NEWS STORIES

TRADE

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

(Posted Tue. Apr 17th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

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

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

(Posted Thu. Apr 12th, 2018)

Keywords: trade

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

NCGA Statement on Proposed Tariffs and Trade with China

(Posted Wed. Apr 4th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

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

NCGA Response to Trade Tariff Announcement

(Posted Thu. Mar 8th, 2018)

Keywords: trade

The National Corn Growers Association issued the following statement in response to the trade tariff actions taken today by the Administration:   “Trade plays an important role in many facets of the U.S. economy and impacts various industries in different ways. Agricultural trade has been a bright spot for U.S. economy, positively impacting our overall trade balance, while providing an important avenue to grow demand for America’s farmers and ranchers. New tariffs on steel and aluminum might not only trigger retaliation from our trading partners, but could also increase the prices farmers pay for necessary equipment, such as tractors and combines. The National Corn Growers Association is hopeful that, as the Administration moves forward, it will work to minimize the impacts upon America’s agricultural sector.”

(Posted Thu. Jan 18th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

A broad-based group of over 30 organizations representing growers, refiners, producers, transporters, retailers and consumers announced the formation of Americans for Farmers & Families (AFF), a coalition that will work to ensure President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders understand the importance of preserving and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to America’s agricultural and retail economies.   Since taking effect in 1994, the positive impacts of NAFTA extend beyond America’s farming community, and have helped the food and agricultural industries to grow to support more than 43 million jobs.  But it is rural economies and communities that are among the biggest winners under NAFTA, the very same communities that...

(Posted Thu. Dec 14th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Members of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), USA Rice, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA) welcomed a joint statement issued this week from 17 countries participating in the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, emphasizing the importance of supporting farmer access to the full range of tools and technologies available and opposing regulatory barriers lacking sufficient scientific justification.   “Having in mind the importance of transparency and predictability to international trade, we call on all Members to strengthen the implementation of...

(Posted Thu. Dec 7th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

More than four decades of partnership and a free trade agreement have benefitted agribusinesses in both the United States and South Korea. But the preservation of past success must be coupled with an innovative look at the future in order for that positive trading relationship to continue in years to come, South Korea customers told a delegation of leaders and staff from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) last week.   The joint mission visited with local cooperatives, a grocery store, a major port and a Korean farm using U.S. grains in addition to other activities. South Korea is a highly developed country with an equally highly developed food and feed market. The country has state of the art and efficient...

(Posted Thu. Dec 7th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Mexican Market Is Growing, But Will the U.S. Capture That Demand?   Increasing demand in Mexico could mean big business for U.S. agriculture, but U.S. farmers and agribusinesses may have to work harder to capture a share due to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   Mexican customers and government officials conveyed that message to officers and staff leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) who traveled to Mexico last week as part of a joint officers’ mission.   The group met with agriculture officials, grain association representatives and top buyers of U.S. grain products.  Mexican customers emphasized the United States will always be an important supplier, but organizations are moving...

(Posted Thu. Dec 7th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Farmers and ranchers across the country took to Twitter on Wednesday to let the  President and other administration officials know that staying in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a win for farmers.  Corn growers from around the United States tweeted about the economic benefits of NAFTA, which supports 25,000 corn industry jobs and stimulates the rural economy.   For the past twenty-three years, NAFTA has been a landmark trade success story for U.S. agriculture, particularly grains. U.S. corn and corn products (ethanol, DDGs and corn gluten feed) have duty free access to Mexico and Canada under NAFTA.  Mexico has become the number one trading partner for U.S. corn, buying 25 percent of all exports.  Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to NAFTA partners have increased more than...

(Posted Thu. Nov 30th, 2017)

Keywords: trade

The leaders of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) traveled to South Korea and Mexico this week in concurrent missions to engage with customers and government officials during a period of policy uncertainty in the U.S. corn industry’s #1 and #3 markets.    “Trade equals huge success for U.S. feed grains in all forms,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and farmer from Iowa. “The Council has helped build relationships over decades with a large and loyal customer base in both Mexico and South Korea, reflected by increased demand and integrated grain supply systems. These missions helped reinforce those ties and let us hear directly from our customers.”   The delegation in South Korea included Keller; Wesley Spurlock, NCGA...

(Posted Wed. Sep 20th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade Policy

The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction today of the CREAATE Act, a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products.   The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.   MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue—$309 billion since 1977.   “MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding...

(Posted Mon. Sep 11th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Trade teams from South Korea have met face-to-face with U.S. farmers and grain suppliers in eight states in the last three months - all part of work by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to secure and expand U.S. exports to the third largest market for U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).    The four teams represented the diverse sectors with which the Council works, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, on developing markets in South Korea, including government officials, industrial corn buyers, feed grain importers and bioethanol advisory teams. The breadth and depth of representation on these teams reflect the importance of the South Korean market as well as the dedication by the Council and our member organizations to further...

(Posted Tue. Aug 8th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Last month, a delegation from the International Maize Alliance (MAIZALL), including NCGA Past and MAIZALL current President Pam Johnson, met with their South American counterparts in Argentina to collaborate on strategic planning for MAIZALL and to meet with a number of senior Argentine government officials.   While the participants in MAIZALL compete for markets abroad, they came together to reaffirm their commitment to and discuss their work toward common goals that benefit corn farmers in America, Brazil and Argentina. MAIZALL works to: enhance public support for trade, grow public understanding of and support for biotechnology; encourage transparent, predictable, science-based regulatory systems; promote synchronicity in approval processes; and encourage trade-enabling low...

(Posted Thu. Jul 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Farmers attending last week’s National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits.  The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace.   “Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president.  “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.”   The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by...

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is critical for corn farmers and agriculture at large, and continuing its long-term success is a top priority to our members, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Kevin Skunes testified Tuesday at a hearing of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to examine priorities for the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations.   “North America has become the most important export market for the U.S. corn industry,” Skunes testified. “Corn farmers export about 20 percent of our annual corn crop, and exports account for about one-third of our income. Today, the agriculture economy is experiencing its fourth year of a downturn marked by low commodity prices. I cannot stress enough how important export markets are to our ability to stay in...

(Posted Fri. Jun 16th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement on U.S. policy toward Cuba.   “Cuba should be an easy market for U.S. corn farmers. Instead, that market has gone to our competitors—costing us an estimated $125 million in lost opportunity each year. If trade with Cuba were normalized, it would represent our 11th largest market for corn. Instead, we have just 11 percent market share in a country only 90 miles from our border. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, we ask our leaders in Washington not to close doors on market opportunities for American agriculture.”

(Posted Mon. Jun 12th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Trade equals huge success for exports of U.S. feed grains in all forms, particularly to the 20 countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA).   Exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partner countries have increased by nearly 24 percent over the last 10 marketing years (2006/2007 to 2015/2016), according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade data and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).   Last marketing year (2015/2016), exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partners saw a record high of more than 49.6 million tons (1.95 billion bushels).   The preferential trade terms included in the 14 FTAs the United States has in place with 20 international markets have helped lead to these significant increases during their tenure.   FTA partners...

(Posted Thu. May 18th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have quintupled since the ink dried on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than 20 years ago. And Mexico’s animal agriculture and feed manufacturing industries want to keep buying even more U.S. corn, sorghum, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other products, according to a team of Mexican grain buyers, livestock and feed processing representatives who traveled to Nebraska and Washington, D.C. this week.    The agribusiness industry team, organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) with support from Nebraska Corn, spoke directly with farmers in Nebraska at a roundtable on Tuesday, followed by a press conference with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. The...

(Posted Thu. May 18th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Today U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified Congress of the Trump Administration’s plans to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.   National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock urged Lighthizer to remember the interests of U.S. agriculture as they begin modernizing the agreement.   “The Trump Administration understands that NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture,” said Spurlock.   “Exports are one pillar of a strong farm economy, accounting for 31 percent of farmer income. Nowhere is the importance of trade stronger than right here in North America. Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have tripled and quintupled, respectively. We export billions...

(Posted Tue. May 16th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a boon for America’s farmers and ranchers, and we must maintain a strong partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and national and state grain industry leaders told Mexican officials today at a press conference highlighting the importance of Mexico to U.S. agriculture.   “Bilateral trade with Mexico has helped grow agriculture in our state over the years,” said Governor Ricketts. “Mexico is Nebraska’s largest export market for corn, dairy, sugar, and sweeteners, and second largest market for soybeans, wheat, sorghum and distiller’s grains. All of this combined accounts for thousands of Nebraska jobs. I’m encouraged by local and national discussions to expand trade, and am...

(Posted Fri. May 12th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The Canadian government has set an aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 megatons by 2030 - and U.S. ethanol is a proven and economically viable tool to help achieve that objective. A U.S. ethanol industry mission delivered that message and more information about the benefits of U.S. ethanol during a mission to Canada in April, followed by formal comments on the proposed Canadian Clean Fuel Standard.    One-third of all U.S. ethanol exports are destined for Canada, making it the top export market for U.S. ethanol for the past four marketing years. In the first six months of the 2016/2017 marketing year, U.S. ethanol exports to Canada have already increased 40 percent year-over-year, totaling 166.2 million gallons or 1.51 million metric tons (59.4 million bushels)...

(Posted Thu. May 11th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of a USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs as part of a broader reorganization of the department. The following is a statement from Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association:   “The National Corn Growers Association has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing U.S. agricultural exports, and we pushed for this provision in the 2014 farm bill. We are pleased to see that post finally become a reality today.   “Secretary Perdue’s announcement signals to farm country that the Trump Administration is listening to America’s farmers and ranchers. In this farm economy, trade is more important than ever to farmers’ incomes. Overseas...

(Posted Thu. May 11th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Join the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Grains Council in highlighting agricultural exports during World Trade Month this May.    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agricultural exports reached $134.8 billion in 2016, and imports totaled $114.6 billion, creating a trade surplus of $20.3 billion.    Exports remain a bright spot in a challenged farm economy. More than 26 percent of U.S. corn in all forms, including 30 percent of distiller's dried grains with solubles, as well as more than 60 percent of U.S. sorghum are now exported.   The United States exported 863 million gallons of ethanol in 2015/2016, representative of increased international opportunities for not only U.S. feed grains, but also value-added products.   Much of this success is due to the push by...

Free Trade, Relationships Key to Market Competitiveness in South Korea

(Posted Tue. May 9th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Recent events in foreign policy and the ongoing conversation about the value of U.S. trade agreements have put a spotlight on South Korea as a close U.S. ally and an important customer for U.S. products, including grains.  South Korea is now the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $6.2 billion in purchases in 2016. The country was the fourth largest importer of both U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as the seventh largest importer of U.S. barley in the 2015/2016 marketing year.    The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, has worked in South Korea since 1972, providing technical assistance and expertise on how to best utilize corn and value-added...

(Posted Tue. May 9th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association, along with the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development, welcomed the introduction late last week of a bill to gradually increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs, ultimately improving the competitiveness of the U.S. agricultural community in the global economy.   H.R. 2321, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, was introduced by Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and is co-sponsored by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Jimmy Panetta (D-California), and Thomas Rooney (R-Florida).   The MAP and FMD programs match...

(Posted Wed. Apr 26th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today denounced reports that the White House has drafted plans to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The following is a statement from NCGA President Wesley Spurlock.   "Mr. President, America's corn farmers helped elect you. We are strong supporters of your administration and continue to stand ready to work with you to build a better farm economy. That begins with strong trade policy.   "Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture. We cannot disrupt trade with two of our top trade partners and allies. This decision will cost America's farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover.   "NAFTA has been a huge win for American agriculture. Corn and corn product exports today account for 31...

(Posted Tue. Apr 25th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Selling 50 metric tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) may seem minor, but Javier Chávez, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Mexico marketing specialist, views these small sales to cattle and dairy producers in southeastern Mexico as the start of another big opportunity for U.S. feed grains.    DDGS is a well-known and frequently-used feed source in northern Mexico but does not benefit from the same recognition in the southeastern region of the country. Instead, both cattle and dairy operations rely on grazing pasture to feed the region’s estimated seven million cattle.  Chávez explained this substantial market is largely undeveloped due to a lack of knowledge of superior feeding practices and inefficient distribution of feed ingredients. There, available forage provides...

