NEWS STORIES

FARM POLICY

NCGA: EPA Must Account for Waivers

(Posted Fri. Aug 30th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   While NCGA appreciates EPA’s 15 billion gallon proposal for conventional biofuel, these proposed volumes are meaningless by failing to account for issued refinery waivers, which EPA significantly expanded during this Administration.   “NCGA has no confidence in the volumes EPA proposes for 2020. These refinery waivers have significantly outpaced annual increases in RFS volume requirements, taking RFS volume requirements backward,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp wrote in the organization’s comments to EPA.   President Trump’s actions on ethanol have cost 2,700 rural jobs and impacted demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn as a result of ethanol plant closures and slowing production. Since 2018, the 85 RFS exemptions granted to big oil refineries have totaled 4.04...

NCGA Letter to President Trump: Step In to Help Out Corn Farmers

(Posted Thu. Aug 29th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

Three weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stunned the corn industry with news it approved 31 additional small refinery exemptions for big oil companies. Today, NCGA President Lynn Chrisp sent a letter to President Trump encouraging him to step in and help out corn farmers that have been affected by this mistake.   The body of this letter is provided below:   Dear President Trump:   Three weeks ago, your Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved 31 additional refinery exemptions to big oil companies. This news sent shockwaves through the corn industry and put us back on our heels.   Days after the 31 exemptions were announced, the nation’s largest ethanol producer, POET, idled production at an ethanol plant in Indiana. This action came after they already reduced production at half their facilities, with the largest drop taking place in Iowa and Ohio. Just yesterday, Corn Plus, a farmer-owned ethanol plant in Minnesota that has been in business for over...

NCGA Encouraged by U.S.-Japan Agreement in Principle

(Posted Mon. Aug 26th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the announcement that the United States and Japan have reached an agreement in principle that sets the stage for increased market access for American agriculture products in Japan.   “This is very encouraging news,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “Japan is the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn and has been an important, longstanding trading partner with America’s corn farmers. We hope the next stage of negotiations are successful in enhancing rules of trade and building on this strong relationship.”   Chrisp said NCGA is continuing conversations with the Trump Administration to learn more details on what specifically Sunday’s announcement will mean for America’s corn farmers.   The U.S.-Japan announcement follows recent Administrative actions that have added to growing economic concerns across rural America. On Friday, the Chinese government announced it would levy an additional ten percent tariff on U.S. products,...

(Posted Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy

President Trump today signed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 2336). The legislation, supported by NCGA, aims to ease bankruptcy rules for farmers by raising the limit for farms to qualify for reorganizing their debts under agriculture bankruptcy law.   “Farmers are facing a perfect storm of challenges, be it uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs or disruptions in the ethanol market. Amid these challenges they need access to all available tools which the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 will ensure they have. This benefits not just the farmer, but their rural communities. This bill raises the Chapter 12 operating debt cap to $10 million, giving more farmers facing difficult financial decisions the opportunity to survive another day,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp.

(Posted Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy Trade

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of its methodology to determine commodity payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The payment rate for corn is $0.14 per bushel.   “NCGA welcomes USDA’s transparency in this process. Corn farmers were understandably disappointed by the one cent per bushel for corn in the first MFP program and we appreciate that it appears USDA considered our recommendations in developing MFP 2.0. Amid farmers’ concern over crop conditions, trade disputes and tariffs, and demand destruction in the ethanol market, this program will not make any farmer whole. NCGA continues to strongly advocate for the Administration to open markets and provide more certainty for corn farmers, including addressing the harm caused by RFS waivers and resolving trade disputes and tariffs.”   NCGA analysis showed an average price loss for corn of 20...

(Posted Thu. Aug 22nd, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

The impact of the Trump Administration’s recent granting of 31 refinery waivers to big oil is quickly being felt across the countryside, compounding farmer’s concerns about crop conditions, markets, and trade.   In the last 12 months, 15 ethanol plants have been shuttered or idled, including POET’s Cloverdale facility which specifically cited the most recent waivers as the cause. Given this reduced demand, it is likely more closings will follow.   Recent press reports indicate the President is, rightly, rethinking this action and NCGA is continuing to work with members of his administration and ethanol advocates in Congress. This includes sharing solutions that would significantly boost corn demand.   President Trump’s actions on ethanol have cost 2,700 rural jobs and lost demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn as a result of the ethanol plant closures and slowing production. Since 2018, the 85 RFS exemptions granted to big oil refineries have totaled 4.04 billion...

