In The News

Jul 2020

Jul 30, 2020

NCGA Joins Virtual Town Hall on the Future of Agriculture Trade and Supply Chains

Key Issues:Trade

NCGA President Kevin Ross today joined Iowa and national agriculture leaders for an AgTalks virtual town hall to discuss the future of agriculture, with a focus on trade, supply chains and global competitiveness. The town hall gave panelists the opportunity to provide updates from their industries and take questions from conversation participants.   Ross discussed the challenges 2020 has presented for U.S. corn farmers and shared NCGA’s recovery plans to help growers navigate immediate challenges in the short term and expand market access in the long term.   “We’re thankful to have USMCA in force and Phase One deals with Japan and China,” Ross said. “But we have lost ground to our competitors, and it’s time to pivot to more aggressive expansion in our trade. NCGA will continue to push for trade agreements in Southeast Asia and other regions with strong demand potential.”   The AgTalks town hall series will help farmers learn and share their views with commodity association...

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Jul 29, 2020

NCGA Urges Farmers Receiving Unsolicited Seeds to Follow USDA Guidance

The National Corn Growers Association urges any farmers who have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China to follow guidance being provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on how to proceed. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation. Currently, the USDA website urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Then, it asks they hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions.   Do not plant seeds from unknown origins. USDA indicates that they do not have any evidence suggesting this is something other than a...

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Jul 28, 2020

Pollinator Protection Efforts Continue to Expand

Key Issues:Sustainability

Throughout the growing season, farmers utilize stewardship practices for proper pesticide use while protecting crops from insect pests and also protecting pollinators. NCGA supports the BeSure! campaign as one way to support farmers, protect bees and other wildlife. Some of the other groups we work with include:   Honey Bee Health Coalition Farmers for Monarchs EDF Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund You can find a wealth of information on protecting pollinators in NCGA’s publication Best Management Practices for Pollinator Protection in Field Corn at https://cdn.ncga.com/file/133/HBHC_Corn_030119.pdf.   Keystone Monarch Collaborative also offers an excellent resource called the Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship guide.   Knowing and following label instructions is a key step to protect all pollinators. Farmers and applicators know that reading and following labels are the first and most important consideration when...

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Jul 27, 2020

Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   “We are glad to know that rain is approaching, and I’m happy for how much we’ve recently. Until last week, we had only had 6/10 of an inch of rain in July. Then, over three days, we got an additional 1 and 8/10 inches. With all of our corn in pollination at some stage, the moisture and slightly less extreme temperatures will help.” – Patty Mann,  Ohio farmer   “We have been receiving some nice rain each week. The corn is looking good. Fully tasseled and looks like the weather is going to cooperate for pollination. Curious to get out and do some yield checks once pollination is done. If...

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Jul 23, 2020

Virtual Fly-In Gives Growers Opportunity to Meet with Members of Congress

Key Issues:Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association remains hard at work to help improve the economic situation for corn growers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   On the heels of NCGA’s first Virtual Corn Congress, the organization hosted a virtual fly-in to Capitol Hill July 22-23. NCGA typically hosts a fly-in for corn growers in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with Corn Congress each July.   NCGA’s fly-ins allow growers to provide members of Congress and their staffs, including that outside of the corn belt, first-hand accounts of how policies from Washington impact their farms. Even though coronavirus restrictions prevented growers from traveling to Capitol Hill this year, the virtual fly-in gave members the opportunity to share their stories and weigh in on ongoing policy discussions.   Growers discussed a wide range of topics including assistance for producers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the benefits of ethanol and a strong RFS along with the push for a Low Carbon Octane Standard;...

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Jul 21, 2020

Ep. 9. Corn’s Place at the Table in Global Trade Policy, with Amb. Darci Vetter and Ryan LeGrand

Key Issues:Trade

In this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett talks to a pair of the world’s foremost experts in global agricultural trade about what comes next for U.S. ag trade policy.   Ambassador Darci Vetter is the Former USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator and USDA Deputy Under Secretary and currently works as a consultant at Edelman. And Ryan LeGrand is the CEO of the U.S. Grains Council.       Direct Share   Transcript Darci Vetter: Lots of our competitors are out there concluding bilateral or regional free trade agreements. We can't take our eye off the fact that our competitive position is declining. We're really falling behind here.   Ryan LeGrand: We have to have a seat at the table. We used to be the dominant player in corn exports to the world, and that has just been chipped away year after year.   Dusty Weis: Hello, and welcome to Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast. This is where leaders, growers, and stakeholders in the corn industry can...

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Jul 20, 2020

Illinois and North Dakota Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   “It has been hot and dry here with less than a tenth of an inch of rain in the past two weeks. The crops are really struggling. The corn looks like it could be okay right now, but it needs rain soon. The soybeans we had to replant, because it was too wet earlier, haven’t gotten rain, and probably won’t come up at all.” – Jim Raben, Illinois farmer   “The corn acres that we did get planted look okay and are starting to tassel. The spots which weren’t water-logged in the spring look pretty good. If we can keep up the heat through August, the corn crop should turn out okay as we haven’t...

