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NCGA Provides Trade Aid Recommendations to USDA

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Policy

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with recommendations outlining both short and long-term actions that would provide assistance to farmers facing losses due, in part, to the most recent tariff increases and prolonged trade dispute with China.   NCGA analysis, capturing corn market impacts from May 2018 to April 2019, showed an average price loss of $0.20/bushel. In March and April of 2019, as trade talks with China lagged on, that loss widened again to closer to $0.40/bushel.   Given these losses, NCGA is urging USDA to improve upon last year’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) which set the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel, to make sure that assistance more equitably compensates farmers for market losses. Beyond USDA, NCGA is also urging the Administration to address demand destruction caused by the EPA’s small refinery exemptions to oil refiners, among other actions.   NCGA members have...

USMCA Roadblock Cleared

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade USMCA Policy

Leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada today announced that a deal has been reached to lift the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.   Lawmakers on Capitol Hill frequently cited the tariffs as a roadblock to passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley leading the charge. NCGA appreciates lawmakers’ support for USMCA, along with the Administration’s willingness to hear from agriculture and work to resolve the industry’s concerns.   Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In 2016 alone, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion.   USMCA secures and builds upon this important partnership, which is why ratifying USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019.   Tell Congress to Pass USMCA!

Another Penny for Corn Farmers Won’t Cut It

(Posted Wed. May 15th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

We need your help. Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration is increasing the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China’s retaliatory tariffs, could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers, bringing more uncertainty to markets and impacting commodity prices.   In an effort to ease this impact, the Administration is now pursuing a second round of trade assistance for agriculture with the intent of making an announcement in the next few days. As you’ll recall, the previous Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment rate for corn farmers was just one cent per bushel.   Please tell the president that a penny didn’t cut it then and won’t cut it now.   On top of trade disputes and tariffs, EPA granting RFS waivers to oil refiners, devastating weather conditions, farm incomes on a downward trend, and crumbling infrastructure have all created a perfect storm for agriculture.   Tell the President that one penny won’t provide the market certainty that...

Trade Tuesday: Farmers Need Certainty

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Policy

Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration was moving forward to increase the tariff rate from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers.   As NCGA President Lynn Chrisp noted, “Corn farmers are watching commodity prices decline amid ongoing tariff threats, even while many can’t get to spring planting because of wet weather.” This spring’s heavy rains have impacted farmers across the country, with the most recent WASDE report showing that only 30 percent of the corn crop has been planted, half the five year average of 66 percent.   Trade disputes and tariffs, devastating weather conditions, stagnant farm incomes, crumbling infrastructures and EPA waivers to oil refiners have all combined to create a perfect storm for agriculture.   Times are tough for farmers. More tariffs won’t help, neither will another penny per bushel trade assistance payment. Simply put, farmers need a win and they need...

Economic Analysis: Grain Exports Offer Billions in Benefits Beyond the Farm

(Posted Tue. May 7th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

A new study shows access to international export markets for U.S. grains supported nearly $38 billion in business sales in the U.S. economy during 2016 beyond the value of the products themselves.   The analysis commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) found a total economic impact of U.S. grains exports of $55 billion that year, supporting 271,000 jobs directly or indirectly. These sales supported U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $19 billion over what would have occurred without such exports.   The analysis dives deep into the benefits to farmers, rural communities and the nation as a whole derived from overseas sales driven by strong trade policy and robust in-country market development for grains and grains products.   “Every sale counts for farmers, especially in this market, and this analysis shows just how much the grain sector is supported by regular and growing purchases from our overseas customers,” said Jim...

(Posted Wed. May 1st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

May is World Trade Month and NCGA is using the occasion to highlight the importance of trade for future profitability and global food security. NCGA has a deeply-rooted policy of working to eliminate barriers to trade, supporting market development and promoting a transportation infrastructure that moves grain efficiently.   Exports of grains in all forms provide critical support across the economy, offering billions in direct and indirect economic benefits to farmers and rural communities. Exports of corn in all forms support 33 percent of corn farmer incomes.   In the 2016/2017 crop marketing year, the United States exported nearly 120 million metric tons of feed grains in all forms (GIAF), translating into roughly 4.75 billion bushels or a third of U.S. production. Feed grains in all forms include corn, barley and sorghum and products made with them as inputs including the corn equivalent of co-products like ethanol, DDGS and corn gluten feed/meal as well as beef, pork and...

