Editorials

Feb 14, 2024

The Game in Washington that Rivals the Super Bowl

Key Issues: Farm Bill

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

This is the best February since last February. That’s because, like this time last year, my beloved Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. Like millions of Americans, I was glued to the television during the recent game. While some members of my family love to talk and engage in Monday morning quarterbacking during football games (my Mom even paces), I tend to watch silently and intently, assessing every strategic move the Chiefs and their opponents make. Strategy is critical to winning; whether it’s football games or the work my team and I do every day on the political field that is the nation’s capital. Just as a coach looks at old plays of the opposing team, we look at all the potential plays that could be used by the various interests in Washington as we work to advance the policies that are important to corn growers.   And, boy, do we have our work cut out for us this year, as there are enough moving parts and unprecedented events to make even Andy Reid and Travis Kelce...

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Jan 29, 2024

Congress’ Priorities Must Include Advancing America’s Clean Energy Future

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Neil Caskey

Article Published by RealClear Energy January 29, 2024   The winter months are well underway, bringing cooler weather and the excitement of a new year. This time serves as a reminder of the goals we’ve set in 2023, and the effort we’ve given to see them through.   There is one goal, however, that still needs our attention in 2024: securing a cleaner future for our nation. To move us forward in this pursuit, Congress must add prioritizing renewable fuels like ethanol to its list of new year’s resolutions.   Ethanol, made from corn produced by farmers throughout America, is a commonsense solution to enhancing U.S. energy security, providing price stability at the gas pump and supporting a more sustainable future. In fact, an analysis from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory finds this renewable fuel results in up to 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.   Today, nearly every gallon of gasoline in the U.S. contains at least 10% ethanol, and by...

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Jan 11, 2024

Shaping the Future for America’s Corn Farmers in 2024

Author: Harold Wolle

I love this time of year, as it’s filled with family gatherings, enjoying the time-honored Minnesota pastime of ice fishing and planning for the planting season ahead.   As president of the National Corn Growers Association, I am also thinking about the advocacy work that is needed to better enable you to plant, grow, harvest and sell your crops. With major agricultural legislation pending in Congress, we have a real opportunity this year to Shape the Future.   Here is just a sampling of what we plan to tackle over the next 12 months:   Advocating for reauthorization of the Farm Bill. We will work closely with policymakers to ensure that a Farm Bill that includes all the priorities of corn growers is passed this year. Ensuring future ethanol demand. We are working to increase demand for ethanol by securing congressional support for the Next Generation Fuels Act and advocating for the use of ethanol in sustainable aviation fuel. Promoting free, fair and open trade....

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Dec 12, 2023

The Ins and Outs of Washington for 2023

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

How is it possible that we’re approaching the end of 2023? The year has flown by. But a lot has happened over the year, and it’s important to take time to reflect on the changes we’ve seen in the nation’s capital city during that time. And that leads us to our annual Ins & Outs list, our fun but also serious end-of-the-year list of what is en vogue and what’s passé. With no further ado, here is the list…   INs The House of Thin Margins – As I write this column, the House has 221 Republicans and 213 Democrats. One vacancy was recently created when former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was ousted after an ignominious and short tenure in the lower chamber. The small margins have pitted the agendas of more moderate Republicans against those of members of the conservative Freedom Caucus. The intensity of the fractured House reached a fever pitch in October when then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted, leading to the speakership of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.). (The former speaker...

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Oct 2, 2023

NCGA’s New President Talks Advocacy

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

This month, Minnesota farmer Harold Wolle assumed the role of president of the National Corn Growers Association. Harold brings years of leadership and advocacy experience to the role, having served as the president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and as a member of the NCGA Corn Board for the last six years. NCGA board presidents are elected by their fellow board members each year to serve a one-year term.   Because I wanted readers to know more about the person who is taking the reins as the leader of one of the nation’s major commodity organizations, I decided to dedicate this month’s column to an interview with Harold.   Questions for NCGA President Harold Wolle   Q: Tell us about your farm operation. Harold: I am from a 140-year-old family corn and soybean farm in south central Minnesota that was started by my forefathers who were German immigrants. As a fifth-generation farmer, I am pleased to say I am in the process of passing the operations of the farm to...

