Editorials

May 17, 2024

Corn Farmers Feed and Fuel America

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Harold Wolle, NCGA President

Up before the sun rises and into bed long after it sets, farmers are the lifeblood of America. Their commitment to nurturing, cultivating and reaping their harvests sustains the way of life for millions of individuals they will never meet.   Where our nation is today and where we are headed is deeply rooted in the agricultural industry. Specifically, corn farmers are feeding and fueling America through their economic contributions and sustainability efforts.   Strengthening the Economy   As one of the largest sectors in American agriculture, and the world’s largest producer and exporter of corn, our nation’s farmers bolster the economy and help build strong communities. Driving job creation and paying $2.6 trillion in wages, farmers plant and maintain more than 250 million acres of farmland across the country.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture supports these farmers, rural America, and consumers, through programs and policies set in the farm bill. Through the upcoming...

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May 8, 2024

Corn Growers Focus on Opening Markets, Enforcing Trade Agreements

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

It’s an evening we all remember in the Washington office of the National Corn Growers Association and is now a familiar war story that is brought up often at our gatherings.   On a cold February night in 2023 as staff settled into their homes after a day at the office, our communications director sent an email around: “Please be advised, Mexico plans to ban all genetically modified white corn imports beginning tomorrow.”   The news came after a months-long campaign by NCGA to stop Mexico’s president from banning imports of genetically modified corn into his country. That evening, Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador decided to push back, and the Reuters Mexico City Bureau had received word from the National Palace that the ban on white corn, often used for food-grade products, was imminent.   The ban on these products from a country that is our number one customer was an ominous development, particularly for states, like Nebraska, that export large quantities of white...

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Apr 17, 2024

A Washington Filled with High Drama and Palace Intrigue

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

Plots have thickened. Majorities have shrunk. The knives are out. It’s April in Washington but you would be forgiven for thinking it’s the Ides of March.   Much like Julius Caesar, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is fighting to survive the many political plots against him. In the speaker’s case, the daggers are metaphorical but no less threatening to the established order.   As of this writing, there are reports that momentum is growing to oust the speaker because he promised to consider legislation containing military aid for Israel and Ukraine, a move prompted by Iran’s recent missile and drone attacks on the Jewish state, a key American ally.   Speaker Johnson, like his predecessor Kevin McCarthy, has struggled to maintain control over a divided GOP House with a narrow majority. The resignations in late March of Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) have shrunk that majority even more and made the speaker’s job many times harder.   Speaker Johnson has...

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Mar 15, 2024

As Spring Arrives, Washington Policymakers and Corn Grower Leaders Prepare for the Year Ahead

Author: Brooke S. Appleton

March is an important month in Washington. It’s the month that Cherry Blossoms bloom to the delight of city residents and tourists alike, and many outdoor activities, such as marathons, take off, shutting down city streets on the weekends.   This month is also a time when congressional and administration officials begin to unveil their plans for the year ahead. We saw the beginnings of this on March 7, when President Biden gave his State of the Union speech. The president released his proposed federal budget for FY 2025 several days later, even as Congress and the administration are at an impasse on parts of this fiscal year’s budget.   If the tone and tenor of the president’s address and the Republican response to that address are any indication of what we should expect in the year ahead, we should all fasten our seatbelts because it is going to be a bumpy ride.   The president, who has trailed in polls against his opponent, former President Donald J. Trump, gave nothing...

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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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