service Center. Producers can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364.

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Jan 6, 2021

Risk Management and Transportation Action Team Focusing in 2021 on Infrastructure Improvements and Strong Risk Management Tools

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Liz Friedlander

NCGA’s Risk Management and Transportation Action Team (RMTAT) oversees much of NCGA’s public policy work on issues including the farm bill’s commodity, crop insurance and disaster programs; commodity markets; and transportation and infrastructure.   RMTAT plays a key role in the development of NCGA policy and is looking to have an impactful 2021 and beyond. The team has a full plate of issues to consider for the coming year. U.S. infrastructure improvements, including waterways and rail systems, to keep a competitive edge for American agriculture, along with implementation of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), will be a focus for the team.   RMTAT will also look ahead to the next farm bill reauthorization, evaluating current farm bill programs, looking for areas of improvement to existing programs, and continuing to support strong risk management tools essential to corn growers. Federal responses to weather-related disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic will also be on...

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Dec 18, 2020

NCGA Statement: Regan nominated to Lead EPA

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association President John Linder today made the below statement following the news that President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Michael Regan to serve as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator.   “The National Corn Growers Association looks forward to working with Regan on issues of importance to corn farmers overseen by the EPA, most notably the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS was a game-changer for corn farmers nearly 20 years ago but previous administrations have failed to uphold the law and implement it as Congress intended. NCGA hopes to have an open dialogue with the new Administrator upon his confirmation and work together to uphold the RFS, reduce emissions through greater use of biofuels, ensure farmers’ access to crop protection products based on sound science and seek practical solutions to issues important to agriculture.”

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Dec 16, 2020

Farm, Biofuels, Trade Leaders Label Brazil Decision ‘Devastating’ For U.S. Ethanol

Key Issues: EthanolTrade

Author: Liz Friedlander

A statement from: Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association Jon Doggett, CEO, National Corn Growers Association The U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association issued the following statement in response to the Brazilian government’s decision to let the current tariff rate quota (TRQ) expire, replacing it with a 20 percent tariff on all imports of U.S. ethanol: “Brazil’s decision to impose a 20 percent tariff on all U.S. ethanol imports is devastating for the U.S. ethanol industry, the future of cooperation and coordination between our nations. Not only does this decision risk destroying the great progress our two nations have made as global leaders in ethanol production, it marks a dramatic turn in our bilateral trade relationship. “Today, Brazilian ethanol receives unfettered access into the U.S. market,...

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Dec 15, 2020

A New Blueprint for Improving Ag Trade, Supply Chains and American Competitiveness

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

NCGA joined American ag leaders from across the country at a virtual press conference today to release a new report on the challenges and solutions facing American agriculture on trade, supply chains and global competitiveness. The report, organized by Farmers for Free Trade and its membership, is the culmination of the summer’s AgTalks virtual town hall discussions with farmers, ag leaders and related industries including manufacturing and food producers and distributors.   NCGA Board Chairman Kevin Ross represented NCGA in today’s virtual press conference where he stressed the importance of biofuels like ethanol as a driver of the agriculture economy, opportunities for corn and corn product exports in Southeast Asia, and infrastructure modernization.   “There have been so many disruptions in agriculture in recent years, due to many different factors. AgTalks brought people together for conversations around trade and agriculture issues,” Ross said.   The AgTalks report will...

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Dec 15, 2020

Legislation Seeking to Curb Rising Rural Suicide Rate Approved by Congress

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The Seeding Rural Resilience Act, legislation aimed at curbing the rising rate of suicide in rural areas, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate last week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill is currently awaiting President Trump’s signature.   The legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jon Tester, D-Mont., both active farmers.    The Senators cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing the suicide rate 45 percent higher in rural America than in urban areas. Americans in rural communities face isolation, distance from basic health care services, lack of broadband access, stigmas against receiving counseling, and financial burdens due to stagnant crop prices. These factors cause higher rates of stress for American farmers and ranchers, making it even harder for people in rural communities to get by.   The Seeding Rural Resilience Act creates three...

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Dec 11, 2020

Agriculture Trade: A Reason for Optimism in 2020

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

This month we are looking back at some of the accomplishments and success stories from 2020. This story is an example of many we will be highlighting throughout the month.   In late January 2020, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, was signed into law by President Trump at a White House ceremony attended by NCGA leaders. This monumental event set the stage for positive trade developments for corn growers in 2020.   The signing ceremony was the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations and ratification between the three countries. Following the initial signing November 30, 2018, the United States ratified USMCA on January 29, 2020, followed by Canada on March 13 and Mexico on April 3.   NCGA endorsed USMCA at Commodity Classic 2019 and declared the trade deal the organization’s top legislative priority for the year. Corn farmers submitted more than 1300 comments in support of USMCA.   Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market....

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Dec 10, 2020

NCGA Statement: Nomination of Tom Vilsack to lead U.S. Department of Agriculture

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association President John Linder today welcomed the nomination of former Iowa Governor and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to again serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Linder made the following statement.   “The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Secretary Vilsack on his nomination to lead USDA. In his eight years leading the Department during the Obama administration corn farmers appreciated his willingness to listen to the input from growers across the country and his steadfast commitment to agriculture, renewable fuels, our environment and USDA’s food and nutrition programs. He’s been an outspoken advocate for rural America and we look forward to working together again, along with President-elect Biden, to build long-term demand for our product, mitigate the impact of climate change, seek new markets around the globe, and continue to feed and fuel the world.”

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Dec 9, 2020

EPA, DOJ Oppose Refiner Request for Supreme Court Review of Tenth Circuit Decision on RFS Exemptions

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

In a filing submitted yesterday, the Department of Justice recommended against Supreme Court review of the Tenth Circuit Court’s ruling earlier this year that invalidated several small refinery exemptions issued by EPA under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The DOJ filing is in response to a petition submitted in September by HollyFrontier Corporation and CVR Energy, in which the oil refiners ask the Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit’s January decision.   The petitioners in the original Tenth Circuit Court challenge—the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and American Coalition for Ethanol—welcomed the government’s brief opposing Supreme Court review of the appeals court decision. RFA, NCGA, NFU and ACE plan to file their own brief with the Supreme Court today echoing the points raised by DOJ and adding others in opposing review of the Tenth Circuit’s decision.    In January, the Tenth Circuit invalidated three exemptions...

