In The News

Apr 9, 2020

Emily Schneider Joins NCGA, U.S. Grains Council As Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

Emily Schneider joined the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) on April 2 as the receptionist/administrative assistant in the organizations’ co-located offices in Washington, D.C.   In addition to various administrative duties, Schneider will represent the NCGA and Council by serving as the first point of contact for callers and visitors. While both organizations are in telework status, she is learning operations for each group as well as providing administrative support related to information technology, accounting and other departments.   “Emily’s positive attitude and ability to handle situations in a calm and professional manner make her a great asset,” said Helen Elmore, USGC director of finance and administration. “Her prior work familiarized her with the programs we use and gave her exposure to customer service – both of which are of benefit to her new role.”   Prior to the NCGA and Council, Schneider worked at Bright Horizons, a...

Read More

Apr 8, 2020

Using Existing Programs to Confront the Impact of COVID-19

Key Issues:COVID-19

While farmers are used to uncertainty, the COVID-19 pandemic represents yet another level of unpredictability during a time when the agriculture economy was already struggling. As NCGA works with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on ways to mitigate the pandemic’s impact and help farmers recover, we are also looking to existing farm programs and risk management tools that help farmers continue to operate in uncertain times.   NCGA has been a leader in developing strong risk management tools, advocating for their inclusion in farm bill reauthorization legislation and working with federal agencies to ensure they function as intended. Although COVID-19 will continue to bring unique challenges, NCGA is prepared to meet them.   The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program were authorized by the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. These programs provide the front line of defense for producers as prices or revenues fall. If corn prices stay at their current...

Read More

Apr 8, 2020

Tenth Circuit Denies Refiners’ Rehearing Request

Key Issues:Ethanol

In welcome news to corn farmers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit yesterday denied a request for a rehearing of a recent ruling that struck down certain small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   On January 24, a panel of Tenth Circuit judges unanimously ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had vastly exceeded its authority in granting exemptions from 2016 and 2017 RFS requirements to three refineries.   NCGA, along with the Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union, brought the challenge against EPA in May 2018 in response to the massive demand destruction caused by the Agency’s illegal and indiscriminate use of SREs.   With the Court’s denial of refiners’ appeal request, NCGA strongly urges EPA to act quickly to appropriately apply the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide and deny pending SREs. 

Read More

Apr 7, 2020

Planting Contingency Plan a Must This Spring

Key Issues:COVID-19

Pat Holloway, a field agronomist with Beck’s Hybrids in Iowa, is big on planning, especially when it comes to planting corn. As he says, “you get one shot to get it right.” And while planting a crop is far more complicated than non-farmers know, COVID-19 has provided another layer of complexity in 2020.   Farmers may feel the odds are in their favor to stay healthy because of the remote nature of their business, but being wrong can create some serious complications. Most of these issues can be avoided with a formal contingency plan for the farm.   It doesn’t need to be pretty or formal, but it needs to be in writing; it needs to have some essential details, and you need to make it readily available and share with several others, Holloway said. Things you need to include:   Seed Plan - Have your seed plan available.  Each seed company can provide you one if you don’t already have it available. They can be called different names depending on the company, but this is a...

Read More

Apr 6, 2020

Value of Online Education Resources Growing

The value of online teaching resources that can be used while students are learning from home continues to grow as the shelter at home hits three to four weeks for many schools and families. The good news is that corn growers are here to help with Continuous Learning resources.   If you are a teacher or parent looking for resources tailored to at-home use and available for digital and hard copy distribution, you might find your state corn grower association is a great source. Kansas Corn Commission provides an excellent example of offering a great selection of K-12 teaching resources.   Kansas has a team of teachers continuing to create educational resources with the goal of providing “hands-on” lessons that can be done using items commonly found around the home. And lessons are being added all the time.   The innovative STEM-based programs provide curriculum, lab materials and training for teachers at all levels and even provides programs for college students interested in...