Tell EPA: Waivers Are Gutting the RFS

(Posted Tue. Aug 20th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

Corn farmers have until August 30 to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. Farmer comments are critically important following EPA’s recent announcement of waivers to big oil.   EPA’s annual RFS volume proposal seeks to increase total renewable fuel blending by 120 million gallons and maintain an implied conventional ethanol requirement of 15 billion gallons. But these volumes are meaningless amid EPA's expansion of retroactive RFS waivers for refineries, which now total 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons.    EPA’s proposal fails to account for projected waivers and ignores a 2017 court decision that EPA improperly cut 500 million gallons of renewable fuels blending in 2016. Tell EPA the agency must account for waived gallons in the volume rule in order to keep the RFS whole. 

NCGA Statement: EPA Waivers Undermine RFS

(Posted Fri. Aug 9th, 2019)

Keywords: farm policy ethanol

NCGA President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved 31 refinery exemptions. Since early 2018, EPA has undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and granted 53 RFS waivers to big oil companies, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.   “Waivers reduce demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the President’s support for America’s farmers. Waivers benefit big oil at the expense of corn farmers who, between losing export markets abroad and ethanol markets at home, are losing patience.   “Mr. President, you proudly stand with farmers, but your EPA isn’t following through. You can step up for farmers today by reining in RFS waivers. Farmers expect the RFS to be kept whole by accounting for waived gallons and bringing more transparency to EPA’s secret process.   “Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices, with farm income for...

Congressional Recess Presents Opportunity for Corn Farmers

(Posted Fri. Aug 2nd, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Members of the U.S. House and Senate are returning home after adjourning for the annual August recess. This district work period provides ample opportunity for NCGA’s farmer members to engage with their representatives on issues of importance to corn farmers.   NCGA continues to advocate for passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and lawmakers are hoping to consider the new pact when they reconvene this fall. USMCA will solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some much-needed certainty for farmers. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.   Townhall meetings, county fairs and local festivals are all opportunities for farmers to share their stories with lawmakers. Farmers can learn more about upcoming events in their area by contacting their state corn grower association.   Farmers can also send a message to...

NCGA Testimony: EPA Must Account for RFS Waivers

(Posted Wed. Jul 31st, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association today reiterated its call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole by accounting for waived ethanol gallons as the agency considers proposed biofuel targets for 2020.   In testimony at an EPA hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich., NCGA Board Member and Ohio farmer John Linder pressed the agency to move forward with a stronger RFS rule that supports America’s farmers, their rural communities, and consumers.   “The proposed rule we are discussing today allows retroactive refinery exemptions to continue to destroy demand for renewable fuels. In addition, the proposal ignores the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision that EPA improperly waived 500 million gallons in 2016,” Linder said.   For 2020, EPA proposes to increase total renewable fuel blending by 120 million gallons and maintain an implied conventional ethanol requirement of 15 billion gallons. The proposal does not take into account EPA’s ongoing...

(Posted Wed. Jul 31st, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

An agriculture and biofuels coalition has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to lift a stay it placed on a joint 2018 petition asking the court to protect the renewable fuels industry from undue harm caused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   The petition, filed late Tuesday afternoon, asks EPA to revise its Renewable Fuel Standard regulations for setting annual percentage standards of renewable fuel to account for small refinery exemptions the Agency issues retroactively.  EPA’s current regulations factor in only future small refinery exemptions granted prior to the compliance year, despite the fact that most of the exemptions granted in recent years have been for compliance periods that had already ended.   The coalition had asked for the stay to give EPA time to review its request to reconsider its current regulations. EPA’s response never arrived, but EPA’s statements and actions over the past 13 months indicate that EPA has...

Senate Staffers Hear About the Intersection of Soil Health and Climate Change

(Posted Tue. Jul 30th, 2019)

Keywords: farm policy sustainability conservation

    A standing-room-only crowd attended a briefing: “An Overview of Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry” in Washington, D.C. today to hear experts like Executive Director of the Soil Health Partnership Dr. Shefali Mehta, highlight the agricultural practices farmers are adopting that can help mitigate climate change.   The briefing was hosted by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and targeted a diverse group of staffers interested in learning more about how farming practices are helping make farmers more resilient in the face of a changing climate.   “Practices such as reducing or eliminating tillage and growing cover crops can improve soil health, and they also hold the potential to increase carbon sequestration and storage and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with agricultural production,” Mehta said. “In addition to their role in climate change mitigation, these practices can make agricultural land—and farm operations—more...