(Posted Thu. Apr 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

We know that ratifying USMCA will secure a $3.2 billion export market for corn farmers and provide some certainty as farmers begin the hard work of planting and harvesting their crop. Passing USMCA will also open the door to other markets and new opportunities for American farmers. Locking in USMCA establishes some important new standards for what can be achieved in future trade agreements and would also build confidence in other nations with whom the United States wants to more closely engage.   Japan is the perfect example of a very important long-time customer for the U.S. corn industry and a nation with which a trade agreement is urgent for U.S. agriculture. Japan was the second largest buyer of U.S. corn in the 2017/2018 marketing year, purchasing nearly 13.2 million metric tons (520 million bushels) of corn for a value of $2.39 billion. Japan also serves as the ninth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS, setting a new record for DDGS imports in 2017/2018, increasing 8.4 percent from...

(Posted Thu. Apr 18th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp made the below statement today following the release of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) economic analysis on the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   “The release of the ITC report is an important step in moving USMCA toward Congressional action. ITC reports typically measure the economic impact of new trade agreements and focus on market access. USMCA is different – it’s an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – which already eliminated most tariffs on exports of U.S. food and agriculture products. So, the ITC report released today doesn’t fully capture the economic benefits of trade with Canada and Mexico, nor the improvements to trade rules in USMCA that benefit agriculture.    “NAFTA has been a resounding success for agriculture. In 2016 alone, American corn growers exported $3.2 billion in corn and corn co-products to Mexico and Canada. USMCA secures and builds upon this...

(Posted Wed. Apr 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

By all accounts, the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a resounding success for agriculture. To ensure American farmers continue to have access to these important export markets, the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) needs to be ratified.   USMCA will solidify a $3.2 billion export market for corn farmers and provide some certainty as farmers begin the hard work of planting and harvesting their crop. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations with whom we want to enter into future trade agreements. Opening new markets will ensure U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.   Securing this new agreement allows America to compete. The United States has much more competition in North America now than when NAFTA was signed - Mexico has 46 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Canada has 21.   If Congress does not approve USMCA, and the United States withdraws from NAFTA, American agriculture and rural communities would be...

(Posted Mon. Apr 1st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

Corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers recently joined together to announce their support for the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   Agriculture’s support for USMCA makes sense. Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all corn exports, and in 2016 alone, this market generated $4.1 billion in economic activity and supported 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms.   For corn farmers, USMCA will solidify a $3.2 billion export market and provide some certainty as farmers begin the hard work of planting and harvesting their crop. 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.   Withdrawing from the existing NAFTA agreement, closing the U.S.-Mexico border, or implementing other policies that jeopardize the future of this important economic partnership, would be catastrophic for farmers...

China Purchases U.S. Corn

(Posted Mon. Mar 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service announced Friday an export sale of 300,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China.   “The corn purchase by China announced today in USDA’s export sales report is very welcome news for U.S. agriculture, and we see it as a positive sign for the U.S.-China relationship as intense negotiations continue. The outcome of these talks is crucial to U.S. grains and ethanol, and we appreciate continued engagement by our negotiators and their counterparts in China,” U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight said.   Sleight also discussed the purchases and ongoing trade negotiations with Agri-Pulse, telling the publication,  “This is very encouraging — that the negotiations have been going well and getting after some of the key issues that have been blocking trade with the U.S. and China on corn." 

(Posted Fri. Mar 1st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers today announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.   Members representing the four organizations will be advocating members of Congress to ratify USMCA this year while also urging the Administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement intact until the new agreement is ratified.   “Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable corn market; Mexico is corn’s number one buyer and Canada is one of our largest ethanol importers. We cannot afford to risk losing this market,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019, and we will be working closely with the Administration...

(Posted Fri. Jan 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

In a follow-up to its October 2018 meeting, five members of MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, were in Geneva this month to advocate for agricultural innovation with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo and five other WTO country representatives.   Rapid innovation in agriculture benefits farmers who can grow more and higher quality crops using fewer natural resources. But these same innovations push governments around the world to determine the best ways to regulate these modern practices, and the WTO helps determine whether these policies are fair. MAIZALL encourages countries to adopt science-based policies to prevent disruptions to trade.   “It is extremely important to show the Director-General that the farmer alliance that is MAIZALL believes innovation is important and we need to draw attention to innovation at the highest levels within the WTO,” said MAIZALL Board Member Chip Councell.   MAIZALL President Cesario Ramalho, MAIZALL...

(Posted Fri. Jan 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

Today on Off the Cob, meet Lindsey Bowers, a Texas farmer who also works as a grain merchandiser and hedger near the southern border. From the storage situation in her part of Texas to the importance of the Mexico market to all U.S. corn farmers, she provides unique insights and a fresh perspective on American agriculture.   To listen, click here.