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Dec 4, 2020

Setting the Stage for the Next Generation Fuels Act

Key Issues: EthanolFarm PolicyHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has long sought new and creative ways to build demand for our product. Since 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has helped to promote both energy independence and a stable, prosperous U.S. economy.   The Next Generation Fuels Act (H.R. 8371) is the next step in corn farmers’ efforts to build on the success of the RFS to continue growing the role of low carbon, affordable and renewable ethanol in the fuel supply. Not only does this legislation yield economic benefits for rural America, but it also results in common sense environmental benefits.   The introduction of the bill follows several years of work by corn farmers to boost long term corn demand for clean, affordable ethanol. But introduction of this legislation is just the beginning of a long process.   The current Congress is set to adjourn by mid-December, making the next week a critical time to raise awareness and build additional support for the Next Generation Fuels...

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Dec 3, 2020

NCGA Statement: Thompson to Serve as U.S. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association President John Linder today made the following statement after it was announced that Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Pa., would serve as Ranking Member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for the 117th Congress.   “The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Representative Thompson on his new role as Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee. In his time on the Committee, Thompson has been a strong advocate for farmers and policies impacting rural America. We look forward to continuing to work with him and members of the Agriculture Committee on behalf of America’s corn farmers.”  

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Dec 3, 2020

NCGA Statement: Scott to Lead U.S. House Agriculture Committee

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association President John Linder today made the following statement after it was announced that Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., would serve as Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for the 117th Congress.   “The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Congressman Scott on his new role as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Through his tenure on the Committee, Scott has demonstrated strong support for the policies important to corn farmers. NCGA looks forward to continuing our work with the House Agriculture Committee and Chairman Scott in this new leadership role.”

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Dec 3, 2020

Congress Reauthorizes U.S. Grain Standards Act

Key Issues: TradeFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. House of Representatives late Wednesday approved the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act (S. 4054). The U.S. Senate approved the legislation prior to the Thanksgiving holiday and the bill now moves to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.   The U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA) sets the framework for the functioning of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal Grain Inspection Service.   Earlier this week, NCGA joined a coalition of agriculture interests in a letter urging members of Congress to support S. 4054 ahead of the impending Dec. 11 expiration of parts of USGSA.   “The U.S. grain inspection system provides certainty to our foreign customers that all U.S. grains and oilseeds have been inspected and certified by an independent agency and provides great value to U.S. commodities, thereby enhancing our competitiveness in the world market. This certainty and reliability have helped grow export markets for U.S. commodities and serves as a...

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Oct 26, 2020

NCGA to EPA: Remove Barriers to Increase Ethanol Demand

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today, along with 14 state affiliate associations, urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more certainty and use forward-looking data analysis to update policy that will lead to greater flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production and increased demand for higher blends of ethanol.   The associations submitted comments in response to EPA’s request for input on data sources and analytical approaches on which to base an updated weighting factor (F-factor) for E85 FFVs for model year 2021 and later.   “As the producers of the primary feedstock for ethanol, corn farmers support a forward-looking, consistent, long-term F-factor that provides automakers with greater certainty in compliance crediting for planning vehicle production,” the associations wrote.   “Corn farmers have responded to the demand for clean, renewable fuel with increased productivity. Corn production has improved on all measures of resource efficiency,...

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Oct 16, 2020

Barriers That Prevent Food from Reaching the Hungry Take Center Stage this Food Day

Author: Liz Friedlander

October 16 marks World Food Day, a day that has special significance in 2020, as COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on global food security and food systems. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that COVID-19 will drive an additional 130 million more people into food insecurity. Northwestern University recently estimated that the rate of food-insecure households, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as, “household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food,” has more than doubled, from 10.5 percent of American households to 23 percent of American households, as a result of the pandemic.   It is no surprise that the recently announced 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme for its efforts to combat hunger.   This week, the global community of NGOs, think tanks, academia, government, and industry leaders came together for the annual World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue....

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Oct 15, 2020

China Purchases More U.S. Corn

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday an export sale of 420,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China.   “I saw the sale this morning and China could be our biggest customer this year,” said Lesly McNitt, director of public policy and trade for the National Corn Growers Association. “We are seeing tremendous purchases.”   Agri-Pulse reported that outstanding sales of U.S. corn – the amount of purchases that have not yet been shipped – to China as of Oct. 1 totaled about 8.9 million tons, according to the latest weekly trade data out of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. A year ago that total was zero. And the sales to China are significantly boosting overall U.S. export sales. Total outstanding U.S. corn export sales as of Oct. 1 were about 22 million tons. Physical corn exports to China are also continuing to surge. China was again the biggest corn importer during the Sept. 25-Oct. 1 period. The U.S. shipped 349,900 tons of corn to China in that week-long...

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Oct 13, 2020

AgTalks: Taking the Town Hall Digital

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joined other agriculture leaders this summer in hosting a series of Farmers for Free Trade town hall discussions focused on the future of agriculture.   The AgTalks town hall series focused specifically on the big challenges American agriculture faces on trade, international supply chain resilience and global competitiveness. With the cancellation of many state fairs and agriculture conventions where farm and agriculture leaders typically engage in dialogues on industry-wide challenges, AgTalks served as a platform for insightful discussion on trade and its importance to the health of rural economies.   “Farmers and Agribusiness leaders from across the country are leading the way in defining the future for their industry and communities. Expanded trade is key to revitalizing Rural America and it is incumbent upon our local leaders to play a critical role in shaping future policies that will not only open markets but also ensure...

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Oct 8, 2020

NCGA Joins Secretary Perdue Supporting Higher Blends of Ethanol

Key Issues: EthanolFarm PolicyHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) First Vice President Chris Edgington, along with Minnesota Corn Growers Association leadership, today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue for an Albert Lea, Minn., event in support of higher blends of ethanol.   Perdue announced today that USDA has invested $22 million out of the up to $100 million in grants available to increase American ethanol and biodiesel sales through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP).  According to USDA, the $22 million HBIIP investments are projected to increase ethanol demand by nearly 150 million gallons annually. USDA will announce the remaining grant recipients in the coming weeks.   Further developing the infrastructure needed for higher blends of ethanol continues to be a priority for NCGA. These cost-share grants will support more retailers offering E15 and E85 across the country. Increasing the availability of higher blends today also helps expand...

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Sep 30, 2020

NCGA Statement: Congress Supports Funding for Farm Safety Net

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Ross today made the following statement after Congressional passage of a continuing resolution (CR) that provides the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with resources to both ensure that farm safety net programs are not disrupted or delayed this fall and that these resources will not go to oil refiners attempting to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   “Farmers have worked with Congress for years to develop and implement effective risk management tools that ensure a stable feed, fuel, and food supply even during the tough times many are facing today.   “NCGA thanks members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle who fought to ensure USDA has the budget flexibility necessary to deliver on the farm bill’s commitments and support America’s farmers and ranchers.”

