NEWS STORIES

FARM POLICY

(Posted Thu. Jun 21st, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on House passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2).    “Today’s vote is a big step forward to seeing a new farm bill this year. The House farm bill maintains a robust crop insurance program, ensuring it continues to be a viable risk management tool for farmers across the country.   “Now we will be looking toward the U.S. Senate and possible efforts to further strengthen the farm safety net, making it more equitable for our nation’s corn growers, as they bring the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor.”

NCGA Statement on RFS White House Meeting

(Posted Tue. May 8th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on the outcome of today’s White House meeting regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).    “President Trump today reaffirmed his commitment to our nation’s farmers by approving year-round sales of E15 without a RIN cap. This is a positive step because we know a RIN price cap would have been damaging to farmers.   “We have numerous questions, however, about a potential plan now being developed by USDA Secretary Perdue and EPA Administrator Pruitt to address small refiner waivers by potentially offering biofuels credits on ethanol exports, an idea that would harm our ethanol export success.   “NCGA has opposed RIN credits on exports, an idea that EPA stated last fall that it would not pursue. Offering RIN credits, which are supposed to be derived from a domestic renewable fuel use, for ethanol exports would threaten trade markets and impact corn...

Corn Growers Thank Perdue, Urge Continued Advocacy

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

On behalf of corn farmers nationwide, NCGA and state corn grower associations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue Monday thanking him for his advocacy within the Trump Administration and his recent statements encouraging the Administration to advance RVP parity. The associations urged Perdue to continue his efforts in support of farmers and rural America. “As you work with President Trump, EPA Administrator Pruitt and Members of Congress, we encourage you to continue to advocate for real solutions, such as RVP parity for higher blends, and to continue to highlight the demand destruction caused by EPA’s refinery exemptions, as well as how EPA’s actions contradict President Trump’s commitments,” the associations wrote.   Click here for full text of Perdue letter

NCGA Calls on President to Allow for Increased Ethanol Blends

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association today urged President Trump to follow through on the necessary steps to implement year-round sales of higher ethanol blends, such as E15, ahead of a planned Tuesday White House meeting regarding biofuels issues.     “Year-round sale of higher ethanol blends, like E15, would replace outdated policy and provide benefits not only for farmers but also for consumers and the environment,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “Corn farmers have made huge strides in increasing productivity but, at the same time, are facing a fifth consecutive year of declining corn crop receipts. A firm commitment to the RFS would help provide the stability farmers need during difficult times.”   NCGA was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association and National Association of Wheat Growers in a letter to the President thanking him for his recent comments in support of higher blends and urging that he begin the...

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.

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 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...

NCGA Statement to 199A Resolution

(Posted Thu. Mar 15th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement made Tuesday, March 14, from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the Legislation Amending Section 199A:   “We are pleased with the outcome of the recent negotiations to craft a solution for Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This agreement is extremely important for addressing the provision’s unintended consequences and restoring certainty to the marketplace for farmers.  NCGA has supported coalition efforts to replicate the tax benefits of the original Section 199 within the tax reform bill.  We greatly appreciate the work of Senators John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) along with the leadership of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to develop this critical legislation.  NCGA urges the Congress to adopt the proposed changes with bipartisan support later this...

NCGA Statement on Bill Northey’s Confirmation as Undersecretary at USDA

(Posted Tue. Feb 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the hold on Bill Northey being lifted. Skunes gave these remarks during a news conference at Commodity Classic.   “After a needless four-month delay, farmers across the country will be well-served with Bill Northey finally on the job at USDA,” Skunes said.   Skunes also addressed the Tuesday morning meeting at the White House in his remarks.   “Farmers are so grateful to Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley for representing farmers at the White House with integrity and steadfast support,” Skunes added. “We could not ask for better representatives.   “Today in Washington President Trump, officials from USDA and EPA, and Senators met to discuss issues affecting the RFS. There was no deal cut at this meeting. While no deal was made at this meeting, some participants tried to sell a deal. “Our farmers cannot afford any deal that...

(Posted Mon. Feb 12th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The White House today released its detailed proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The budget proposal includes the following:   Cutting the federal crop insurance program by $22.4 billion over the 2019-2028 period Targeting program subsidies to those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income of $500,000 or less for a savings of $3 billion over the 2019-2028 period Reducing underwriting subsidies to participating insurance companies by placing a cap on underwriting gains at 12 percent or $3 billion over the 2019-2028 period   The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:   “The time and place to debate farm bill programs is during the farm bill reauthorization, not the annual budget process. The farm bill represents a 5-year commitment to America’s farmers and ranchers, which Congress made in 2014, and is preparing to reauthorize again this year. We are counting on Congress to honor that commitment, and reject cuts that would be harmful...

(Posted Wed. Jan 31st, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

With only days remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to complete U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2017 Census of Agriculture before the February 5 deadline.   Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The resulting data are used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development and more.   "The Census of Agriculture is USDA's largest data collection endeavor, providing some of the most widely used statistics in the industry," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840, the census gives every producer the opportunity to be represented so that informed decisions can support their efforts to provide...

(Posted Tue. May 23rd, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

  The White House today released its detailed proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The budget proposal includes the following: Cutting the federal crop insurance program by $28.56 billion over the 2018-2027 period Eliminating funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) ($200 million/year) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program ($34.5 million/year) Reducing conservation program funding by $5.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period   The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:   “The time and place to debate farm bill programs is during the farm bill reauthorization, not the annual budget process. The farm bill represents a 5-year commitment to America’s farmers and ranchers, which Congress made in 2014. We are counting on Congress to honor that commitment, and reject cuts that would be harmful for rural America. These proposed budget cuts would hurt farmers’ ability to manage risk, grow their revenues, and farm more...

(Posted Tue. May 16th, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association filed comments yesterday with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on ethanol and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulations, following President Trump’s executive order, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.”   NCGA urged the EPA to use its authority to give drivers year-round access to higher blends of ethanol such as E15. EPA has previously issued a Reid Vapor Pressure waiver for 10 percent ethanol blends. Providing E15 with the same waiver would lead to more choices at the pump and cleaner air.   NCGA also encouraged EPA to update its lifecycle analysis for corn-based ethanol. EPA last updated its lifecycle analysis in 2010, projecting that corn-based ethanol would produce 21 percent fewer GHG emissions when compared to gasoline by 2022. Other federal government agencies have issued updated GHG lifecycle analysis for ethanol based on actual corn and ethanol production experience. Most recently, USDA analysis released in 2017...

(Posted Tue. Mar 28th, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) risk management program and crop insurance have been critical to helping corn farmers during a weak farm economy and should be maintained in the next farm bill, National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock testified today at House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee hearing.   “Together, crop insurance and the ARC-County program have helped many farmers weather the storm of a weak farm economy and avoid bankruptcy,” said Spurlock, who raises corn, cotton, wheat, sorghum, and beef cattle in the Texas Panhandle.   Spurlock noted that corn prices have averaged below $4.00 per bushel since 2013, and are projected to average just $3.40 this marketing year.   “At that price, few corn farmers have a positive net income. Meanwhile, we face a lot of uncertainty about federal policy on renewable fuel and trade, and how that will impact our bottom lines,” testified Spurlock. “We must work together to...

(Posted Mon. Mar 13th, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Private crop insurance company returns have decreased significantly since the 2010 renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) between the insurance companies and the federal government, and are in line with benchmarks established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, according to a new study released today by the National Corn Growers Association.   “The federal crop insurance program is the cornerstone of farm bill risk management programs, and it is more important than ever given the state of the farm economy,” said Steve Ebke, chairman of the NCGA Risk Management Action Team and a farmer from Daykin, Nebraska. “We commissioned an independent analysis of the crop insurance industry’s performance to determine whether criticisms against the insurers’ returns have merit. What we discovered is that the returns private crop insurance companies receive are much smaller than opponents claim, and they are well within the standards set by...

