NEWS STORIES

NOVEMBER 2015

(Posted Mon. Nov 30th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

The following is a statement from Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.   “America’s corn farmers are proud to grow a cleaner burning, renewable fuel source for America and the world. In July, we asked the Environmental Protection Agency to restore the 2014-16 corn ethanol renewable volume obligation to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard as passed by Congress and signed into law.   “While we are pleased to see the EPA take a step forward and revise its original proposal, the fact remains that any reduction in the statutory amount will have a negative impact on our economy, our energy security, and the environment. It is unfortunate that Big Oil’s campaign of misinformation continues to carry weight in the court of public opinion, and in this decision.   “The Renewable Fuel...

(Posted Wed. Nov 25th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

Corn farmers from across the nation have been sending ears of corn to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in November, as part of a final push to remind the Obama Administration that the 2014-16 renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard will have significant implications for the 2016 elections.   “We are asking the Obama Administration: don’t write off rural America,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland. “The Renewable Fuel Standard is good for our economy, our energy independence, and the environment. We have asked the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House to follow the statute and restore the 2014-16 corn ethanol volume.”   Over the past several weeks, corn farmers from Colorado to Maryland and Minnesota to Texas have been mailing tubes with either an ear of corn or corn kernels to the DSCC to highlight the importance of ethanol and the RFS to rural communities. State corn grower associations in Colorado, Kansas,...

(Posted Wed. Nov 25th, 2015)

Space is still available for participants in the 2016 NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, with openings available in several states – especially Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, Maryland, and North and South Dakota.   “We’re thrilled to offer this important communications program for a third year, thanks to the strong support of our co-sponsor, DuPont,” said Patty Mann, an Ohio corn grower who serves as chairwoman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “Farmers know the importance of telling our story as we advocate for American agriculture – and we also recognize the importance of tools to help us do our job better. This program gives our new leaders the communications tools they need. As farmers are the most credible voice, the success story of American agriculture is best told by farmers themselves.”   The New Leaders Program is designed for corn growers who are newly active or considering involvement in agriculture engagement and leadership, helps them build their...

(Posted Tue. Nov 24th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The Farm Service Agency recently approved a modification allowing growers on a farm with one or more tracts outside the administrative county the option to recalculate Agriculture Risk Coverage-CO benefits based on the farm’s physical location.  This decision follows an extensive of review of the potential impacts of the previous requirement that payments for the Agriculture Risk Coverage program be based on the administrative county where farm records are maintained.   “NCGA worked determinedly to bring this issue to the attention of FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. We greatly appreciate his consideration of our concerns and the decision to act on the information we provided,” said National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action Team Chair Steve Ebke.   According to the FSA Administrator’s office, the payments for farms enrolled in 2014 and 2015 with payments “would be recalculated in each physical location and summed for the farm using weights according to the number of...

(Posted Mon. Nov 23rd, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology

National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio, and Director of Biotechnology and Crop Inputs Nathan Fields took part in a meeting hosted by the Biotechnology Regulatory Service to share with stakeholders how the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to approach new rulemaking around part 340. This section of code, which is used to regulate the approval and deregulation of biotechnology products, is currently under review by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, under which BRS falls.   “We are encouraged that the USDA reached out to stakeholders in this way, keeping them updated in a timely manner as the review process proceeds,” said Linder. “By decreasing unnecessarily burdensome processes and delays, while maintaining the highest level of safety and careful review, USDA will help farmers gain access to the cutting edge products that they need to face ever-evolving challenges in the fields.”   In describing...

(Posted Fri. Nov 20th, 2015)

Until December 11, the National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation are accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships. These scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2016-17 school year.   “The future of agriculture as an industry depends upon keeping our best and brightest interested in ag careers,” said Patty Mann, chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “As a part of our commitment to the industry’s future, NCGA partners with BASF to offer scholarships to help tomorrow’s leaders reach their educational goals. This program is an investment in not only their future but also our own.”   Applicants for the NCGA William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or any year of graduate study, and they or a parent or legal guardian must be an NCGA member. Scholarship applications must be...

(Posted Thu. Nov 19th, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation

The National Corn Growers Association and the Water Environment Research Foundation announced the completion of the Agricultural Best Management Practices Database today at the American Water Resources Association’s Annual Conference on Water Resources.   Along with other project sponsors, such as the United Soybean Board, this database was developed to create a centralized repository of agricultural best management practice performance studies related to water quality in agricultural areas.   “The goal of the database is to provide farmers, agricultural advisors, planners, and consultants with information that enables them to implement cost-effective water quality improvement solutions,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Brent Hostetler. “Currently, many conservation practices and pollutant reduction measures are being voluntarily adopted. However, until now, the effectiveness of various practices has been uncertain due to the limited availability of...

(Posted Thu. Nov 19th, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association today thanked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for issuing science-based, reasonable guidance on voluntary labeling for foods with ingredients from genetically engineered sources. This guidance, which importantly stresses that the Agency only has purview to require mandatory labels in the case of material difference, addresses consumer interests with a clear outline of recommendations for food companies wishing to label their products.   “The FDA’s approach to voluntary labeling of food products would provide American consumers with truthful information in a clear manner that respects regulatory processes already in place,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “In maintaining a science- and process-based approach to mandatory labels while laying out a thoughtful, conscientious path for voluntary labeling, the FDA stood firmly both with the people who grow our food and those who buy it. A voluntary labeling...

