NEWS STORIES

DECEMBER 2019

NCGA: House Passes USMCA, Delivers a Win for Agriculture

(Posted Thu. Dec 19th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade; USMCA

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross today thanked members of the U.S. House of Representatives for their bipartisan approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Ross made the following statement.   “Corn farmers have been working toward this vote for nearly a year, sending emails, having meetings and making phone calls to their representatives in support of USMCA. All of agriculture should be incredibly proud to see these efforts pay off with such a strong, bipartisan vote. We wouldn’t be at this stage in the ratification process without the hard work of individual farmers across the country. Ratifying USMCA has been NCGA’s top legislative priority because Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable markets.   “NCGA thanks members of the House for their votes in support, along with President Trump and his administration’s continued efforts to come to a bipartisan consensus. It’s now up to members of the U.S. Senate...

NCGA: Corn Farmers Underwhelmed by Final RVO Rule

(Posted Thu. Dec 19th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Ross today made the following statement on the release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule, setting renewable fuel volume requirements for the coming year, including accounting for 2020 refinery waivers. The final rule uses a three-year average of the Department of Energy (DOE) recommended waivers as an estimate for 2020 waivers rather than an average of actual gallons waived by the EPA.   “The Administration has chosen to move forward with a final rule that corn farmers believe falls short of adequately addressing the demand destruction caused by EPA’s abuse of RFS refinery waivers. While using the DOE recommendations to account for waivers is an improvement over the status quo, it is now on corn farmers to hold the Administration to their commitment of a minimum of 15 billion gallon volume, as the law requires. We will use future rulemakings and other...

Corn Farmers to Congress: Pass USMCA!

(Posted Wed. Dec 18th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

National Corn Growers Association members this week traveled to Washington, D.C. to make a final push for passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the House of Representatives. House passage before the end of the year would provide some certainty to farmers facing challenging times and instill confidence in other important trading partners that the United States is open for business.   NCGA members shared with lawmakers the importance of USMCA for corn farmers. Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In 2018, 21.4 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $4.56 billion.   The NCGA members also met with members of the U.S. Senate, urging they quickly consider and pass USMCA in the new year. Corn farmers cannot afford to lose this North American market which is why it is so important USMCA be ratified.

Sustainability Focus Continues to Grow at NCGA

(Posted Tue. Dec 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Production

A new Corn Sustainability Advisory Group (CSAG) met recently to discuss how NCGA can focus on corn sustainability and advise the NCGA board on how to proactively tell corn’s positive story of change and constant improvement.   The group - made up of farmer representation of NCGA’s Ethanol, Market Development, Sustainable Ag Research and Stewardship Action Teams, NCGA staff and state corn staff – will also work toward building consumer trust and growing competitive market demand by offering a broad view of NCGA’s current initiatives as well as establishing goals for the future.   “We have a lot going on organizationally that links directly or indirectly to sustainability. CSAG will work to help to identify areas for strengthening, integration and expansion,” said Rachel Orf, NCGA director of sustainability. “We will also step up our engagement with corn sector partners and value chain members to identify mutual goals, opportunities for collaboration and bring more cohesion to...

Public Corn Breeding Research Remains Critical

(Posted Tue. Dec 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Research

New seed corn technology and the robust traits they bring are crucial to the success of farmers today, said National Corn Growers Association Research and Productivity Director Robyn Allscheid. And a key component to this progress is the public corn breeders working within the University system who train people to carry on this legacy in the future.   Allscheid, fresh from attending the North Central Coordinating Committee for Regional Corn Breeding Research’s Annual Corn Breeding Research Meeting in Chicago, Illinois noted companies involved in corn plant breeding depend on public corn breeders for training new students in fundamental principles of plant breeding and genetics.   “Small seed companies and producers indicate a need for developing publicly available varieties, especially for small markets that are not currently served by the large corporations in the private sector,” she said. “Funding agencies expect public corn breeders to carry out translational research to...

Records Broken in 2019 NCGA Corn Yield Contest

(Posted Mon. Dec 16th, 2019)

Keywords: Production NCYC

This year, corn growers hit new highs in the National Corn Growers Association 2019 National Corn Yield Contest with David Hula of Charles City, Va. setting the highest yield on record at 616.1953 bushels per acre. Despite adverse growing conditions that impacted most farmers, improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques and innovative growing practices, allowed corn growers to achieve many impressive yields across all categories again this year.   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 55th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.   “Yield contest participants create and share information that shapes the future of the industry while participating in friendly competition,” said Roger Zylstra, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “At both the state and national levels, contest winners find new ways to excel in a variety of situations. In turn, these innovations can help their fellow farmers face challenges as well. Our contest emphasizes...

NCGA Applauds Bipartisan Effort to Advance USMCA to Congress, Urges Passage

(Posted Tue. Dec 10th, 2019)

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross today made the below statement following an announcement that the White House and Congress are moving forward with the necessary legislative steps to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   “NCGA’s top legislative priority in 2019 has been passing USMCA. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to ratifying this important agreement and securing the future of our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada, the top export market for U.S. corn farmers. It’s been a brutal year for many farmers who really need the certainty this would provide for agricultural trade.   “NCGA appreciates the bipartisan efforts between Speaker Pelosi, Ambassador Lighthizer and the House working group to reach an agreement. I urge lawmakers to pass USMCA and help us close out 2019 with a win for America’s farmers and the U.S. economy.”