(Posted Thu. Oct 27th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Policy

National Corn Growers Association’s Risk Management Action Team Chair Steve Ebke, who farms in Daykin, Neb., sat down with Michael Clements of the National Farm Broadcasters to discuss the importance of responding to surveys distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Statistics Service. Responses to recent surveys from USDA have reached historical lows, and this can impact farmers’ bottom lines.    “There seem to be county-to-county differences that are unaccounted for and, when you look at it, some counties did not have enough information from responses to the National Agricultural Statistics Service for them to publish data. Farm Service Agency uses that data to calculate ARC payments. So, if NASS does not have the data, they will have to look elsewhere for it.   “This has resulted in a great deal of concern in the countryside. What we are doing at this time is urging everyone to complete their NASS surveys so that each county has a sufficient amount of data...

(Posted Mon. Apr 11th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Growers enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage program and whose farms cross county boundaries, or are located in a county other than their Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, have until April 15 to request a recalculation of their 2014 and 2015 benefits based on the farm’s physical location. Eligible farmers must contact their local FSA office to make this change.   FSA approved this one-time exception due to the late passage of the 2014 farm bill and resulting reforms to USDA risk management programs. This provision only applies to a small fraction of farm operators, and those who are affected were contacted by FSA earlier this year.   For 2016 and future years, farmers will continue to have the flexibility to request farm record changes, including moving records to another servicing county office or dividing their farm, through their county FSA office no later than August 1 of each year.

(Posted Fri. Jan 8th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Public Policy Action Team met in St. Louis recently to discuss progress in implementing the 2014 farm bill, as well as to hear updates on other federal programs affecting corn farmers. PPAT’s mission is to offer direction to NCGA in developing public policy issues. The action team is comprised of 16 farmers and staff from across the country.   Officials from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and Risk Management Agency briefed team members on how the agencies collect farm production data, which are essential to the delivery of federal commodity and crop insurance programs. Dr. Carl Zulauf, who recently retired from The Ohio State University, also shared his analysis and perspectives on changes in the farm safety net and possible policy changes that corn growers may want to consider in the future. Zuluaf was one of the chief architects of the Agriculture Risk Coverage program adopted in the...

(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 Tue. Oct 27th, 2015)

Keywords: farm policy

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a corn farmer from Newburg, Maryland, issued the following statement in response to a proposed $3 billion cut in crop insurance support as part of a national budget deal.   “Slashing the federal crop insurance program is bad policy. The 2014 farm bill provides farmers with a critical safety net, the cornerstone of which is the federal crop insurance program. Cuts to the crop insurance program will lead to fewer insurance providers and agents, and that means fewer choices for farmers to manage their risk.   “This deal is yet another attempt to reopen the farm bill, despite major reforms and $23 billion in budget savings. Agriculture remains the only industry that has voluntarily accepted spending reductions. We stand with Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson in defending the farm bill and calling on Congress to remove these cuts.   “We urge all farmers to contact their elected officials...

(Posted Wed. Sep 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association today reminded farmers that they have until Sept. 30 to enroll in Farm Service Agency risk management programs for the 2014 and 2015 crop years.   Earlier this year, farmers elected either Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage, two new risk management programs created under the 2014 farm bill.   “The 2014 farm bill included major reforms to our risk management tools. Formal enrollment marks the final step farmers must take to enroll in the program,” said Jim Reed, a farmer from Monticello, Ill. and chair of the National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action Team.   “NCGA strongly encourages farmers to schedule an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency office as soon as possible before the Sept. 30 deadline.”   For more information about the 2014 farm bill, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill.

(Posted Tue. Jul 7th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association joined 13 other organizations in filing a lawsuit last Thursday in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking to overturn the “Waters of the U.S.” rule.   Chip Bowling, president of NCGA and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, issued the following statement:   “Farmers need clarity and certainty about their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, the Waters of the U.S. rule does neither. Under the new rule, every farmer and rancher in America now has at least one WOTUS on their farm. That puts far too much power in the hands of the federal government and exposes farmers to considerable liabilities – without actually doing anything to improve water quality.   Clean water is important. Corn farmers remain committed to working with the EPA, the Corps, and other stakeholders to protect America’s water supply.”   Co-plaintiffs in...

(Posted Tue. Jun 16th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's announcement that the vast majority of corn and soybean growers selected the Agriculture Risk Coverage program under the 2014 farm bill was hailed by the National Corn Growers Association as an endorsement of the organization's hard work to secure the program.   "NCGA was proud to be a leading advocate of the Ag Risk Coverage program," said NCGA President Chip Bowling. "Our grassroots leaders understand the value of a program to better protect growers against losses where revenue crop insurance falls short and that provides assistance when most needed."   Nationwide, USDA announced on Monday, 96 percent of soybean farms, 91 percent of corn farms, and 66 percent of wheat farms elected ARC. 99 percent of long grain rice farms, 99 percent of peanut farms, and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected the Price Loss Coverage Program. The announcement came as the USDA noted that eligible producers may now formally enroll in the ARC and PLC...

(Posted Tue. May 26th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy Conservation

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to make sure they have a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) on file with their local USDA service center by June 1, in order to be eligible for farm bill programs including crop insurance premium support.   USDA notes that most farmers already have an AD-1026 form on file. That’s because it’s required for participation in USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans, and disaster assistance. Under the 2014 farm bill, the form is now required for farmers to receive support on their crop insurance premiums. Also new this year, everyone deemed having a “farming interest,” such as spouses, minor children, owners or other producers on the farm, must have an AD-1026 form on file.   Additionally, farmers who plan to conduct activities that may affect their highly erodible land conservation or wetlands conservation compliance, such as removing...

(Posted Thu. Mar 26th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

With less than one week until the sign-up deadline, 77 percent of farmers have made their election into the farm bill risk management program, according to USDA Farm Services Agency officials testifying today at a hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. Ninety-four percent have completed their base acre reallocations. Farmers have until Tuesday, March 31 to update their base acres and choose between Ag Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage at their local FSA office.   At the hearing, FSA officials said county offices will remain flexible during program sign-up. Farmers who are unable to complete the process by the deadline are encouraged to go to their local FSA office as soon as possible (before March 31) to sign a document of their intent to enroll. This will allow the farmer to come back into the FSA office to complete the enrollment process. Producers failing to enroll in either ARC/PLC are by default enrolled in the PLC...

(Posted Tue. Feb 24th, 2015)

Keywords: farm policy

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders this week, the National Corn Growers Association and a broad range of nearly 400 food and farming organizations urged Congress not to reopen and make cuts to the 2014 farm bill.   “The 2014 farm bill required over three years of debate in both chambers of Congress and ultimately ended with the consolidation of over 100 programs and cuts to mandatory spending across many titles, including the elimination of the direct payment program,” the letter states. “This bipartisan legislation was estimated to contribute $23 billion to deficit reduction over 10 years when including sequestration. These difficult cuts were made across the farm safety net, conservation programs, and nutrition programs.”   The letter also noted that the farm bill needs time before it can be fully judged. “The policy changes and reforms associated with these cuts are only now being fully implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture. As such, no additional...

(Posted Wed. Feb 18th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association is co-sponsoring a free webinar March 12 to help farmers understand their risk management options under the new farm bill, ahead of critical one-time decisions that will affect their operations through at least 2018.   “ARC or PLC: Which Safety Net Fits You?” will include presentations from University of Illinois Economist Gary Schnitkey and Assistant Professor of Law and Policy Jonathan Coppess, and Mississippi State Economist Keith Coble. DTN Executive Editor Marcia Taylor will moderate. These experts will share examples of corn and soybeans from multiple geographies, and help farmers analyze options between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC).   The webinar takes place Thursday, March 12, from 10 to 11 a.m. CDT. Click here to register.   Farmers have until Feb. 27 to reallocate their base acres or update yields with their local FSA office. Farmers have until March 31 to sign up for either ARC or PLC for the...