(Posted Wed. Nov 18th, 2015)

The 2016 Commodity Classic website is now open for event registration and housing reservations. Rooms at the first-time venue city of New Orleans are expected to book quickly, so those interested should register as soon as possible.   The 21st annual farmer-focused, farmer-led event is scheduled for March 3-5, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Commodity Classic hotels are within easy walking distance or provide complimentary shuttle service to and from the convention center.   Full Commodity Classic registration includes:   Access to the largest-ever Trade Show, including lunch on Thursday and Friday and a mid-morning snack on Saturday Main Stage presentations in the Trade Show A General Session Friday morning that will be enlightening and entertaining A full schedule of educational sessions, including Learning Centers, What’s New Sessions, Mini What’s New Sessions and Early Risers Complimentary access to video recordings of the 2016...

(Posted Tue. Nov 17th, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation

Steve Berger, a farmer from southeast Iowa, showed dramatic “before and after” pictures to a group of scientists to demonstrate how he keeps his farm’s soil in good shape.   “This soil has been to the gym, if you will,” he said, speaking at a special symposium this week as part of the Synergy in Science ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. “I’ve adopted practices on my farm that I believe will build healthy soil and protect water while maximizing my yields.”   A combination of no-till and growing cover crops like rye in winter has made his corn and soybean farm more resilient to weather extremes, such as drought and heavy rain.   The “Public Private Partnerships to Improve Soil Health and Agronomic Resiliency” symposium this week provided a forum to discuss how private agricultural companies, researchers and nonprofit organizations can work together to change the culture of farming to both adapt to weather extremes and become more...

(Posted Mon. Nov 16th, 2015)

The 2015 corn harvest has reached near completion according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today. With 96 percent of corn acres harvested, only Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin reported harvest corn acreage less than 90 percent.   “While it may seem that harvest is over, there is still activity on un-harvested acres that should be of interest to those involved with the corn industry,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Maryland. “Colorado, as well as many parts of the nation, are experiencing an early, unexpected snowy spell. These conditions can impair farmers’ ability to operate and, in the end, may impact the overall number of bushels that make it into bins. Much like in baseball, it isn’t over until it’s over in farming. The final estimates may still be impacted by the wintery weather in these states.”    To read the full report, click here.

(Posted Fri. Nov 13th, 2015)

With only one week until the final deadline, the National Corn Growers Association reminds entrants to submit their online harvest forms for the 2015 National Corn Yield Contest. Notably, entrants are asked to report within seven business days of their final yield check or by Nov. 20, whichever comes first.   “It is critical that entrants submit their harvest forms by the deadline to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Brent Hostetler, a farmer from Ohio. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more productive techniques. We hope that growers continue to support the contest by seeing their entry through and submitting their completed harvest data forms.”   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 51st year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. With 7,464 entries, participation has held strong again this year.   The...

(Posted Thu. Nov 12th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The Trans-Pacific Partnership will give America's farmers and ranchers greater access to the world's fastest growing economies and set the stage for future trade agreements, National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling told reporters at a press conference Wednesday evening. Bowling was joined by leaders of several other commodity organizations and the Farm Service Agency.   "Today, America exports more than 63 billion dollars in agricultural products to TPP countries, including more than $6 billion in corn and corn co-products. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we can do even more," said Bowling.   Bowling highlighted the importance of the TPP agreement to the livestock community.   "We all want the same thing: more American agricultural products on dinner tables around the world," said Bowling. "When the Japanese are eating more Nebraska beef, that increases the demand for corn. When Iowa pork chops and Kansas City barbecue are on the menu in Sydney, that helps...

(Posted Thu. Nov 12th, 2015)

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling has urged President Obama to reverse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed cuts in the Renewable Fuel Standard’s volume obligation and adhere to the statute of the law itself.   In a letter sent Wednesday, Bowling noted that the most recent estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast a larger than expected crop  at 13.65 billion bushels, and lower projected price for corn – nearly a dollar per-bushel lower than the cost of production.   “Contrary to the erroneous criticism spread by the oil industry, biofuels have not driven up the price of food or fuel,” Bowling wrote. “Your administration’s proposed blending targets will decrease the availability of renewable fuels, further exacerbating already low corn prices, and causing further, significant, harm to the agriculture sector.”   Rural America cannot afford this, Bowling told the president.   “We urge you to reverse the Environmental...

(Posted Thu. Nov 12th, 2015)

2016 Commodity Classic registration and housing reservations open online at 10 a.m. CST Wednesday morning, Nov. 18. Rooms at the first-time venue city of New Orleans are expected to book quickly, so those interested should register as soon as possible.   “We’re thrilled to be bringing Commodity Classic to New Orleans for the first time ever – a city famous for great food and Southern hospitality,” said ASA Commodity Classic Co-Chair Sam Butler. “It’s going to be a world-class event with a bigger-than-ever trade show, terrific educational and networking opportunities, and lots of exciting new things planned for our growers.”   The 21st annual farmer-focused, farmer-led event is scheduled for March 3-5, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Commodity Classic hotels are within easy walking distance or provide complimentary shuttle services to and from the convention center.    Full Commodity Classic registration includes:   Access to the...