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Sep 24, 2020

Next Generation Fuels Act Paves Way for Future of Renewable Fuels

Key Issues: EthanolHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed the introduction of The Next Generation Fuels Act, legislation to transition to a higher octane fuel in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet future needs of more advanced vehicles. Corn growers support a low carbon octane standard as a means toward boosting long term corn demand for clean, affordable ethanol.   The Next Generation Fuels Act, introduced by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., recognizes the high octane, low carbon benefits of corn ethanol.   Establishing a new 98 Research Octane Number (RON) standard for gasoline and requiring that sources of additional octane result in at least 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than unblended gasoline, will ensure the progress already made to lower emissions through cleaner renewable fuels continues. Through advanced engine design features that take advantage of this new fuel, automakers will be able to increase engine performance and significantly...

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Sep 23, 2020

Sign Up for CFAP 2 Available for Corn Farmers

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last Friday announced $14 billion in additional aid from the Commodity Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) to assist farmers and their customers recover from the continued financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Program enrollment is open through December 11, and producers can download application forms prior to visiting their local FSA office. Producers can also register to participate in a webinar scheduled for September 24 to learn more.   Corn is an eligible commodity under the row crop/price triggered commodities. CFAP 2 provides an effective payment rate of $0.232/bushel on eligible corn production. USDA has a specific resource website for row crops at www.farmers.gov/cfap/row-crops.   NCGA analysis projects a $59 per acre average revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop and an $89 per acre average revenue decline for 2020, compared to pre-COVID-19 projections. If realized, the 2020 crop year revenue would be the lowest corn...

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Sep 18, 2020

NCGA Welcomes Additional USDA COVID-19 Assistance for Corn Farmers

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today said additional aid from the Commodity Assistance Food Program (CFAP 2) will assist farmers and their customers recover from the continued financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $14 billion in a second round of direct support, including additional assistance for corn growers. The aid was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law in March.   “It’s been a tough year for agriculture and there’s still a lot of uncertainty across the corn belt as we head into harvest,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “We’re doing all we can to get back on solid ground, but we can’t do it alone, which is why today’s announcement is a positive and welcome step forward.   NCGA analysis projects a $59 per acre average revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop and an $89 per acre average revenue decline for 2020, compared to...

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Sep 16, 2020

Peterson Effort to Address RFS Waivers Moves Forward

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Tuesday released legislation containing provisions of legislation led by House Agriculture Committee Chairman and Congressional Biofuels Caucus Co-Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., to provide transparency into the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) granting of small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers.   The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act (H.R. 4447) would set an annual deadline for refiners to request exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and require EPA to publicly release the name of refiners requesting a waiver, the number of gallons requested to be waived and the number of gallons of biofuel that will not be blended as a result of the waiver. These provisions mirror the policies contained in Peterson’s Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act (H.R. 3006).   Providing more transparency to EPA’s waiver process will give farmers, biofuel producers and the public a clearer understanding of EPA’s justification for...

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Sep 15, 2020

Agriculture Organizations Tell Congress USDA Needs Tools to Help Farmers

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today joined the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 40 other agriculture organizations asking Congress to ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has the tools necessary to help farmers in times of crisis. The group sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting they immediately provide replenishment for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) through the continuing resolution. Without immediate replenishment, funding for farm bill programs could run out while farmers struggle against low commodity prices, natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.   “For decades, CCC has been regularly replenished to fund programs integral to the farm safety net that Congress has worked tirelessly to craft,” the letter states. “Producers count on programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, Dairy Margin Coverage, Marketing Assistance Loans, conservation programs, and many others as they provide food,...

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Sep 14, 2020

NCGA: Denial of Gap-Year Waiver Petitions Positive, Pending Current-Year Waivers Yet to be Addressed

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of 54 of 68 pending past-year (2011-2018) small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, to oil refiners. However, 14 gap-year waivers remain under required review at the Department of Energy (DOE). The EPA also has 31 waivers under consideration for 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years. NCGA President Kevin Ross made the following statement:   “Asking for waivers for nearly ten years ago was a new low by the oil industry to undermine the RFS and rewrite history. Denying these petitions was the obvious answer and farmers are pleased to begin to move past this distraction. We thank our bipartisan supporters in Congress, including Senator Ernst, for their advocacy in upholding the RFS.   “While denial of these past-year waivers is obviously positive news for farmers and biofuel producers, we’re never going to have the certainty we need until the...

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Sep 14, 2020

Brazil Tariff Rate Quota for Ethanol Extended for 90 Days

Key Issues: EthanolTrade

Author: Liz Friedlander

After expiring on August 31 and a 20 percent tariff was temporarily applied to all U.S. ethanol, Brazil’s tariff rate quota (TRQ) has been extended for a further 90 days starting on Sept. 14. National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) CEO Jon Doggett joined Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council; Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy; and Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association in the below statement:   “The U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association believe the 90-day extension of the TRQ serves neither Brazil’s consumers nor the Brazilian government’s own decarbonization goals, especially while Brazil’s ethanol producers continue to be afforded virtually tariff-free access to the U.S. market. The extension falls during Brazil’s annual inter-harvest period when U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil are traditionally low, causing greater uncertainty for U.S. exporters looking to make selling...

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Sep 10, 2020

Brummette Joins NCGA Washington Office

Key Issues: EthanolNew Uses

Author: Liz Friedlander

Rosy Brummette has joined NCGA’s Washington, D.C. office as Manager of Public Policy for Market Development and Renewable Fuels. Brummette will play a vital role in NCGA’s efforts to expand market opportunities for corn and advocating for the organization’s ethanol and trade policy goals.   Brummette most recently served as a Policy Analyst for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., where she focused on biofuels, energy, agriculture conservation and climate issues. She played a key role during the 2018 Farm Bill, leading staff-level conference negotiations on the conservation title for the Senator.   “NCGA is pleased to welcome Rosy to our Public Policy team,” said Kathy Bergren, NCGA Public Policy Director, Renewable Fuels. “She brings a wealth of agriculture policy experience that will enable her to hit the ground running and play a key role in advocating for NCGA policy priorities.”   Brummette grew...

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Sep 9, 2020

Ethanol Coalition Welcomes Reports of ‘Gap-Year’ Waiver Petition Denials, Denounces Refiners’ Supreme Court Petition

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Farmers Union (NFU) and American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today welcomed news reports that President Trump has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to reject dozens of so-called “gap year” small refinery exemption petitions intended to circumvent the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision in RFA et al. v. EPA.   Meanwhile, the groups denounced CVR Refining and HollyFrontier Corporation’s last-minute request, filed late on September 4, for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit Court’s ruling. The decision in question overturned three improperly granted small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   NCGA, RFA, NFU and ACE were the four petitioners in the successful Tenth Circuit Court case, in which a panel of judges unanimously found EPA abused its authority by granting small refinery exemptions to CVR Refining and HollyFrontier that were not extensions of...