(Posted Fri. Jan 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Public Policy Action Team met in St. Louis recently to hear more about implementation of the 2014 farm bill as well as updates on other federal programs and trends affecting corn farmers. PPAT’s mission is to offer direction to NCGA in developing public policy issues. The action team is comprised of 16 growers and staff from across the country.   Highlights of the meeting included several presentations and discussions related to the farm bill’s two risk management programs, Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Farmers have until March 31, 2015 to make a one-time choice between the two programs for the 2014-2018 crop years.   “NCGA pushed for a market-based approach to risk management, and we’re very pleased it was included in the final farm bill in the form of the ARC program,” said PPAT chair Jim Reed of Illinois. “While we think ARC is a better fit for the majority of our members, it’s ultimately their...

(Posted Wed. Oct 29th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

This Friday, the University of Illinois will host a free webinar to provide information on the web-based tools released by the USDA to help farmers make decisions about the new risk management programs authorized through the 2014 farm bill.   The webinar starts at 8 a.m. CDT and is free, but registration is required and is limited to 1,000 attendees. Click here to register. The webinar will last 90 minutes and can be viewed on desktop computers, laptop computers, and mobile devices.   The presentation will cover the new tools and the Farm Bill Toolbox, which includes 7 steps for making FSA farm decisions. Presenters include University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics Clinical Assistant Professor Jonathan Coppess, Professor Gary Schnitkey and Associate Professor Nick Paulson.   In the coming months, farmers will make a one-time choice between Ag Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage for the 2014-2018 crops. ARC is a market-based program that pays...

(Posted Thu. Oct 2nd, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Last week, the USDA released web-based tools to help farmers make decisions about the new risk management programs authorized through the 2014 farm bill.   The University of Illinois will host a free webinar this Friday, October 3 at 8 a.m. CDT to review these tools and their Farm Bill Toolbox, which includes 7 steps for making FSA farm decisions.   In the coming months, farmers will make a one-time choice between Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) for the 2014-2018 crops. ARC is a market-based program that pays when there is a revenue shortfall, while PLC is a price-only program similar to past counter-cyclical programs.   Farmers can use the web-based decision tools to run through various scenarios, including how markets might perform over the next five years. NCGA encourages growers to take full advantage of these tools, so that they can make an informed decision about the right program for them.   The webinar is free, but registration is required...

(Posted Thu. Sep 25th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association today thanked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for rolling out regulations related to the new revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage program and other risk management options designed to help growers facing sharp declines in commodity prices or significant production losses.   “Many farmers are facing a difficult harvest this year – a lot of corn coming in, but at a very low price,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “The end goal of our work on farm policy is to make sure growers get the help they need – when they need it. This key objective defined our leadership role in advocating for Ag Risk Coverage, and it’s coming just in time, when many farmers are seeing their incomes fall below the cost of production.”   Vilsack today announced the online tools which will help farmers select whether ARC or PLC coverage provides the best risk management option for their operations under future scenarios. USDA helped create online tools that...

(Posted Thu. Aug 21st, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

On Thursday, the National Corn Growers Association and DTN hosted a webinar about new risk management options created under the 2014 farm bill, offering growers and landowners an early look into what the new programs will mean for them over the next five years.   Nearly 700 people signed up for the webinar. An archive of the audio, as well as printable materials, will be available on DTN’s website in the coming days. NCGA will send links to these materials when they become available.   “ARC or PLC choices: Which Farm Bill Contingency Plan Is Right for You?” featured insights from economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, who explained the new programs and fielded questions from attendees. DTN executive editor Marcia Taylor served as moderator.   Professor Zulauf and Professor Schnitkey walked participants through the key changes in coverage options and the decision-making process farmers and landowners will go through,...

(Posted Tue. Aug 19th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

This winter, farmers and landowners will need to make important, one-time decisions about risk coverage packages authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill.   To help growers and landowners understand their options and choose the right fit for their situation, DTN and the National Corn Growers Association are hosting a free webinar this Thursday, Aug. 21, at 9 a.m. CDT.   The webinar will be hosted by DTN executive editor Marcia Taylor and include presentations from economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois.   “It’s very important for farmers to understand the ramifications of one-time program decisions that will affect their farms for years to come,” said Jim Reed, an Illinois corn grower and chair of NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team. “We’re proud of NCGA’s work on federal legislation with a program like Ag Risk Coverage to provide a smart and cost-efficient, market-based approach to managing risk.”   Later this winter,...

(Posted Thu. Aug 14th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

One week from today, farmers and landowners are invited to attend a free DTN webinar, co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association, that will help them choose the right farm bill risk coverage package in the months ahead.   “It’s very important for farmers to understand the ramifications of one-time program decisions that will affect their farms for years to come,” said Jim Reed, an Illinois corn grower and chair of NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team. “We’re proud of NCGA’s work on federal legislation with a program like Ag Risk Coverage to provide a smart and cost-efficient, market-based approach to managing risk.”   Later this winter, farmers will make a one-time choice of which farm program safety net they favor when prices and/or yields hit adversity. Price Loss Coverage is a price-only program very similar to past counter-cyclical programs, only with higher reference prices than in the past. ARC benchmarks revenue and pays when there is a shortfall. It has features...

(Posted Fri. Feb 7th, 2014)

Keywords: farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association thanked President Obama for signing the Agricultural Act of 2014 today. The farm bill passed the House on January 29 and the Senate on February 4.   “This new five-year farm bill means certainty and stability for farmers. It means food on the table for hungry families. And it means taxpayers will save money,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “We thank President Obama for signing this important legislation and we stand ready to work with the Administration and communicate the value of this new law for our growers and those they help feed and fuel. Because of its very topic – food and the farms that provide it – this is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress has passed in some time.”   Among its specific provisions, the bill:   Eliminates controversial direct payments while maintaining decoupled farm support programs that will minimize the possibility of planting and production distortions that could trigger new World...

(Posted Tue. Feb 4th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association thanked members of the Senate for their passage today, with a 68-32 vote, of the 2014 farm bill. The bill passed the House on January 29 and now goes to President Obama for signing.   “We’re happy to see the farm bill pass the Senate and are looking forward to seeing it signed and implemented,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “It was a long time coming for a bill so important for promoting stability in farm policy while saving taxpayers money and feeding the hungry. While it’s not perfect, we’re pleased to see the bill contains many provisions we’ve been working hard for over the years.”   Barbre in particular pointed out that the new legislation provides the farmers the option to participate in either the revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage program (with county or farm-level options) or a Price Loss Coverage program with fixed reference prices.  The ARC will provide a band of coverage for 76 to 86 percent of the benchmark...

(Posted Tue. Jan 28th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre on the Agricultural Act of 2014, released by the House-Senate conference committee:   “We appreciate the hard work of the committee, especially Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Thad Cochran and Reps. Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson, for crafting a balanced compromise that ensures market-oriented reforms and effective risk management tools.   Their work, and that of many of their colleagues, has resulted in policies and reforms that we believe will effectively meet the diverse needs of consumers and farmers around the country.   “We’re especially pleased the legislation provides an adequate and flexible farm safety net as well as  strong federal crop insurance program. The new bill also includes an option for farmers to participate in a modified Agriculture Risk Coverage program.     “We urge swift passage by both houses of Congress and look forward to seeing this new bill become law as soon as...

(Posted Fri. Jul 26th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 26:  In a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees today, the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Canola Association made it clear that their position in favor of more market-oriented farm policies would not change as both chambers prepare their respective bills for a potential conference in September, and that the organizations would oppose any bill containing a risk management program that would tie planted acres to fixed reference or target prices.   In the letter, ASA, NCGA and USCA made it clear they would oppose any program that “would distort planting decisions in years when prices fall below support levels, resulting in surplus production of certain commodities, reduced acreage for smaller crops, depressed domestic and international market prices, and potential WTO actions against the U.S.”   “Soybean farmers simply cannot afford a farm bill containing a risk management program that, through its own...

(Posted Thu. Jul 11th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 11: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives voting on the split version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (2013 farm bill):   “The farm bill affects every American; those who eat and those who produce. We view the proposed actions to be taken on the floor of the House today with disappointment.  Legislation that for decades has been a bright spot for how our Congress should work – in a bipartisan, bicameral manner – is now stuck in a morass of petty bickering and political gamesmanship.  We do not believe that the link between farm programs and nutrition programs should be severed.  We see benefits beyond the political in keeping the ties between those who produce food and those who need it.    “Moreover, we have serious disagreement with Title I of the legislation the House will consider today.  We should not miss the opportunity to work towards meaningful...