NCGA Welcomes Progress on MFP, Looks Forward to Improved Program

(Posted Thu. Jul 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Farm Policy

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of county payment rates for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).   “It’s no secret that farmers are facing difficult decisions amid wet spring weather, trade disputes and tariffs, and demand destruction in the ethanol market. While NCGA’s focus remains markets, we welcome USDA’s quick rollout of MFP 2.0 and the Department’s creative efforts to reorient MFP to better reflect market impacts and support American farmers. We look forward to learning more about how MFP will work for corn farmers.”   Following President Trump’s announcement that the Administration would be pursuing a second round of trade aid, NCGA put forward recommendations that would provide both short-term assistance and support market access for farmers. NCGA continues to encourage the Administration to take additional actions to open markets and provide more...

NCGA Recognizes Senator Fischer with President’s Award

(Posted Thu. Jul 18th, 2019)

Keywords: trade ethanol farm policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today presented NCGA’s 2019 President’s Award to Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer. The President’s Award is given annually at NCGA’s Corn Congress meeting in Washington, D.C. to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture.   “It is my great pleasure to present the NCGA President’s Award to Senator Fischer,” Chrisp said. “Senator Fischer has been an outspoken advocate for corn farmers from our shared home state of Nebraska and across the country, supporting policies that will help create market opportunities for corn.”   In her remarks to corn farmers, Fischer voiced her support for the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the top legislative priority for corn growers this year. Fisher was a strong advocate for removing the barrier to year-round sales of E15 and continues to stand up for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and against the Environmental Protection Agency’s...

NCGA Takes Ethanol Waiver Message Back to Airwaves

(Posted Tue. Jul 16th, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

NCGA today renewed its pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow President Trump’s commitment to farmers and stop giving Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies, re-running the organization’s ad that first ran last month.    Watch Ad   NCGA members are in Washington, D.C. this week for Corn Congress and meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Farmers will be urging policymakers to support legislation in the House, H.R. 3006, and Senate, S. 1840, that would seek to stop waiver abuse and address the harm these waivers are causing.   Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. There are currently 39 refinery exemption petitions pending for the 2018 compliance year. NCGA has highlighted 39 reasons why the EPA should not grant additional waivers.  

EPA Favors Oil Refiners Over Corn Farmers

(Posted Fri. Jul 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy Ethanol

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule for 2020. Once again EPA has failed to account for lost volumes due to refinery exemptions and uphold the President’s commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   “We are frustrated the EPA did not account for potential waived gallons going forward in the proposed rule,” said National Corn Growers Association President and Nebraska farmer Lynn Chrisp. “If the EPA continues to grant retroactive waivers, the RVO numbers are meaningless and the EPA is not following the law. Farmers are facing a very tough economic environment and the continued waiver abuse chips away at farmers’ bottom line.”   Since early 2018, the EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. There are currently 38 pending petitions for 2018.   EPA also failed to uphold the D.C. Circuit Court’s 2017 ruling, requiring the Agency to account...

(Posted Thu. Jun 27th, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) on Wednesday released the Congressional District Profiles and Rankings from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.   “The profiles are a quick way to see what’s going on with agriculture in a particular area – to show its value at the local level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “They provide an easy way to evaluate high-level data, compare characteristics of one district to another, and educate colleagues, policymakers, and non-farming neighbors about farming in that location.”   USDA announced the initial results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture in April. Corn is the #2 commodity by value, behind cattle and calves. The 2017 corn crop was valued at $51.2 billion.   The census is available to review in many formats on the NASS website.

NCGA Ups Pressure on EPA to Follow President’s Lead on Ethanol

(Posted Thu. Jun 20th, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association today will begin airing an advertisement calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow President Trump’s commitment to farmers and stop giving Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies. These waivers negatively impact farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.   Watch Ad   The ad features NCGA First Vice President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross who recently appeared at an ethanol plant with President Trump in recognition of the Administration’s support of year-round E15. During the event, Ross thanked the President for delivering on this promise but cautioned, “The EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works.”   Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. The 2017 RFS waivers effectively reduced the 15 billion-gallon implied ethanol volume to 13.18 billion gallons,...

