NEWS STORIES

APRIL 2018

NCGA Urges Support for Crop Insurance During Farm Bill Debate

(Posted Fri. Apr 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

NCGA joined a broad, 65-member, coalition in a letter to members of the House of Representatives Thursday, urging members to protect the crop insurance program during House floor debate on the 2018 Farm Bill.   The groups cited the consistent messages of support for the crop insurance program from the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill listening sessions and speculation that amendments seeking to significantly weaken the program could be considered during the House debate.    “As you consider the 2018 Farm Bill on the House floor, we urge you to oppose harmful amendments to crop insurance, including those that would 1) reduce or limit participation in crop insurance, 2) make insurance more expensive for farmers during a time of economic downturn in agriculture, or 3) harm private-sector delivery,” the letter stated.   For a copy of the letter, click here.

Field Notes Captures Planting Conversation with Illinois Farmer

(Posted Fri. Apr 27th, 2018)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association kicked off its eighth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Earlier this week, Field Notes caught up with Jim Raben, who farms in southern Illinois. The weather this spring has impacted his ability to plant corn, and other crops, in a timely fashion.   “Things are quite a bit cooler than normal, and there is a lot of moisture. There has been a lot of rain and that has made a lot of back water,” he explained. “I have managed to get some field work done though. I think people in my area are aiming to get their planters out on Saturday.”   To find out more, click here.   Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have...

NCGA Endorses Thune-Brown ARC Improvement and Innovation Act

(Posted Wed. Apr 25th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association today endorsed legislation introduced by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to improve the Agriculture Risk Coverage Program.   “The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) Improvement and Innovation Act will make needed improvements to the farm safety net, ensuring ARC can continue to be a reliable risk management program for farmers during times of depressed prices. Based on the recommendation of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) grower-led Risk Management Team, NCGA is pleased to endorse this legislation and looks forward to working with the Senate Agriculture Committee on this measure,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes.   The bill incorporates a number of the NCGA Risk Management Action Team’s (RMAT) recommendations to enhance the ARC program’s effectiveness in a lower price environment. More information on the legislation is available here.

NCGA 2018 Yield Contest Rules Published, Online Entry Opens Soon

(Posted Wed. Apr 25th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to review new rules and clarification to its National Corn Yield Contest rules for 2018 before online entry goes live in early May. The early entry deadline this year will be Friday, June 29, 2018, and the final entry deadline will be Tuesday, July 31, 2018.   Two new rules will be implemented in 2018. First, a recheck of 1.2500 acres or more using the same harvest pattern in the rows next to the complete harvest is required if the first check yields 300.000 bushels per acre or higher. Secondly, all yields of 325.0000 bushels per acre or higher require the supervisor to contact NCGA to report the first yield as well as the recheck yield.   Two clarifications of note will be implemented in 2018. There will be two testing options for obtaining moisture percentage. Contestants may do so through a state-certified moisture tester at a grain handling facility. In this case supervisor(s) must be present when the grain handler runs...

Tell Your Corn Story in Pictures with Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest

(Posted Tue. Apr 24th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association invites photographers to help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the fourth annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest just opened last weekend, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2018.   Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 25 cash prizes. Prizes include cash awards for the top three entries in eight categories including:  Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farm Family Lifestyle, Scenery/Landscape, Farming Challenges, SHP Conservation, one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes” and, new this year, True Grit.   The new True Grit category was borne out of the Farm Family Lifestyle cateogy. This new category focuses on the people getting...

NPR Showcases the Benefits of the Burgeoning Soil Health Movement

(Posted Mon. Apr 23rd, 2018)

Keywords: Conservation

Don’t think dirt is beautiful? You don’t know Deb Gangwish. She has a thing for soil and openly espoused her infatuation recently in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR). And Del Ficke, another Nebraska farmer, understands her crush completely.   Gangwish, who serves on the National Corn Growers Association Freedom to Operate Action Team, is part of a growing legion of farmers at the forefront of a swelling soil health movement. And this movement is turning the historic soil management “evolution” into more of a “revolution” because of the momentum and accelerated change.   “For years, talk of "healthy soil" was mostly limited to organic farmers and others on the fringes of mainstream American agriculture. No more. Articles about soil health fill major farm publications. It's the subject of several recent books. Big food companies are on board, and some of them are discussing a new eco-label for food, alongside "organic" and "fair trade," that would reward farmers for...