(Posted Mon. Jun 10th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 10:  The National Corn Growers Association today congratulates the Senate on passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (2013 farm bill). The legislation was agreed to by a vote of 66-27. NCGA now urges the House of Representatives to quickly follow suit. “America’s farmers greatly appreciate the leadership and bipartisan efforts by the Senate to complete their work on the farm bill,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “We also recognize the efforts put forth to address regional concerns to ensure all areas of the country are adequately represented in the final language.” NCGA has worked to advance market-oriented reforms in commodity programs to address significant gaps in the farm safety net. The revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage Program, designed to complement producers’ individual crop insurance policies, will provide protection against multi-year price and production declines that adjusts with the marketplace. This signature reform, coupled with a strong...

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Jun. 6:  National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Senate’s farm bill cloture vote: “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the cloture vote on the farm bill received 75 votes, well over the 60 votes necessary to move the legislation forward. However, there is still important work that needs to be done. We urge the Senate to quickly take action and vote to pass the legislation.” NCGA was one of the one hundred twenty farm and conservation groups that sent a letter to all senators yesterday urging them to vote for cloture on the farm bill. Click here to read the letter.

(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Bill Farm Policy

May 23: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Senate’s progress toward a farm bill today: “We greatly appreciate the work by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and the Committee to put forth a well-crafted farm bill, and we thank the U.S Senate for the time given to debate and for floor votes today. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see progress is being made and a priority is being placed upon passage of this vital legislation. “We are disappointed with the passage of the Durbin-Coburn Amendment that would significantly reduce premium support for crop insurance participants through an Adjusted Gross Income means test. As the Senate moves forward, we reinforce our opposition to proposed amendments which would cut crop insurance programs and damage the farm safety net that supports our nation’s family farmers when facing adversity. “Now, we reiterate our call to continue...

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Bill Farm Policy Crop Insurance

May 14: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill passage: “We greatly appreciate the work by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and the Committee to put forth a well-crafted farm bill. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the Committee listened to the concerns of our nation’s corn farmers and have done a great job keeping our priorities, especially the importance of crop insurance and risk management, under consideration while drafting the legislation. “While we understand this is the first step in a very long process, we applaud the Senate Ag Committee for completing their bill and are encouraged that the House Agriculture Committee will swiftly follow suit. We look forward to continued work with members and staff on this important piece of legislation and urge Congress to pass a farm bill as soon as possible this...

(Posted Mon. Mar 4th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

Mar. 4: Delegates to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress policy meeting and corn growers elsewhere during the 2013 Commodity Classic last week talked up the importance of defending the Renewable Fuel Standard and getting a smart and strong five-year farm bill passed this year after the numerous delays of 2012. At a time when corn yields are still rising strong, the importance of protecting a growing market like ethanol is paramount to corn farmers. Despite the drought last year, for example, more corn growers than ever before had yields of 300 or higher on the National Corn Yield Contest, demonstrating that all markets – livestock feed, exports, and others as well as ethanol – will be important to the organization. “The Renewable Fuel Standard is important because it provides a level of stability to the marketplace and ensure that there is a good supply of domestic, renewable biofuel available,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “It helps create jobs and save...

(Posted Tue. Nov 27th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Nov. 27: The National Corn Growers Association today voiced support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that rate adjustments will be made to crop insurance premiums over the next two crop years.   “Crop insurance rating reforms have been a priority for our members for many years,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “NCGA feels the Risk Management Agency’s announcement represents real reform in decreasing the widening gap between the loss ratio for corn and the premiums charged to growers for policy coverage.”  The USDA’s Risk Management Agency stated in the announcement that an independent and peer reviewed study recommended more weight be given to recent years, rather than the current approach of giving equal weight to all years back to 1975.  This will help provide greater predictability for producers and crop insurance providers. RMA also announced it will be releasing documents by the end of the week that outline premium rates and other program information...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Nov 16: With very few days left in the 112th Congress, the National Corn Growers Association asks members to contact their representatives and tell them to pass the 2012 farm bill now; no more delay, no extensions.  The House Agriculture Committee passed their version of the legislation in July but it has yet to be scheduled for a vote on the House floor.  "Passage of a new five-year farm bill by Congress continues to be a top priority for our membership," NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  "This legislation allows farmers to create long term business plans and assess the best risk management options.  We need each and every voice to be heard.  I ask each of you to reach out to your representatives and tell them we need a farm bill now."  Farmers can contact their representatives several different ways including sending a letter through NCGA's Legislative Action Center.  In addition, phone calls can be patched through to the respective offices by calling the Capitol Switchboard...

(Posted Thu. Oct 25th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy Trade

Oct. 25: The expiration of the 2008 farm bill on Sept. 30 brought with it the end of funding for the Foreign Market Development program and the Market Access Program.  These two programs leverage farmer and agribusiness investments to build an active outreach program in more than 50 countries.   “Agricultural trade continues to be a success story and one of the few bright spots among our nation’s economy,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “The continuing growth in agricultural exports contributes to economic growth for our economy and consistently provides a positive balance to global trade.  The expiration of funds for MAP and FMD are yet another example of why Congress needs to pass a new, comprehensive five-year farm bill as soon as possible.”  MAP and FMD cooperators, like the U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation, employ staff around the world, build and defend U.S. market share of corn and related co-products and directly foster sales opportunities for U.S....

(Posted Wed. Sep 19th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Sept. 19: As the Farm Bill Now message resonates throughout the country, state affiliates of the National Corn Growers Association are also doing their part.  During Husker Harvest Days, the Nebraska Corn Board created banners for visitors to sign, showing their support of Congress passing new farm bill legislation.  The banners were sent to Washington this week for delivery to the Nebraska delegation in the House of Representatives as a reminder that this legislation will have an impact on many.  “We are excited to see so many farmers taking action to tell Congress to pass a Farm Bill Now,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “However, there is still work to be done.  We continue to encourage farmers to contact their Representatives either by calling, sending a letter, tweeting or signing the online petition.  Every one of us can make a difference, and we need to remind Congress we mean business.”  Other Farm Bill Now efforts currently taking place include a “Calls from the...

(Posted Wed. Aug 22nd, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Aug. 22:  The National Corn Growers Association has joined a coalition of 39 of the nation’s foremost agricultural organizations in an effort to raise public awareness of the need for Congress to pass a new, comprehensive, five-year farm bill before current farm programs expire in September.  The coalition, called Farm Bill Now, comprises associations and coalitions representing commodity crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, state and local governments, minor crops, energy and biobased product groups, farm cooperatives and financial groups, as well as the nation’s two largest farm groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union. Each organization has strong and distinct policy priorities, yet all 39 are committed to passing a new, comprehensive bill this year.  Today, the group issues the following statement, titled “Why We Need a Farm Bill,” on the importance of new farm legislation for America’s farmers:  “Calling the farm bill the ‘farm bill’...

(Posted Wed. Aug 1st, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Aug. 1:  The undersigned farm organizations support finding a path forward to reaching agreement on a new five-year farm bill before current program authorities expire on Sept. 30.  We are disappointed that the House Republican leadership has decided to not move forward with the House Agriculture Committee’s bill before adjourning for the August recess. That bill would provide the disaster relief our farm and ranch families need at this time.  Instead, we understand the House may consider a separate disaster bill, under suspension of the rules on August 2, to make supplemental agricultural disaster assistance available for Fiscal Year 2012.  Specifically, the bill retroactively extends the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) so that producers are helped for Fiscal Year 2012.  All of those programs expired in 2011.  Offsets to pay for the disaster assistance...