(Posted Wed. Jan 23rd, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

NCGA is committed to helping corn producers weather this tough economy by creating market opportunities for U.S. corn, including expanding market access for our products around the globe. Exports of corn and corn products account for a third of corn farmers’ incomes.   To accomplish these goals, we work closely with our partners at the U.S. Grains Council. NCGA advocates for elimination of barriers to corn and corn products in the U.S trade policy agenda, passage of strong trade agreements by Congress and helps secure market development funds that USGC puts into action. USGC’s mission is clear - develop markets, enable trade and improve lives. USGC leaders, staff members, and consultants strive to be the most relevant, passionate and trusted ambassadors for free and fair trade between U.S. agriculture and our customers around the world.   The flow of goods, ideas, capital, and people are essential for prosperity, and for American competitiveness in the global economy. This is...

NCGA Recognizes NAFTA Benefits

(Posted Thu. Jan 10th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

NCGA is committed to creating new market opportunities for U.S. corn. This includes expanding market access for U.S. corn around the globe and securing our most important markets by injecting certainty back into our relationships with Mexico and Canada.   The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been an unequivocal success for American corn farmers. Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to these regional partners have increased 300 percent and Mexico is now the top export destination for U.S. corn.   Corn exports to Mexico were up nearly 13 percent for 2017/2018 from the previous year, reaching a record high of 15.7 million tons or 618 million bushels.   In 2016 alone, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion. These exports produced $4.1 billion in economic activity as well as supported 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms.   Now, as Congress looks to consider the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,...

(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: USMCA Signing an Important Step Forward

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2018)

Keywords: trade policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement applauding the important step taken by U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials today in signing the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   “U.S. corn farmers are proud of the strong trading relationships NAFTA has enabled us to build with our North American trading partners, exporting more than $3 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada last year. Today’s signing is an important step toward cementing a modernized relationship with these important partners. NCGA commends leaders from all three nations and looks forward to engaging on next steps as the USMCA moves to Congress for consideration.”

(Posted Tue. Nov 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp yesterday submitted NCGA’s negotiating objectives for a United States-Japan Trade Agreement to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Japan is the second largest market for U.S. corn exports and U.S. corn farmers have been a reliable supplier to this market for more than 50 years.   “Corn farmers have long counted on Japan as a leading export market and have spent decades developing this important partnership,” Chrisp wrote. “NCGA has been advocating for a formal trade agreement with Japan for years and we are pleased to see the Trump administration take this important step, one that we hope will be followed up with other trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region.”   NCGA’s top priorities for this negotiation are to secure this market access for corn amid intensifying competition from other corn suppliers, to improve market access for other corn co-products, and to address technical, sanitary and phytosanitary, and...

NCGA Calls for More Equitable Trade Relief

(Posted Tue. Nov 20th, 2018)

Keywords: trade market access aid ethanol

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today urged U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider changes to the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) ahead of the second round of payments.   In a letter to Perdue, Chrisp said that he continues to hear from farmers who are disappointed in USDA’s approach to calculating the first round of MFP payments because it was too narrow in scope and did not capture the real-time impacts of trade disruptions on our markets.   Chrisp asked Perdue to add ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to the calculation of damages for corn. Using USDA’s methodology, gross trade damages for ethanol and DDGS amounts to $254 million, which was not accounted for in the first MFP payments. Chrisp also asked the Secretary to allow farmers who suffer production losses from disasters to use an alternative to 2018 production for their MFP calculation. This would ensure farmers suffering from drought,...

(Posted Thu. Nov 8th, 2018)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Agricultural innovation continues to develop rapidly, benefiting farmers who are able to grow more and better crops using fewer inputs and natural resources. As governments around the world work to determine how to regulate these ever-evolving technologies, MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, is encouraging countries to adopt science-based policies to prevent disruptions to trade.   MAIZALL was formed in January 2013 by the corn growers associations in Argentina, Brazil and the United States to work together to tackle global market access barriers related to the introduction of new technologies in agriculture, particularly biotechnology. The alliance focuses on three areas: communicating the benefits of modern agricultural production methods and technologies, addressing asynchronous approval of biotech products and promoting regulatory harmonization.   During an October mission to Geneva and Rome, a group of MAIZALL leaders met with World Trade Organization (WTO) and...