Collaborative Effort on Climate Change

(Posted Fri. Apr 20th, 2018)

Keywords: Sustainability

If the farming profession had a job description somewhere it would say good problem-solving skills and adaptable to change. New products, new technology, new policies, changing markets, changing weather and now on an even broader stage…climate change.   Nick Goeser, National Corn Growers Association’s vice president of production and sustainability, notes there is significant data indicating some key weather and climate factors have indeed changed in many corn growing states across the United States, and with the shift comes new challenges as well as real opportunities.   Identifying and assessing these challenges and opportunities and crafting appropriate next steps is the driving force behind the Climate Task Force formed by NCGA a year ago. The multidisciplinary group – made up of farmers and representatives of NGOs, input suppliers, processors, food companies, retailers, academia and state corn association staff – recently wrapped up its initial charter of developing...

Corn Farmers Welcome Barbre to RMA

(Posted Thu. Apr 19th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association today congratulated NCGA Past President Martin Barbre on his selection to Administrator of the Risk Management Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   “Martin Barbre has been a long-time advocate for farmers, having dedicated decades of his life to serve his fellow farmers as a volunteer leader. We congratulate him on this well-deserved selection,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “His passion for agriculture is apparent to all who meet him. He will bring the farmers’ perspective to his leadership in this important position.”   Martin Barbre owns and operates Chestin Farms and grows 6,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, and alfalfa, as well as specialty crops. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in a variety of agricultural groups, including serving as President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and President and Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association from 2013-16. He graduated from...

 NCGA Statement on Today’s House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Markup

(Posted Wed. Apr 18th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s House Agriculture Committee approval of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.   “The House Agriculture Committee’s action today is the first step to enacting a new farm bill. NCGA is pleased the bill restores full funding to the Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs and makes administrative reforms to the revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage Program (ARC), which are welcome provisions for corn farmers facing uncertain times. NCGA also appreciates the bill’s expansion of grower participation in working lands conservation programs and the research title’s funding for the phenotyping initiative.   “Moving forward, NCGA will remain focused on our growers’ top policy concerns – a robust federal crop insurance program, ensuring the ARC-county program is a viable risk management option, and increased resources for...

Corn’s Sustainability Takes the Spotlight as Earth Day Approaches

(Posted Wed. Apr 18th, 2018)

Monday, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Reputation program took the story of the sustainability of U.S. corn to people across the country through a series of interviews with television and radio stations. Timed to tell the story of corn’s sustainability directly leading up to Earth Day, the tour featured four women, all of whom volunteer with CommonGround Maryland. Offering information on the ways in which corn is both grown and used sustainably, the interviews were complimented by a wrap up Facebook Live event.   The event, which was organized with significant support by the Maryland Small Grain Producers Association, included 30 interviews, both live and taped, which will reach 23 specific media markets and radio listeners nationally. These interviews took place at Seneca Ayr Farms, allowing television audiences to see beyond the farm gate. The women participating included Paula Linthicum, who generously allowed the event to take place on her farm as well as, Linda...

Influx of New Data Defining Farmer Contributions to Water Quality

(Posted Tue. Apr 17th, 2018)

A coordinated effort to assess and improve farmers contributions to better water quality across the nation is now expanding into an information gathering juggernaut. Professional staff members representing 11 Corn Grower Associations met in St. Louis this week to discuss ongoing efforts in their states to improve water quality through changes in farming practices.   "One of the more interesting developments from this process is our contention that farmers were already doing a lot to farm smarter -- this is turning into real-world data," said Rachel Orf, National Corn Growers Association director of stewardship and sustainability. "We are gaining a better understanding of all of the work that is continuing independently in the states, and the resulting collaboration is speeding improvements as well as documenting the significant contributions farmers have already made with the environment in mind."   The series of water quality meetings, dating back to 2015, has been very...