(Posted Fri. Jun 14th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

NCGA today applauded legislation introduced by Sens. Deb Fisher, R-Neb., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., to bring transparency and accountability to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).   Similar to the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 introduced in the House, the Senate bill, S. 1840, would set a deadline for refineries to apply for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process. The Senators’ bill also includes specific actions EPA must take within the annual Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume rule to account for and reallocate waived gallons and requires EPA to report to Congress with a justification for each waiver granted. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are original co-sponsors of S. 1840.   Within the past year, EPA has granted 54 exemptions to refineries, waiving 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel blending...

NCGA Applauds Administrations Efforts to Further Ag Biotech, Streamline Regulation

(Posted Wed. Jun 12th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the Administration after President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order yesterday. This important declaration will streamline the approval process for agricultural products produced through biotechnology while reinforcing the move toward a product and not process-based approach.   The order promotes a science- and risk-based program that will lay out a clear, predictable and efficient regulatory framework. This will offer cost savings to technology developers, open the pipeline for product approval to a larger sphere and allow farmers more rapid access to the tools that they need in the field.   This order also furthers policies important to farmers by expanding markets by urging USDA, along with USTR and the Department of State, to work with our trade partners abroad to synchronize approval processes internationally and help remove barriers to trade...

NCGA Joins President at Iowa Ethanol Plant

(Posted Tue. Jun 11th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol Farm Policy

NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross today represented NCGA in hosting President Trump for a tour of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Ross farms in nearby Minden and sells corn to the ethanol plant.   The visit was an opportunity for NCGA to thank the President for following through on the commitment to allow for year-round sales of E15, a priority for corn farmers. On May 31, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule for E15. In addition to increasing demand for farmers, higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 reduce fuel prices for drivers by three to ten cents per gallon and result in lower emissions, improving air quality and providing greater greenhouse gas reductions.   Ross also urged President Trump to address EPA's waivers to large refiners that are undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and work with members of Congress to pass an infrastructure bill.    Members of NCGA's board of directors,...

NCGA Joins Call for Ratification of USMCA

(Posted Tue. Jun 11th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Farm Policy

NCGA today joined more than 950 food and agriculture organizations representing to call on members of Congress to swiftly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   In a letter to Congressional leaders, the groups reiterated that USMCA will benefit the U.S. agriculture and food industry while providing consumers a more abundant supply of high-quality, safe food at affordable prices.   “Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA – growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018. NAFTA has significantly helped create a reliable, high-quality supply of food products for U.S. consumers, while supporting more than 900,000 American jobs in food and agriculture and related sectors of the economy. USMCA builds on the success of the NAFTA agreement, and will ultimately lead to freer markets and fairer trade. This modernized trade agreement makes improvements to further enhance U.S. food and...

NCGA Highlights Negative Effect of Ethanol Waivers

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

NCGA Renewable Fuels Public Policy Director Kathy Bergren participated in a Capitol Hill briefing today for U.S. House of Representatives staff to help explain the damaging effects the EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to large, profitable refineries and recommend solutions.   Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. EPA currently has 39 waiver petitions pending for the 2018 RFS compliance year. These waivers have taken a toll on farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.   NCGA President Lynn Chrisp recently touched on the negative impact of these waivers, following the announcement that EPA had completed action to allow for year-round sales of E15. “While corn farmers are immensely grateful that the barrier to year-round E15 has been lifted, we won’t be able to reap the full benefits if EPA continues to...

(Posted Tue. Jun 4th, 2019)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Farmers confronting weather-related challenges are one step closer to receiving relief.   The U.S. House of Representatives last night passed a disaster assistance package that will provide $3 billion to USDA to assist farmers confronting weather-related losses. The Senate passed the disaster bill on May 24, the legislation now goes to the President’s desk where it is expected he will sign it into law.   The disaster assistance covers expenses related to the losses of crops as a consequence of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms and wildfires in the 2018 and 2019 calendar year. The term “losses of crops” includes on-farm stored commodities and crops prevented from planting in 2019.     The legislation gives the Secretary of Agriculture and USDA discretion to decide where and how to spend the $3 billion. These determinations will likely be made in the coming weeks.