(Posted Mon. Apr 3rd, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

U.S. grain farmers are voicing their support and appreciation for trade with Mexico, a message U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Chairman and Maryland farmer Chip Councell carried with him when he traveled to meet with Mexican buyers in March.    “If you look at the logistics of Mexico, no other country can replace it as a customer for U.S. grain,” Councell said this week to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting about the mission. “The logistics by rail, truck and boat give the United States such a huge advantage.”   Councell and USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight, accompanied by USGC Mexico Director Ryan LeGrand and Assistant Director Heidi Bringenberg, offered reassurance about U.S. grain producers’ dedication to customers in Mexico, who in turn expressed serious...

(Posted Wed. Feb 15th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

More than 350 attendees had a firsthand look at the new Panama Canal expansion on Monday to kick off events at the U.S. Grains Council 14th International Marketing Conference & 57th Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City, Panama.   The tour of the Agua Clara locks in Colon, Panama, was a unique opportunity to see trade in action, and an important reminder of the dynamic global trade environment for those who last visited the Canal shortly after construction on the new locks began.   “When USGC last met in Panama, the canal expansion was only a construction site,” said Chip Councell, USGC chairman and a grain farmer in Maryland. “Visiting the new locks reflects the long-term commitment of the Council and its members to enable more and expanded trade opportunities for...

(Posted Mon. Feb 6th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

By the Numbers   $1.5 trillion: Increase in real incomes due to liberalizing trade efforts since World War II (Peterson Economics) $82 billion: Annual economic output in 2014 due to exports of feed grains and grain products (Informa Economics) 371,536: Number of full-time equivalent jobs linked directly or indirectly to grain and grain product exports in 2014 (Informa Economics)   With trade suddenly a hot topic among Americans who usually may not question where their consumer goods come from - or their agricultural goods go - a few background facts offer important context. For agriculture, the fact is that trade has served the United States very well.    One of the most important issues to many Americans - and rightfully so - related to trade is the impact on our...

(Posted Fri. Jan 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump has already followed through with key campaign promises related to trade policy - moves that have rightfully caused concern among grain farmers whose price is being supported by robust export sales of this year.   Early this week, the Administration announced it would aim to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Monday, the president signed an executive order to withdraw the United States from participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiated with 11 other Pacific Rim countries.   These moves are intended to pave the way for new negotiations. However, in the short term – and coming soon after serious trade policy issues with China – they could severely curtail...

Stronger Demand Leads to Brisk Exports of U.S. Grains

(Posted Mon. Jan 23rd, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Exports of U.S. feed grains have a promising outlook after the completion of the first quarter of the 2016/2017 marketing year, according to recently published U.S. Department of Agriculture trade data.   Total exports of feed grains in all forms in September, October and November 2016 reached 1.1 billion bushels, up 32 percent from the same quarter last year.   The feed grains in all forms calculation takes into account the grain equivalent of the value-added and processed forms of feed grains as well as unprocessed grains. Sharply higher exports of corn (up 83 percent) and ethanol (up 85 percent) and moderately higher beef (up 19 percent), pork (up 15 percent) and poultry (up 13 percent) exports offset lower shipments of barley (down 82 percent), sorghum (down 60 percent) and...

(Posted Fri. Oct 21st, 2016)

Keywords: Trade Ethanol

A study recently released by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, finds that a significant portion of U.S.-produced corn ethanol will likely meet Japan's 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction threshold over gasoline, supporting the case for that fuel's competitiveness and its sustainability compared to other fuel sources.   These results will help the Council and its industry partners dispel myths about U.S. ethanol and help make the case for opening the door for U.S. ethanol in the Japanese market. In particular, the study will help show key Japanese government officials and industry stakeholders that U.S. corn ethanol meets Japan's rigorous international sustainability requirements.   The ongoing efficiency improvements in...

(Posted Wed. Sep 21st, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

To date, 6,325 corn farmers from across the country have written letters to Members of Congress, urging them to take up and pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2016. The National Corn Growers Association will be delivering them to Capitol Hill starting today.   “America’s farmers and ranchers need Congress to step up and pass TPP now,” said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “At a time when the farm economy is struggling, exports represent a rare bright spot for American agriculture. America’s farmers and ranchers stand ready to share our bounty and meet the challenge of feeding and fueling a growing world. But we can’t do that without trade agreements like TPP.”   The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade...

(Posted Mon. Sep 19th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

The United States exported more than 1.8 billion bushels of corn in the 2015/2016 marketing year, a 1.8 percent increase from the prior year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly sales reports. Mexico, Japan and Colombia ranked in the top three for total accumulated exports of U.S. corn with more than 492.1 million bushels, 413.4 million bushels and 177.2 million bushels, respectively.   Export sales rose 16 percent to Mexico and 5 percent to Colombia from the previous year. Both of these markets have benefited from aggressive marketing and long-term development efforts by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member.   The weekly sales report issued Sept. 15 also showed that the 2016/2017 marketing year is...

(Posted Fri. Sep 16th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Asian Trade Mission completed meetings in Hong Kong last Friday that explored the many opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in the region.   National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team member Janna Fritz, who farms in Michigan, and Communications Manager Cathryn Wojcicki participated in three days of intensive briefings, meetings and exploratory visits designed to gain a better understanding of both the market in Hong Kong and the possibilities this regional trade hub offers.   “While Hong Kong may not come to mind as an obvious market for U.S. commodity corn, it certainly holds excellent potential for exporting a wide variety of products produced with ingredients made from U.S....

(Posted Tue. Sep 13th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

Statement by Chip Bowling, President of the National Corn Growers Association:   “The National Corn Growers Association is committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade practices and policies as part of our efforts to feed and fuel a growing world. We believe in both strong trade policy and market development.   As a facilitator and arbitrator of global trade, the World Trade Organization provides structure and accountability to the process.  We welcome USTR’s and USDA’s trade enforcement action, and will closely monitor these developments.   China is an important trading partner for U.S. agriculture, and we continue to support a trading relationship between our two nations that is long-term, stable, and mutually beneficial.”

(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

With the largest corn crop on record about to be harvested, the need for trade policies that open export markets even further has never been stronger. The 2014/2015 marketing year saw U.S. corn exports of more than 43 million metric tons, with total U.S. feed grains in all forms exports exceeding 91 million tons equivalent. Similar success is expected from the 2015/2016 marketing year, which ended last week.   Now that Labor Day is over and fall is here, it’s time to reach out and discuss the benefits of trade, trade agreements and the still-pending Trans-Pacific Partnership in your community. USGC and its sister grower organizations have ready resources to make this outreach easier and fun. The USGC Trade Toolkit page offers tweets, sharegraphics, useful links, videos and main messages for use online and in person.   Visit the page here at grains.org.

(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade Biotech

  Representatives of the National Corn Growers Association, along with leaders from seven state departments of agriculture and 22 U.S. ag organizations and companies have embarked upon a trade mission to Hong Kong and Shanghai led by Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Alexis Taylor. This mission extends activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Women in Agriculture initiative into foreign markets while working to grow export opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers.   "Women play an important role in U.S. agriculture, and they have a story that is powerful both for those in domestic and foreign markets," said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team member Janna Fritz, who is with the...

(Posted Mon. Aug 29th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

A group of grain buyers from Taiwan visited Indiana and Michigan last week to become familiar with production, application, grading and quality standards for U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The trip gave stakeholders the chance to gain technical skills and knowledge in handling, procurement and storage and offered critical insight into the advantages of purchasing U.S. corn and DDGS.   Taiwan is the seventh largest U.S. agricultural export market and the sixth largest for U.S. corn. In 2015, Taiwan imported 1.84 million metric tons of corn with 95 percent of the total used for animal feed in the swine and poultry sectors. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, continues to foster promotion of...

(Posted Wed. Aug 24th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

Following a five-year hiatus from Malaysian shores, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), of which the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is a founding member, was recently on hand to welcome back the first vessel of corn from the United States since the historic drought in 2012/2013. The vessel, which was loaded from the Pacific Northwest, was sold from one USGC member to another, destined for a consortium of several key USGC allies.   “This is an exciting opportunity,” said Kevin Roepke, USGC South and Southeast Asia regional director. “We're able to build partnerships that help this bit of trade happen, which is a big win for Malaysia and U.S. producers.”  The geared handimax, the Yasa Gulten, berthed over the weekend in Port Kelang after initially unloading in Southern Malaysia’s Pasir...

(Posted Wed. Jul 27th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association is working to vigorously promote trade policies that benefit U.S. farm families, First Vice President Wesley Spurlock told corn state stakeholders at the U.S. Grains Council’s Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this week in Louisville, Ky.    Spurlock, a farmer from Texas, provided his update during the General Session on Tuesday as part of a series of updates from various commodity group leaders.   He began by describing how NCGA and the Council work together for the benefit of corn farmers. Delving into this idea, he explained the many synergies between the organizations in terms of goals listed in NCGA’s new strategic plan.   Turning to focus more specifically on trade agreements, Spurlock looked at how NCGA’s policy work...

(Posted Thu. Jun 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

More than 50 farmers, ranchers and representatives of state agriculture associations were in Washington this week to deepen their knowledge about trade issues and drum up support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Capitol Hill as part of the National Corn Growers Association Trade School.   “Trade policy has a significant impact on me as a farmer. The success of my business and the livelihood of my community depend on expanding markets for U.S. agricultural products,” said John Linder, a farmer from Edison, Ohio who serves as chairman of the NCGA Biotechnology and Trade Action Team.   “With so many trade issues front and center right now, we wanted farmers to walk away with the knowledge and resources to become trade advocates, here in Washington and back home in their...

(Posted Tue. May 24th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

Exports of U.S. corn and corn products generated $74.7 billion in annual economic output in 2014, with sales of all U.S. feed grain products contributing $82 billion, according to a new analysis conducted by Informa Economics.   According to the analysis, the export of corn and corn products increased the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $29.8 billion over what would have occurred without such exports. The number of full-time equivalent jobs linked directly or indirectly to corn exports totaled 332,787.   All feed grains examined – corn, corn products, sorghum and barley – increased the U.S. GDP by $33 billion over what would have otherwise occurred, affecting 371,536 jobs.    “Corn – whether in the form of feed, ethanol, or meat and dairy – is a major...

(Posted Thu. May 19th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

Yesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released its report on the economic benefit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the U.S. economy. Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said this report underscores the importance of TPP for America’s farmers and ranchers and called on Congress to pass the agreement this year.   “The ITC report confirms what we already know: the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a win for U.S. agriculture. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, TPP would be a big step in the right direction for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said Bowling.   The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a landmark global trade deal whose 12 nations represent about 40 percent of the world’s economy. The agreement must be...

(Posted Mon. Apr 11th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today joined more than 220 national and state food and agriculture organizations in expressing support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and urging Congress to pass the agreement in 2016.   In a letter to Senate and House leaders, the organizations write, “Delaying the launch of TPP by even a year would represent a $94 billion permanent loss… to the U.S. economy. With net farm income at its lowest level since 2002, the costs of inaction are too high to ignore. We must act now.”   Last year, the United States agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with 11 Asia-Pacific countries representing 40 percent of the world’s economy. TPP countries currently account for 42 percent of U.S. ag exports, at a value of $63 billion...

(Posted Fri. Feb 26th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

The National Corn Growers Association explored solutions to food security challenges with leaders from academia, business and government in Indonesia during a meeting this week made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and arranged by the Meridian International Center.   The group held discussions with NCGA as part of an overall agenda designed to expand knowledge of U.S. policies on food security, global hunger and sustainable economic development, with a focus on the important role of biotechnology in agricultural progress.   “One of the most often overlooked benefits of biotechnology in agriculture is its ability to significantly increase food security while improving production sustainability,” said NCGA Director of...