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Sep 8, 2020

CFAP Sign Up Deadline is Friday

Key Issues: COVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

Farmers have until this Friday, September 11, to sign up for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).   CFAP provides much-needed assistance to begin to help farmers and their customers recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $16 billion program is intended to support farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of the food supply chain, and ensure Americans continue to receive and have access to food. As of August 31, the program has provided $9.44 billion in direct payments to farmers, including corn farmers.   Corn farmers have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. NCGA analysis projects an $89 per acre average revenue decline for 2020, compared to pre-COVID-19 projections.   Farmers who have yet to sign up can visit farmers.gov/cfap to apply or can call the Farm Service Agency office at their local USDA Service Center.   Details regarding the second round of CFAP could be announced by USDA later this...

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Aug 25, 2020

Alavez Joins NCGA Washington Office

Author: Liz Friedlander

Johnny Alavez has joined NCGA’s Washington, D.C. office as Legislative Assistant. In this role, Alavez will provide support to the Risk Management Action Team and other public policy areas as needed.   Alavez comes to the Washington office following two years working on Capitol Hill in the office of Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash. Prior to his time on Capitol Hill, Johnny worked as a field supervisor at Rader Farms in Lynden, Washington, where he was responsible for managing a team to meet production quotas and coordinating with farm and production plant managers to ensure product standards.   “Johnny’s Capitol Hill and on-farm experience make him an excellent addition to the NCGA Public Policy team,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “He’ll be an essential part of our office’s work on public policy issues impacting corn growers.   Johnny is originally from Washington state and received a degree in Political Science from Western Washington...

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Aug 19, 2020

NCGA and Leaders of American Agriculture

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Tuesday evening joined Leaders of American Agriculture (LAA) for a virtual symposium in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention (DNC). NCGA sponsored a pre-event welcome room, “Climate, Conservation, and Community.”   NCGA CEO Jon Doggett, NCGA Board Members Brandon Hunnicutt and Deb Gangwish, Ethanol Action Team Chair Mark Recker, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and former USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie participated in the NCGA welcome room to discuss agriculture’s role in climate change policy, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) and the environmental benefits of renewable fuels.   “The virtual symposium gave participants the opportunity to hear directly from corn farmers on the sustainable practices they’re using on their farms to leave it better for the next generation,” Doggett said. “We had great participation from the audience and especially appreciated the remarks from Rep. Spanberger on her bipartisan work on...

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Aug 14, 2020

NCGA Submits Comments on EPA Vehicle Test Fuel Rule

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule on Vehicle Test Procedure Adjustments for Tier 3 Certification Test Fuel. The proposed rule would change vehicle emission test procedures following the update in test fuel from E0 to E10 fuel and would have the effect of discouraging lower carbon fuels such as higher ethanol blends.   “Lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicles and improved fuel economy benefit consumers, our environment, and our energy security. Just as updating the test fuel from E0 to E10 reduced GHG emissions by blending cleaner, renewable ethanol with gasoline, E15 and future fuels that blend more ethanol will further reduce emissions and improve fuel economy when used with optimized engines.   “Vehicle test procedures for E10 certification fuel must not create impediments to low carbon fuels, such as E15 and higher blends and the vehicle technologies that help reach our...

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Aug 10, 2020

NCGA and the 2020 Presidential Election

Author: Liz Friedlander

Ahead of the 2020 Presidential election, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is looking forward to serving as a resource for agriculture policy. Rural America is an extremely important electorate with the ability to swing key states, including NCGA affiliate states, and NCGA’s membership provides a unique perspective into the priorities of rural America.   To help corn farmers evaluate how their policy priorities align with the two Presidential campaigns, NCGA has prepared fact sheets for both the Trump and Biden campaigns. These materials are based off of policy plans and statements from each campaign website.   NCGA is focused on helping farmers recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and, in the long-term, increasing demand for U.S. corn. The two documents released today outline NCGA’s ethanol, trade, sustainability, farm bill, regulatory, and infrastructure policy priorities against those of each campaign.   As the election day draws closer,...

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Aug 5, 2020

Virtual Town Hall Features NCGA Corn Board Member

Key Issues: EthanolTrade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The AgTalks virtual town hall discussion continued today in conjunction with what would have been Minnesota IDEA FarmFest. This year’s in-person event was canceled, and sessions held virtually due to COVID-19.   National Corn Board Director and Minnesota farmer Harold Wolle served as a panelist during the town hall to discuss the future of agriculture, with a focus on trade, supply chains and global competitiveness. The town hall gave panelists the opportunity to provide updates from their industries and take questions from conversation participants, including local corn growers.   Wolle highlighted the importance of the ethanol industry, a market that takes more than 35 percent of the annual U.S. corn crop, and NCGA’s efforts to support the industry’s recovery and long-term success.   “In terms of global competitiveness, the expansion of ethanol exports is an opportunity to really move the demand needle for our industry. Global customers are increasingly turning to ethanol...

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Jul 30, 2020

NCGA Joins Virtual Town Hall on the Future of Agriculture Trade and Supply Chains

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

NCGA President Kevin Ross today joined Iowa and national agriculture leaders for an AgTalks virtual town hall to discuss the future of agriculture, with a focus on trade, supply chains and global competitiveness. The town hall gave panelists the opportunity to provide updates from their industries and take questions from conversation participants.   Ross discussed the challenges 2020 has presented for U.S. corn farmers and shared NCGA’s recovery plans to help growers navigate immediate challenges in the short term and expand market access in the long term.   “We’re thankful to have USMCA in force and Phase One deals with Japan and China,” Ross said. “But we have lost ground to our competitors, and it’s time to pivot to more aggressive expansion in our trade. NCGA will continue to push for trade agreements in Southeast Asia and other regions with strong demand potential.”   The AgTalks town hall series will help farmers learn and share their views with commodity association...

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Jul 23, 2020

Virtual Fly-In Gives Growers Opportunity to Meet with Members of Congress

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association remains hard at work to help improve the economic situation for corn growers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   On the heels of NCGA’s first Virtual Corn Congress, the organization hosted a virtual fly-in to Capitol Hill July 22-23. NCGA typically hosts a fly-in for corn growers in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with Corn Congress each July.   NCGA’s fly-ins allow growers to provide members of Congress and their staffs, including that outside of the corn belt, first-hand accounts of how policies from Washington impact their farms. Even though coronavirus restrictions prevented growers from traveling to Capitol Hill this year, the virtual fly-in gave members the opportunity to share their stories and weigh in on ongoing policy discussions.   Growers discussed a wide range of topics including assistance for producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the benefits of ethanol and a strong RFS along with the push for a Low Carbon Octane Standard;...