Grains Leadership Visits Mexico to Meet Customers, New Administration Officials

(Posted Tue. Nov 6th, 2018)

Keywords: trade policy

Leaders from the U.S. feed grains value chain traveled together to Mexico last week to meet with longtime customers and incoming officials from the Mexican government on the heels of the recently-concluded U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations.    The annual officers mission brings together leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the national organizations representing the feed grains it promotes in international markets, including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA).    Mexico is the top foreign buyer of U.S. corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and barley and a significant buyer of U.S. sorghum. The country also holds near-term potential for increased use of U.S. ethanol following energy policy changes in recent years.    "Mexico is the most critical market for our members and an amazing example of...

(Posted Mon. Oct 1st, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement after an announcement that the United States, Canada, and Mexico reached an agreement in principle on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).    “Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and reminding the administration of its promise to ‘do no harm’ to agriculture.”   “NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture, opening markets that since enactment have become vitally important to U.S. corn farmers, and providing certainty to farmers and the rural economy. We applaud USTR for reaching a new agreement and look forward to thoroughly evaluating it to determine if it continues to benefit American agriculture.”   Last year the United States exported $3.2 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada, supporting 25,000 rural jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce...

(Posted Thu. Sep 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes made the following statement on the announcement that the United States and Japan would begin formal trade negotiations.   “Japan is a top export market for U.S. corn and, for many years, U.S. corn farmers have valued this long-standing partnership. Since withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NCGA has urged the administration to re-engage Japan in negotiating a trade agreement. The announcement that talks will begin is welcome news to American corn farmers.”

(Posted Tue. Sep 25th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

President Trump on Monday signed the new United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). The National Corn Growers Association has advocated for continuing our trading relationship with Korea and appreciates President Trump and President Moon reaffirming the two countries’ important partnership. Korea is the third largest export market for U.S. corn farmers, and KORUS has been instrumental in solidifying this important market. Farmers voiced their support for KORUS loud and clear, and NCGA is pleased the agreement has been updated. The new KORUS also paves the way for U.S. trade negotiators to work on opening new export markets for agriculture.

Corn Farmers Need a Break

(Posted Fri. Aug 31st, 2018)

Keywords: policy trade

In The Hill Friday, NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes shared the challenges facing corn farmers this year and the frustration following USDA’s announcement of just one cent per bushel in trade relief for corn farmers.   “It is insulting that USDA’s plan sells corn farmers so short. As history has shown, once you lose a market it is very difficult to get it back. Our global competitors are aggressively pursuing every opportunity we miss and our margin for error is shrinking. Corn farmers direly need a win,” Skunes wrote.   The op-ed cites NCGA-commissioned analysis, provided to both USDA and OMB, estimating trade disputes to have lowered corn prices by 44 cents per bushel for crop produced in 2018. This amounts to $6.3 billion in lost value on the 81.8 million acres projected to be harvested in 2018.   LINK: http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/404516-pitiful-subsidy-to-corn-farmers-adds-insult-to-trump-tariff-injuries

Trade, RFS Lead Conversations at Farm Progress Show

(Posted Fri. Aug 31st, 2018)

Keywords: Trade Ethanol

  National Corn Growers Association farmer leaders and staff attended this week’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa to let attendees know the importance of trade, the RFS and Farm Bill. Chairman Wesley Spurlock, President Kevin Skunes and First-Vice President-elect Kevin Ross attended the show.    President Skunes participated in a pro-RFS rally and a Farmers for Free Trade news conference. After the RFS rally, Skunes had the opportunity to talk with Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue one-on-one.   “I wanted to let the Secretary know that farmers appreciate his support in Washington D.C. and thank him for carrying our message with the administration,” Skunes said. “However, I was very direct and let the Secretary know that there are steps that can be taken now to help farmers and the rural economy and that’s getting RVP (allowing year-round E15 ethanol sales) done now. I also voiced our displeasure with the one-cent per bushel for corn in the trade mitigation package is...

(Posted Tue. Aug 28th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Last week, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a Chinese agricultural delegation for an informative presentation and discussions about the U.S. corn crop, the association’s programs and an overview of the U.S. agricultural environment in relation to biotechnology, advanced breeding techniques and market opportunities. The group, organized by Bayer, included this year’s Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellows, who specialize in areas from functional genomics to characterizing novel circadian components in plants.   “While NCGA hosts a number of teams interested in biotechnology and the corn crop outlook, this breadth of topics in which this team showed interest was somewhat unique,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Jim Bauman. “Working together, our staff was able to provide them with insight into a number of sectors which influence U.S. corn production and markets.”   Following an in-depth examination of NCGA’s history, mission and structure, the team had an...