(Posted Fri. Jul 27th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 27:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to a decision by the House of Representatives to take up a one-year extension of the farm bill:  “America’s farmers need a new farm bill that will allow them the ability to make sound business decisions for the next five years.  An extension of current law fails to provide the needed level of certainty.  The National Corn Growers Association has strongly advocated programs, such as direct payments, be reformed into more efficient farm policy that will be responsive to taxpayers.   “It is important to get to conference and pass a bill before the current law expires September 30.  Continuing outdated farm policies will negatively impact agriculture, the federal budget, consumers and the economy.” 

(Posted Wed. Jul 18th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 18:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer today presented NCGA’s President’s Award to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) during NCGA’s Corn Congress meeting in Washington. The President’s Award is given annually to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture.  “It is my great pleasure to present the NCGA President’s Award to Senator Debbie Stabenow for her continued leadership and support for the agriculture community, especially during the current farm bill process,” Niemeyer said. “She has shown dedication and leadership throughout the 2012 farm bill process and we appreciate her efforts.”  Senator Stabenow was elected in 2000 to represent the state of Michigan in the United States Senate. She is respected for her ability to build coalitions to get things done for agriculture and our nation. As Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, she has a powerful and unique role to play in shaping our nation's...

(Posted Thu. Jul 12th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 12:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the House Agriculture Committee’s 35-11 passage of the 2012 farm bill early Thursday morning:  “The National Corn Growers Association is disappointed the House Agriculture Committee’s passed version of the 2012 farm bill does not include a more viable market-oriented risk management program.  We support moving the legislative process forward and urge Speaker Boehner to schedule time for full House floor consideration before the August recess.   “However, we feel there needs to be significant changes made to the legislation. Our farmers will be working with members of the House of Representatives to ensure those changes are included in a final package.” 

(Posted Mon. Jul 9th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 9: As a follow-up to last week’s statement, the National Corn Growers Association today issued a joint letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson expressing the need to get a farm bill done this year.  Five other commodity organizations also signed on to the letter.  “We write to express our appreciation that the House Agriculture Committee is moving forward with the 2012 farm bill, as it is a critical step toward finishing this legislation prior to expiration of current law on September 30,” the letter stated.  “Our organizations look forward to working with the Committee as it brings its bill to mark-up and consideration by the full House before the August Congressional recess.”  NCGA has previously said its board is assessing similarities and differences between the legislation and its grower-developed policy while continuing to call on Congress to pass a new farm bill this year.  Click here for the...

(Posted Thu. Jul 5th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 5: National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the House Agriculture Committee’s proposed 2012 farm bill:  “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the House Agriculture Committee propose their version of the 2012 farm bill. Our board is assessing similarities and differences between the legislation and our grower-developed policy. NCGA continues to call on Congress to pass a new farm bill this year.” 

(Posted Thu. Jun 21st, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 21: The National Corn Growers Association today congratulates the Senate on passage of Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (2012 farm bill).  The legislation was agreed to by a vote of 64-35. NCGA also urges the House of Representatives to take action quickly.  “America’s farmers greatly appreciate the leadership and cooperative work by the Senate to pass the 2012 farm bill in a timely manner,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “We would also like to thank Senators Stabenow and Roberts for their bipartisan efforts throughout the process. We have been calling on Congress to pass the new legislation before the current law expires on September 30. NCGA is pleased to see this significant hurdle has been overcome.”  NCGA has advocated for an affordable crop insurance program as well as a farm program that would provide risk management tools to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control.  NCGA has also encouraged farm policy reforms that will be responsive to...

(Posted Wed. Jun 20th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 20: National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the Senate passing Chambliss amendment #2438:  “The National Corn Growers Association is very disappointed to see passage of Senator Saxby Chambliss’ conservation compliance for crop insurance amendment in the 2012 farm bill.  Our members have spent a significant amount of time discussing this issue and feel this addition to the farm bill would have a negative impact toward America’s farmers.  NCGA’s official policy states we oppose the coupling of conservation compliance to eligibility for federal crop insurance.” 

(Posted Thu. Jun 7th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 7:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the Senate voting in favor 90-8 to advance the 2012 farm bill to the Senate Floor:  “The overwhelmingly positive vote on the floor reaffirms that senators understand the importance of passing the 2012 farm bill this year.  The National Corn Growers Association cheers the strong bipartisan vote and appreciates the work of Sens. Stabenow and Roberts on this legislation.  "The 2012 farm bill creates the reforms needed to not only reduce the federal deficit but ensure a positive beginning for the next generation of America’s farmers.  We thank the Senate for their support and urge debate to begin quickly.”  

(Posted Thu. Jun 7th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

By Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President:   My fellow farmers,  Sometimes it is easy to become the victim of your own success.  I think our industry has more than a bit of that going on right now, and this has me terribly concerned.  Times are pretty good right now on the farm.  Prices are relatively high and we have seen significant increases in yields and reductions in chemical and fertilizer use.   Farmers are making money, and that is great.  But it wasn’t that many years ago that we were suffering from stagnant demand and excess production.   To get beyond those tough times, our organizations – NCGA and our state affiliates – led the way to some outstanding victories for the corn industry.  Probably most important among those was passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard – RFS I and then RFS II.  We secured for the ethanol industry a foundation upon which it can build a solid future.  It came because of the hard and committed effort by our grassroots.   When Congress was...

(Posted Wed. Jun 6th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 6:  As the Senate prepares to begin debate on the 2012 farm bill, the National Corn Growers Association participated in a news conference with Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts to stress the importance of the reformed legislation.   Lyle Pugh, a member of NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team and a farmer from Chesapeake, Va., participated in the event along with dairy farmers and fruit growers.  “Since I have been involved in agriculture, the industry has changed dramatically,” Pugh said during the press conference.  “Farmers have sent a strong message that direct payments are no longer defensible and do not provide assistance when it is most needed.  Instead, we want a program that will help lessen the blow when farmers are facing years of bad weather or depressed markets.”  Pugh, who farms with his wife, Molly, went on to say that as a farmer and taxpayer, he is pleased to see the new farm bill reduces the federal deficit and...

(Posted Tue. Jun 5th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 5: National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filing for cloture on the 2012 farm bill:  “The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the actions taken today by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move forward with Senate consideration of the 2012 farm bill this week.  We support this action and look forward to working with members of the Senate to pass this important legislation and urge action before the July 4th congressional recess.” 

(Posted Fri. Jun 1st, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 1: This week Dr. Carl Zulauf, an economist at the Ohio State University, published a Farm Bill study outlining the benefits of using a 5-year Olympic average of price.  He stated using this type of moving average would have provided sizable protection to all U.S. crop producers during the low price period of the late 1990s, the last multi-year low price period for the U.S. This rate is used by the Agricultural Risk Coverage Program, which is included in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 farm bill.   “NCGA is pleased to see this Farm Bill study as it will help put to rest concerns that have been raised about fairness between commodities under the proposed ARC Program,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “Dr. Zulauf concludes ARC payments would have been made to all crops, including rice, cotton, corn and peanuts, throughout the difficult price declines in the 1990s. This kind risk management tool is what my fellow farmers across America need to deal with the...

(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 31:  A new report from the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute shows how a key farm bill program being considered by Congress treats crops like corn, soybeans, rice, wheat and peanuts equitably. This study comes at an important time, as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, which was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26, is expected to be considered on the floor of the Senate as early as next week and the House of Representatives is also moving forward on farm bill legislation.   “When you talk about farm bill equity, it is important to consider the market value of each of the covered crops,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “This research shows how well senators on the agriculture committee have done in maintaining balance and equity while drafting a very complex piece of legislation. We are hopeful that members of the House Agriculture Committee will do the same.”  Niemeyer notes the FAPRI report finds that the Agriculture Risk...

(Posted Wed. May 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 16: Marking the first of a two day series, National Corn Growers Association Board Member Chip Bowling testified today before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Commodities and Risk Management on the 2012 farm bill.  Bowling, who also serves on the Public Policy Action Team, outlined NCGA’s priorities for a strong federal crop insurance program and a revenue-based, risk management tool.   “The ability to purchase federal crop insurance and have access to a flexible revenue-based, risk management program to mitigate risks is even more critical today,” Bowling, a grower from Newburg, Maryland said. “NCGA understands farmers need to be able to endure a certain amount of loss in any one year.  However, we are trying to protect farmers from depleting their emergency funds when they encounter revenue losses over multiple years.”  Bowling also stated NCGA believes the Agricultural Risk Coverage program in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s version of the farm bill...