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Jul 15, 2020

NCGA Recognizes Senator Ernst with President’s Award

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross today recognized Iowa Senator Joni Ernst with NCGA’s 2020 President’s Award. 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. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Corn Congress was held as a one-day online meeting.   “Senator Ernst’s steadfast advocacy of corn farmers has not gone unnoticed, and it is an honor to present her with this year’s NCGA President’s Award,” Ross said. “Senator Ernst has, time and again, stood up to the EPA and fought back against the Agency’s efforts to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard. She is a true champion of corn growers.”   In a video to the virtual Corn Congress, Ernst revisited some recent victories for corn farmers and biofuel producers, including year-round E15 and ratification of USMCA. Ernst also highlighted her work to address EPA’s abuse of refinery waivers...

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Jul 2, 2020

NCGA Submits Fueling Regulations Comments to EPA

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association this week submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Agency’s Fuels Regulatory Streamlining proposed rule to update and streamline certain fuel regulations.   Clear and objective regulations around the manufacture and sale of fuels, including existing E85 for use in flex-fuel vehicles, E15, and future mid-level ethanol blends, are important to corn growers.   NCGA President Kevin Ross asked EPA to ensure proposed changes to the definition of gasoline do not add new and unnecessary regulatory burdens for E85, keep pathways to higher ethanol blends open, and build on the successful rule for year-round E15 by addressing additional regulatory barriers to expanding E15 sales.   Ross urged EPA to, “follow through and take action to update E15 labeling and equipment certification requirements. Streamlining E15 labeling and certifying current E10 equipment for E15 would support more retailers offering this fuel to...

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Jul 2, 2020

Agriculture Recognized in House Climate Report

Key Issues: EthanolFarm PolicyHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis this week released a report titled, “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.” The report from the Democratic Majority details the Select Committee’s plan for recommended Congressional action to provide climate solutions.   Notably, the report includes several provisions related to agriculture, including an expansion of conservation programs and increased funds for climate-related research, recognizing the positive role agriculture can play in addressing climate change.   The Select Committee also recognizes the benefits of renewable fuels, like ethanol, in reducing carbon emissions. Ethanol already offers much lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels which, by accounting for beneficial farming practices and other improvements, can be further reduced in the future.   NCGA is pleased to see the report acknowledge that high-efficiency...

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Jul 1, 2020

It’s Official: USMCA Enters into Force Today

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The United States-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is officially the law of the land, replacing the 25 year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   Today’s action is the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations and ratification between the three countries. Following the initial signing November 30, 2018, the United States ratified USMCA on January 29, 2020, followed by Canada on March 13 and Mexico on April 3.   NCGA endorsed USMCA at Commodity Classic 2019 and declared the trade deal the organization’s top legislative priority for the year. Corn farmers submitted over 1300 comments in support of USMCA.   Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. Since NAFTA, U.S. ag exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico. In 2018, 21.4 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products, valued at $4.56 billion, were exported to Mexico and Canada. Mexico is the top buyer of U.S. corn and DDGs.   These exports have a...

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Jun 24, 2020

Senate Ag Committee Reviews Growing Climate Solutions Act

Key Issues: Sustainability

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today held a hearing to review the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020 (S. 3894). The bipartisan legislation addresses the potential for agriculture to serve as a critical climate solution by making it easier for producers to participate in climate-smart practices, navigate carbon markets and earn extra income through carbon sequestration. NCGA has endorsed the bill.   The committee heard from witnesses representing varied agriculture industries, including Brent Bible, a corn and soybean farmer and Soil Health Partnership (SHP) participant from Lafayette, Ind.   “Agriculture has a tremendous opportunity to lead by example with impactful, common-sense climate solutions. Farmers are vital partners in stabilizing the climate and increasing resilience to climate impacts we can’t avoid,” Bible told the Committee.   The Growing Climate Solutions Act will:   Create an Online “One Stop Shop” for Producers and...

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Jun 24, 2020

Senate Agriculture Committee Reauthorizes Grain Standards Act

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today approved the United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020. The legislation sets the framework for the functioning of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal Grain Inspection Service.   NCGA joined a coalition of other farm and commodity organizations in a letter to Committee leaders urging they act swiftly to finalize the reauthorization process.   “The United States’ grain inspection system provides certainty to our foreign customers that all U.S. grains and oilseeds have been inspected and certified by an independent agency and provides great value to U.S. commodities, thereby enhancing our competitiveness in the world market,” the groups wrote.   The United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA) is set to expire at the end of September.

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Jun 17, 2020

NCGA Encourages Court to Respect EPA Decision

Key Issues: Farm PolicyProduction

Author: Liz Friedlander

NCGA joined a coalition of national grower trade associations today in urging the Ninth Circuit to reject an NGO call to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order for three dicamba products whose registrations were immediately vacated by the court earlier this month.   NCGA joined with American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers in filing an amicus brief supporting EPA’s position against the NGO petition. The brief seeks to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order and hold the agency in contempt, citing the catastrophic consequences that could result if the NGO’s request is granted.   The grower coalition’s brief makes a case for farmers caught in a highly frustrating and costly situation amid prime planting season and the narrow weed-control window. Many farmers made management decisions and product investments months ago in good...

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Jun 16, 2020

NCGA to Take Part in House Biofuels Caucus Town Hall

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

NCGA CEO Jon Doggett will join members of the U.S. House of Representatives Biofuels Caucus and other biofuels leaders for a virtual Congressional Biofuels Caucus Town Hall this Wednesday evening. The open discussion will focus on the challenges, opportunities, and next steps for the ethanol industry.   Corn growers can join the town hall live, Wednesday, June 17, at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. CT on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZiI1Rju7L0&feature=youtu.be .   Corn’s two largest markets, ethanol and animal agriculture, were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and corn farmers are facing an $89 per acre loss for the 2020 corn crop. NCGA is focused on getting these important markets functioning again and supporting growers throughout this difficult time. The town hall discussion will be an opportunity to learn more about these efforts across the biofuels sector.  

