(Posted Fri. Mar 9th, 2012)
Mar. 9: Last week at Commodity Classic, National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer had a chance to address the General Session during an interview with his fellow commodity association leaders on the issues he sees as key to farming in the coming years. From his response to the address by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the halls of the trade show, one sentiment was reiterated consistently when this topic arose. We need a farm bill, and we need it now.
Today, NCGA’s podcast series, Off the Cob, caught up with Niemeyer and asked him to share his thoughts on the importance of supporting agriculture through farm bill legislation and on his views on the role of farming in our country.
Niemeyer began providing his outlook on what the future holds for U.S. farmers.
“As a corn farmer, if the recent past is any indication of the future, things look pretty good,” he said. “Over the past decades, we have then the potential that biotechnology and innovation offers us. These advances in technology have led us from a culture of scarcity to one of abundance.”
He went on to note that this does mean today’s farmer does not have valid cause for concern.
“What is worrisome to farmers is that current market volatility continues to put all farmers on the front lines of vulnerability, and I doubt that will ever change,” Niemeyer explained. “This is why we have to continue to find ways to minimize risk so that we can continue to deliver a safe and affordable food supply.”
He then went on to explain why farmers, in particular, seem to take a very personal stake in the future of the overall agricultural industry.
“Farmers care to passionately about their industry as, for most of us, it is a family operation,” he said. “We are not only fighting for our ability to continue earning our living by farming, but also to preserve that opportunity for our children should they desire to do so.”
“Our ability to determine the future path for production depends on our focused and constant involvement in issues that protect our freedom to operate,” he explained. “At the National Corn Growers Association, we continually conduct programs to ensure public understanding of these issues and to foster the support that springs from learning about farming. Through programs such as the Corn Farmers Coalition, CommonGround, American Ethanol and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers, we are working tirelessly to help farmers open dialogues and doors that will lead to a bright future.”
Finally, Niemeyer spoke directly to the specifics of what he sees as the most vital components of farm bill legislation.
“The National Corn Growers Association supports revenue-based risk management tools that complement federal crop insurance in order to protect growers from multiple years of significant declines in prices or yields,” he stated. “Such revenue programs are not designed to replace crop insurance or guarantee farmer profitability; instead, these programs are a means to protect against some of the risk that current crop insurance programs do not cover.”
To listen to the full interview, Click here.