(Posted Wed. Feb 3rd, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Today, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team wrapped up its spring meeting in Long Beach, Calif., where team members reviewed recommendations coming out of NCGA's Priority and Policy Conference held earlier in January and met with representatives from across the value chain to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including goals set out in NCGA’s strategic plan can be achieved, the team used their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “During the winter months, it can begin to feel like farmer leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings...

(Posted Thu. Nov 12th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

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

(Posted Fri. Nov 6th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

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

(Posted Mon. Aug 3rd, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Last week, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance’s Domestic Working Group held a technology meeting in Montreal to recommit to address any worldwide asynchrony regulatory risks associated with the commercial possibilities for biotechnology during the next three years. During the meeting, representatives from all parts of the value chain worked together, creating an understanding of both the biotechnology derived products which have or may gain U.S. regulatory approval, their international approval status and possible market risks in an attempt to help farmers understand the status of new products in world markets before they plant these varieties.   Held in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council’s Annual Board of Delegates Meeting, USBCA laid the groundwork...

(Posted Wed. Jul 1st, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Nine farmer leaders and staff members from the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains Council and the North Dakota Barley Council traveled to Cuba last week to see first-hand opportunities for expanding U.S. coarse grain exports if trade is fully normalized with the island nation.   The mission was part of an ongoing effort by the grains industry to assess and build plans to address marketing, financial and educational barriers to increase sales to Cuba. As the overseas market development organization for corn, barley, sorghum and grain co-products, the Council is considering how best to engage the Cuban market with partnerships and programs.??   “The Cubans are excited to engage with the United States and want to learn more from the U.S. agriculture industry...

(Posted Fri. Jun 19th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Leaders from the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains Council and the North Dakota Barley Council will travel to Cuba next week to continue the grain industry’s appraisal of the market potential for U.S. coarse grain exports and reengagement with key customers.    This mission will include a visit to a Cuban port, meetings with Cuban government officials and tours of the animal sectors in Cuba including dairy, poultry and beef.   The following U.S. ag commodity leaders are slated to take part in this mission: U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray; U.S. Grains Council Vice Chairman Alan Tiemann; National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Rob Elliott; North Dakota Barley Council Chairman Doyle Lentz; National Corn Growers Association CEO...

(Posted Thu. Jun 18th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling regarding the vote in the House of Representatives to advance Trade Promotion Authority legislation.   “We must break down trade barriers and give America’s farmers, livestock producers, and businesses greater access to the world’s consumers. We are one step closer to that goal today. Trade Promotion Authority is essential to negotiating the kinds of global trade agreements that will increase demand for American agricultural products. Thank you to the House for passing this critically important legislation. We look forward to a swift resolution in the Senate.”

(Posted Fri. Jun 12th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Today, the House of Representatives passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation, but failed to pass the Trade Adjustment Assistance package that was required for the bill to move forward to the President’s desk. National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling issued the following statement.   “We are disappointed by the House of Representatives’ inability to move forward with the full package of trade legislation. This is a blow to American farmers, livestock producers, businesses, and workers. We hope that both houses of Congress and the White House can quickly resolve their differences and find a path forward. This legislation would bring us one step closer to open markets and greater access to millions of consumers living beyond our borders. It’s time for Congress to put aside petty politics, and stand up for American agriculture.”

(Posted Thu. May 28th, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Last week, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance’s Board of Directors met in Washington to recommit to the alliance and update the business plan. During the meeting, representatives from all parts of the value chain worked together, reviewing working group findings and planning for a future meeting to address the future of biotechnology and potential market impacts.   Both the Domestic Working Group and the International Working Group reported back to the board on their progress over the past year. Progress by the International Working Group was found to be particularly encouraging, as it managed to elevate issues related to biotechnology and trade to the president’s agenda on his most recent trip to China. Additionally, it became evident that the group’s work has established USBCA as the...

(Posted Sat. May 23rd, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today praised the Senate for passing the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) and urged the House of Representatives to quickly pass the bill.   “Thank you to the senators who voted in favor of Trade Promotion Authority,” said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of NCGA. “This legislation is critical to removing trade barriers, expanding our access to global markets, and ensuring farmers get the best possible trade agreements.   “America’s farmers and ranchers are counting on the House of Representatives to step up and pass this important legislation as soon as possible.”

(Posted Thu. May 21st, 2015)

Keywords: trade

The National Corn Growers Association urges the Senate to quickly pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation, and opposes any amendments that could prolong debate or jeopardize the legislation. NCGA President Chip Bowling issued the following statement:   “The livelihoods of America’s farmers and ranchers are dependent on trade. We need greater access to foreign markets and the ability to break down barriers so farmers to compete globally. Right now, the United States is negotiating major trade agreements in the Pacific Rim and the European Union. But the fact is, we have never passed a major trade agreement without Trade Promotion Authority.   “The Senate needs to pass a clean TPA bill as soon as possible and keep this critically important legislation moving forward.” 

(Posted Tue. May 19th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Join the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. Grains Council, sister farmer organizations and the International Trade Administration in celebrating World Trade Month this May.   Here are some fun facts about trade according to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative:   Every billion dollars of goods and services exported supported more than an estimated 5,000 U.S. jobs in 2011. The five largest U.S. export markets for corn in 2014 were: Japan (466 million bushels), Mexico (412 million bushels), South Korea (196 million bushels), Colombia (136 million bushels) and China (108 million bushels). U.S. exports of agricultural products to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries totaled $104.7 billion in 2013.  Leading categories included: soybeans ($18.7...

(Posted Thu. May 14th, 2015)

Keywords: trade

Today the United States Senate voted to advance H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015). A final vote is expected to take place next week. National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling issued the following statement:   “Thank you to the bipartisan group of senators who voted to take up Trade Promotion Authority legislation. Trade is essential to the livelihoods of American farmers, as well as the one million people whose jobs depend on agricultural trade. TPA legislation is critical to removing trade barriers, expanding our access to global markets, and ensuring farmers get the best possible deal in trade agreements.   “American farmers are stepping up to meet the growing demand for our products abroad. Now we’re asking Congress to step up and pass Trade Promotion Authority as quickly as possible.”   Click here for more information on TPA.

Preparing for Success: NCGA Provides Important Insight for Delegation Organizers

(Posted Wed. May 13th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed a group of Turkish seed association representatives arranged by the Consulate General of Turkey in Chicago’s Trade Commission. The group, an exploratory delegation arranging a larger tour of the United States for member companies later this summer, discussed how the U.S. seed industry functions and the association’s interaction with all parts of the value chain with NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability Paul Bertels, Director of Development Joe Hodes and Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields.   “By actively contributing in the development stage, NCGA gains a unique opportunity to ensure this tour presents a clear, accurate view of American agriculture,” said Director of...

(Posted Tue. May 12th, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol trade

A recent chart from the U.S. Grains Council illustrates the wide range of markets for U.S. ethanol exports in 2014. This is a change from just four years ago, when more than 80 percent of U.S. ethanol was exported to Brazil, Canada and the European Union.   Exports to the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and India experienced the strongest growth in 2014. While the UAE is largely importing U.S. ethanol to blend with its gasoline that is later re-exported, and India is importing for industrial purpose, the Philippines has a blend mandate in place. Domestic production in the Philippines has been unable to meet its 10 percent blend mandate making imports necessary.   Currently, the United States has a 55 percent market share in the Philippines and the Council is hopeful there is room to capture...

(Posted Tue. May 5th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

As U.S. corn farmers kicked their planters into high gear, signals on the ground, in the sky and in the markets look promising for the 2015 crop.   “Last week, farmers across the country made incredible planting progress,” said National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jon Linder, who farms in Ohio. “The percentage of corn acres planted surged ahead of the five-year average and, by now, many farmers already have their entire crop in the ground. While the growing season will certainly still hold many surprises, all indicators currently point to another excellent corn harvest in 2015.”   The spring weather outlook is also favorable for the 2015 crop. Most of the U.S. Corn Belt is currently drought-free, with the exception of the Dakotas...

(Posted Tue. Apr 28th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The U.S.-Peru trade promotion agreement has been instrumental in boosting bilateral trade in food and agricultural products since it went into force on Feb. 1, 2009, including spurring new sales of U.S. commodity corn, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Global Agricultural Information Network report released April 8. “The increase in the export of U.S. corn to Peru provides another outstanding example of how free trade agreements can open markets, creating real opportunity for America’s corn farmers,” said John Linder, an Ohio farmer who chairs the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “With NCGA pushing for policies like Trade Promotion Authority and favorable trade agreements and, once those policies are in place, USGC building...

(Posted Fri. Apr 24th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association expressed its disapproval of the new proposal by the European Commission to amend legislation on its genetically engineered food and feed approval process. Under the amended legislation, EU member-countries could ignore science-based safety and environmental determinations made by the European Union and further restrict or even eliminate imports of GE food and feed.    “The regulatory proposal announced this week would move the EU further from a reasonable, science-based approach to biotechnology approvals, making international trade partners subject to the whims of agenda-driven, emotionally charged activists,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “If enacted the policy would not only harm potential markets for U.S. growers,...

(Posted Thu. Apr 23rd, 2015)

Keywords: trade

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded members of the Senate Finance Committee who voted to advance the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) out of committee and urged Congress to quickly pass the bill.   “On behalf of America’s corn farmers, our customers, and the one million Americans whose jobs depend on agricultural trade, I want to thank the Senate Finance Committee members who voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority out of committee,” said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of NCGA. “We now call on members of the House Ways & Means Committee to pass a clean TPA bill out of committee, and for both the House and Senate to bring this important legislation to a floor vote as soon as possible.”   “American...

(Posted Tue. Apr 21st, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The U.S. Grains Council has released the 2014/2015 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, the fourth in a series measuring U.S. corn quality by looking at grade factors, moisture, chemical composition and physical composition in corn samples ready to be loaded for overseas shipment.   This information is valuable for U.S. international corn customers, many of whom have come to anticipate its findings each year. USGC’s global staff and membership will begin presenting the report’s results to interested customers during the coming month. “The United States is the only country that releases such a comprehensive report on the quality of its corn crop,” said USGC Manager of Global Trade Manuel Sanchez, who will use the report’s results in his work with...

(Posted Thu. Apr 16th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the introduction today of bipartisan legislation to renew and modernize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and urged Congress to quickly pass the bill.   The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will help open the door to new markets for U.S. goods and services, grow the U.S. economy and support jobs in all 50 states. TPA was last enacted in 2002 and expired in 2007.   “Trade benefits American corn and livestock farmers, workers and consumers. Agricultural exports are already a major driver of the U.S. economy, supporting more than one...

(Posted Tue. Apr 14th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

As the U.S. dollar strengthens, making U.S. grain relatively more expensive in the global marketplace, the importance of the impact of favorable trade policies on sales gains further importance.   Over the last year, the U.S. dollar has strengthened against most currencies, including 15 percent against the currencies of most major corn customers since 2012. In the time between 2001 and 2009, the dollar strengthened but did not significantly affect the price of U.S. corn to customers. This year will likely follow that pattern.   However, the effects of a stronger dollar are more pronounced in comparison with the United States’ corn export competitors, with U.S. dollars strengthening by 42.5 percent against an index of major competitor currencies.   “The most important...

(Posted Thu. Apr 9th, 2015)

Keywords: trade

As corn farmers look to increase demand in the face of abundant supply, the importance of Trade Promotion Authority to U.S. farmers has grown. Today, NCGA Director of Public Policy Zach Kinne sat down to explain why TPA is important not only for agriculture but also for all Americans.   To listen to the full interview, click here.   Kinne began by explaining what exactly Trade Promotion Authority is, and what it does.   “Trade Promotion Authority is legislation that does three things,” said Kinne. “First, it allows Congress to give direction to the executive branch on trade policy priorities and objectives for any trade agreements that are being negotiated. Second, it establishes Congressional requirements for consulting stakeholders and the public before and during negotiations to ensure that those objectives are being...