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Jun 12, 2020

U.S. Farm & Biofuel Leaders Demand Answers on Retroactive EPA Exemptions

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

In a letter this week, America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to offer answers on a new effort to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). During a Senate hearing last month, administration officials confirmed their consideration of retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs) covering previous years. The “gap-filings” are designed to reconstitute a continuous string of exemptions for select oil companies “to be consistent with the Tenth Circuit decision,” thus circumventing court limits on new oil industry handouts at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers.   “These ‘gap filings’ appear to be little more than the latest in a string of oil industry tactics designed to subvert the law and sidestep a court order to uphold the RFS,” wrote the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean...

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Jun 10, 2020

Analysis Projects $89 per Acre Losses for 2020 Corn Crop due to COVID-19

Key Issues: COVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

New analysis released by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today projects a drastic drop in 2020 revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with impacts persisting into 2021.   The latest analysis projects a $59 per acre average revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop and an $89 per acre average revenue decline for 2020, compared to pre-COVID-19 projections. If realized, the 2020 crop year revenue would be the lowest corn revenues since 2006. Residual impacts from COVID-19 on corn prices are very likely to persist into 2021 and possibly beyond.    The analysis was conducted by Dr. Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois using projections for 2019, 2020, and 2021 for pre-COVID and post-COVID scenarios. It follows previous analysis built on market numbers to date, along with estimates of state-level impacts, conducted as part of NCGA’s efforts to better understand the economic impact of the global pandemic on the corn industry and work to create solutions to...

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Jun 6, 2020

NCGA Statement on Dicamba Ruling

Key Issues: Production

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is disappointed by the 9th Circuit’s decision to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal registrations for three dicamba products, Xtendimax, FeXapan, and Engenia. Farmers rely on EPA’s science-based process for developing appropriate and safe guidelines for the use of crop protection products.   NCGA urges the EPA to immediately appeal this ruling and obtain a stay of this overreaching court order. This decision to remove a weed control option, especially in the middle of the season, adds yet another challenge to an already difficult time and sets a concerning precedent.   Farmers have invested in previously allowed dicamba products, EPA should offer clarifying guidance and allow the use of existing stocks. NCGA is working closely with its partners and the EPA to understand the full ramifications of this decision and what options lie ahead for the future of the product.

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Jun 5, 2020

Laudeman Promoted to Manager of Public Policy, Risk Management and Renewable Fuels

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today announced that Peter Laudeman has been promoted to Manager of Public Policy, Risk Management and Renewable Fuels in the organization’s Washington, D.C. office. Laudeman has served as a Legislative Assistant in Washington since 2018.   Laudeman’s policy portfolio will expand to include renewable fuels issues, and he will take an active role in advancing NCGA ethanol priorities, including advocating for new Low Carbon Octane Standard (LCOS) legislation and other policies that grow demand for ethanol. His work on risk management issues, with NCGA’s Risk Management and Transportation Action Team, will continue in this new role.   “Peter has been an integral part of NCGA’s public policy work in Washington, D.C., providing policy support on risk management issues and assisting the Risk Management and Transportation Action Team with their work,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “I’m pleased that he will...

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Jun 4, 2020

Senate Legislation Promotes Agriculture in Climate Policy

Key Issues: Sustainability

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today endorsed the Growing Climate Solutions Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Braun, R-Ind., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.   The bipartisan legislation addresses the potential for agriculture to serve as a critical climate solution by making it easier for producers to participate in climate-smart practices, navigate carbon markets and earn extra income through carbon sequestration.   “Corn farmers have been leaders in adopting farming practices to improve the quality of soil, water, and the air around our farms and are pleased to endorse the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This bipartisan effort recognizes agriculture’s role in mitigating the impact of climate change and promotes voluntary, agriculture-friendly ideas into the climate discussion. NCGA thanks the Senators for their leadership and looks forward to working together to implement a policy that benefits both...

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May 22, 2020

World Trade Month: Corn’s Top Markets, Colombia

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The export of corn and corn products is vital to the nation’s economy and NCGA has a deeply rooted policy of working to eliminate barriers to trade and supporting market development. Exports of U.S. corn and co-products provide critical support across the economy, offering billions of dollars in direct and indirect economic benefits to farmers, rural communities, and the nation.   This month, NCGA is celebrating World Trade Month by highlighting the top export markets for U.S. corn. Colombia is the third major buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than 4.7 million metric tons (MT) of corn during the September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019 marketing year. Colombia is also the number seven buyer of U.S. ethanol and purchased more than 64 million gallons during the same marketing year.   Since the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 2012, exports of U.S. grains in all forms have increased more than 11-fold. Recently, the Colombian government-imposed non-tariff trade...

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May 19, 2020

NCGA Welcomes COVID-19 Assistance for Corn Farmers

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed additional information from the Trump Administration on the $16 billion in much-needed assistance from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to begin to help farmers and their customers recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA's Farm Service Agency will begin accepting applications from eligible producers May 26.   “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to much uncertainty across farm country,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross. “This assistance is a first step to getting farmers, and our customers, back on solid footing.”   Recent analysis conducted by NCGA underscores the need for the assistance outlined by the President today. The analysis projects a $50 per acre average revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop with losses anticipated to be higher for the 2020 crop as two of corn’s largest uses, livestock feed and ethanol, have been especially impacted by COVID-19.   “Corn farmers are used to...

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May 15, 2020

HEROES Act Includes Needed Relief for Agriculture

Key Issues: COVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800), a comprehensive $3 trillion bill to provide relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   The legislation includes several provisions to assist the agriculture industry. The HEROES Act will provide $16.5 billion in direct payments to farmers, including corn growers, to cover losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will also provide much-needed relief to renewable fuel producers, including those who produce corn ethanol. NCGA earlier this week called on members of Congress to provide assistance to help the U.S. biofuel industry mitigate the impact of plant closures on the food and feed supply chain and rural communities.   Additionally, the HEROES Act assists agriculture by providing additional authority to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and includes assistance for livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers to address the...

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May 15, 2020

World Trade Month: Corn’s Top Markets, Japan

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The export of corn and corn products is vital to the nation’s economy and NCGA has deeply rooted policy of working to eliminate barriers to trade and supporting market development. Exports of U.S. corn and co-products provide critical support across the economy, offering billions in direct and indirect economic benefits to farmers, rural communities and the nation.   This month, NCGA is celebrating World Trade Month by highlighting the top export markets for U.S. corn. Last week we featured Mexico, the top buyer of U.S. corn. This week’s focus is corn’s number two market – Japan.   Japan has been a strong trading partner and is now the second largest purchaser of U.S. corn, buying more than 13 million metric tons (MT) of corn during the September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019 marketing year. Japan is also a high-value market for the U.S. livestock industry, the top purchaser of U.S. beef and beef products and number three purchaser of U.S. pork and pork products, therefore also a...

