Winning in the Margins

July 28, 2022

Growing up, I often fantasized about winning those little league games in dramatic style, with a walk-off grand-slam to seal the deal. With a bit of age, I began to realize those opportunities are few and far between. Most games are won, as they say, in the margins.


That’s how it’s been so far in 2022 for corn farmers. High corn prices have been all but muted by higher input prices, and many of us aren’t getting all the rain we’d like to this time of year. But thanks to good farm management, this crop still has the potential for a good year. That’s a win.


It’s a similar story of incremental gains in Washington, D.C. Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission delivered a big win to corn farmers when it revoked hefty anti-dumping duties on urea ammonium nitrate fertilizers from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. The National Corn Growers Association, along with our state affiliates have led the charge against these tariffs. The outcome of this decision is proof positive that we can make a difference in unconventional ways when we choose to put our shoulders into something! With the phosphate case unresolved, our work in this space remains.


In April, President Biden granted an emergency fuel waiver for E15, allowing for sales to continue throughout the summer driving season. A few weeks later, EPA finalized a favorable 2022 Renewable Fuel Standard volume rule that gives drivers greater access to lower-cost, lower-carbon fuels. Shortly thereafter, the House of Representatives passed legislation that includes a permanent E15 solution and support for biofuels infrastructure.


And this week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), with the support of Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act in the U.S. Senate. The Next Generation Fuels Act would lower fuel prices, reduce carbon emissions and shore-up America’s energy security for the long run. It would also support rural economies.


Winning in the margins is about the little things that can add up to make a big difference over time. These wins also combine to give us a nice dose of encouragement to keep leaning into the heavier lifts in front of us. Two of those immediately come to mind:


  • Protecting atrazine – Last month, EPA announced it plans to revise its registration for atrazine which would effectively limit the effectiveness of this critical crop protection tool. The proposal is currently in a 60-day public comment period, and you can convey your concerns to EPA by clicking here. NCGA has certainly been sounding the alarm on this issue.


  • Gaining support for the Next Generation Fuels Act – While the development in the Senate this week was positive, if we’re going to build momentum for the legislation in Washington, we need to garner more cosponsors. The Next Generation Fuels Act is one of our top legislative priorities. Click here to ask your congressional representatives to cosponsor it.


Thanks for your participation in this great organization. I’ll end with a piece of advice my coach gave me (it’s still baseball season after all). Late inning heroics may win a game or two, but slow steady progress like we’re creating right now wins championships.


Here’s to a safe and bountiful harvest for us all.