(Posted Thu. Mar 26th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

As of March 12, the Western Hemisphere claimed nearly 708.6 million bushels in outstanding sales and accumulated exports of U.S. corn for the 2014/2015 marketing year, 102 million bushels more than last year at the same time, the U.S. Grains Councol reported this week.    With domestic consumption of U.S. corn expected to remain flat for the current marketing year, there is an abundant supply available for export. The Western Hemisphere is a natural market due to its proximity to U.S. export channels.   Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela are generally among the top 10 export markets for U.S. corn, and the countries of Central America are generally among the top 20 export markets. New growth throughout the region is occurring due to grain availability, competitively priced U.S. corn and policies...

(Posted Tue. Mar 17th, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

As planting season gets underway in southern parts of the country, the National Corn Growers Association reminds growers to visit its updated version of the “Know Before Your Grow” website. The newly revamped site offer growers important new information to help inform planting decisions in light of the release of new seed varieties currently unapproved in some export markets.   “In a globalized agricultural economy, it is important that farmers understand the delicate balance that must be struck between ensuring access to the technologies while also safeguarding export markets remain open to U.S. corn,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder, an Ohio farmer. “Both biotechnology and export markets play a key role in maintaining profitability. Making decisions...

(Posted Thu. Mar 12th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

As corn farmers look to increase demand in the face of abundant supply, the importance of Trade Promotion Authority to U.S. farmers has gained particular importance. By passing TPA, the President gains the necessary means for negotiating the trade agreements that facilitate access to important export markets and thus helps ensure American farmers remain competitive in meeting the world’s need for food, fuel and fiber.   The National Corn Growers Association asks that farmers consider the historical context, explore the importance and actively support TPA as an important means for opening markets for U.S. corn.   Simply, Trade Promotion Authority does three things. It allows Congress to give direction to the Executive Branch on trade policy priorities while providing negotiating objectives for trade...

(Posted Wed. Mar 11th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Easing trade restrictions and building a two-way relationship between the U.S. and Cuba should be a key priority for U.S. farmers, according to National Corn Growers Association representatives who visited Cuba last week.   John Linder, an Ohio farmer who chairs NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team and NCGA communications manager Jennifer Myers were among the nearly 100 representatives from U.S. agricultural organizations who visited Cuba March 1-4. The visit included meetings with Cuban officials and visits to farms and agricultural facilities.   “American farmers will lead the way in building a relationship between our two countries,” said Linder. “To do that, we need a level playing field and two-way trade – and that means an end to the...

(Posted Thu. Feb 12th, 2015)

Keywords: trade

U.S. Grains Council delegates provided powerful feedback into the Council’s decision-making process and priorities for 2015 and beyond at meetings this week in Heredia, Costa Rica. The meeting included many corn growers and top leadership from the National Corn Growers Association.   Bringing together the Council’s producer and agribusiness members with its global staff and consultants, the purpose of the meeting was program evaluation, assessment of changing market opportunities and review of the annual Unified Export Strategy (UES), the Council’s official work plan for the upcoming year.    This week’s sessions during the 12th International Marketing Conference and 55th Annual Membership Meeting were uniquely formatted to generate discussions between USGC membership and staff. New...

(Posted Tue. Feb 10th, 2015)

Keywords: Livestock trade

Export value for both U.S. beef and pork reached new heights in 2014, posting double-digit gains over the previous year’s totals, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.   Supporting meat exports is an important part of the National Corn Growers Association’s commitment to building profitable demand for corn, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. Several of NCGA’s affiliated state checkoff programs support the work of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.   “Providing quality corn-fed meat to consumers around the world, many of whom are looking for new and healthy sources of protein, helps support corn growers here at home – especially when you consider how livestock feed is our largest corn use,” Bowling said. “We value our ties to livestock...

(Posted Mon. Feb 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Today, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team began its spring meeting in Houston, Texas, where team members reviewed recommendations coming out of the Priority and Policy meeting held earlier in January and met with representatives from academia and industry to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of respecting refuge requirements and facilitate successful communication across the value-chain on their issues, the team will use their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “During the winter months,...

(Posted Thu. Jan 8th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today joins U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and fellow farm and food organizations seeking to end the United States’ embargo against Cuba and advance trade relations between the two nations.   The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba is composed of more than 30 U.S. agricultural and food organizations committed to building a deeper U.S.-Cuba relationship.   Although agricultural exports to Cuba are legal, the financing and trade restrictions have hampered the ability of American farmers to compete with other countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, which do not face the same restrictions. U.S. corn exports to Cuba have decreased from nearly 800,000 metric tons in 2008 to 200,000 tons in 2013.   NCGA...

(Posted Fri. Jan 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Coarse grains exports could increase dramatically if United States-Cuba diplomatic relations are fully normalized, with the island nation having the potential to become the 12th largest market for U.S. corn if trade is truly open.    The Obama Administration’s announcement that it would seek to dismantle many of the 50-year-old restrictions on how U.S. companies and individuals interact with Cuba was welcome news to the agriculture industry, which has long supported changes to allow U.S. farmers to more freely sell to a market that is both import-dependent and just 90 miles from U.S. coastline.  The new movement related to Cuba policy has accelerated the U.S. Grains Council’s plans to reengage that country in early 2015 as part of the organization’s wider strategy...

(Posted Tue. Dec 30th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

This December, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team met in St. Louis to review the organization’s policy in their area of expertise, discuss progress on several ongoing programs and hear from industry representatives about upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of respecting refuge requirements and facilitate successful communication across the value-chain on their issues, the team will use their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “During the winter months, it can begin to feel like farmer...

(Posted Mon. Nov 10th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the inclusion of biotechnology on the agenda at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit this week in China.   During the summit, President Obama is expected to press Chinese President Xi Jinpig on delays in approving biotechnology traits for corn and other commodities.   “Biotechnology is important to U.S. corn farmers, allowing them to increase yields and reduce their environmental impact,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder. “China could be an important market for U.S. corn, but without timely approval of new biotechnology products, trade becomes unpredictable.”   NCGA joined 12 other farming and agribusiness organizations in signing a Sept. 30 letter to Obama requesting biotech approval to be a central focus of the summit agenda. Click here for the letter.      

(Posted Wed. Oct 22nd, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

Nearly 180 international coarse grains buyers from 39 countries arrived yesterday in Seattle, Washington, for Export Exchange 2014, ready to meet with U.S. suppliers and service providers across the value chain.    Export Exchange 2014, co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, and the Renewable Fuels Association, is a biennial event aiming to make connections that will build and sustain business in the current market and for years to come.    The scheduled attendee list reflects the diversity of customers for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and co-products, notably distiller's dried grains with solubles, an ethanol co-product that has become a sought-after, high protein feed.   Twenty-six registrants hail from China, 25 from...

(Posted Wed. Oct 8th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

While price is an important consideration for buyers of corn and other commodities, the United States’ reputation for reliability and honesty is also a significant market asset. The U.S. Grains Council has been promoting these benefits in top markets around the globe and will continue to do so as the United States begins harvest for another record corn crop.   The United States exported more than 11 percent of the U.S. corn supply in the 2013/2014 marketing year, which ended Aug. 31. More than 100 countries purchased the U.S. commodity.   U.S. corn exports to Japan enjoyed a powerful rebound, with USDA reports showing 2013/2014 exports and outstanding sales of 11.8 million metric tons (465 million bushels). The Council has been able to provide Japanese end-users with timely, reliable information to...

(Posted Wed. Oct 1st, 2014)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Yesterday, the National Corn Growers Association joined with 12 other organizations representing farmers and agribusiness in sending a letter urging President Obama to keep Chinese agricultural biotechnology policy and its impact on U.S. crop exports to China in mind as he prepares for the 2014 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit.   During the summit, hosted by the People’s Republic of China, the group asked the Administration to remain aware of the harmful impact China’s current policies continue to have on America’s farmers as well as the importance of this market.   “The Chinese market for U.S. grains and oilseeds is incredibly important to the viability of the U.S. agricultural economy,” the letter explained.  “China is the largest U.S....

(Posted Tue. Sep 23rd, 2014)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

The National Corn Growers Association has launched an online campaign reminding growers of the importance of properly channeling grain this harvest. Through a series of online placements on AgWeb.com, email blasts and text message alerts, the association will focus farmer attention during this critical harvest period, running from mid-September through early November.   “NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team always stresses the importance of balancing access to technology and export markets,” explained team chair Jim Zimmerman, who farmers near Rosendale, Wis. “The Know Before You Grow online tool plays an important role in this by empowering growers with the knowledge that they need to make educated decisions. With a potentially record crop on the way,...

(Posted Wed. Sep 3rd, 2014)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Japan is consistently among the world’s leaders in biotechnology regulation, boasting a system that is science-based and, therefore, effective, timely and transparent. This does not happen by accident. Among the key contributing factors are the sophistication and scientific integrity of the regulatory teams that implement the system.   To help sustain this benchmark of success within one of our most important trading partners, the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, was privileged last week to host a team of Japanese biotechnology regulatory officials, who were visiting the United States to learn about the latest developments in the field.   “In Japan, many central government officials, including biotechnology...

(Posted Mon. Aug 25th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

A team of national news reporters and key opinion leaders from Japan visited the United States recently to learn about the latest developments in biotechnology, gaining accurate information and first-hand observations to share with interested audiences back home.   “Japan has a good record on managing biotechnology, including event approvals,” said Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan, who accompanied the group. “The Council wants to maintain that status, and transparency is important. The best way to build confidence is to let the public know that technology providers and growers have an open door, and to answer questions as they arise.”  Japan is among the world’s leaders in developing timely, science-based and transparent regulatory systems for biotechnology trait...

(Posted Mon. Aug 18th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

The United States is on track to capture more than 95 percent of Colombia’s 141 million bushel corn market this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31. This is a dramatic turn-around from 2013 exports of just 25 million bushels to that country. “The trend that we are seeing clearly illustrates both why the National Corn Growers Association’s work in promoting trade agreements benefits U.S. corn farmers and the effectiveness of its work in collaboration with the U.S. Grains Council,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Wisconsin. “Together, NCGA and USGC can affect real change by promoting policies that open markets and building the relationships that capitalize on said policies. While this work may seem ephemeral, the impact on corn demand has very...

(Posted Thu. May 29th, 2014)

Keywords: trade

The Philippines has been the target of rampant smuggling, fraud and price and quantity mis-declaration in commodity imports. To address these issues, the Philippine Bureau of Customs recently announced new regulations, effective June 1, 2014, requiring inspection and certification of all bulk and container imports at the port of loading, to be performed by one of a limited number of BOC-approved inspection companies. Importers are expected to absorb the costs of inspection, which are estimated to be $5-15 per metric ton, depending on the surveyor and the volume.   Most of this smuggling and fraudulent activity originates in South and Southeast Asian countries. There have been no smuggling incidents originating in the United States. Unfortunately, however, the BOC elected to...

(Posted Wed. May 7th, 2014)

Keywords: trade

The highly sophisticated Korean market, which has the ability to diversify sourcing and reformulate rations in response to pricing, has once again returned to purchasing U.S. corn. Driven by the record 2013 U.S. corn crop, so far this marketing year (Sept. 1 through April 24), U.S. corn exports to Korea have totaled almost 3.3 million metric tons (130 million bushels) versus 359,000 tons (14 million bushels) over the same period last year.   In hopes of sustaining U.S. market share in Korea, the U.S. Grains Council has been actively promoting the advantages of sourcing corn from the United States. Furthering this effort, Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade, recently presented the Council's 2013/2014 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report to Korean importers and end-users.   "The attendees expressed...