Winter is a Great Time to Plan Monarch Habitats

(Posted Mon. Dec 9th, 2019)

Keywords: conservation sustainability

Continuing to expand pollinator habitat was a central issue at the recent annual meeting of the Monarch Collaborative attended by Nicole Hasheider, NCGA Biotechnology and Crop Inputs Director.   NCGA has been an active member in the collaborative for several years, which brings together a variety of national organizations representing farmers, ranchers and landowners, businesses working along the agricultural supply chain, researchers, academic institutions, federal and state entities and conservation organizations.   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to release its decision on whether or not to list the monarch as an endangered species by the end of next year so increasing habitat is more important than ever.   Monarch butterflies face a wide array of challenges including a loss of habitat and lack of access to milkweed and nectar resources. Monarchs also face threats from weather and...

Engaging with Government Partners to Find New Uses for Corn

(Posted Thu. Dec 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staff and grower leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. next week for meetings on new uses for corn. Meetings are scheduled with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at their Beltsville, Maryland facility where staff will discuss projects related to research corn utilization for biobased products and chemicals, including a new project at the Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania facility.   Updates will also be provided on the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research’s project on amylose inclusion complexes, which was a winner of Consider Corn Challenge II. Their project plans to use emulsifiers, polymer films and coatings made from corn starch and vegetable oil rather than petroleum, which could open the door to new products with enhanced performance and lower environmental footprints. Other visits will include meetings with the Department of Energy (DOE) and USDA Rural...

U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Ratified

(Posted Wed. Dec 4th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

The Japanese Diet, the country’s legislative body, earlier today ratified the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The agreement secures the second-largest export market for corn farmers and is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2020. This agreement formalizes and builds on our long-standing trading relationship with Japan.   Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. The agreement reduces U.S. corn and sorghum imports for all purposes to a zero-level tariff and includes a staged tariff reduction for U.S. ethanol and corn. U.S. feed and food corn, corn gluten feed, and DDGS will continue to receive duty-free market access.   NCGA President Kevin Ross in October joined leaders of other farm and commodity groups at the White House to commemorate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

When it Comes to Soil Health Good News Isn’t Hard to Find

(Posted Tue. Dec 3rd, 2019)

Keywords: Soil Health Partnership

Thursday, December 5, is World Soil Day and National Corn Growers is joining the Soil Health Partnership in celebrating the growing focus on improved soil health in agriculture.   The SHP effort is cool because they are encouraging farmers to tell their own unique soil health journey! Outside the Ag industry, many folks don’t know about the soil health revolution taking place so don't forget to use the hashtag #mysoilhealthjourney and tag @soilhealthpartnership to join the celebration. The Nature Conservancy, one of the many groups working with SHP and NCGA, believes a sustainable food system is potentially one of the most significant ways to ensure a future where both nature and people thrive. Research estimates that improving adopting soil health-promoting practices on at least half of U.S. croplands by 2025 could deliver up to $7.4 billion in water and climate benefits annually. So, Happy Soil Health Day.

General Session at Commodity Classic Promises to Inspire and Inform

(Posted Tue. Dec 3rd, 2019)

Keywords: Commodity Classic

A decorated fighter pilot and best-selling author will be the keynote speaker during the Commodity Classic General Session.    The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas.  Commodity Classic is the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience.  The Friday morning General Session is one of the most highly-rated experiences during the three-day farmer-driven event—and the 2020 version promises to be as well.   Keynote speaker will be Lt. Colonel Waldo Waldman, a decorated fighter pilot, highly-rated Hall of Fame Speaker and New York Times best-selling author.  His message is designed to inspire farmers to collaborate and innovate with their fellow farmers and ag partners to maximize their potential in farming and in life.   The session will also include the nation’s commodity association leaders who will discuss the hottest issues facing the nation’s corn, soybean, wheat and...

Corn Trade Is A Huge Driver of the U.S. Economy

(Posted Mon. Dec 2nd, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

Who you know and your relationship with them can make a big difference in many aspects of your life, but if you are a corn farmer this is likely a huge understatement. You see, trade is critical to farmer’s profitability and relationships can either float or sink the export ship.   According to the U.S. Grains Council, U.S. corn exports totaled 52.3 MMT or 2.06 billion bushels in 2018/19 and moved to 62 countries. That’s a lot of relationships to juggle for USGC and a big reason NCGA has made a resolution of trade agreements like the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) a priority. Addressing both components - relationships and the access that comes with trade agreements – is a potent combination.    As we head toward 2020, NCGA, USGC and many of their partners will be involved in a “Did You Know” campaign to raise awareness of the importance of free trade and trade agreements to farmers and a strong U.S. economy. Look for these messages on NCGA social channels from Dec. 2 to...