Read More

Apr 3, 2020

Cover Crop Survey Seeks Farmer Insights

Key Issues:SustainabilityProduction

An online survey at https://bit.ly/CCSurvey2020 is gathering perspective on cover crops from farmers and crop advisors nationwide. This is the sixth cover crop survey by USDA's SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) program, the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA).   The questionnaire takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Participants who complete the survey can enter a drawing for Visa gift cards worth $100 and $200.   SARE, CTIC and ASTA say they are seeking insights not just from long-time cover crop users, but also from farmers with little or no experience with cover crops.   In past years, the SARE/CTIC/ASTA Cover Crop Survey has been used by conservation district and agency personnel, farm suppliers, researchers and policymakers to guide resources into research, communications and policy around cover crops, says Mike Smith, project director for CTIC. The report has even been cited in Congressional...

Read More

Apr 2, 2020

Ep. 5 - Breaking Our Political Addictions, with U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Dusty Johnson

Key Issues:Farm Policy

Creating a place to have a conversation instead of yelling at each other is one reason why NCGA CEO Jon Doggett started this podcast.    And in this episode, he takes that philosophy to one of the most contentious places in America—Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.   From the Congressional office of Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Jon interviews the Democratic Congresswoman and her Republican colleague, South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, about what it takes to bridge the partisan divide in Washington. As members of the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus,” Spanberger and Johnson discuss their efforts to pass the USMCA trade agreement and find common ground on other topics that are important, not just to farmers, but to Americans nationwide.   They’re also joined by NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton.     Direct Share   Transcript   Jon Doggett: We wanted to create an opportunity to talk to one another instead of yelling at one another. So we're going...

Read More

Apr 1, 2020

Staying Healthy on the Farm a Priority as 2020 Planting Shift into Gear

Key Issues:COVID-19

According to a recent survey of farmers, 70 percent have no formal back-up plan should a key member of the family farming operation become ill with COVID-19. This doesn’t mean farmers aren’t thinking about the issue, but in most cases, it has not resulted in a plan of action.   Granted, most corn farms continue to be family-run operations with minimal employees and or seasonal help, so much of the advice currently being shared with businesses may not apply. However, there are some basic things you can do and should consider.   Schedule a brainstorming meeting with all family and employees involved in the operation to discuss possible scenarios, solutions to potential disruptions during planting and subsequent fieldwork. Make a list of immediate changes that can lower risk. Minimize the exposure of outsiders. Use telephone, emails or texts for communications with employees or contractors who do not reside on the farm. Observe appropriate social distancing if someone needs to...

Read More

Mar 31, 2020

Sustainability Focus Continues to Grow at NCGA

Key Issues:Sustainability

A new Corn Sustainability Advisory Group (CSAG) met recently to discuss how NCGA can focus on corn sustainability and advise the NCGA board on how to proactively tell corn’s positive story of change and constant improvement.   The group made up of farmer representation of NCGA’s Ethanol, Market Development, Sustainable Ag Research and Stewardship Action Teams, NCGA staff, and state corn staff – will also work toward building consumer trust and growing competitive market demand by offering a broad view of NCGA’s current initiatives as well as establishing goals for the future.   “We have a lot going on organizationally that links directly or indirectly to sustainability. CSAG will work to help to identify areas for strengthening, integration and expansion,” said Rachel Orf, NCGA director of Sustainability. “We will also step up our engagement with corn sector partners and value chain members to identify mutual goals, opportunities for collaboration and bring more cohesion to our...

Read More

Mar 30, 2020

CARES Act Includes Support for Agriculture

Key Issues:COVID-19Farm Policy

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748, was signed by President Trump on Friday. The wide-ranging legislation provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.   The CARES Act provides $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by COVID-19. The package includes a paycheck protection program, small business debt relief, recovery rebates for individuals, airline support, and the creation of a $150 billion coronavirus relief fund for states, territories and tribal governments.   For agriculture, the CARES Act includes $48.9 billion for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes $9.5 billion for the Secretary of Agriculture to assist agriculture producers, including specialty...

Read More