(Posted Wed. Apr 2nd, 2014)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology Video

The second video in a six-part miniseries debuts today at the National Corn Growers Association’s YouTube page, talking about the importance of biotechnology to corn farmers as they seek ways to help feed and fuel a growing world population.   “By the year 2050, we will need to have doubled our output for the food supply,” said Jim Zimmerman, chairman of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “We know it’s going to take a lot more work, and we need to have the public understand what we’re doing and why we’re trying to do it.”   Zimmerman talks about how NCGA works with agribusiness on resistance issues, is involved in coalitions to educate the public,  like CommonGround and GMO Answers, and the connection to trade policy. He also defends the importance of science.   “Sound science is...

(Posted Tue. Mar 18th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association hosted guests from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture Chicago Branch today for a series of presentations on the U.S. corn crop outlook  for 2014, recent trends in demand and supply, and updates on trade negotiations, the farm bill, and transportation and infrastructure. This annual visit provides an opportunity to build relationships and foster understanding with important representatives from the Japanese market, historically the largest importer of U.S. corn.   “As always, we are glad to welcome these important officials and foster our valued trade partnership with Japan,” said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. “The open discussions and productive dialogue reinforce our trade ties and offer a unique opportunity to reiterate our dedication serving this vital...

(Posted Wed. Feb 5th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

Today, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team concluded its spring meeting in Portland, Ore., where team members reviewed the organization’s policy in their area of expertise, reviewed recommendations coming out of the Priority and Policy meeting held earlier in January and met with representatives from government and industry to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of respecting refuge requirements and facilitate successful communication across the value-chain on their issues, the team will use their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn...

(Posted Thu. Jan 9th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

Jan. 9:  The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction of bipartisan updated Trade Promotion Authority legislation today that will establish strong rules for trade negotiations and Congressional approval of trade pacts, to deliver trade agreements that boost U.S. exports and create American jobs. NCGA now urges Congress and the Administration to act swiftly to move the legislation forward.   “We applaud the legislation introduced today as it would improve our nation’s ability to advance trade agreements that open markets for U.S. farmers,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. “The legislation provides rules against trade barriers to U.S. agricultural products that are both tough and enforceable. We urge...

(Posted Mon. Dec 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Trade US Grains Council

Dec. 23: Record production, high quality and minor weather-related impacts are the top-line findings of the 2013/2014 Corn Harvest Quality Report, released last week by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member.   "After a record drought last year, the world has been watching intently the 2013 U.S. corn crop," said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. "Production has rebounded, and quality is high despite some weather challenges. It's good news all around."   Total U.S. corn production of 13,989 million bushels set a new all-time record, and the average yield of 160.4 bushels/acre is the second highest on record. Weather was again the challenge, as a cold and wet spring delayed planting across much of the Corn Belt. Some...

(Posted Wed. Dec 18th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Dec. 18: Members of the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance, a collaborative effort to improve the environment for technology innovation and the market for U.S. crops produced through modern biotechnology, met in Washington this week to discuss recent progress and plan for the future. In addition to examining the next steps necessary toward achievement of overall goals, the group invited additional commodities to attend and is considering expanding to include canola, cotton and wheat representation and others in the value chain.   “USBCA represents the culmination of a sustained, targeted effort to ensure better communication throughout the value chain, and it is exciting to be at a point where we can consider even further expanding our scope to benefit an even broader section of...

(Posted Mon. Dec 16th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Dec. 16: Timely action by the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative averted a patently protectionist seasonal market closure in Panama, keeping this important market open for U.S. corn exports.   “U.S. corn farmers increasingly understand the importance of working diligently to maintain all markets for our product both at home and abroad,” said National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. “The determined efforts of farmers, through the Council, and of our government have resulted in a real victory that will allow this valuable market to remain open and for U.S. corn exports to stay on track.”   In September, the Panamanian government published regulations governing quota...

(Posted Tue. Nov 26th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade MAIZALL

Nov. 26: Last week, MAIZALL met with key government and feed industry leaders in South Korea and China. This delegation, which follows two years of intensive planning and preparation, marked the initial effort of MAIZALL, a partnership of the national corn producer organizations of Argentina, Brazil and the United States, in its work to bring the world's top three corn exporting countries together to advocate for the elimination of trade barriers, acceptance of modern agricultural technology and enhancement of food security through trade.   The delegation, which included National Corn Growers Association Chairwoman Pam Johnson, participated in China's Food Security Strategy Summit in Beijing with top Chinese officials concerned with agricultural development, food security and rural...

(Posted Tue. Nov 19th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology MAIZALL

Nov. 19: The first international MAIZALL mission is underway in Asia this week, bringing representatives of corn farmers from the United States, Argentina and Brazil to South Korea and China for meetings with key industry and government officials. The team, which includes National Corn Growers Association Chairwoman and MAIZALL board member Pam Johnson, will discuss issues important to both parties including biotechnology, current corn production, product regulatory issues and domestic farming practices.   Launched in the spring of 2013, MAIZALL is a voluntary, non-governmental organization representing grower organizations in major exporting countries interested in the international trade in corn. Currently, the group includes the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains...

(Posted Thu. Oct 3rd, 2013)

Keywords: trade DDGS

Oct. 3: The strength of U.S. exports of distiller's dried grains with solubles has been bright spot in a tough year for U.S. feed grains, with particularly strong export growth in Southeast Asia contributing substantially to that growth. Through the first half of calendar year 2013, total U.S. DDGS exports rose six percent. At the same time, growth rose nine percent in Southeast Asia, with major gains in Thailand (53 percent) and Indonesia (42 percent) more than offsetting declines in Malaysia and the Philippines. Overall, U.S. exports to the region rose by 605,000 metric tons.   "In Southeast Asia, DDGS are a beachhead export commodity for the United States," said Adel Yusupov, U.S. Grains Council regional director in Southeast Asia. "While India and South America are our major regional competitors in...

(Posted Mon. Sep 30th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 30: Only hours remain before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, leaving Congress little time to pass a Continuing Resolution to continue funding federal government activities in order to avoid a government shutdown. The legislation provides funding for export promotion programs, utilized by organizations like the U.S. Grains Council, which are subject to enactment of a new farm bill or an extension of current law.   "If the House and Senate cannot reach an agreement by midnight September 30, the federal government would shutdown leaving only essential services in place," said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology. "Depending on the length of the shutdown, it could have impacts on USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services program...

(Posted Mon. Sep 9th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 9:  In 2012 Korea was the third largest corn importer in the world and the fourth largest market for U.S. corn. Yet because of the drought of 2012, U.S. imports have dropped to less than 1 percent so far in the 2013 calendar year, according to Korean import statistics. This has propelled the U.S. Grains Council to engage in aggressive programming to reinvigorate Korean buyers for U.S. corn.   The Council has been active in Korea since opening an office there in 1972, and Korea remains an important market. Korea produces very little coarse grains and imports more than 98 percent of total consumption. Corn has dominated in Korean grains import market, ranging from 65-85 percent of the total market.   A delegation of U.S. corn producers was escorted by the Council in Korea last week...

(Posted Thu. Sep 5th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 5: After two years of discussions, MAIZALL will begin actively working on behalf of corn farmers in North and South America soon, commencing activities in Korea and China. Earlier this year, the U.S. Grains Council joined the National Corn Growers Association, and MAIZAR and ABRAMHILO, the leading corn producer's organizations in Argentina and Brazil, formally announced the creation of MAIZALL as a strategic alliance focused on food security, market access and biotechnology. Since then, the organizations’ efforts have focused on governance issues, bylaws, articles of incorporation and funding. The efforts currently in the final phase of planning will mark the organization’s first efforts in pursuit of its mission.   Currently, NCGA President Pam Johnson, USGC Chairman and MAIZALL...

(Posted Fri. Aug 30th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Aug. 30: The United States is on track to export $140 billion in agricultural exports in Fiscal Year 2013, which would set a new record, according to a report released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Following the release of the Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement:   "Driven by the productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have achieved five years of positive momentum for agricultural exports and today's forecast is another promising development. Agricultural exports have a real impact on Main Street and beyond, supporting more than one million good jobs here at home. We're counting on Congress to help keep up this momentum. With just a few weeks left before expiration of many Farm Bill programs –...

(Posted Tue. Jul 30th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

July 30:  A travelling group of journalists representing major Japanese news outlets visited the offices of the National Corn Growers Association today, to learn about corn farming in the United States and specifically about the use of biotechnology.   “It’s always great to welcome visitors from countries to which we export U.S. corn,” said NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields, who spoke with the group about biotech trends. “Japan is the largest export market for our farmers, and understands the importance of biotechnology in today’s agriculture. These reporters were eager to learn about how American farming works to help feed and fuel the world.”   The journalists represented news media with a combined circulation of about 27 million, representing the Yomiuri...

(Posted Tue. Jul 9th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

July 9: Last week, a large Colombian importer, with the guidance of the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, networked with U.S. grains exporters in Texas, Alabama and Louisiana resulting in the purchase of more than 787,000 bushels of U.S. corn. This was the importer’s first purchase of U.S. corn in more than two years. With seven plants in Colombia, this importer is the largest animal feed manufacturer in Colombia and, thus, the relationship could lead to an important increase in U.S. corn exports to the country.   In 2008, U.S. corn imports accounted for 80 percent of the Colombian corn market. The delay in ratification of the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement contributed to a decline in U.S. market share. By 2011,...

(Posted Wed. Jun 26th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

June 26: During a House Committee on Small Business hearing today in Washington, National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson provided policy recommendations for the U.S. Trade Representative on growing export opportunities.  Johnson focused on the benefits for family famers of expanding export markets and maximizing foreign market access.   “Agricultural producers succeed when industry and government work side-by-side,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said during her testimony.  “It is critical that U.S. negotiators have an appreciation for how increasing exports translates into benefits for family farmers.  The U.S. economy will not benefit from agriculture issues being placed on a ‘to do’ list.  Now is the perfect time to eliminate long standing barriers to...

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade corn farming

May 14: The National Corn Growers Association, along with the U.S. Grains Council, MAIZAR, representing Argentina producers and the maize supply chain, and the Brazilian Association of Corn Producers (ABRAMILHO) today signed a memorandum of understanding to form an alliance of North and South American maize producers to collaborate on a global basis to address key issues concerning food security, biotechnology, stewardship, trade and producer image. The organizations will function under the name MAIZALL—The International Maize Alliance.Signatories to the memorandum representing the producer organizations included: Pam Johnson, President, NCGA; Don Fast, Chairman, USGC; Alberto Morelli, Chairman, MAIZAR; and Sergio Luiz Bortolozzo, 2nd Vice President, ABRAMILHO. The MAIZALL...

(Posted Wed. May 8th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

May 8: Today, the National Corn Growers Association expressed appreciation to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for co-authoring a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Acting Ambassador Marantis addressing international regulatory challenges for agricultural products derived from biotechnology. Biotech varieties accounted for 88 percent of corn planted in 2012. As the world’s leading exporter of corn, NCGA strongly supports efforts to ensure the uninterrupted flow of corn and corn co-products in the international marketplace. The letter identifies regulatory asynchrony, zero tolerance policies and re-registration requirements as costly regulatory barriers. It also acknowledges efforts currently...

(Posted Thu. May 2nd, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

May 2: Key members of the U.S. agricultural value chain have joined together to applaud the work of the United States and like-minded governments to promote the importance of science-based regulations to facilitate trade of agricultural commodities derived from agricultural biotechnology. In a joint statement, the United States was joined by the governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Paraguay to announce their intention to work collaboratively to remove global barriers to the trade of agricultural biotechnology and promote science-based, transparent and predictable regulatory approaches. The American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, North American Export Grain Association, National...

(Posted Fri. Apr 12th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Exports Japan

Apr. 12: The National Corn Growers Association applauds today’s announcement that the United States has concluded preliminary consultations to approve Japan’s participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Japan announced its intention to join TPP last month. Since November 2011, U.S. negotiators have held discussions with Japan regarding the comprehensive, high-standard agreement. Japan must secure the approval of all current TPP members before it can participate in future rounds of talks. NCGA has consistently expressed support for Japan joining TPP negotiations as a full partner. In March, NCGA joined more than 70 agriculture organizations to send a letter to President Barack Obama urging the administration to work with Japan to facilitate Japan’s full participation in the...

