In The News

Trade

Feb 29, 2024

Corn Congress Passes Consensus Encouraging Expanded Access to Foreign Markets

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

Saying U.S. farmers depend on the strong demand that comes with expanded market access, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress today passed a consensus statement encouraging federal officials to pursue trade opportunities and invest in foreign market development to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in corn production and trade.   “Building demand for U.S. corn is a top priority for NCGA and its state affiliates,” said Harold Wolle, NCGA president. “International markets are crucial to the overall demand for U.S. corn, and  actions that restrict access to foreign markets will hurt both U.S. farmers and the broader U.S. economy.”   The full text of the consensus is as follows:   "Whereas, market access is critical for U.S. farmers to be successful and support the nation’s economy. Whereas, market access could be negatively impacted by retaliation that targets U.S. farmers. Whereas, U.S. farmers depend on robust and expanded market access for exporting...

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Feb 9, 2024

Climate, Conflict, & Currency Impact Cost Competitiveness for U.S. Corn Exports

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Krista Swanson

A combination of climate, conflict, and currency values are factors in cost competitiveness that impacts transits and overall U.S. corn exports.   Climate Climate conditions brought widespread drought to the United States Corn Belt in 2023. Dry conditions in the Mississippi River basin led to record low water levels. As a result, barge weight and traffic restrictions were imposed, and the 7.7 million tons of corn moved by barge on the Mississippi River in 2023 was 30% lower than 2022 and 54% lower than 2021. Ultimately, the cost of added time and weight restrictions were factors contributing to a higher corn price at port but also meant pace of getting grain to the port was slowed.   Climate-induced waterway challenges for U.S. corn don’t end at the Gulf. Extreme drought has forced substantial scaleback of shipping through the Panama Canal, a key global maritime channel. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reduced traffic to 24 ships a day, about two-thirds of the normal...

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Feb 8, 2024

Iowa Farmer and NCGA Board Member Bob Hemesath Tapped to Serve as President of Trade Advocacy Group

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

National Corn Growers Association board member and Iowa corn grower Bob Hemesath was recently elected to serve as president of the international agricultural advocacy group Farmers for Free Trade. “I am honored to assume this leadership role at an organization that has been so effective in advocating on behalf of farmers and their trade priorities,” Hemesath said. “I look forward to leading the organization in a direction that will allow us to build on our successes and further advance the trade goals of America’s farmers.” The U.S. exported 1.8 billion bushels of corn in 2023 valued at $13.1 billion, according to the latest data by the U.S. Census Bureau. Additionally, exports of ethanol and its co-products were exported that year at a value of $7.1 billion.   Corn is also exported in the form of animal protein when corn-fed, U.S.-raised beef, pork and poultry is shipped overseas. Shipments of these products resulted in $23.6 billion in export value in 2023.   With export...

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Jan 18, 2024

National Corn Growers Association Expresses Disappointment with International Trade Commission Decision on Fertilizer Tariffs

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) said today that it is deeply disappointed in a decision released by the International Trade Commission, which upholds an earlier opinion that found material injury to U.S. fertilizer companies during a time of rising on-farm fertilizer prices that went on to reach record highs.   The decision comes after the U.S. Court of International Trade asked the U.S. Department of Commerce and ITC to reconsider earlier decisions they issued on the matter.   “The idea that major fertilizer conglomerates were materially injured even as they were posting substantially higher profits during the time in question sounds dubious to me,” said Minnesota farmer and NCGA President Harold Wolle. “ITC’s decision flies in the face of the U.S. Court of International Trade’s request to seriously reconsider this issue and ignores the negative impact these tariffs continue to have on America’s farmers who are facing higher prices for fertilizers that are...

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Dec 22, 2023

NCGA Expresses Relief Over Rail Crossing Re-Opening, Emphasizes Need to Avoid Similar Situations in Future

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that it will reopen the Eagle Pass and El Paso rail crossings into Mexico. The announcement pleased leaders at the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), who cautioned the agency against making similar decisions in the future.   “This is certainly a welcome relief,” said NCGA President Harold Wolle. “We are very appreciative that CBP was responsive to our calls to have the border crossings re-opened, but we hope this experience serves as a cautionary tale moving forward. Rail is a key mode of transportation for our exports into Mexico, so closing rail crossings can have devastating ramifications for farmers and the economy.”   The two rail crossings along the Texas border towns were closed on December 18 by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as part of an effort to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. Twenty-five percent of U.S. corn exports into Mexico go through El Paso and Eagle Pass.   On...