Japan Shifting to Allow the Use of U.S. Ethanol

(Posted Tue. Apr 17th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

Earlier today, the U.S. Grains Council announced that Japan had finalized a change to the country’s biofuels policy.  As a result of this policy change, Japan will now allow the use of U.S. ethanol to meet its greenhouse gas reduction standard. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased with today’s announcement. “We applaud the Japanese government for recognizing the benefits of U.S. ethanol and its improved lifecycle assessment resulting from farmers’ production efficiency and sustainability,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “We appreciate Japan’s consumers putting their trust in America’s corn farmers and the ethanol industry to be a consistent and reliable supplier of bio-ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) made from U.S. corn-based ethanol.”   To read the full announcement, click here.

NCGA Welcomes Friedlander to DC Team

(Posted Mon. Apr 16th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Liz Friedlander to the organization’s Washington, D.C. office as Director of Policy Communications. Friedlander brings nearly a decade of Capitol Hill experience on agriculture policy and communications to the position. As Director of Policy Communications, Friedlander will develop and implement communications plans and tactics related to NCGA’s work on behalf of farmers in Washington.   “Liz’s work on Capitol Hill, her knowledge of agriculture policy, and Washington media experience will help to advance NCGA’s efforts in our nation’s capital. Between standing up for the RFS, advocating for fair and open trade practices and policies, and advocating for a strong farm bill, there is no shortage of work to be done in Washington. We’re excited for her to join our team,” said NCGA Vice President of Communications Mary Hagan.   Friedlander joins NCGA after nearly eight years with the U.S. House Agriculture Committee as Democratic...

NCGA Statement on Today’s High-Octane Hearing in Washington D.C.

(Posted Fri. Apr 13th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s Environment Subcommittee Hearing “High-Octane Fuels and High Efficiency Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities.”   “While corn growers are pleased that the value of octane that comes naturally from ethanol is being recognized by automakers, we need to look at the whole of any policy being proposed. We can’t look at an octane standard in isolation. We must look at the sum of all the parts.   “Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) because it was important to diversify the transportation fuel supply, and that diversity remains an important energy policy objective. One way to evaluate any proposal related to the transportation fuel supply is to ask whether it makes our transportation fuel more dependent on oil or whether it continues to provide opportunities to expand the use of homegrown biofuels.     “With the ongoing push for...

 NCGA Statement on House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on China Tariffs

(Posted Thu. Apr 12th, 2018)

Keywords: trade

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on proposed tariffs and trade with China.   “Ag exports support more than one million American jobs and are a major driver of the U.S. economy. With 95 percent of consumers living outside the U.S., the future of American agriculture depends largely on the ability to sell to foreign markets.   “As corn farmers, we need open markets for our agricultural goods and want the trade doors with China to remain open. While not a lot of U.S. corn is exported to China today, we view China as having great potential as a market for U.S. corn and corn products.  We appreciate President Trump’s commitment to agriculture by offering Secretary Perdue the option to make emergency assistance payments to farmers, but farmers prefer having a market for their crops.    “With commodity prices so low, we cannot afford another...

 NCGA Statement on President Trump’s Announcement on RVP Parity

(Posted Thu. Apr 12th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol public policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s announcement from President Trump on RVP parity.   “Today, at a meeting at the White House with governors and lawmakers, President Donald Trump committed to making policy changes that would allow for the sale of blends greater than 10 percent, such as E15, year-round. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is very pleased with this announcement, and we thank the President for this commitment to America’s corn farmers and rural America.   “Allowing the sale of E15 all year, will allow for less confusion and more savings at the pump for consumers, continue to benefit the environment with the further reduction of emissions and provide corn farmers with a more stable market.  NCGA has been advocating for this parity for higher blends of ethanol not only for these benefits but also because of the additional ethanol blending addresses refiner...

Early Registration Discount Ends This Friday for CUTC Event

(Posted Tue. Apr 10th, 2018)

Early registration discount for the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) ends this Friday April 13, at Midnight.  The biennial event will be held June 4-6, 2018 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.   With a theme of “Increasing Efficiency Across the Supply Chain to Enable New Products,” the conference provides a great opportunity to showcase and learn about new technology and track the changes in new corn uses and relate technology made over the last two years.   This year’s planning committee, made up of industry experts, has developed a dynamic program with a focus on new uses with strong market expansion potential while continuing to advance long-term goals of improving quality and efficiency.   The hallmark of CUTC since 1987 is the goal of bringing leading innovators in the corn industry together for broad scientific exchange and well as very specific and targeted conversations related to research progress, processor needs and...