(Posted Thu. Apr 4th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Apr. 4: This week, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association convened key industry stakeholders to continue a dialogue on ways to improve cooperation and communication on biotechnology and trade issues. The discussions highlighted a broad array of opportunities to establish improved, more transparent communication regarding issues that potentially threaten the development, production or delivery of products derived from modern crop biotechnology. “We are encouraged that all parts of the biotech value chain are committed to cooperative discussions that ensure growers have the tools they need to deliver a reliable product that meets our customers’ needs,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. Attendees...

(Posted Thu. Apr 4th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Crop Production Quality US Grains Council

Apr. 4: The U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, released the second annual USGC Corn Export Cargo Quality Report yesterday. Despite the severe drought in 2012 that reduced the projected size of the U.S. corn crop, testing indicated the 2012 crop was superior in quality across a number of key variables to the U.S. 2011 harvest, which was already a high quality crop. “The National Corn Growers Association is extremely pleased with the findings of this report and, as farmers, we are pleased to be able to offer a quality crop,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “As a founding member of USGC, NCGA supports efforts like this report because we understand the importance of sharing accurate, current information with our...

(Posted Wed. Mar 27th, 2013)

Keywords: Biotechnology Exports Trade

Mar. 27: Farmers looking for information about the approval status of U.S.-grown corn hybrids in certain export markets now have access to the most current data through the National Corn Growers Association’s Know Before Your Grow program. Recently updated, Know Before Your Grow, featured on the association’s website, provides a comprehensive look at this vital information in an easily accessible format. “It’s important for farmers and others to know where they can find good markets for their corn,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. “Each year, we update our database so growers can stay informed and plan ahead. It’s also a valuable tool for others who want or need to track which markets are accepting a certain corn hybrid.” Know Before You...

(Posted Wed. Mar 20th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Mar. 20: The U.S. Grains Council's 2013 Officers Mission is now underway. The delegation, which includes National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, will visit with key customers and end users in Korea, China and Japan, providing details and receiving feedback on the U.S. 2012-13 corn crop. "Ever since the drought took hold last year, we've been getting questions. It's important to service these customers, present our harvest quality report, listen to their concerns and share our thoughts for the upcoming crop year," said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. Don Fast, a farmer from Montana and the Council's chairman, said the mission is also important because of increasing global competition into these markets. "The United States remains the world's most reliable...

(Posted Fri. Mar 8th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Mar. 8: Implementations of U.S. free trade agreements in Latin America contributed to an increase of U.S. exports to the region by 9.3 percent in 2012, lowering the U.S. trade deficit by 24.7 percent, according to an article in Latinvex, a Latin American business journal. Currently, the 11 Latin American countries involved in the two regional and three bilateral FTAs with the United States account for nearly 80 percent of the country’s trade with this region. “The National Corn Growers Association has a long history of promoting export growth by working collaboratively with the U.S. Grains Council,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a corn farmer from Wisconsin. “On our end, we continually work to promote the trade policies that open...

(Posted Wed. Feb 20th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Feb. 20: While trade talks between the United States and European Union have yet to begin, the National Corn Growers Association, along with many other agricultural trade associations and members of Congress, are working to ensure U.S. agricultural interests receive proper attention in any final agreement. For NCGA members, the most obvious challenge is approval of corn and corn products derived through biotechnology. The EU is a market that holds great potential, however, that potential is often overshadowed by delays in approvals and regulatory decisions dictated by political pressure and not science-based evaluations. “Completing a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union has gained national attention, and we want to reassure farmers that NCGA is raising the concerns of...

(Posted Tue. Feb 19th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade USGC

Feb. 19: More than 200 delegates attended the U.S. Grains Council's 10th International Marketing Conference and 53rd Annual Membership Meeting in Charleston, S.C., last week. There, attendees, including leadership from the National Corn Growers Association, reviewed strategies and opportunities for competing in the rapidly changing global marketplace.“Coordination is essential to best leveraging the checkoff dollars entrusted to us,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “The programs run by NCGA and USGC complement one another in many ways with the Council engaging in valuable projects overseas to cultivate markets for U.S. corn while NCGA works back home to push for government policies and production strategies that benefit our farmers.”USGC President...

(Posted Fri. Jan 25th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

The U.S. Grains Council launched its 2012 online Annual Report, available now at www.usgcAnnualReport.org. The online report includes success stories from the year, video highlights, photographs, and market profiles from more than 25 countries and regions. Market profile pages display supply/demand charts, market growth potential and other information viewers may find useful, including highlights from Council programs in each country. "Since the Council was founded 52 years ago, we have focused continuously on building markets and expanding trade opportunities for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses," said Don Fast, USGC chairman. "By promoting sound trade policies, building relationships between trading partners and being a reliable third-party resource, the Council and its members have...

(Posted Wed. Jan 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Government

Jan. 23: The National Corn Growers Association today thanked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for his commitment to promoting global trade during his tenure. Kirk announced yesterday he will leave his post at USTR at the end of February. “The National Corn Growers Association greatly appreciates and thanks U.S. Trade Representative Kirk for his tireless efforts to promote American agricultural products in the global marketplace,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “We applaud his efforts to pass and implement the three free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. In addition, we appreciate the pivotal role he played in lifting the outdated Jackson-Vanik amendment.” The free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama represent the largest package since Congress passed the North...

(Posted Wed. Jan 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Ethanol Feed DDGS

 Jan. 23: A barrier impeding the rapid export growth of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles came down earlier this month as the ethanol co-product gained official classification as a non-hazardous cargo. The reclassification, which became final and mandatory under the code of the International Maritime Organization on Jan. 1, 2013, was the culmination of a process initiated by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member. “While DDGS have effectively been shipped as a non-hazardous cargo for years now, the final classification by the IMO is an important success which will benefit corn farmers across the country,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “This status provides additional assurance that DDGS buyers and producers can access the lower freight rates assessed...

(Posted Tue. Jan 8th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Jan. 8: As growers prepare to travel to St. Louis for the annual National Corn Growers Association Priority and Policy Conference, Off the Cob revisits conversations held with chairmen of the action teams and committees following meetings in December. During these interviews, the attendees offer information on a variety of subjects covered that they feel to be of particular interest to farmers. Today, Off the Cob features an interview with Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Rosendale, Wisc. The newest of the NCGA action teams, TPBAT was created to foster better communication and an innovative approach to the often overlapping arenas of fostering trade policy that opens international markets to U.S. corn and...

(Posted Tue. Jan 8th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Ethanol Feed

Jan. 8: Last week, the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, announced an important milestone in the growth of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles exports. According to the Ministry of Finance Customs, Japan imported more than 384,000 metric tons of U.S. DDGS between January and October 2012, marking the highest imports on record. “The growth of U.S. DDGS exports to Japan is exciting for a multitude of reasons,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “DDGS provide a high quality feed ingredient while making efficient use of an ethanol co-product. The rise in this product’s popularity in Japan, the largest export market for U.S. corn and a valued trade partner, reaffirms that, through innovations in both production and use, America’s corn...

(Posted Thu. Dec 6th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Dec 6: Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation paving the way for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia.  The National Corn Growers Association previously urged Congress to lift the decades old Jackson-Vanik restrictions.  Farmers will soon be allowed to take advantage of a more open and level playing field with Russia.  The House of Representatives passed the legislation before adjourning for Thanksgiving.  “We are pleased to see both chambers of Congress act quickly to pass legislation that will lift these outdated restrictions,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Russia has tremendous potential to be an important market for our farmers and livestock producers. We urge President Obama to sign the bill soon so other World Trade Organization members can’t take...

(Posted Mon. Dec 3rd, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Dec. 3: The U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, demonstrated the importance of relationship-building during the recent Export Exchange 2012 in Minneapolis, Minn. The conference, which brought together a variety of groups including foreign feed millers and U.S. corn and ethanol coproduct providers, helped foster sales of feed ingredient distiller’s dried grains with solubles for years to come.  "The U.S. Grains Council has been able to identify the key people and put them all together," said Sebastien Lavoie of Agri-Marche at Export Exchange. "It's a big world but it's a small one when you concentrate all the key players together, and that's a tough job to do, to open doors like that."  Agri-Marche, based in Quebec, Canada, operates...

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Nov 30: Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture released its second ‘Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade’ report showing American farm exports have climbed more than 50 percent in value since 2009.  The most recent forecast for 2013 is $145 billion, up from $96.3 billion in 2009. The National Corn Growers Association is committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade practices and policies.   “Continued growth of American farm exports is good for rural America and good for the national economy,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Over 1 million American jobs are supported by these exports and we hope to see that trend increase. Developing new markets for our country’s agricultural products will help our sector lead the nation in economic...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Nov 16: Today, the House of Representatives approved legislation granting Russia Most Favored Nation status.  The National Corn Growers Association previously urged Congress to lift the Jackson-Vanik restrictions thereby allowing farmers to take advantage of a more open and level playing field with Russia.  The Senate Finance Committee passed the legislation in July. Full Senate consideration is expected after Thanksgiving.  “America’s farmers will be able to take advantage of lowered trade barriers that result from repealing Jackson-Vanik,” NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman said.  “The Senate must act soon so other WTO members cannot take advantage of a more level trade playing field before our farmers.”  Russia joined the World...

(Posted Wed. Oct 31st, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Oct. 31: The National Corn Growers Association applauds the Panama Free Trade Agreement going into effect today.  NCGA testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the importance of the FTA to America’s farmers in May 2011 and remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade policies. Congress passed the Panama FTA last October.   “We are very pleased to see the Panama FTA go into effect,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Every new trade opportunity increases the American farmer’s ability to participate in a growing global marketplace.  This is vital to producer income and helps our sector continue to be a bright spot in our economy.”  Panama is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America and a crucial building block in a strategy to advance free...

(Posted Fri. Oct 26th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Oct. 26: The National Corn Growers Association recognizes the European Union for opening its markets to U.S. corn-based ethanol co-products, including distillers dried grains with solubles and corn gluten feed, through the official approval of MIR 162 Agrisure Viptera, a Syngenta corn variety.  The decision follows years of industry leadership and efforts orchestrated by the U.S. Grains Council, of which NCGA is a founding member, and its partners in the EU, including grain trade association COCERAL, feed millers association FEFAC and the Irish Feed Millers Association.  “This approval is a great success as it opens the window of opportunity for U.S. products, including DDGS and CGF, to enter the EU market,” said USGC Senior Regional Director Cary Sifferath, who is based in Tunis. “This is...

(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...

(Posted Mon. Oct 22nd, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Oct. 22: Last week, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a team of government officials from the Philippines brought here by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service to look at current trends and legislation relating to biotechnology and to examine the effects biotechnology has on small farms and rural incomes.  The team, which included Committee Affairs Bureau of the House of Representatives Executive Director Viola Veloso, Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Edilberto De Luna and National Corn Competitiveness Board Executive Director Salvador Umengan, was brought to the United States in the hopes that their training would continue to support the Philippines’s implementation of science-based agricultural biotechnology...

(Posted Fri. Oct 5th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol Livestock Trade

Oct. 5:  With significant advancements in research and experience in feeding U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), the U.S. Grains Council has released a third edition of A Guide to Distiller's Dried Grains with Solubles.  "When you look at the increased breadth of knowledge surrounding U.S. DDGS, plus the new types of DDGS, we believe this edition will help buyers and end users stay up-to-date on this high-quality feed ingredient," said Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade.  "The handbook is designed to provide buyers the tools they need in understanding U.S. DDGS and to aid in developing relationships with sellers," he said. "In the end, we believe it will help buyers be more confident of the value of the U.S. DDGS they purchase."  The third edition is greatly expanded...