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Dec 21, 2023

National Corn Growers Association Joins Others Ag Groups in Calling for Reopening of Eagle Pass and El Paso Rail Crossings

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The National Corn Growers Association is increasing pressure on U.S. officials to reopen the recently closed Eagle Pass and El Paso rail crossings into Mexico. “These closures will have an immediate and prolonged impact on corn exports to Mexico, one of our closest and largest trading partners, during a period of high demand,” NCGA President Harold Wolle said today. “We urge our federal officials to resolve this issue quickly so the flow of goods between the two countries can resume as soon as possible and minimize the damage that has already been done by these abrupt closures.”   The two rail crossings along the Texas border towns were closed on December 18 by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as part of an effort to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. Twenty-five percent of U.S. corn exports into Mexico go through El Paso and Eagle Pass. On Thursday, the National Corn Growers Association joined other national ag groups in sending a letter to Homeland...

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Dec 7, 2023

Agricultural Community to the International Trade Commission: Tariffs on Moroccan Fertilizers Hampering Family Farms

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), along with 57 agriculture organizations including 22 state corn grower groups, urged the U.S. International Trade Commission today to consider the impacts that tariffs on Moroccan shipments of fertilizers are having on family farms. The concerns were expressed in a letter that comes after the ITC was ordered by the U.S. Court of International Trade to reconsider its determination of material injury in a decision issued earlier in September. “Rising prices for fertilizer inputs have strained America’s farmers and ranchers and have impacted availability for this critical component of nutrient and yield management,” the letter said. “Without predictable options to source this product, farmers struggle to plan for the future.” The signatories noted that issues surrounding the international supply chain further complicate farmers’ ability to source phosphate. The letter further explains that the ITC originally made some inferences on the...

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Dec 1, 2023

Drought & River Transport Impact on Corn Competitiveness

Key Issues: TradeTransportation and Infrastructure

Author: Krista Swanson

For the second year in a row, drought conditions are impacting transportation on the Mississippi River at the peak shipment point of the year. Shallower river levels mean barge weight restrictions, slower barge traffic, and higher costs to ship commodities on the river. Ultimately, this translates to a relatively lower price at the farmgate and higher cost for the world buyer.   Drought Slows Grain Barge Traffic in 2022 and 2023 The Mississippi River is an important channel for commodity transportation. The USDA reports the final mode of transport was barge for 13% of U.S. grains in 2020, and 46% of exported U.S. grains[i]. There are normally two peaks in grain barge movements, one in late summer leading up to the end of the marketing year for corn and soybeans, and the other emerging in the fall harvest season and into the post-harvest months.   The impact of low water levels on grain barge movements was notable in 2023, marking the second consecutive year of drought...

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Nov 9, 2023

Corn Growers Highlight Results of Campaign Against Fertilizer Tariffs

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

A recent decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to significantly lower duties placed on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco has the potential to provide true savings to farmers while giving them access to crucial inputs that have been scarce over the last couple years, according to a recent analysis by the National Corn Growers Association. The decision comes after an intense advocacy effort by state and national corn grower associations.     Commerce decided last week to reduce rates on the imports from 19.97% to 2.12%. While that decision covers duties from November 30, 2020 to December 31, 2021, it could still be an incentive for OCP, the Moroccan company that manufactures the products, to reenter the U.S. market.   Growers say it is a big step in the right direction.   “The decision is very meaningful to us,” said Minnesota farmer and NCGA President Harold Wolle. “Farmers were already facing rate hikes on inputs and the duties were making the situation worse....

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Nov 2, 2023

In Big Win for Corn Growers, Commerce Significantly Lowers Duties on Phosphate Fertilizers

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Bryan Goodman

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced it was lowering duties placed on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco from 19.97% to 2.12%. The decision comes after the agency conducted an administrative review of the duties, which is performed annually by retroactively examining the price of shipments and other factors. The National Corn Growers Association, which has been vocal opponent of the duties, applauded the decision, calling it a big win for corn growers. “This victory was made possible by corn growers across the country who spoke out against these duties as they faced skyrocketing fertilizer prices and product shortages at the behest of The Mosaic Company,” said NCGA President Harold Wolle. “While the best duty on fertilizers is no duty at all, we are nonetheless thrilled that corn growers bearing the brunt of these tariffs will feel financial relief thanks to this decision.” The issue stems from a decision by Commerce in 2020 that favored a petition by the...

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For media inquiries contact Bryan Goodman, goodman@ncga.com