(Posted Mon. Aug 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today said plans unveiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide aid to farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty would be insufficient to even begin to address the serious damage done to the corn market as a result of the Administration’s actions.   The organization reiterated its call for the Administration to rescind tariffs, secure trade agreements and allow for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol; no-cost actions that would allow for the marketplace to drive demand.   “NCGA members had a spirited debate on the prospect of trade aid during last month’s Corn Congress meeting,” said NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes. “While most members prefer trade over aid, they support relief if it helps some farmers provide assurances to their local bankers and get through another planting season. Unfortunately, this plan provides virtually no relief to corn...

(Posted Mon. Aug 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes today released the following statement after an announcement that the United States and Mexico reached a trade agreement and that President Trump intends to replace NAFTA with the new agreement.   “NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture, dramatically expanding market access for all parties, integrating supply chains and providing economic opportunity to farmers and rural communities. Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. corn farmers and we are pleased the United States and Mexico are reaffirming mutual commitment to this important relationship.   “Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and NCGA welcomes the opportunity to evaluate the details of this agreement with Mexico. However, the trilateral relationship is important, and we urge President Trump not to terminate the underlying agreement until full trilateral negotiations have been concluded...

NCGA Statement on USDA Trade Aid

(Posted Tue. Jul 24th, 2018)

Keywords: trade USDA

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the below statement following this afternoon’s USDA announcement of an aid package for farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty.   “NCGA appreciates the Administration’s recognition of the harm to producers caused by tariffs and trade uncertainty. The fine print will be important. We know the package won’t make farmers whole but look forward to working with USDA on the details and implementation of this plan.   “NCGA’s grower members are confronting their fifth consecutive year of declining farm incomes while facing high levels of uncertainty due to ongoing trade disputes and disruptions in the ethanol markets. Corn farmers prefer to rely on markets, not an aid package, for their livelihoods.   “NCGA will continue to advocate for Administrative actions including: rescinding the section 232 and 301 tariffs; securing NAFTA’s future; entering new...

(Posted Mon. Jun 18th, 2018)

Keywords: trade

If you have been following the roller coaster ride that is trade policy these days and are trying to decide how you feel about it, remember two things: Most of our customers live outside the U.S. and it’s impossible to find historic examples of tariffs or related trade wars that accomplished the intended goal.   NCGA Executive Vice President Jon Doggett told 50 corn farmer leaders attending a Trade School in St. Louis it is critical farmers engage in the ongoing trade issues and while they do, they should reference their history books. A good example of failed trade policy is President Carter’s Russian grain embargo in the 1980’s. The embargo removed them as a customer and ultimately caused Russia to increase their own grain production.   One positive development in the current trade arena is tariffs and ongoing trade rhetoric have raised the profile of trade as a key issue farmers care about. Maintaining and growing exports of U.S. agricultural goods has migrated to the top of...

Agriculture Associations Appeal to Congress: We Need #TradeNotTariffs

(Posted Thu. Jun 14th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

After weeks of engaging with the Trump Administration to gain insight into the future of trade tariffs, agriculture producers and related industries dependent on exports to China are turning to Congress for help.   The White House has declared that by June 15 it would announce its final list of $50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. In response, China’s Commerce Department announced several months ago that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on 106 U.S. goods amounting to roughly $50 billion in imports.   In the announcement, China specifically stated that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans, a tax that could be devastating to growers of the number one U.S. agricultural export, with sales to China last year totaling $14 billion.   Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower and vice president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), is among growers distraught over the...

(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement after the White House announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, triggering potential retaliatory actions against American agriculture.   “Farmers are busy with planting season but are moving forward without knowing who will buy their crop when it’s harvested later this year. With a 52 percent drop in net farm income over the last five years, and depressed commodity prices, this is not the time to face such a burden. This uncertainty impacts every step of the agriculture economy, from securing financing to marketing.   “Imposing tariffs has the potential to undermine positive relationships with our closest allies and erode long-standing market access. NCGA urges policymakers to strengthen cooperation with our trading partners and stay at the negotiating table.”

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 agriculture by offering Secretary Perdue the option to make emergency assistance payments to farmers, but farmers prefer having a market for their crops.    “With commodity prices so low, we cannot afford another...

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 the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the U.S.  Instead of new protectionist policies, our nation’s focus should be on growing market access and promoting expanded trade from our most...

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 powered President Trump to victory in 2016.   Under NAFTA, food and agriculture exports have more than quadrupled and account for 25 percent of American exports.  One in every 10 acres of American crops is for export to NAFTA partners. ...

(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 the WTO [Sanitary and Phytosanitary] Agreement by reinforcing the work of relevant international standards organizations and ensuring the scientific basis of SPS measures is sound,” the statement reads.   “The development...

(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 systems in place from slaughter plants to meat auctioning and more. However, similar to elsewhere in the world, feed consumption is expected to increase as per capita income continues to rise.   South Korean imports of feed grains...