As Demand Forecasts Decline, Farmers Must Stand Firmly in Support of Policies Critical to Rural America’s Economic Survival

(Posted Tue. Apr 10th, 2018)

Despite decreased use estimates and a rise in projected ending stocks, U.S. corn projected prices remained steady in reports issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use estimates declined overall due to lowered use projections in the food, seed and industrial, and feed and residual categories. With overall supply projections unchanged and the lowered use projections, ending stock projections were raised by 55 million bushels.   "With demand forecasts lowered, it is abundantly clear that America’s farmers need public policies that will help build markets for the abundant, sustainable crop that they produce year after year," said National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes, a farmer from North Dakota. "While it is critical we ensure corn is fully utilized so that America’s farm families can return to a more favorable economic condition, many of these key policies are currently under fire.   “We must support export markets through important trade...

NCGA Grant Supports State Educational Events for Beef Producers 

(Posted Mon. Apr 9th, 2018)

Keywords: Livestock

The following was first issued as a press release from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.    The National Corn Growers Association is stepping up to support the education of U.S. beef producers in states around the country. The assistance is being provided through a grant program offered to state affiliates of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that conduct Cattlemen’s Education Series events.   The Cattlemen’s Education Series is a collaborative effort to advance grassroots education on topics that improve cattle production efficiency, profitability and sustainability. The partnership builds on other successful programs currently in NCBA’s Producer Education portfolio, such as Stockmanship & Stewardship, Cattlemen’s College and the Cattlemen’s Webinar Series. The Cattlemen’s Education Series provides grants for state affiliates to host timely and relevant education sessions for their local members.   “Corn plays an important role in the cattle industry, and NCGA...

Ag & Ethanol Groups Holding RFS Twitter Townhall Monday

(Posted Fri. Apr 6th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

On Monday, April 9, from 7 – 10 AM Central Daylight Time (CDT) several agriculture and ethanol groups will be participating in a Twitter Townhall, prior to the scheduled meeting happening at the White House regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Yesterday, NCGA sent out a Grassroots call to action, asking members to send a letter or call President Trump and their appropriate member of Congress. This social media effort provides another opportunity for your voice to be heard.   You can participate in the Twitter Townhall, by using the #RFSWorks. Some sample Tweets you can use are: President @realDonaldTrump - Keep your promise to farmers - support the RFS. Don't give in to Big Oil. #RFSWorks President @realDonaldTrump - Don't undermine the RFS. Let farmers and rural America know you still have their best interests in mind. Farmers can't afford the EPA destroying corn and ethanol demand. #RFSWorks @EPAScottPruitt - When will you stop being in Big Oil's back pocket? Do...

Stop the EPA from Messing with the RFS

(Posted Thu. Apr 5th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

While the White House weighs options, the EPA continues to undermine and mess with the RFS, granting questionable RFS waivers to refiners with no transparency and failing to provide regulatory parity for higher blends of ethanol. The EPA continues to check-off the items on Big-Oil’s wish list while gutting corn and ethanol demand and undermining the President’s commitment to the RFS in the process. NCGA and state corn growers sent this letter to EPA this week.   It’s time for EPA and the White House to consider real solutions, including RVP parity that would allow year-round sales of blends greater than 10 percent. The oil industry has already gotten a gift from the EPA. Since these discussions about capping RIN prices started in January, RIN prices have fallen 50 percent. Corn farmers and their allies need to tell the President that ‘enough is enough.’   It is time for EPA to stop the backdoor reductions to the RFS and time for higher blends of ethanol to receive RVP parity....

NCGA Praises USDA for Taking Science-Based Stance on New Product Regulation

(Posted Thu. Apr 5th, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association praised the announcement made last week by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue publicly stating that the U.S. Department of Agriculture“ does not regulate or have plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests.”   This announcement shows the dedication of the USDA to develop common-sense regulatory solutions which are strongly based in science. By recognizing the way in which new technologies work and creating processes that ensure safety, our government allows farmers access to the tools necessary to combat ever-changing field conditions and improve the health of their crop.   We are pleased to see our government strive to unencumber the economy from the chains of costly, unnecessary over-regulation. By taking this stance, the USDA has put our government in a leadership position on how this technology can be...

