In The News

COVID-19

Aug 12, 2020

NCGA Sponsoring Farm Journal Webinar – America’s Farmers Carrying On: How Commodities are Adapting in a Pandemic World

Key Issues:Animal AgricultureCOVID-19Production

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is partnering with Farm Journal, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, National Pork Board and United Soybean Board to discuss how commodities are adapting to a pandemic world.   NCGA President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross, Beef Checkoff Chair and Idaho cattleman Jared Brackett, Missouri farmer and Pork Checkoff President David Newman and Soy Checkoff Chairman and Arkansas farmer Jim Carroll will represent each checkoff organization on the panel.   The panelists will dive into the challenges each commodity has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and short- and long-term solutions moving forward. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask the panelists questions at the end. The free event is Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. CDT. You can register here.   Farm Journal broadcaster Clinton Griffiths will host the virtual roundtable.     

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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

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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May 19, 2020

NCGA Welcomes COVID-19 Assistance for Corn Farmers

Key Issues:COVID-19Farm Policy

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

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 11, 2020

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

Key Issues:EthanolCOVID-19

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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Apr 30, 2020

Minnesota Corn Farmers Step Up During Time of Need

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 27, 2020

Meat Exports Continue to Rise Despite COVID-19

Key Issues:Animal AgricultureCOVID-19

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

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Apr 24, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Support for Agriculture

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 21, 2020

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

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 20, 2020

NCGA Welcomes USDA Assistance Amid COVID-19

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 20, 2020

Corn Growers Urge Increased Funds for PPP

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 15, 2020

Managing On-Farm Stress Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 10, 2020

Update on NCGA Actions Related to Coronavirus

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 8, 2020

Using Existing Programs to Confront the Impact of COVID-19

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 7, 2020

Planting Contingency Plan a Must This Spring

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Apr 1, 2020

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

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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Mar 30, 2020

CARES Act Includes Support for Agriculture

Key Issues:COVID-19Farm Policy

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

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

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 24, 2020

Steps on the Farm to Manage COVID-19 

Key Issues:COVID-19

NCGA is committed to keeping you informed and passing along best practices as we move through the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Preparations for Spring planting means activity levels are increasing on the farm for things like field preparation and on-farm deliveries. Limiting interactions and exposure is a good idea to limit exposure and risk related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). It is critical to practice biosecurity for your family, your employees, the public, and animals.   COVID-19 Planning & Procedures   Identify and coordinate a drop-off location for supplier deliveries to the farm. If possible, set this up away from on-farm high traffic areas and housing.   Create specific instructions for drop-off deliveries. Provide the location and all procedures needed at the drop-off point. Create signage to easily identify drop-off points. List all point of contacts with contact information to assist with questions leading up to delivery and upon arrival. Practice...

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Mar 23, 2020

Corn Checkoff Assisting Teachers with Online Curriculum

Key Issues:COVID-19

If you are a teacher or a parent looking for teaching resources or activities during COVID-19, the National Corn Growers Association and Nourish the Future community network is here to help. The program made possible by farmer-funded state corn checkoff programs across the U.S. provides excellent teaching resources immediately as schools shut down across the country.     These difficult times remind us of how valuable and important teachers are. They are creative, quick to pivot, and able to keep students learning in tough circumstances. They have the skills needed to flourish while teaching our children during these uncertain times.    The Nourish the Future team has designed virtual resources that can be found at https://nourishthefuture.org/virtual. This is what their team is doing to help teachers during these difficult times:   Communication! Sending resources and offering help Packaging online curriculum collections in ways that makes them easy for a teacher to use...

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Mar 20, 2020

NCGA COVID-19 Task Force Convenes

Key Issues:COVID-19

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

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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