NCGA Provides Comment on Farm Bill’s Trade Programs

(Posted Wed. Mar 27th, 2019)

Keywords: Farm policy Farm Bill

  NCGA President Lynn Chrisp today submitted comments on the 2018 Farm Bill’s Trade Title (Title III) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help advance the department’s implementation of the new bill. America’s corn farmers derive an estimated 33 percent of their incomes from the export of corn and corn products. Farmers’ ability to benefit from these exports is driven, in part, by the export promotion and market development programs administered by USDA.   NCGA encouraged USDA to consult closely with both Congress and agriculture stakeholders to ensure the positive changes to the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program are implemented as Congress intended. Increased investment for both MAP and FMD were top NCGA farm bill priorities.   MAP and FMD are used by cooperators like the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) who leverage these resources to develop overseas markets for corn.   You can read the complete comments

2018 Farm Bill Signed

(Posted Thu. Dec 20th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy Farm Bill

President Donald Trump today signed the 2018 Farm Bill (the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) into law with NCGA President Lynn Chrisp and Chairman Kevin Skunes in attendance. Today’s action follows last week’s overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill in both the House and Senate.   “NCGA is very pleased that our farmers will be able to look forward to a new year with the certainty of a new farm bill. Between depressed commodity prices, record low farm incomes and tariffs and trade uncertainty, today’s signing is very welcome news."   NCGA’s members took an active role in the 2018 Farm Bill’s development, ensuring organization priorities like continued support for crop insurance and improvements to the ARC-CO program, were included in the final legislation. Members visited with their representatives and sent emails and made phone calls to Capitol Hill offices stressing the importance of getting a new farm bill signed into law this year.   Chrisp thanked NCGA members...

(Posted Mon. Dec 17th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association today expressed disappointment that corn farmers impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty would receive virtually no relief through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Market Facilitation Program (MFP).   NCGA’s comments follow USDA’s announcement of the second round of MFP payments, again setting the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel, despite the fact that corn farmers have suffered an average 44 cent per bushel loss since tariffs were first announced.   “Farmers of all crops have felt the impact of trade tariffs,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “NCGA appreciates the progress the administration has made to advance ethanol, reach a new agreement with Mexico and Canada and move forward on negotiations with Japan, but the benefits of these efforts will take time to materialize and farmers are hurting now.”   “One cent per bushel is woefully inadequate to even begin to cover the losses being felt by...

NCGA Statement on Farm Bill Passage

(Posted Wed. Dec 12th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy farm bill

December 12, 2018 – National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today made the following statement after Congressional approval of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). The legislation passed the Senate 87-13 Tuesday and the House 369-47 today. It now goes to President Trump to be signed into law.   “The certainty of a new farm bill is very welcome news for farmers as they begin to look toward the new year. NCGA is pleased to see a return to the bipartisanship that has been a hallmark of past farm bills and we look forward to the President quickly signing the bill into law.   “To put it bluntly, the farm economy stinks. Between depressed commodity prices, record low farm incomes and tariffs and trade uncertainty, farmers are facing difficult decisions. Getting the farm bill passed, and signed into law, is one less thing they need to worry about.   “NCGA is most pleased to see the bill maintains support for a robust crop insurance...

NCGA Welcomes News of Farm Bill Agreement

(Posted Thu. Nov 29th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Bill farm policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement after an announcement that farm bill negotiators – Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., have reached an agreement in principle on a new farm bill.   “It’s imperative that farmers and rural communities have a new farm bill this year. NCGA is grateful for today’s announcement that sets the steps in motion to ensure that happens. Our grower members have been making phone calls and sending emails to Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to reach a deal before year’s end. We thank them for heeding this call and look forward to fully reviewing the conference agreement.”

Environmental Defense Fund, National Corn Growers Association Launch First-of-Its-Kind Partnership

(Posted Wed. Nov 14th, 2018)

Keywords: sustainability farm policy

Powerful collaboration will scale conservation through data, policy and farmer outreach   Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between an environmental organization and commodity crop association. The partnership aims to address one of the most pressing challenges for today’s farmers, rural communities and natural resources – how to improve environmental outcomes while optimizing productivity and profitability.   “Many practices that increase soil health and water quality also boost farmers’ bottom lines,” said Suzy Friedman, senior director of agricultural sustainability at EDF. “EDF and NCGA have worked together for many years to align economic incentives and environmental outcomes. Formalizing our partnership was a natural next step to accelerate progress toward our shared goals.”   “The public expects greater stewardship and transparency from farmers, and it’s critical for the...