(Posted Tue. Aug 28th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Aug. 28: Demand for distillers dried grain with solubles in China is growing at a robust pace according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Reporting Service report. While use of the ethanol coproduct, widely considered a high quality feed ingredient, remains experimental, the agency expects to see a steady rise as China’s feed demand expands rapidly over the next 10 years.  “As the people of China continue their climb into the global middle class, they are moving toward a diet rich in both protein and taste,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a farmer from Auburn, Ill. “Given the incredible size of its population, a shift in the average Chinese diet can generate impressive demand. U.S. farmers and ethanol producers look...

(Posted Tue. Jul 17th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

July 17: The Senate Finance Committee will mark up legislation Wednesday to grant Russia permanent Most Favored Nation status.  In December 2012, Russia was invited to join the World Trade Organization.  However, if the United States does not take steps to lift the Jackson Vanik amendment and grant Russia MFN status, U.S. farmers will not be able to take advantage of Russia’s accession to the WTO.  NCGA urges Congress to take immediate action to repeal the Jackson Vanik amendment thereby allowing farmers to take advantage of a more open and level playing field.  “When Russia joins the WTO it must abide by stricter sanitary and phytosanitary obligations,” Chad Blindauer, Chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, said.  “This accountability will greatly...

(Posted Thu. Jun 28th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

June 28: The National Corn Growers Association was pleased to hear the U.S. joined current Trans Pacific Partnership members in inviting Canada and Mexico to join negotiations. Canada made its official request to join TPP in March 2010. Mexico initiated its efforts to join in November 2011. Canada and Mexico’s participation in TPP is significant because it ensures all NAFTA partners have a seat at the negotiations.  “With both Mexico and Canada being in the top ten export markets for U.S. corn, this is a welcomed announcement,” Chad Blindauer, Chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team said. “The USDA forecasts U.S. farm exports to reach $134.5 billion in FY 2012.  Broadening participation in TPP helps solidify market share in important export countries and expand...

(Posted Wed. May 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

May 16:  In a letter to the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Corn Growers Association requested a 30-day public comment period before grain traders are allowed 22-hour-per-day electronic trading of grain and oilseed futures contracts. NCGA believes it is important for CFTC to take input and further analyze the proposals from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and the CME Group.  “As currently formulated, both ICE’s plans for new contracts with greatly expanded trading hours and the CME Group’s plans to expand hours raise serious issues that potentially place the Nation’s corn growers at a marketing disadvantage,” wrote NCGA President Garry Niemeyer in his letter to CFTC Chair Gary Gensler. “Approval of these major market changes without a...

(Posted Tue. May 15th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

May 15: As the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement takes effect today, NCGA applauds implementation of the agreement and appreciates the work of U.S. trade negotiators and Congress to get the FTA across the finish line.  “NCGA is excited to see an additional FTA go into effect,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “Colombia is traditionally one of the top ten export markets for U.S. corn, but we have seen a decline in recent years as Colombia imported corn from our biggest competitors.  We believe implementation of the FTA will help level the playing field.”  In marketing year 2011-12, the United States exported 154 million bushels of corn to Colombia.  Under the FTA, U.S. corn producers would gain immediate access to the Colombian market for 2.1 million metric tons of corn at zero percent duty. 

(Posted Fri. May 11th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

May 11:  The U.S. Grains Council reports this week strong and growing overseas interest in importing some key corn products from the United States, great news for stateside corn farmers, especially looking at the crop now being planted that is expected to break many records.  For example, Japan's 2011 imports of dried distillers grains with solubles – a key ethanol coproduct – surged 31 percent ahead of 2010 levels. U.S. market share, already dominant, climbed from 89 to 93.7 percent. Further, Japan's DDGS imports thus far in 2012 are on track to exceed last year's record, with U.S. market share edging up yet again, to 96 percent through the first quarter.  “This is great news from Japan,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said. “One of the untold stories about ethanol is the important and growing...

(Posted Fri. Mar 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology Production Trade

Mar. 16: Farmers looking for information about the approval status of U.S.-grown corn hybrids in certain export markets now have access to the most current data through the National Corn Growers Association’s Know Before Your Grow program.  Recently updated, Know Before Your Grow, featured on the association’s website, provides a comprehensive look at this vital information in an easily accessible format.  To learn more about this program, Off the Cob sat down with NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Rosendale, Wisc.  In his explanation of the program, Zimmerman stressed the simplicity and importance of making informed planting decisions that factor the nuances of the final market into decisions.  “The Know Before You...

(Posted Thu. Mar 15th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Mar. 15: After being passed by Congress last fall, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement took effect this morning.  NCGA praises the full implementation of the FTA and thanks the two countries for working together on this achievement.     “NCGA greatly appreciates all the work put forth to fully implement the U.S./Korea FTA,” said Chad Blindauer, chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.  “Korea is an important market for America’s corn farmers and we will now see expanded opportunities for corn and corn co-products.  We thank United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and the Congressional leaders that were dedicated to seeing the FTA completed and implemented.”  Korea is currently the United States’ third largest corn market and is a potentially important market for distillers...

(Posted Thu. Mar 8th, 2012)

Keywords: Production Trade

Mar. 8: U.S. corn farmers harvested a high-quality crop in 2011, according to a report released by the U.S. Grains Council. With good test weights, low damage and relatively high protein concentrations, the crop will require little drying and store well.  The first report of this kind issued by the Council, this initial edition sets a baseline for subsequent annual updates while establishing credible criteria and processes through which to assess the crop.  “The global corn market is increasingly competitive, and the Council believes that the availability of accurate, consistent, and comparable information is in the long-term interests of all concerned,” said USGC Chairman Wendell Shauman. “Improved information will facilitate increased trade – and when trade works, the world...

(Posted Wed. Feb 22nd, 2012)

Keywords: Trade Transportation

By Rick Tolman, NCGA Chief Executive Officer  Feb. 22:  Along with others from farm country, I recently returned from a visit to Panama, where we were treated to a tour of the Panama Canal and got to see very closely the third canal and series of locks being constructed to expand capacity.    The existing canal is breathtaking with its scale and scope and what it accomplishes, particularly when one thinks of the timeframe of its construction and the technology available at that time.  The new construction and the pace and scale and scope are even more amazing and truly beyond words.  What Panama is doing will clearly position them for the 21st Century and cement their position of being a world trade hub – to the benefit of their populace and...

(Posted Tue. Feb 21st, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Feb. 21:  The U.S. Trade Representative announced today that the free trade agreement with Korea will go into effect on March 15, five months after approval by Congress. The move was greeted with praise by the National Corn Growers Association, which remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade policies.   “We are very pleased to see the USTR announce movement on the U.S.-Korea FTA,” said Chad Blindauer, Chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.  “Full implementation of all three free trade agreements that were passed by Congress last October will help support thousands of jobs throughout America. Developing new markets for our country’s agricultural products is vital to producer income and also helps our sector lead the nation in...

(Posted Fri. Feb 17th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Feb. 17:  At the invitation of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, an NCGA representative this week attended a U.S.-China Trade Symposium in Iowa that focused on sustainable agriculture, food safety and food security. The symposium was part of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s week-long trip to the United States; also at the meeting were U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and China Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu.  “Secretary Vilsack pointed out during his remarks that the United States and China are the world’s two largest agriculture producing countries,” said Chad Blindauer, chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action and a corn farmer from Mitchell, S.D., who represented NCGA at the trade conference. “We believe in the importance of strengthening...

(Posted Mon. Feb 13th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol Trade

Feb. 13:  This week, the U.S. Grains Council, a sister organization to the National Corn Growers Association that develops export markets for U.S. corn, barley, grain sorghum and related products, meets in Panama for its annual membership meeting, and a new chart provided by USGC shows how much the global corn supply has grown in previous years to meet all needs worldwide.  “Total corn use outside the United States has not slacked off  but has continued to grow in spite of the high prices of recent years, said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, who was attending the meeting with other NCGA officers. “It’s interesting to note that the price increase we’ve seen for corn around the world has not dampened foreign corn demand, but have actually stimulated corn production outside the United...

(Posted Thu. Feb 9th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Feb. 9:  Trade is critically important to U.S. corn growers’ balance sheets – just look at what happens to corn prices when export demand wanes – but trade issues never seem to take center stage the way ethanol or farm programs do.  As a result, NCGA’s sustained efforts in the trade arena are too often overlooked.  But they are still essential.  Walter Goeppinger, NCGA’s founder, recognized the importance of trade.  Within three years of establishing NCGA, he played a leading role in creating the U.S. Feed Grains Council (now the U.S. Grains Council) as a tool to develop export markets for U.S. corn.  Goeppinger, who presided over NCGA from 1957 to 1973, also served as the USFGC’s first chairman in 1961.  Nearly 40 years later, Nebraska grower Bob Dickey, like...

(Posted Wed. Jan 25th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Jan. 25:  The National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team convened today in Orlando, Fla., to review the organization’s policy and recommendations coming out of the Priority and Policy Conference held earlier in January. Additionally, team members will meet with representatives from government and industry to explore current challenges and opportunities in the areas of trade and biotechnology.   Looking at a variety of issues including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of refuge compliance and facilitate successful communication across the biotechnology value-chain on their issues, the team will use its in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to guide NCGA policy...

(Posted Thu. Jan 5th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Jan. 5: The National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team was created in 2010 by the unification of two existing action teams. Seeing that trade issues facing the corn industry most often involved a biotechnology component, leadership saw it prudent to create a single group to explore these issues and develop an in-depth understanding of the nuanced areas of overlap involved.  In 2012, the team, along with state and national staff assistance, will face many important issues as they advocate for cooperation across the biotechnology value chain, provide innovative, cutting-edge tools to help farmers act as responsible stewards of biotechnology products, and support trade agreements that benefit U.S. agriculture and the national economy.  “We made...

(Posted Thu. Dec 29th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Dec. 29: As the entrepreneurial spirit in Vietnam continues its rapid growth, U.S. farmers see increasing potential in this rapidly growing market. During a recent mission to the country, organized by the U.S. Grains Council, participants saw first-hand the opportunities in this market while also learning the importance of a carefully nuanced approach to the expansion of U.S. agricultural exports in this region.  The nine team members, all of which represent state corn marketing groups, met with international customers and key foreign government officials with whom they shared insight into the U.S. corn supply and quality in 2011. Vietnam, which has the fastest growing corn market in Asia, currently fills its corn needs with domestically grown crop and imports from nearby countries, but the group...

(Posted Wed. Dec 28th, 2011)

Keywords: Livestock Trade

Dec. 28: Increased export demand for U.S. pork is raising pork profitability and leading to an overall rise in the national hog inventory according to a December reports released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service. The National Corn Growers Association welcomes this growth, which translates into stronger demand for corn and distillers dried grains.  “Corn farmers value our relationship with the hog industry, which consistently provides an important market for our product,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “In 2011-12 marketing year, it is estimated that hogs will consume 960 million bushels of corn. As demand grows for pork both internationally and domestically, corn farmers benefit also thus...

(Posted Fri. Dec 23rd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Dec. 23: Late last week, the World Trade Organization concluded its Eighth Ministerial Conference in Geneva. The meetings are held every other year and allow international trade negotiators an opportunity to tackle the most pressing trade issues. At the ministerial meeting, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk joined colleagues assessing the state of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.  “The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the efforts of U.S. trade negotiators at the WTO to work for more open, free and fair international trade agreements,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “NCGA remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade policies.”  In a statement, Kirk said that participating parties have had a positive, honest discussion on the Doha Round....

(Posted Fri. Dec 23rd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Dec. 23: Earlier this month, the National Corn Growers Association joined more than 60 agriculture organizations to send a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging the administration to work with Japan to facilitate Japan’s full participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership. The negotiations currently include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.  “The addition of Japan to these negotiations would enhance the significance of the TPP and make the agreement much more encompassing,” the letter stated. “It would spur even broader interest among other Asia-Pacific countries, which could lead to the type of Asia-Pacific regional arrangement envisioned by the administration when...