(Posted Mon. May 14th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 14: As the House Agriculture Committee continues farm bill hearings this week, the National Corn Growers Association and several other agriculture groups today sent a letter to House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson on the importance of crop insurance.   “Federal crop insurance provides an effective risk management tool to farmers and ranchers when they are facing losses beyond their control,” the letter stated. “It reduces taxpayer risk exposure; it makes hedging possible to help mitigate market volatility; and it provides lenders with greater certainty that loans made to producers will be repaid.”  NCGA has previously stated that crop insurance remains the number one priority in the new farm bill as well as a market oriented, risk management tool to cover multi-year price declines.  Chip Bowling, a member of the Corn Board and liaison to the Public Policy Action Team, during a hearing on Wednesday before the Subcommittee on General Farm...

(Posted Tue. May 8th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 8: A week after the Senate Agriculture Committee completed its work on the farm bill, the National Corn Growers Association and more than 120 agricultural and other organizations sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.  The letter advocated for floor consideration of the legislation as soon as possible to enhance prospects of completing the process this year instead of having to extend current programs.  “This is one piece of legislation upon which all Americans depend, urban as well as rural,” the letter stated.  “With limited time remaining before expiration of current program authorities, time is of the essence.  While each of our respective organizations will continue to work to accomplish our key priorities, the farm bill must move forward.  We urge your leadership in allowing the Senate to consider this legislation as soon as possible.”  The Senate Agriculture Committee legislation reduces spending by $23 billion while...

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 7: After the U.S. Department of Labor announced it would withdraw its proposed rule limiting farm children’s involvement in agricultural activities, the National Corn Growers Association sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis applauding her decision.   “On behalf of the National Corn Growers Association, I commend you for your decision to withdraw the proposed child labor rule,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “As a family farmer, there is nothing more important than the safety of my children and grandchildren.”    The letter also said that NCGA looks forward to working with the Departments of Labor and Agriculture to develop an educational program that will promote safer agricultural practices. NCGA has previously worked with the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, FFA and 4-H to address this issue.  One example of taking a forward step toward promoting farm...

(Posted Mon. Apr 23rd, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Apr. 23:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to Senate Agriculture Committee’s proposed 2012 farm bill legislation:  “We greatly appreciate the work by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts to put forth a well-crafted 2012 farm bill.  The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the Committee listened to the concerns of our nation’s corn growers and have done a great job keeping our priorities under consideration while drafting the legislation. NCGA believes the Committee print is consistent with what our members have been advocating.”  “While we understand this is the first step in a very long process, we applaud the Senate Ag Committee for holding a markup and hope the House Agriculture Committee will swiftly follow suit.  We look forward to our continued work with members and staff on this important piece of legislation and urge Congress to pass...

(Posted Fri. Apr 20th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

April 20: The Senate Agriculture Committee confirmed today that it will mark up its version of the 2012 farm bill next week.  Members are scheduled to begin work at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 25.  The committee has stated the legislation reforms farm policy, consolidates and streamlines programs, and will reduce the deficit by $23 billion.   The National Corn Growers Association is grateful that the Senate Ag Committee developed a plan that saves taxpayers money while strengthening initiatives that help farmers, ranchers and small business owners create American jobs.  “At a time when the United States is borrowing 42 cents on every dollar spent, we are pleased to see the Senate Agriculture Committee be responsive to our federal deficit crisis,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “We are delighted that the Senate Agriculture Committee is moving forward with the 2012 farm bill at a steady pace and look forward to continuing the process.”  Earlier this week, NCGA sent a...

(Posted Thu. Apr 19th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Apr. 19:  In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) this morning, a group of eight prominent agricultural associations, including the National Corn Growers Association, voiced its support for the Senate’s approach to the 2012 Farm Bill, and raised several issues related to commodity and risk management programs.  Co-signed by NCGA, the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, U.S. Canola Association and USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, the letter commended the committee for adhering to its original proposal of $23 billion in deficit reduction, brought forth to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction last fall. Additionally, the groups applauded the Committee’s decision not to restructure the federal crop insurance program or to reduce its funding for deficit reduction...

(Posted Fri. Apr 13th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Apr. 13:  Because the estate tax remains a concern for thousands of farmers around the country, the National Corn Growers Association sent letters this week with more than 30 other agriculture organizations supporting House and Senate legislation that calls for permanent repeal of the so-called “death tax.” Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives and John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.  “Family farmers and ranchers are not only the caretakers of our nation’s rural lands but they are also small businesses,” the letter states.  “The 2013 change to the estate tax law does a disservice to agriculture because we are a land-based, capital-intensive industry with few options for paying estate taxes when they come due. The current state of our economy, coupled with the uncertain nature of estate tax liabilities, makes it difficult for family-owned farms and ranches to make sound business decisions. We urge Congress to...

(Posted Thu. Apr 12th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

By Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President  Apr. 12: I have spent much of my time over the past month in Washington visiting with members of Congress and other policy makers about the importance of the 2012 farm bill.  Each meeting seems to end in the same fashion as the others: Democrats blame Republicans and Republicans blame Democrats.  If I ask someone from the House, I hear that it is the fault of the Senate; and when I ask someone from the Senate, I hear it is the fault of the House.    Agriculture policy historically has not just been bipartisan, it’s been non-partisan.  Farmers recognize the seriousness of the federal government’s financial situation and that any new legislation needs to be responsive to taxpayers. Our organization understands that programs important to agriculture will be cut. We are willing to do our part to significantly reduce government spending and move towards market-based programs that meet today’s risks.  We are, to our knowledge, the only constituency...

(Posted Wed. Apr 11th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Apr. 11:  U.S. Senator Roy Blunt shared his thoughts on today’s political environment with St. Louis Agribusiness Club members and guests at a lunch this week, co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association. NCGA CEO Rick Tolman was on hand to thank the senator for his work on behalf of U.S. agriculture, and draw attention to the lengthy list of unresolved issues that concerns farmers.  “When big decisions are being made, government stands still,” said Sen. Blunt, R-Mo. “We are going to have to decide who we as Americans want to be. Do we want to follow Europe’s path and have government outgrow our economy, or do we want a government we can afford?”  As ranking member of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Sen. Blunt played a vital role in writing and passing the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill. The senator conveyed his pride in being able to maintain vital support for...

(Posted Fri. Mar 30th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Mar. 30:  As Congress prepared to depart Washington for a two-week recess, Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced a new farm bill proposal, the Revenue Loss Assistance and Crop Insurance Enhancement Act of 2012.  The legislation would include a farm-level revenue-based program, a narrower band of coverage and a reduced percentage of planted acres eligible for payments.  “The National Corn Growers Association has advocated for a revenue-based risk management tool at the crop reporting district that provides assistance only when it is needed,” NCGA Public Policy Action Team Chair Anthony Bush said.  “The NCGA Corn Board voted in December to support the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management legislation as introduced by Senators Brown, Thune, Durbin and Lugar.”  The new legislation comes two weeks after the Senate Ag Committee’s final farm bill hearing.  The House Ag Committee will continue field hearings over the next month.  NCGA...

(Posted Thu. Mar 15th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Mar. 15: Today, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Pam Johnson testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.  Johnson participated in the final series of farm bill hearings focusing on the Commodity Title.  “NCGA has invested time and resources to develop and analyze concepts for a new farm bill that would help farmers in times of need and be a good investment of taxpayer dollars,” Johnson, a grower from Floyd, Iowa said during her testimony.  “We learned that risk management is the number one priority and that federal crop insurance is the cornerstone of a sound farm safety net for the future.”  Johnson also stated NCGA has called for a transition away from the direct payments to a revenue-based risk management tool that complements crop insurance. Growers decided it was time to move toward a farm policy that better addresses today’s production and volatile market risks, such as the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management...

(Posted Fri. Mar 9th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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...