Tell Congress: Pass a Farm Bill Now

(Posted Tue. Nov 13th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

Time is running out for Congress to pass a Farm Bill before major programs lapse at the end of the year. Adjourning for the year without passing a new bill will leave farmers without the safety and stability needed in this time of low prices, falling farm incomes, and trade uncertainty. With only a few joint legislative days left, farmers need Congressional leaders to compromise on a strong, bipartisan, Farm Bill now. Tell Congress to get it done!   To make your voice heard go to: www.votervoice.net/NCGA/campaigns/61616/respond

(Posted Mon. Oct 1st, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Following a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees urging them to pass a new farm bill, Kevin Skunes spent his last week as NCGA President delivering that message directly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Skunes discussed these meetings on a number of radio programs, including KFGO’s News and Views, AgriTalk, and Adams on Agriculture, among other media interviews.   While members recognized the need to act, they were unable to meet their September 30 deadline. Agriculture Committee leaders have indicated they will continue their negotiations in hopes of securing an agreement that can be considered when Congress returns after the midterm elections. Skunes urged corn growers to seek out their representatives during local events and urge they work to find compromise on a new farm bill that can be considered during the lame-duck session.

NCGA Calls on Congress to Pass Farm Bill Before Heading Home

(Posted Mon. Sep 24th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today, called on leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to put partisan differences aside and find common ground on a farm bill that can be signed into law before the current bill expires September 30.   In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., NCGA President Kevin Skunes said a new farm bill would provide certainty to farmers during increasingly uncertain times for agriculture.   “Members of Congress have just a few days to come together and reach agreement on a bipartisan farm bill. There is no good reason this task can’t be completed,” Skunes said. “Farm income forecasts remain low and farmers have been negatively impacted by trade tariffs and retaliation. A new farm bill would go a long way in providing some certainty during...

(Posted Wed. Sep 5th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s public meeting of the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee.   “With the House and Senate back in session, it is encouraging to see farm bill conferees come together and work toward a new farm bill that can be signed into law by the end of the month.   “With declining farm incomes, trade uncertainty, and ethanol market disruptions, the corn industry is struggling amid continued uncertainty. Delivering a 2018 Farm Bill on time would be welcome news for rural America. NCGA looks forward to continuing our conversations with Conferees to reach this goal.”

(Posted Tue. Aug 21st, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy conservation sustainability

On Monday, a broad coalition of agriculture organizations, including the National Corn Growers Association, asked a federal district court in South Carolina to stay its order striking a rule that delayed implementation of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule. Absent a stay, the court order puts the 2015 rule in effect in the 26 states where courts have not already stayed its implementation.   The coalition warned of the “patchwork regulatory regime” created by allowing implementation of the WOTUS rule in about half the nation.   “Enormously consequential national regula­tions like the WOTUS rule—which subject commonplace activities involved in building, farming, and pest management to a complex and burdensome federal permitting and enforcement scheme—should not apply differently depending on whether the activity happens to be located on one side of a state line or the other,” the organizations wrote in their filing with the court.

(Posted Thu. Jun 21st, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

NCGA Statement on RFS White House Meeting

(Posted Tue. May 8th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

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

Corn Growers Thank Perdue, Urge Continued Advocacy

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

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

NCGA Calls on President to Allow for Increased Ethanol Blends

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

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

NCGA Urges Support for Crop Insurance During Farm Bill Debate

(Posted Fri. Apr 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

NCGA Endorses Thune-Brown ARC Improvement and Innovation Act

(Posted Wed. Apr 25th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

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

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

(Posted Wed. Apr 18th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

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

NCGA Statement to 199A Resolution

(Posted Thu. Mar 15th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

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

(Posted Tue. Feb 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Mon. Feb 12th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Wed. Jan 31st, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Tue. May 23rd, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Tue. May 16th, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Tue. Mar 28th, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Mon. Mar 13th, 2017)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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

(Posted Thu. Oct 27th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Policy

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