(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 forward with plans to diversify imports to not be solely reliant on the United States.   “Twenty-five years of history with the United States cannot be easily replaced,” said Jim Stitzlein, USGC vice chairman....

(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 seven-fold.  In the 2015-2016 marketing year alone, U.S. exports of corn to Mexico and Canada totaled more than 14 million metric tons, valued at $2.68 billion.      For America’s corn...

(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 chairman from Texas; Lynn Chrisp, NCGA first vice president from Nebraska; Darren Armstrong, USGC secretary/treasurer from North Carolina; and Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer.   The joint mission in...

(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 global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of NCGA.   “These programs deliver a strong...

(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 develop the long-standing relationship and future growth opportunities with this large market.    “South Korea is a mature market, but one that is still growing significantly,” said Cary Sifferath,...

(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 level presence policies.   During the meetings, the board also re-established its priority activities. It was determined that tier one priorities included: working through the World Trade Organization to...

(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 the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system.  By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting...

(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 business.”   Skunes, a farmer from Arthur, North Dakota, highlighted how NAFTA has positively impacted U.S. agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico since its implementation in 1994.   “Free...

(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 now represent 49 percent of total U.S. exports of feed grains in all forms. In terms of quantity, the spread between exports to FTA partners compared to non-FTA partners has shifted...

(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 team then traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings with the House Ways and Means Committee, House Agriculture Committee, Senate Finance Committee and Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and...

(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 of dollars of corn and corn products to these countries each year.”   “The National Corn Growers Association will work closely with the Trump Administration and Congress to build on...

(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 committed to helping grow our trade relationship with Mexico so we can continue to grow Nebraska.”   The Nebraska Corn Board, the U.S. Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association are hosting a team of Mexican...

(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) in corn equivalent.  “The U.S. ethanol industry applauds Canada’s desire to reduce the carbon intensity of its transportation fuel market, and we see our northern neighbor as a strong partner in...

(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 markets represent 73 percent of the world’s purchasing power, 87 percent of economic growth, and 95 percent of the world’s customers. Now is the time for U.S. agriculture to fully capitalize on growing...

(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 the U.S. farm sector for strong trade agreements and long-term market development work supported by farmers and the federal government through USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign...

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 products like DDGS, educating government officials on the advantages of biotechnology and promoting free trade between the United States and South Korea.  Those investments, using both member dollars and matching grants...

(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 dollars contributed by U.S. farmers and ranchers for programs that create, expand and maintain access to foreign markets. Independent evaluations have shown that MAP and FMD and the activities...

(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 percent of farmer income. Mexico is the top export market for corn. Canada is also a top market for corn and ethanol. With a farm economy that is already weak, losing access to these markets will...

(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 inadequate nutrition, resulting in poor body condition scores, insufficient daily weight increases, late pregnancies and very large calving intervals.  USGC identified the need in this area for...

(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 concerns about the state of trade relations between the two countries.   “Quite honestly, they are a little bit confused and they are pretty upset,” Councell said. “They have always depended on the United States...

(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 American agriculture.”   Before the tour, meeting attendees in a general session were welcomed to the region by USGC Western Hemisphere Regional Director Marri Carrow and Erik Hansen, agricultural counselor at...

(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 pocketbooks. Critics of trade are often quick to warn that an expansion of trade could significantly drive down wages. But the numbers tell a different story.   In fact, the U.S has 20 free trade agreements...

(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 U.S. grain farmers’ market access globally and open up existing export markets to new levels of competition.   TPP was the product of years of work and dedication on behalf of negotiators and stakeholders and stood to...

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 distiller's dried grains with solubles (down four percent) in this timeframe.   The strong first quarter and USDA's latest full-year forecasts for many of the product categories indicate that worldwide...

(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 corn ethanol production, an increased number of co-products from that production and improvements in U.S. corn cultivation practices have resulted in significant reductions in ethanol's greenhouse gas...

(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 agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries, representing 40 percent of the global economy and one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. President Obama signed the TPP...

(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 starting off strong for corn with more than 55.1 million bushels in sales and carried over sales from the prior marketing year, an increase of 33 percent from a year ago.    USDA provides weekly export sales...

(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. corn,” said Fritz. “From their desire for increased food safety to their need for environmentally-friendly fuel options, Hong Kong’s growing economy and regional importance offer great opportunities for 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 delegation. "This trade mission allows us to examine opportunities and strengthen relationships between the United States and China from a unique perspective. Together, we are working to grow trade for tomorrow while expanding...