NCGA Statement on PES Bankruptcy Settlement

(Posted Thu. Apr 5th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on yesterday’s Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Bankruptcy Settlement, granted by a federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.   “The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is extremely disappointed in the bankruptcy court’s ruling, allowing PES to waive the majority of its obligation under the RFS. This settlement is not acceptable and completely undermines the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This settlement negotiated is just another example of how the Agency is willing to dismantle the RFS. This settlement rewards corporations, such as the $12 billion Carlyle Group, which should be liable for PES’ RFS obligations, at the expense of farmers. Farmers are entering their fifth year of low prices and net farm losses and can’t afford reducing demand for ethanol, as corn is the primary feedstock used in the production of conventional biofuel. As EPA’s actions...

NCGA Statement on Small Refinery Exemption

(Posted Wed. Apr 4th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on a letter NCGA and 22 state corn associations sent to the EPA regarding the recent small refinery exemptions from RFS volume obligations.   “Today the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) along with state corn grower associations, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the small refinery exemptions being granted, allowing refineries to avoid meeting their RFS volume obligations.   “EPA continues to take actions that undermine the RFS and contradict President Trump’s commitments to America’s corn farmers. EPA is clearly overstepping its bounds, and we ask Administrator Pruitt to stop granting these waivers and damaging the RFS behind closed doors.   “Yesterday, EPA reportedly granted exemptions to one of the nation’s largest refiners, Andeavor, which posted net profits of $1.5 billion in 2017. This improper application of the small...

NCGA Statement on Proposed Tariffs and Trade with China

(Posted Wed. Apr 4th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on proposed tariffs and trade with China.   “There are no winners in a trade war, only casualties.  As trade tensions continue to mount with China, the expanded list of tariffs on food and agriculture exports are making America’s farmers the first casualties.   “Our corn farmers have worked for decades to support fair and open trade practices because we understand that trade is a two-way street.  In today’s global economy, we know that we need to be competitive to grow and maintain our market share.  Our farmers have done that, which is why agriculture has a positive trade balance.  In 2018, the U.S. is forecast to export $139.5 billion in agricultural goods to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the U.S.  Instead of new protectionist policies, our nation’s focus should be on growing market access and promoting expanded trade from our most...

NCGA Statement on RFS Waivers Issued to Large Refiner by EPA

(Posted Tue. Apr 3rd, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on the RFS waivers reportedly granted to a large refiner by the EPA.   “EPA’s reported actions are unacceptable,” Skunes said. “EPA cannot undermine the RFS by granting waivers to refiners who are making profits as large as the one reported by Reuters. Granting these waivers significantly reduces the number of gallons of fuel blended with ethanol hurting rural economies and the nation’s corn farmers. When refiners aren’t meeting their blending obligations, corn farmers pay the price.   “EPA’s small refiner exemption process has no transparency,” Skunes said. “We need the EPA to live up to Administrator Pruitt’s October commitment to senators to, ‘act consistent with the text and spirit of the RFS,’ and to do so in an ‘open and transparent manner that advances the full potential of this program.’ We call on the EPA to stop granting these waivers to...

NCGA Expands Partnership with USA Poultry and Egg Export Council

(Posted Tue. Apr 3rd, 2018)

Keywords: Livestock

The National Corn Growers Association partnered with the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to conduct a study on the benefits of poultry exports to corn. The study, conducted by World Perspectives, Inc., entitled “Corn and Poultry: A Great Partnership,” outlined the benefits realized by America’s corn farmers from exports of poultry and eggs.   “Continuing to partner with the poultry industry is a key priority for our organization,” said Feed, Food & Industrial Action Team Chair Bruce Peterson, a grower in Minnesota. “Poultry producers are a large customer of corn, both domestically and abroad. It’s important to grow demand through our partnerships in animal agriculture, which is why we funded the study.”   Some highlights of the study include:   Poultry feed utilization:   6 lb. broiler uses 8 lb. of corn, 1 lb. of DDGS and 3 lb. SBM 28 lb. turkey uses 47 lb. of corn, 4 lb. of DDGS and 18 lb. SBM 1 dozen eggs from a layer represents 2 lb. of corn and 1 lb. of...