(Posted Thu. Mar 1st, 2012)

Keywords: Commodity Classic Farm Policy

Mar. 1:  The following statement on the 2012 farm bill was released today by National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a corn grower from Auburn, Ill.; National Association of Wheat Growers President Wayne Hurst, a wheat producer from Burley, Idaho; American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman, soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb.; and National Sorghum Producers Chairman Terry Swanson, a sorghum grower from Walsh, Colo.  “Commodity Classic provides our organizations an opportunity to come together to discuss important policy issues facing our industry.  As Congress continues work on the next farm bill, our organizations agree that an affordable crop insurance program is our No. 1 priority.  We also stand ready to work with House and Senate Ag Committee leaders to create farm programs that provide risk-management tools to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control.   “We urge Congress to pass a new farm bill this year to provide the level...

(Posted Mon. Feb 27th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Feb. 28: As crop insurance purchase deadlines approach for the majority of the Corn Belt on March 15, the National Corn Growers Association urges farmers to explore how changes in policies can make coverage more affordable.  With lower insurance premiums being offered for most coverage levels this year and adjustments to historical-yield trend calculations, many growers can take advantage of lower rates and increases in coverage.  “At NCGA, we constantly strive to improve the safety net for farmers and hope that in 2012 many will take advantage of the improved options that we have achieved,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “We faced difficult weather conditions across much of the Corn Belt in 2010 and again in 2011.  By reexamining crop insurance options, many growers may find that increased coverage is more affordable and will better guard against losses in 2012.”  Lower premiums are the result of adjustments that the Risk Management Agency made based on  updated crop...

(Posted Wed. Feb 22nd, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Feb. 22:  As Congress continues work on the 2012 farm bill, the Crop Insurance Industry’s Annual Convention hosted a panel discussion focusing on the farmers’ perspective.  NCGA Public Policy Action Team Chair Anthony Bush participated in the panel and provided his thoughts on farm policy and the new farm bill.  The panel also hosted soybean, cotton, wheat and rice growers.  “Ensuring an effective, affordable crop insurance program is NCGA’s No. 1 priority for the next farm bill,” Bush said.  “This program provides assurance to farmers when they are facing a loss beyond their control. However, uninsured gaps remain.  That is why NCGA is also working with House and Senate Ag Committee leadership to create farm programs that provide additional risk management tools.”  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....

(Posted Tue. Feb 14th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Feb. 14:  From NCGA’s earliest days, long before issues like ethanol or biotechnology arose, farm policy has been at the top of the association’s priority list.  Farm policy was a “natural” for organization founder Walter Goeppinger, who made a point of working with presidents and congressional leaders of both parties on behalf of corn growers. His close relations in government and his stature as a spokesman for growers established an NCGA tradition of initiative and effectiveness in farm policy debates.  That tradition has continued with each farm bill since Goeppinger’s day and spread into additional issues as U.S. farm policy evolved.  In 1965, NCGA went to Congress backing a new concept: a four-year extension of the farm bill’s feed grain section to eliminate the need to revisit it annually. That ushered in the modern pattern of farm bill consideration and renewal.  NCGA and Goeppinger were also leaders in developing coalitions to back farm policy, bringing...

(Posted Mon. Feb 13th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Feb. 13:  As the Senate begins to prepare for farm bill hearings, the National Corn Growers Association signed a letter with more than 80 other agriculture groups urging Congress to pass a new bill this year.  The letter was sent to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Ag Committees.   “The 2012 farm bill is among the most important pieces of legislation the U.S. Congress will consider this year,” the letter stated.  “We ask you to reject calls for delay and aggressively act to ensure that a new, comprehensive farm bill is passed this year.  Farmers need a safety net that works more effectively, and they need access to tools that help them be good stewards of our natural resources.”  The letter also stated that a temporary extension of current policy would create uncertainty without addressing important issues such as job creation hunger prevention resources.   To read the letter, click...

(Posted Thu. Feb 9th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Feb. 9:  As Congress continues the 2012 farm bill process, members of the National Corn Growers Associations’ Public Policy Action Team met in Washington this week to hear more about the subject from experts from inside the beltway.  PPAT’s mission is to offer direction to NCGA efforts to address public policy issues.  The action team is comprised of 17 growers and staff from across the country.  “We came together in Washington this week to review current farm bill proposals and discuss timing and framework,” NCGA PPAT Chair Anthony Bush, a farmer from Mount Gilead, Ohio said.  “Our agenda was filled with briefings from Capitol Hill staff.  The staff have very demanding schedules and we greatly appreciate them taking time to speak with us. Those relationships are invaluable, especially at a time such as this.”  PPAT heard from House and Senate Ag Committee staff and experts on farm and risk management policy.  Members were also briefed on other farm bill proposals and had...

(Posted Tue. Dec 13th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Dec. 13: After efforts to pass the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, H.R. 872, failed in the Senate earlier this fall, a bipartisan group of Senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asking for full consideration on the Senate floor before the end of the year. The legislation previously passed the House of Representatives in March and passed the Senate Agriculture Committee in June.  “We are aware that efforts had been made to come into a bipartisan resolution before these new permitting requirements went into effect,” the letter stated. “However, we believe there is still an opportunity to resolve this matter in a way that will protect the environment while avoiding undue costs on rural communities and municipalities nationwide. Thus, it is our sincere hope that you will allot floor time for the Senate to have a full, open debate on this matter.”  The legislation would clarify that National Pollutant Discharge...

(Posted Wed. Dec 7th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Dec. 7: During a Farm Journal Forum Tuesday in Washington, National Corn Growers Association Senior Director of Public Policy Sam Willett outlined NCGA’s priorities for a new farm bill. Willett was joined on the panel by representatives of USDA’s Risk Management Agency and the National Sustainable Ag Coalition.  “NCGA continues advocating for our members as Congress begins writing the new farm bill,” Willett said. “Our farmers are looking for legislation that will provide risk management tools that will help them only when they need assistance. They understand farmers need be able to take on a certain amount of loss in any one year. However, it is very important to protect growers, especially young farmers, from depleting their emergency funds when these types of losses occur over multiple years.”  Willett also outlined the importance of a an effective, affordable crop insurance program and a revenue-based safety net that addresses significant losses not adequately covered by...

(Posted Mon. Nov 21st, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Nov. 21: National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to produce a deficit reduction plan:  “We’re disappointed the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction did not agree on a plan to reduce our federal deficit. We appreciate the hard work of the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Ag Committees to meet agriculture’s responsibility to help address our debt crisis.  “NCGA will continue to advocate for market-based risk management farm programs that recognize our nation’s difficult financial situation. As the farm bill process moves into next year, we look forward to working with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to address the critical challenges facing America’s corn farmers.” 

(Posted Thu. Nov 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy Production

Nov. 3: The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers and their allies to submit comments opposing a petition filed with the Environmental Protection Agency that would ban atrazine use and production before the public comment period closes on November 14. The petition, originally submitted this spring by an activist organization named Save the Frogs, asks for both further review of this proven herbicide and regulatory changes. The EPA posted this petition on its website for public comment, remaining consistent with its goal of openness and transparency in the regulatory and scientific processes.  “Growers must speak out right now in support of the current policies regulating atrazine use,” said Dean Taylor, chair of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “This herbicide has played a vital role in farming for more than five decades, both increasing corn productivity and allowing for the use of practices that protect our environment.”  The information submitted by...

(Posted Thu. Nov 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Conservation Farm Policy

Nov. 3: Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry held a hearing on the EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. TMDLs are a common pollution control mechanism established by the Clean Water Act. The TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay watershed sets a firm limit on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that can be discharged in six states and the District of Colombia. Today’s hearing focused on state Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and their impacts on rural communities.  EPA Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin testified on behalf of the Agency, and he was asked tough questions about the validity of the Chesapeake Bay computer model, which forms the basis for the TMDL. Members of the Subcommittee expressed concerns that EPA’s flawed model does not take into account many of the voluntary best management practices that are currently undertaken by farmers in the watershed. In addition, Congressman Bob...