(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 corn and DDGS in Taiwan through trade teams and ongoing relationship building.   "DDGS use is growing in Taiwan. Currently, the inclusion rate is low, and we're trying to encourage producers to...

(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 Gudang, immediately across from Singapore. It will ultimately venture east to Vietnam.  The vessel was seen by the industry as a “trial run” to retest U.S. quality following significant...

(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 intersects with the Council’s market building activities to increase demand for U.S. corn.   "What is one of the largest keys to meeting our mutual goals? Trade agreements," Spurlock said. "Looking at our strategic...

(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 communities.”   Over the course of two days, trade school attendees learned from public and private sector experts about the importance of trade to the agriculture sector; the role of the World Trade...

(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 driver of the U.S. farm economy. Exports impact not just farmers and ranchers, but the entire U.S. economy,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from...

(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 passed by Congress.   According to the ITC report, TPP would increase agricultural exports by $7.2 billion. U.S. beef exports are expected to increase by $876 million, pork by $219 million, and poultry...

(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 annually.   “The TPP presents a valuable opportunity for U.S. agriculture; one that we cannot afford to miss. TPP Is important for the future of rural America, and we urge passage of TPP during this session...

(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 Biotechnology and Crop Inputs Nathan Fields. “The group’s questions showed their deep interest and willingness to explore the topic from a variety of angles. In particular, they demonstrated curiosity regarding...

(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 for a variety of agricultural groups,” said Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “As my involvement has increased, I have come to even more fully appreciate the breadth and scope of the myriad issues facing farmers...

(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 around the world," said Bowling. "When the Japanese are eating more Nebraska beef, that increases the demand for corn. When Iowa pork chops and Kansas City barbecue are on the menu in Sydney, that helps...

(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 fastest-growing areas of the world.   “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will have significant benefits for exports of corn in all forms,” said Alan Tiemann, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council and a...

(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 for ongoing discussions on how to move forward as an industry that simultaneously values farmer access to valuable biotechnology-based tools and export markets for their end product. The discussions will continue this December...

(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 about poultry and dairy production in particular,” said Rob Elliott, NCGA first vice president. “Hopefully we can continue this dialogue and exchange of ideas that will be beneficial for both...

(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 Chris Novak; U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight; National Corn Growers Association Director of Public Policy Zach Kinne; U.S. Grains Council Regional Director of the Western Hemisphere Marri Carrow; and...

(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 go-to resource for the U.S. government on all issues related to agricultural biotechnology and trade.   Established under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2012, the USBCA already has...

(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 billion), pork and pork products ($5.6 billion), wheat ($5.5 billion), beef and beef products ($5.4 billion), and corn ($5.2 billion).   NCGA, in partnership with USGC, has been joining the Twitter discussion...

(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 Development Joe Hodes. “We hope that the executives leave this summer with a better understanding of the incredible benefits and proven safety of biotechnology as well as a clearer view of the incredible variety of planting...

(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 more. To help nurture this market, the Council and its partners, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, have planned a busy summer with...

(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 and some of Nebraska and Kansas. Drought areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin are generally north of the prime corn producing regions.   Another positive signal is the weak El Niño currently in effect. Weak...

(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 markets abroad, the possibilities for farmers are growing by the day. These markets not only help build demand for U.S. corn but also support American jobs and benefit the U.S. economy as a...

(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, it would harm consumers across the EU. Potential restrictions would deepen the divide between markets and create a patchwork system of laws which, much like proposed state restrictions in the United States, would be a train...

(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 family farmers depend on trade. Congress, we are now depending on you to pass Trade Promotion Authority. Let’s remove trade barriers, expand our access to global markets, and ensure farmers get the...

(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 overseas customers. “International customers know this and eagerly await its release. This year is no exception.”   This year’s report is based on 411 yellow commodity corn samples collected from corn export shipments as they underwent...

(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 million American jobs. If we remove trade barriers and expand our access to global markets, American corn and livestock farmers can do even more,” said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of...

(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 implication of a strong dollar will be for U.S. market share as competitor countries will be able to export corn at lower prices than the United States,” said U.S. Grains Council Vice President Erick Erickson....

(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 met. Finally, and most importantly, it renews the president’s authority to submit trade agreements to Congress for an up or down vote without amendments. This...

(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 that enable open, liberalized trade of goods and services.   “The increase in sales in this region demonstrates clearly what can happen when, working together, the National Corn...

(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 based in solid information will be key to maintaining profitability moving forward.”   NCGA stands solidly true to its policy in maintaining all new events must have approval in the United...

(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 agreements.  It also establishes Congressional requirements for notifying and consulting stakeholders and the public before and during negotiations. Finally, TPA renews the...