(Posted Thu. Dec 22nd, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Dec. 22: The decision to allow Russia to become a member of the World Trade Organization can be a benefit to American agriculture, the National Corn Growers Association said. WTO ministers adopted Russia’s terms of entry at the Eighth Ministerial Meeting, held recently in Geneva, and Russia has 220 days to ratify its accession agreement.  “Russia’s membership makes the WTO a more universal trade organization,” Chad Blindauer, Chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action team said. “It also ensures Russia plays by the same rules as other WTO members.The deal allows for more fair and open trade policy.”  The Working Party Chair of Russia’s accession, Ambassador Stefan Johannesson of Iceland, said the “documents constituting Russia’s terms of entry into the WTO resulted from a tough and...

(Posted Mon. Dec 19th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Dec. 19: An elite delegation of agricultural leaders , sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, made history as the first group to meet with key officials in Panama and Colombia following passage of free trade agreements with the United States. National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott and USGC Chairman Wendell Shauman, along with Council staff, explored the outlook for FTA implementation with government officials, private sector grain customers, and with U.S. ambassadors and USDA officials during this momentous tour.  "Our purpose was to see how far those folks have gone on implementing the FTAs,” said Schott, who spent much of his year as NCGA president working for U.S. ratification of the agreements. “It appears the implementation of these agreements will progress...

(Posted Thu. Dec 15th, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol Livestock Trade

Dec. 15: The U.S. Grains Council continued efforts to educate Chinese feed ingredient buyers about the many advantages of dried distillers grains from the United States. DDGS, an ethanol coproduct, act as a competitively priced, environmentally friendly source of protein for animals and present an excellent opportunity for both ingredient buyers and ethanol producers alike.  The Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, held workshops in Guangzhou and Qingdao, China. These day-long sessions provided the more than 450 attendees a comprehensive overview of the most current data on the DDGS market, including discussions about and analysis of the value of U.S. DDGS in particular. Organized in cooperation with FoodChina Company, the learning sessions...

(Posted Tue. Nov 22nd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Nov. 22: U.S. farmers achieved an important trade milestone today as the Korean National Assembly ratified the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement. With a vote of 151 to 7, the assembly approved all 14 implementation bills accompanying the agreement as well. The National Corn Growers Association, along with many others in the U.S. and Korean business communities, applauded this announcement which they have championed since the first announcement of the FTA in 2006.  “The ratification of this agreement is an important victory for U.S. farmers as we will soon be able to compete in this vibrant market on a level playing field,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Chad Blindauer. “The Korean market continues to grow, both for grains and for...

(Posted Tue. Nov 15th, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Conservation Trade

Nov. 15: Last week, the National Corn Growers Association met with Dr. Saturnina Halos, a senior agriculture science consultant at the Philippines Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research, to discuss biotechnology usage in the United States. NCGA staff emphasized the practices in place to ensure safe and responsible use of these improved varieties, also providing information on structured refuge, new refuge-in-a-bag options and farmer attitudes toward compliance.  Marketing staff began the meeting by providing an overview of the organization, its mission and activities to aide Halos in understanding the specific role NCGA plays in the greater U.S. industry and why it does so.  Halos expressed particular interest in NCGA’s involvement...

(Posted Tue. Nov 15th, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol Trade

Nov. 15: This week, the National Corn Growers Association participated in a roundtable that brought experts from various areas within agriculture to Kansas City for a discussion of upcoming issues that will impact agriculture. Focusing on issues such as the sustainability of utilizing corn stover as a biofuels feed stock, increasing grain exports from the Black Sea region and the future of ethanol, these discussions helped both the host and participants develop a more comprehensive view of the potential impacts of developing situations.  “By sharing insight into the issues NCGA thinks will influence the national corn industry and exploring the variety of ideas these experts brought to the table, we are able to create a more comprehensive look at what...

(Posted Tue. Nov 8th, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Today, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a group of Brazilian dignitaries, including World Food Prize winner Alysson Paolinelli, who was key in transforming the country’s infertile high plains region, Cerrado, into highly productive crop land. Now the CEO of the Brazilian Corn Growers Association, Paolinelli, along with colleagues from his organization, the food processing industry, agribusiness and an environmental consulting group, met with NCGA marketing and biotechnology staff to better understand the organization and the role of biotechnology in the U.S. corn market.  NCGA Vice President of Marketing Fred Stemme welcomed the team and spoke with them on the association’s structure, the key issues on which it focuses and updated them on major...

(Posted Wed. Nov 2nd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Nov. 2: Last week, National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman joined U.S. Grains Council leadership and others on a mission to China during which they assured Chinese leaders of the United States’ ability and commitment to being a reliable corn supplier to their market. Speaking at several meetings on U.S. corn production and marketing systems, the delegation followed up on contacts made during the agricultural tour to the United States by high-level Chinese officials last August sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council.  Following this visit, Tolman stressed the immense growth of agricultural imports into China from the U.S. noting that, while many sectors face a trade deficit in this relationship, U.S. agriculture actually carries a favorable trade balance here.  “Many in...

(Posted Tue. Oct 25th, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Conservation Trade

Oct. 25: Last week, staff from the National Corn Growers Association took to the fields of South Dakota taping video footage to be used in updates of the group’s online Insect Resistance Module . This footage, which features NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Chad Blindauer of Mitchell, S.D., will be used along with interviews taped late this summer to create a module that helps to explain insect resistance management in an accessible manner and features actual explanations from real farmers about the practices implemented on their farms.  “The IRM calculator and module have been a great help to growers and, through the improvements underway, NCGA hopes to make them an even more effective tool,” said Blindauer. “Insect resistance management is incredibly...

(Posted Thu. Oct 13th, 2011)

Keywords: Production Trade

Oct. 13: National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Mike Geske answered questions on what farmers will need to maximize productivity and profitability over the next five to ten years at the World Food Prize’s Truth About Trade and Technology 2011 Global Farm Roundtable, held this week in Des Moines.  Responding to inquires from an international panel, Geske stressed the myriad of benefits that biotech crops provide growers, the need for a streamlined approval process for new traits and the importance of trade associations to American farmers.  He noted that participants found information on NCGA efforts to educate farmers on the uses and applications of social media especially interesting.  “While there are certainly challenges specific to farming different crops in...

(Posted Wed. Oct 12th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Oct. 12:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives’ passage of the free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama:  “NCGA applauds the House of Representatives for its swift passage of the pending free trade agreements a mere week after being transmitted. In May, NCGA testified before the House Agriculture Committee and outlined the importance of FTAs to America’s corn farmers.  During the testimony, NCGA reiterated that our nation’s corn farmers have much to gain when the FTAs are ratified.  This statement remains true today.  Farmers will see security of current export markets, increased exports of distillers grains and a significant increase in demand for corn co-products.   “Korea...

(Posted Wed. Oct 12th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Oct. 12:  National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of the pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama:  “NCGA is encouraged to see the U.S. Senate act swiftly following House passage of these FTAs. The strong bipartisan vote shows senators understand the importance and potential benefits to America’s corn farmers of free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.   “Earlier this year, NCGA provided testimony to the Senate Finance Committee citing Panama as an example of lost market share.  Corn exports to the country peaked in 2008 and have since dropped 20 percent.  This market erosion was due in part to a lack of progress on the Panama FTA.  As a farmer, it...

(Posted Mon. Oct 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Oct. 3: The National Corn Growers Association today applauded President Obama for sending the pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress for consideration.   “NCGA strongly supports the pending FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama, and we are pleased to see President Obama understands the importance of expanding trade,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “The United States is the largest producer and exporter of corn in the world, exporting over 50 million metric tons of corn worldwide in the 2009-10 marketing year.  These pacts represent significant markets for our nation’s corn and corn co-products as well as opportunities for our customers in the livestock industry.”  Korea is the United States’ third largest corn market...

(Posted Tue. Sep 6th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 6: Now more than ever, it is critical the Congress ratify the pending U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement and ensure that U.S. farmers compete on a level playing field against foreign suppliers set to make significant headway into the country’s feed market. Traditionally a Top 10 export market for U.S. corn, Colombian corn imports have eroded substantially over the past four years and stand to further decline in light of new trade agreements recently implemented with alternate suppliers.  “U.S. corn producers stand ready to develop and provide corn products to meet the modern demands of global consumption,” said National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Garry Niemeyer. “I urge Congress to work swiftly to pass the pending free trade agreements...

(Posted Mon. Aug 15th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Aug. 15: Culminating years of U.S. Grains Council efforts, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has added corn gluten feed and distillers dried grains with solubles to its import feed ingredient subsidy list, creating a strong incentive for sales of these important ethanol coproducts.  The new list establishes a subsidy for 31 specified imported feed ingredients, which is to be passed down the supply chain to keep feed input costs low for producers and end-users. Ingredients not on the subsidy list have historically attracted little attention.  “The Council has ramped up its marketing activities tremendously in the past three years,” says Joe O’Brien, USGC regional director in the Middle East. “Saudi Arabia is a lucrative feed importing market that could quickly build its DDGS...

(Posted Wed. Aug 10th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Aug. 10: Today, Off the Cob spoke with National Corn Growers Association Director of Public Policy Sarah Gallo, who assists NCGA’s grower-led Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, about the importance of free trade agreements to farmers and U.S. ag exports as a whole. In this interview, Gallo addressed pending FTAs with Colombia, Panama and Korea, as well as what farmers and their allies can do to promote passage over Congress’s August recess.  “Any free trade agreement, and particularly those currently pending, represents a market opportunity for corn growers,” said Gallo. “Free trade agreements reinforce our position as a reliable supplier and top producer and exporter of corn.”  Gallo went on to explain that the pending FTAs would better position the U.S. in potentially...

(Posted Wed. Aug 10th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Aug. 10: The National Corn Growers Association today expressed its disagreement with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission’s decision to raise the daily trading limit on corn. Under the CME Group plan approved by the U.S. futures regulator, the trading limit will rise from 30 cents per bushel to 40 cents per bushel, beginning August 22. NCGA believes that this will not aid price discovery and that, ultimately, growers will bear the cost.  “We believe that this rule change could negatively impact farmers by needlessly increasing market volatility and adding unnecessary risk,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “NCGA understands that both non-commercial traders and speculators play a valuable role in the futures market, but we also understand the importance of daily price...

(Posted Tue. Jul 19th, 2011)

Keywords: Production Trade

July 19: The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has added a new product to their portfolio. Contracts for urea, urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) began trading last week on the New York trading floor and are cleared through CME ClearPort.  These new fertilizer contracts provide opportunities for fertilizer companies and farmers to manage their risk. Ideally, the option to manage risk will make contracts between fertilizer retailers and farmers less risky and impacts to farmer margins will be minimized.  “For more than 150 years, agricultural producers and agribusinesses have relied on our benchmark grain futures and options contracts to manage their commodity price risk,” said Tim Andriesen, Managing Director, Agricultural Commodities and Alternative Investments,...

(Posted Fri. Jul 8th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees held mock mark-ups Thursday of the pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. The National Corn Growers Association is encouraged that both committees reported all draft implementing language out favorably without any amendments. The White House will now prepare final implementing bills to be sent to Congress for an up or down vote.  “NCGA is pleased members of both committees were able to come together to report the draft implementing language out of committee favorably,” NCGA President Bart Schott said. “We look forward to working with both the House and Senate to ensure swift passage of the final implementing bills in the near future.”  Next week, growers from all NCGA state affiliates will be participating in...

(Posted Wed. Jul 6th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the House of Representative’s Ways and Means Committee announcement of a meeting to consider draft implementing language for the pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. The committee, chaired by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), is planning to consider the draft implementing bills on Thursday.  “We’re happy to see movement toward the ratification of the pending FTAs,” NCGA President Bart Schott said. “The United States is the world’s largest corn producer and exporter. By developing new markets for our country’s agricultural products, we build a foundation that allows our sector to lead the nation in economic growth.”  Last year, the United States exported 50.4 million metric tons of corn worldwide. Corn coproducts such as...