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Sep 26, 2023

A President’s Legacy: Making Moves with Mexico Trade Dispute

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Tom Haag

In a few short days, my year as President of the National Corn Growers Association  (NCGA) will come to an end. Those 365 days sure went by quickly.   As I look forward to transitioning the leadership of this organization to another great Minnesotan, Harold Wolle, I find myself reflecting on what we’ve accomplished as an organization in the last year.   There have been many fun and special moments along the way: I’ve met with Secretary Vilsack a number of times, had many conversations with Senators and Representatives, testified in Congressional hearings, and discussed important issues facing our industry with any number of individuals who care about the future of corn and agriculture. It’s been an incredibly special experience, and I’m humbled to have had the opportunity.   But, I am most proud of how NCGA and our state partners made a difference when our trading relationship with our biggest export market was threatened. After Mexico issued a decree banning future imports...

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Sep 15, 2023

A Bustling Washington Takes on Issues Important to Farmers as Fall Arrives and Deadlines Loom

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

Fall is quickly arriving in the nation’s capital and with it comes the sense that Congress has much to accomplish in a very short period with potential roadblocks along the way. Perhaps the most serious potential impediment is a looming government shutdown as Congress approaches the September 30 deadline to fund the federal government.   Over the last decade, we’ve gotten all too familiar with the ramifications far and wide that a government shutdown brings. Almost the entire federal government, including the legislative branch, comes to a complete stop. There will be politicians on both sides of the aisle trying to deflect blame, and there will be voters across the country trying to assign blame. In the event of a government shutdown, staff who might be deemed “essential” and able to continue to do their jobs are technically prohibited from working on any legislation unrelated to funding the government. It goes without saying that such a scenario could hamper progress on key...

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Aug 31, 2023

How Congress Can Empower Automakers with More Solutions to Reduce Emissions

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: National Corn Growers Association

America’s clean energy future is within reach, but to get there, we must reduce emissions from the transportation sector—the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Fortunately, a solution already exists at gas stations throughout the country.   Ethanol, produced from corn grown on family farms throughout the heartland, is a low-cost, low-carbon fuel, often labeled at the pump as E15 or UNL88—a 15 percent ethanol blend—or E85—an 85 percent ethanol blend.   Ethanol is a critical solution for meeting the nation's energy, economic and environmental needs. In fact, this biofuel already results in up to 52% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline, saves drivers at least 25 cents per gallon and adds nearly 15 billion gallons to our nation’s gasoline supply each year.   In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a vehicle emissions standards proposal that calls for the increased production and transition to electric vehicles (EVs),...

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Jun 13, 2023

Reflecting on What It Takes to Successfully Parent and Lobby

Author: Brook S. Appleton

Corrected from June 12, 2023: we mistakenly listed former Senator Heidi Heitkamp as having represented Nebraska in the Senate when, in fact, she represented North Dakota. We regret the error.   I am happy to be back writing Ears in Washington after spending the last several months away on maternity leave. While I’ve missed the office, the team and policy work, I was thankful to have the time at home with our newest son Henry and his big brother Daniel. But over the last several months I had a lot of time to reflect on many things, and I realized I can use some of the same skills I have developed as an advocate to navigate the challenges that come with parenting. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between my two professions: mothering and lobbying. Not just Me, We In both cases, success depends on building wide support and sometimes joining forces with unlikely allies. Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), speaking last summer at Corn Congress, gave some great advice on...

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May 22, 2023

EPA's summer approval of E15 should be the first step toward a long-term fuel solution

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Neil Caskey

Published by Washington Examiner on May 19, 2023   Thank you to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for working with the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture and supportive members of Congress to prevent a disruption in the sale of E15 fuel through the coming months.   Last year, the EPA took the same action, saving drivers throughout the country anywhere from 23 cents to nearly one dollar per gallon. The EPA’s work to expand access to E15 not only lowers prices at the pump, it also helps increase fuel supply, reduce harmful emissions and strengthen our country’s clean energy future.   Neil Caskey, NCGA CEO, discusses in the Washington Examiner how to make this a permanent solution.   With the summer driving season around the corner, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has once again used its existing authority to prevent consumers from losing access to a lower-cost and lower-emission fuel choice. At a time when gas prices and demand rise, maintaining...

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