(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 embargo.”   U.S. corn exports to Cuba have decreased from nearly 800,000 metric tons in 2008 to 200,000 tons in 2013, largely due to financing and trade restrictions that competitors such as Argentina and Brazil do not face....

(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 additions to the meeting were broad commodity breakout sessions designed to bring the entire corn, sorghum and barley value chains into a robust discussion of shared opportunities. Members from...

(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 and would like to work closely with them as partners in building demand for beef and pork products worldwide.”   According to the federation, beef export value was $7.13...

(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, it can begin to feel like farmer leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings for a variety of agricultural groups,” said Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “As my involvement has...

(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 President Chip Bowling issued the following statement:   “Cuba is not a level playing field for American farmers. It’s time we have a chance to better compete for Cuba’s business. NCGA has long supported normalized trade...

(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 focusing on coarse grains and co-products exports to the Western Hemisphere.    “This is another example of a situation that clearly illustrates both why the National Corn Growers Association’s work in promoting the...

(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 leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings for a variety of agricultural groups,” said Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “As my involvement has increased, I have come to even-more fully appreciate...

(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 Japan, 21 from Mexico and more from across the globe. As of Friday, Oct. 17, nearly 250 U.S. participants had made plans to attend this year’s events, with on-site registration expected to...

(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 reinforce their traditional preference for U.S. corn. This included presentation of the Council’s 2013/2014 Corn Harvest Quality Report at the Japanese Outlook Conference last...

(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. export market for soybeans, $14 billion in 2013 and corn and corn product exports were roughly $3.5 billion.   “Agricultural biotechnology is also important to U.S. farmers, with acreage for biotechnology varieties of...

(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, it is more important than ever that we all work together to grow markets and maintain access to the products that allow us to provide such an abundance.”   Know Before You Grow stems from NCGA’s firm commitment to...

(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 regulatory officials, rotate to different positions every two to four years,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. “This keeps people fresh, and helps make sure they don’t get stuck in a rut. But it also means...

(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 approvals. This is reflective of both Japan’s long-standing commitment to food security through trade and effective public education.  Furthermore, Japan has long been the largest importer of U.S....

(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 concrete benefits for farmers.” Colombia has traditionally been the biggest importer of U.S. corn in South America. In 2008, U.S. corn imports accounted for 80 percent of the Colombian...

(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 impose a blanket inspection requirement on cargos from all countries of origin. This one-size-fits-all approach effectively deems the United States as a potential origin of smuggled goods, despite the clean...

(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 concern about variations in test weight between export catchment areas," said Byong Ryol Min, USGC director in Korea. "They also were concerned about the broken corn and foreign...

(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 key to our regulatory system, and agriculture is all about science,” he said. “When we use sound science, it creates clarity of thought so that, when decisions are made, it will add...

(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 market.”   Prior to the meeting, Japan External Trade Organization Chicago Agriculture Department Director Daisuke Ito noted interest in exploring more deeply the recent trends in demand and...

(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 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 for a variety of agricultural groups,” said Team...

(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 quick progress toward passing this important legislation.”   Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.)...

(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 areas also experienced flash-drought conditions in mid-summer, although this was generally offset by cooler temperatures.   These weather adversities slightly reduced planted acreage and yield, while harvest...

(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 U.S. farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, who attended the meeting along with Corn Board Liaison Kevin Skunes. “In today’s global...

(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 administration for U.S. corn imports under the Panama – U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Unfortunately the Panamanian government decided to exploit a loophole in the FTA and closed the imports of corn from January...

(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 issues. Other guests included senior USDA and Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture officials, senior executives from a number of major multinational trading companies, and the Food and Agriculture...

(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 Council, ABRAMHILO and MAIZAR, the national corn producers’ organizations of Brazil and Argentina respectively. While all three countries are now, and will remain, vigorous competitors, the three also...

(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 coarse grains, DDGS is a key product where the United States commands a significant advantage due to its unique mix of quality feed protein and energy benefits for poultry and...

(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 funding, which the Council relies on to develop global markets for U.S. agricultural products."   The immediate impact of a shutdown would be a delay in obtaining approval for Council 2013/2014 Foreign Market...

(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 and has continued to Japan to reassure long-time customers of the United States' ability to produce to satisfy its customers' needs. The group, consisting of farmers and representatives from...

(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 President Julius Schaaf and USGC Vice Chairman Ron Gray are leading the U.S. team in Panama as the MAIZALL board of directors formalizes articles of incorporation and plan the organization's first...

(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 – including trade promotion programs that return $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested – producers and rural communities need passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as...