(Posted Tue. Nov 10th, 2015)

With the national average yield projection for corn raised to 169.3 bushels per acre, the estimated price paid to farmers decreased by 15 cents this month according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. The new yield projection coupled with decreased demand estimates for ethanol and exports are expected to drive prices lower. If achieved, the 2015 national average yield would be the second highest on record.   “With the corn harvest nearly complete, we see clearly the incredible abundance American farmers can produce, but we also realize that this excellence does not always bring an equivalent economic reward” said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Martin Barbre, a farmer from Carmi, Ill. “While we have sustainably produced a crop that can feed and fuel our growing world, market forces are negatively impacting the price which we will be paid. It is of the utmost importance that, during times such as these, we rededicate ourselves to NCGA’s ongoing...

(Posted Mon. Nov 9th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today expressed deep disappointment that Members of Congress from corn-producing states have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the volume of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.   “I’m disappointed to see Members of Congress turn their back on farmers and rural communities,” said Wesley Spurlock, First Vice President of the National Corn Growers and a farmer from Stratford, Texas.   “The Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of the most successful energy policies ever enacted. The RFS works. It has reduced our dependence on foreign oil. It has made the rural economy stronger. And it has been better for the environment. It’s puzzling that these Representatives would not want to support it,” said Spurlock.   In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy dated November 4, House members ask the EPA to reduce the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO), the amount of biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply – despite the fact...

(Posted Mon. Nov 9th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomes Layla Soberanis as Manager of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs. Soberanis brings a combination of experience in public policy, politics, labor relations, and grassroots engagement. In this position, she will manage a diverse issue portfolio focusing on regulatory affairs, including unmanned aerial systems, precision agriculture, data privacy, labor and immigration, and other emerging issues. She will also coordinate Capitol Hill visits with NCGA farmer-members.   “Layla’s unique background and skillset will be invaluable to NCGA as we look to expand our presence on Capitol Hill and engage new audiences,” said NCGA Executive Vice President Jon Doggett. “We represent more than 40,000 members and the interests of more than 300,000 corn farmers. Now, we need to bring more of those faces to Capitol Hill – to tell farmers’ stories, build relationships, and find common ground on the policy challenges of our day. Layla will be...

(Posted Fri. Nov 6th, 2015)

Today the National Corn Growers Association joined a coalition of agricultural and builder groups petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to micromanage local land use and development decisions under the guise of the Clean Water Act.   Although the context of the lawsuit relates to the EPA’s so-called “blueprint” for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, it has national implications related to the power and reach of the federal government.   “The EPA has consistently pushed the legal limits of the Clean Water Act, with the Chesapeake Bay blueprint and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule being two of the most recent examples,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, who farms on the Chesapeake Bay watershed in southern Maryland.   “When Congress passed the Clean Water Act, their intention was to create balanced, practical policies to protect America’s water resources. In both of these cases, the EPA’s actions represent...

(Posted Fri. Nov 6th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Grains Council today pledged their support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a day after the full text was released by the White House.   “We are pleased that the U.S. is on the path toward approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement,” said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “This agreement will give America’s farmers and ranchers greater access to the Asia-Pacific region, bringing more American grains, meat, and dairy to the rest of the world. That’s why NCGA members will be going to Capitol Hill and asking Congress to vote in favor of the TPP agreement.”   The Asia-Pacific region represents 40 percent of the world’s economy and is one of the fastest-growing areas of the world.   “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will have significant benefits for exports of corn in all forms,” said Alan Tiemann, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council and a...

(Posted Thu. Nov 5th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today thanked the House of Representatives for passing the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, a bill that would extend federal highway funding for the next six years. The House and Senate must now reconcile their respective transportation bills and send it to the White House for signature, before federal transportation funding expires on November 20.   “On behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers, thank you to the House for passing this important legislation,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland. “Eighty percent of America’s corn crop is trucked to market, so this issue affects all of us. Safe roads and bridges allow us to get our products to market quickly, safely, and efficiently. When roads and bridges aren’t properly maintained, it’s not just a nuisance – it puts our safety at risk and hurts our bottom lines.”   “We especially want to thank the House Transportation Committee, Chairman...

(Posted Wed. Nov 4th, 2015)

On Tuesday, the Senate failed to pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, a bill that would have halted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineer’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. On Wednesday, the Senate passed S.J. Res. 22, a joint resolution of disapproval of WOTUS. Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, issued the following statement:   “Thank you to the bipartisan group of Senators who have recognized that the Waters of the U.S. rule did not work.   “America’s farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, and we are committed to protecting it for future generations. But this rule is not based on science or law, does not clarify farmers’ responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and will not improve water quality.   “We supported S. 1140 because we believe the EPA, the Corps, farmers and other stakeholders must collaborate on a better rule we can all get...