(Posted Thu. Oct 27th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

In a letter to Roll Call published today, the National Corn Growers Association, American Farmland Trust and the National Farmers Union explain why maintaining a strong safety net for growers remains important even as farm programs face reform.  The authors note that, while farmers support reform that will help our nation during these difficult economic circumstances, government support of a farm safety net is necessary if American agriculture is to remain robust.  “Failure to adequately assist farmers and ranchers in managing risks they have no other option to protect themselves from will, at best, invite dramatic consolidation of farms and, at worst, make American citizens dependent upon foreign countries for food just as we depend on others for oil,” the joint letter notes. “For nearly a hundred years, American public policy has believed that the health of agriculture is important and affects our national security — especially if we want to feed and clothe...

(Posted Mon. Oct 17th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Oct. 17:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees’ proposed reductions in farm bill spending:  “NCGA appreciates the bipartisan work of the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Ag Committees to reach an agreement on farm bill spending reductions.  Our farmers have previously stated we are willing to do our part to help reduce the deficit.  “The highest priority for NCGA is securing a strong crop insurance program.  In addition, we support revenue-based risk management programs that address gaps not covered by crop insurance.  This type of program would deliver assistance only when it is needed. Everyone must play a part to help with our nation’s financial situation. America’s corn farmers are pleased to see that the House and Senate Ag Committee leaders are taking responsible steps to meet that...

(Posted Fri. Sep 23rd, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Sept. 23: The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the bipartisan work of Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Thune (R-SD), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) to introduce legislation that will create the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management (ARRM) Program.The bill is designed to simplify, consolidate and streamline existing commodity programs that were authorized as part of the 2008 farm bill.  “We greatly appreciate the senators’ work to introduce legislation that will provide a more effective and responsive safety net for America’s farmers,” NCGA President Bart Schott said. “This legislation addresses several concerns raised by farmers regarding the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program, including overly complicated procedures and delayed payments when losses are experienced. We also understand everyone must do their part to help our nation with its difficult financial situation, and we are pleased to see a bill introduced that takes responsible steps...

(Posted Mon. Sep 12th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Sept. 12: The National Corn Growers Association today unveiled the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Program, a commodity title proposal for the 2012 farm bill that will modify and replace the existing Average Crop Revenue Election Program and provide a more effective and responsive safety net for growers.  “Responding to a charge by our voting delegates to investigate transitioning direct payments into programs that allow producers the ability to mitigate risk, our grower-led Public Policy Action Team developed a crop-specific, revenue-based risk management tool that provides a safety net when growers are facing a loss,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “We are focusing on simplification and faster delivery of assistance when it is needed.”  ADAP builds on the existing structure of ACRE and is designed to address the need for simplification and elimination of overlapping coverage with individual crop insurance. Changes include the use of harvest prices and crop reporting...

(Posted Tue. Aug 30th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Aug. 30: The National Corn Growers Association held a news conference with Congressman Bobby Schilling (Rep.- Ill.) at the Farm Progress Show today n Decatur, Ill., highlighting preparations for the 2012 farm bill in light of the looming debt crisis. NCGA also focused on the top priorities for corn farmers regarding the need for a substantive safety net in today’s volatile economic environment.  “The Farm Progress Show is an awesome showcase of some of the best that American agriculture has to offer,” Congressman Bobby Schilling said. “As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, which will be tasked with writing a new farm bill, I highly value this opportunity to witness the advances in technology that farmers use to feed our country and the world.”  Expressing gratitude for the House member’s participation, NCGA leadership explained the importance of public-private partnership crop insurance programs and the role these tools play in ensuring a stable, abundant supply of...

(Posted Thu. Aug 11th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Aug. 11: One week after NCGA President Bart Schott sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlining concerns on the proposed guidance for operators of farm vehicles and off-road agricultural equipment, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released a statement saying no further regulations would be placed on the transport of agricultural products. Secretary LaHood also mentioned that more than 1,700 comments from agricultural organizations and members of Congress were received, with the majority requesting that states maintain their ability to preserve existing agricultural exemptions.  “We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” Secretary LaHood said in a statement. “Farmers deserve to know that reasonable, common sense exemptions will continue to be consistently available to agricultural operations across the country, and that’s why we released this guidance.”  Schott’s...

(Posted Wed. Aug 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Aug. 3:  The National Corn Growers Association this week submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding proposed guidance for operators of farm vehicles and off-road agricultural equipment.  NCGA President Bart Schott identified several areas of concern that could impact growers, including whether grain being transported from the farm to the local elevator should defined as “interstate commerce.”  “When it comes to the shipment of agricultural commodities, in most cases corn growers do not know the eventual destination of their crop, its ultimate use and whether portions might leave the state after being mixed with grain from other farmers,” Schott said.  “If a broad definition of ‘interstate commerce’ is used, growers could be forced to obtain commercial drivers licenses for hauling their crop even short distances within state boundaries.”  Schott added that farmers transporting grain under a sharecrop agreement should not be treated as forhire...

(Posted Wed. Aug 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Corn Sugar Farm Policy

Aug. 3: National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman today highlighted the ways in which the farm bill impacts U.S. corn growers as he addressed the 28th Annual International Sweetener Symposium in Stowe, Vt.  The program focused on overall farm policy while allowing attendees to explore related topics such as the U.S. and world supply and demand outlook and the effect of trade agreements on world sugar policies and U.S. commodity programs. Promoting an understanding of farm issues in the sweetener industry, Tolman covered several farm issues and recognized the importance of the sweetener industry and all of American agriculture working together.  “At NCGA, we recognize the importance of keeping stakeholders in all of our valued markets informed on the issues affecting our growers,” said Tolman. “We hope to work hand-in-hand with our sweetener industry partners to ensure that our farmers needs are recognized as key legislative or regulatory issues continue to arise.”  To...

(Posted Tue. Aug 2nd, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Aug. 2: The new White House Rural Council, established by President Obama this summer, is the first entity of its kind to focus on policy initiatives for rural Americans. The National Corn Growers Association hopes that it will help residents in rural areas to see improved programs and services that provide the maximum benefit possible, thus creating vibrant communities that will help attract the next generation of farmers back to farming communities.  “Today, most farmers operate near rural communities suffering from above-average poverty rates and decreasing populations,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “We applaud this effort to bring opportunities back to our communities and revitalize the rural areas that have contributed so much to our country’s heritage.”  As outlined in the Executive Order, the Secretary of Agriculture serves as chair of the council. Membership includes the heads of: the Department of the Treasury; the Department of Defense; the Department of Justice; the...

(Posted Thu. Jul 28th, 2011)

Keywords: Conservation Farm Policy

July 28: During testimony before an Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Advisory Panel evaluating the effects of atrazine on human health, NCGA Director of Public Policy Sarah Gallo explained the importance of the product to combat weeds effectively and affordably. She also discussed how farmers have been safely applying atrazine for more than a half century.  Click here for her testimony.  “The United States is the world’s largest producer and exporter of corn and one of the key inputs that makes this possible is atrazine,” Gallo said during her testimony. “Atrazine is applied on well over half of all corn acres in this country and, according to the EPA, saves corn farmers as much as $28 an acre in reduced herbicide costs and increased yields.”  Gallo said atrazine safety has been verified by more than 6,000 studies and nine reviews by the EPA. She also pointed to a study released in May that concluded there is no association between atrazine worker exposure and any...

(Posted Tue. Jul 26th, 2011)

Keywords: Conservation Farm Policy

July 26: In comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency today on the draft guidance that identifies which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, the National Corn Growers Association outlined concerns including the new proposal could expand EPA’s authority over isolated waters such as ditches and farm ponds.  Click here for the letter.  The draft guidance, which was announced in April, was developed to clarify the scope of protections under the law following two Supreme Court decisions over the past decade. While the guidance maintains existing exemptions for normal farming and ranching activities, NCGA remains concerned that the new proposal could expand EPA’s authority over isolated waters which would require growers to obtain additional permits. For example, the proposal could significantly expand the scale of the pending NPDES permit program for pesticide applications. In addition, NCGA believes states should have the authority to regulate certain...