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May 11, 2020

NCGA Joins U.S. Farm & Biofuel Leaders Petitioning Congress for COVID-19 Relief

Key Issues: EthanolCOVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on House and Senate leaders to ensure the next round of COVID-19 relief does not overlook U.S. ethanol and biodiesel production. The joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoes bipartisan appeals from House and Senate members, as well as governors across the heartland. It was signed by the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the National Farmers Union, the National Oilseed Processors Association, the National Renderers Association, the National Sorghum Producers, and Fuels America.   “The situation we face is dire,” wrote biofuel and farm advocates. “More than 130 biofuel plants have already partially or fully shut down as motor fuel demand plunged to 50-year lows. America’s biofuel plants purchase annually more than one-third of U.S. corn...

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May 8, 2020

World Trade Month: Corn’s Top Markets, Mexico

Key Issues: TradeFarm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The export of corn and corn products is vital to the nation’s economy, and NCGA has a deeply rooted policy that works to eliminate barriers to trade and support market development. Exports of U.S. corn and co-products provide critical support across the economy, offering billions in direct and indirect economic benefits to farmers, rural communities and the nation.   This month, NCGA is celebrating World Trade Month by highlighting the top export markets for U.S. corn.   Mexico is the top buyer of U.S. corn, U.S. DDGs and U.S. barley. American corn farmers exported more than 16 million metric tons (MT) of corn and more than 2 million MT of DDGS to Mexico during the September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019 marketing year.   Mexico is one of the most important and loyal buyers of U.S. feed grains. Access to affordable grains and reliable shipments from the United States has helped Mexican swine, poultry and beef industries grow, accompanied by increasing imports of U.S. corn,...

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May 1, 2020

Coalition Opposes API Petition on 2020 RFS Obligations

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

A coalition of ethanol and farm groups today sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing the American Petroleum Institute’s recent petition requesting reconsideration of the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) final rule.   API claims reconsideration of the 2020 RFS rule is necessary in light of the coalition’s recent Tenth Circuit court victory that overturned small refinery exemptions illegally granted by EPA. The successful Tenth Circuit court challenge was brought against EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and American Coalition for Ethanol.   Specifically, API argues that the 2020 RFS rule should be revised to eliminate measures that prospectively “reallocate” RFS blending obligations expected to be lost to refinery waivers. API claims reallocation of expected waivers is no longer needed because the Tenth Circuit decision should significantly curtail the number of waivers granted. However, EPA...

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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

Author: Liz Friedlander

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

Author: Liz Friedlander

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

Author: Liz Friedlander

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 9, 2020

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

Author: Liz Friedlander

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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Mar 30, 2020

CARES Act Includes Support for Agriculture

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748, was signed by President Trump on Friday. The wide-ranging legislation provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.   The CARES Act provides $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by COVID-19. The package includes a paycheck protection program, small business debt relief, recovery rebates for individuals, airline support, and the creation of a $150 billion coronavirus relief fund for states, territories and tribal governments.   For agriculture, the CARES Act includes $48.9 billion for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes $9.5 billion for the Secretary of Agriculture to assist agriculture producers, including specialty...

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Mar 25, 2020

NCGA Thanks Governors, Encourages Support for Ag Supply Chain

Key Issues: COVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) yesterday joined a broad coalition of agriculture organizations in a letter to all 50 Governors, encouraging them to apply the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidance consistently to ensure that all workers, facilities and services in the ag supply chain continue to operate and provide necessary inputs.   The guidance, from the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is intended to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19. Works in the food and agriculture supply chain are identified as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.”   “To ensure a consistent approach across all 50 states and local governments, the undersigned organizations respectfully request that you incorporate the CISA list and any future amendments into your state response plan, and any critical shelter-in-place or shut down orders for your state,...

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Mar 24, 2020

NCGA Urges Congress Support CCC Authority

Key Issues: COVID-19Farm PolicyProduction

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joined a wide range of agriculture organizations in a letter to Congressional leaders urging they provide support to farmers amid challenging times for agriculture.   “Farmers, ranchers and the supply chain that support them will not let Americans down during this unprecedented crisis and they are asking the same of you. Millions of producers will need help with cash flow given the rapid and unanticipated decline in commodity prices, the likely closure of ethanol processing plants, the effective elimination of direct-to-consumer sales and decline in full-service restaurants and school meal demand. Congress must have farmers’ and ranchers’ backs by expanding and replenishing USDA’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC),” the groups wrote.   NCGA last week formed a Task Force to facilitate the collection of information and streamline the decision-making process to make recommendations and coordinate...

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Mar 23, 2020

China Purchases U.S. Corn

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

A new report released Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows export sales of 756,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. corn to China for delivery in the 2019-20 marketing year.   China holds tremendous opportunity for U.S. corn, ethanol and DDGs and NCGA welcomed this news.   The USDA report also showed Chinese purchases of 340,00 MT of hard red winter wheat for the 2020-21 marketing year.

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Mar 20, 2020

NCGA COVID-19 Task Force Convenes

Key Issues: COVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is moving quickly in its efforts to better understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s corn growers. In a letter to NCGA members Thursday, NCGA President Kevin Ross and CEO Jon Doggett announced the formation of an NCGA COVID-19 Task Force to facilitate the collection of information, streamline the decision-making process to make recommendations and coordinate activities with the broader corn value chain.   The Task Force held its first organizational meeting via teleconference Friday morning. The Task Force consists of state and national farmer leaders and staff, with support from Ross, Doggett and NCGA’s Management Team.   Task Force members are NCGA First Vice President John Linder (OH), Deb Gangwish (NE), Denny Maple (IN), Harold Wolle (MN), Robert Gordon (TX), Bill Leigh (IL), Evan Miles (MD), Paul Thomas (ND), Craig Floss (IA), Colleen Klein (NY), Gary Marshall (MO), and Lisa Richardson (SD). Linder will...

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Mar 19, 2020

NCGA Actions Related to Coronavirus

Key Issues: COVID-19

Author: Liz Friedlander

NCGA Family,   As we face the uncertainty surrounding the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) we wanted to provide an update on NCGA actions surrounding the pandemic.   While this situation is no doubt impacting our daily lives and personal interactions, it has also created much uncertainty for our industry. We understand that the impact is already being felt through lost dollars in cash price and demand destruction stemming from ethanol plant closures and weakened demand in the livestock sector.   NCGA is assembling a Task Force to provide recommendations on recovery efforts and facilitate coordination along the value chain. The Task Force will compile more information, coordinate with the industry and provide recommendations to mitigate the economic fallout.   And, to better understand the economic impact on agriculture, NCGA’s Board of Directors has commissioned an economic analysis of implications for corn farmers to evaluate how best to move forward on your...

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Feb 4, 2020

Stoskopf Joins NCGA Washington Office

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

Wayne Stoskopf has joined NCGA’s Washington, D.C. office as Director for Public Policy for Risk Management and Tax. Stoskopf will also serve as lead staff for the Risk Management and Transportation Team.   Stoskopf comes to NCGA from the Senate Agriculture Committee where, as Senior Professional Staff, he oversaw commodity programs, crop insurance, disaster, and grain standards programs. He led staff-level negotiations for the commodities and crop insurance titles of the 2018 Farm Bill.   “Wayne is a great addition to the NCGA DC team,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “He brings vital Capitol Hill experience to the role and will lead the association's efforts on the next farm bill.”   Prior to his work on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Stoskopf served as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, handling agriculture issues for both offices. Wayne was raised on his family’s farm near Hoisington, Kansas and...

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Nov 20, 2019

Tell EPA to Follow Through on RFS Commitment

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

Corn farmers have until November 29 to tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow through on the President’s commitment to farmers and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   Since early 2018, EPA has granted 85 RFS exemptions to refineries, totaling 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. These waivers reduce demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the President’s support for America’s farmers. Waivers benefit big oil at the expense of corn farmers.   Despite an agreement announced by President Trump in early October that directed the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the RFS whole, the EPA proposal now available for comment falls well short of the 15 billion gallon RFS.   EPA is proposing to use a three-year average of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommended waivers, rather than the three-year average actually waived by the EPA as promised in the October 4 agreement. EPA has consistently waived nearly...

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Nov 15, 2019

Senators Speak in Opposition to Small Refinery Waivers

Author: Liz Friedlander

U.S. Senators Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., on Tuesday, submitted statements for the record highlighting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) or waivers. The Senators’ comments follow EPA’s proposed rule that would fail to meet parameters of a deal announced by President Trump to accurately account for the impact of SREs.   Durbin, whose efforts 14 years ago helped to enact the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) urged his Senate colleagues to, “support rural America by ending EPA’s efforts to issue these waivers without any transparency or economic impact.” Stabenow said, “The Administration’s continued abuse of refinery waivers undermine the integrity of the RFS program and hurt our farmers, biofuel producers, and rural communities in Michigan and across the country.”   Smith said, “Small refinery waivers from the EPA are wreaking havoc on our nation’s rural...

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Nov 14, 2019

Talking Trade at USMEF

Author: Liz Friedlander

Last week, November 6-8, was the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Strategic Planning Meeting. NCGA’s Director of Market Development Sarah McKay attended the conference, along with growers and staff from various state corn associations. Trade dynamics, market trends, and sustainability were some of the main topics of discussion.   Purdue University Professor of Ag Economics, Dr. Allan Gray, kicked off the meeting with a presentation on U.S. agriculture’s great sustainability story and the need to highlight statistics such as a 203 percent increase in outputs with only 2 percent increase in major inputs since 1940.   On Thursday, attendees received a session on alternative proteins and their increasing popularity worldwide with commentary from South Korea, Russia, Eastern Europe, and the CIS region regarding current challenges in the space such as barriers to entry and adoption in their respective markets. Speakers at the meeting emphasized that the global demand for protein will...

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Sep 18, 2019

NCGA Leaders Fly-In to Washington

Key Issues: EthanolTrade

Author: Liz Friedlander

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...

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Apr 29, 2019

NCGA to EPA: Finalize E15 Parity by June 1

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to allow year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol blends, or E15, by eliminating the outdated barrier that currently requires retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15 during the summer months.   “By allowing E15 to receive the same summer volatility adjustment EPA permits for E10, retailers will be able to offer drivers E15 year-round, providing choice to their customers without an interruption in sales between June and September,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp wrote in the submitted comments.   “Corn growers have advocated for this change for several years, and we agree with EPA’s assessment that the conditions that led EPA to provide the original volatility adjustment for E10, at a time when 10 percent was the highest ethanol blend available, are ‘equally applicable to E15 today,’” Chrisp added.    In addition to being beneficial...

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Apr 29, 2019

NCGA Remembers Richard Lugar

Author: Liz Friedlander

Former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar passed away Sunday. He was 87 years old.   First elected to the Senate in 1977, Lugar chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee from 1995-2000 and for six months in 2001. He was a steadfast advocate for Indiana farmers and an outspoken proponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   “Senator Lugar was an outspoken leader for the Hoosier State. His contributions to strong agriculture policy, conservation efforts, renewable fuels, and global food security are still benefitting farmers today. He worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact policies beneficial to rural America,” NCGA CEO Jon Doggett said.   Lugar also served as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and following his time in the Senate established The Lugar Center which focuses on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global food security, foreign assistance effectiveness and global development, energy security, and...

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Apr 1, 2019

U.S. Farmers Support USMCA

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

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...

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Mar 27, 2019

NCGA Provides Comment on Farm Bill’s Trade Programs

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Liz Friedlander

  NCGA President Lynn Chrisp today submitted comments on the 2018 Farm Bill’s Trade Title (Title III) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help advance the department’s implementation of the new bill. America’s corn farmers derive an estimated 33 percent of their incomes from the export of corn and corn products. Farmers’ ability to benefit from these exports is driven, in part, by the export promotion and market development programs administered by USDA.   NCGA encouraged USDA to consult closely with both Congress and agriculture stakeholders to ensure the positive changes to the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program are implemented as Congress intended. Increased investment for both MAP and FMD were top NCGA farm bill priorities.   MAP and FMD are used by cooperators like the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) who leverage these resources to develop overseas markets for corn.   You can read the complete comments Read More

Mar 25, 2019

China Purchases U.S. Corn

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

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."  Read More

Mar 12, 2019

NCGA Statement on E15 Proposed Rule

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Liz Friedlander

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp made the below statement today following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of a proposed rule to allow for year-round sales of E15.   “Today’s proposed rule is great progress to getting the rulemaking completed by the start of the summer driving season, June 1. NCGA appreciates EPA’s efforts to meet this deadline, and we look forward to fully reviewing the content of the proposed rule. We will be providing comments to EPA and urging our membership to provide input during the comment process as well.   “Allowing year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol not only grows a domestic market for farmers, but E15 gives consumers more choice at the pump, a lower price option and greater environmental benefits from a cleaner fuel. It’s time to remove the barrier to all of these benefits.”  

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Mar 1, 2019

Leading Agriculture Organizations Endorse USMCA

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

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...

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