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Jul 16, 2020

New Video Celebrates CommonGround Volunteers

Key Issues:Consumer Engagement

As CommonGround approaches its tenth year of programming, the National Corn Growers Association released a short video celebrating the incredible work being done by more than 200 volunteers across the country. Through the support and hard work of state associations, these women serve as resources for consumers who have questions about how their food is grown.    To view the video and learn more about their story, click here.   Sharing their personal stories, the volunteers who make up this grassroots movement foster conversations based on shared values that help moms off the farm discover that they can feel good about the food they feed their families. America’s farm families provide an amazing array of options but, with so many competing claims, honest questions are understandable. By serving as resources, these women have shared their unique understanding of important topics, such as the difference between organic and conventional crops and how ranchers care for their...

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Jul 15, 2020

NCGA Elects Five Members to Serve on Corn Board

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress, which was held virtually today, elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2021 fiscal year, are new board members Jed Bower of Ohio and Brian Thalmann of Minnesota. Current board members Ken Hartman of Illinois, Brandon Hunnicutt of Nebraska, and Gary Porter of Missouri were re-elected. Four were elected to three-year terms with Thalmann elected to the two-year term left open by FY21 First Vice President-Elect Chris Edgington.   “It clearly demonstrates the importance of NCGA’s work that so many talented, well-qualified candidates stepped forward even during these uniquely difficult times,” said NCGA Nominating Committee Chairman Lynn Chrisp. “All of the candidates were outstanding and have already established impressive histories of service to American agriculture. I am excited to see the work they will do over the coming years for the...

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Jul 15, 2020

NCGA Recognizes Senator Ernst with President’s Award

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross today recognized Iowa Senator Joni Ernst with NCGA’s 2020 President’s Award. The President’s Award is given annually at NCGA’s Corn Congress meeting in Washington, D.C., to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Corn Congress was held as a one-day online meeting.   “Senator Ernst’s steadfast advocacy of corn farmers has not gone unnoticed, and it is an honor to present her with this year’s NCGA President’s Award,” Ross said. “Senator Ernst has, time and again, stood up to the EPA and fought back against the Agency’s efforts to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard. She is a true champion of corn growers.”   In a video to the virtual Corn Congress, Ernst revisited some recent victories for corn farmers and biofuel producers, including year-round E15 and ratification of USMCA. Ernst also highlighted her work to address EPA’s abuse of refinery waivers...

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Jul 14, 2020

NCGA Mid-Year Report Offers Look at Efforts to Help Corn Farmers Meet the Challenges of 2020

Key Issues:EthanolSustainabilityTradeAnimal AgricultureBiotechnologyConsumer EngagementHigh-Octane Low-CarbonNew UsesProduction

Despite marketing and economic challenges and a pandemic, farmer leaders of National Corn Growers Association continue to advocate and work to improve the lot of the nation’s family corn farmers. Some of the steps being taken are covered in a new  2020 mid-year report  released online today.   “2020 began with reason for optimism in our industry. The signing of the USMCA trade deal, emerging corn purchases by China, a successful challenge to EPA granting RFS waivers and approval of year-round sales of E-15 had us all looking toward an economic rebound. Then the Coronavirus pandemic stunned the world,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA president. Through it all, corn farmers continue to go to work.  They answer the bell, responding by putting us on track to produce an abundant crop once again.”   You can view the report here.    

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Jul 9, 2020

NCGA Joins Launch of AgTalks Town Hall Series on the Future of Agricultural Trade and Supply Chains

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today joined Farmers for Free Trade, the National Milk Producers Federation, the Corn Refiners Association, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), the Iowa Soybean Association, Minnesota AgriGrowth, the Plant Based Products Council, KCoe Isom and World Strategies to announce that they would be jointly launching a series of town hall discussions starting this summer focused on the future of agriculture.   The AgTalks series will focus specifically on the big challenges American agriculture faces on trade, international supply chains and global competitiveness. The Town Halls will be led by ag leaders in five states vital to American ag’s role in feeding the world – Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.   Iowa (Moderated by Sara Wyant, President of Agri-Pulse) – July 30th Minnesota – August 6th (tentative date) Michigan – August 13th (tentative...

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Jul 9, 2020

Soil Health Partnership Releases Cover Crop Planting Report

Key Issues:Sustainability

The Soil Health Partnership’s Cover Crop Planting Report shows that farmers are using diverse strategies to plant cover crops and a variety of plant species to accomplish their soil health goals.   SHP is the flagship sustainability program of the National Corn Growers Association. They conducted a detailed survey on cover crops with more than 80 farmers across 11 states in the SHP network about cover crop usage on their trial sites in the fall of 2019.   “We know farmers in our network are innovators, and that there is a huge range of cover crop management practices across our network depending on the farmer’s management goals, where they are located, their soils, and cropping systems,” said Dr. Maria Bowman, Lead Scientist for the Soil Health Partnership.   Bowman says the most significant finding was that although more than half of farmers planted their cover crops between the middle of September and the beginning of November, almost...

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Dan Wesely

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2021 Corn Board.   Working to positively impact the future of agriculture for fellow farmers is what drives Nebraska farmer Dan Wesely to run for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board. In past experiences, Wesely has come to realize how each one of us can truly make an impact. Both open-minded and oriented toward a big picture worldview, he remains willing to stand his ground for what he believes to be right for corn farmers.   “NCGA is well-respected as an organization both at home and abroad. This history of grassroots-driven success gives us the power to defend and advance the interests of the industry to build a better future for farmers.”   As a board member, Wesely will work to proactively find new uses for corn, building upon his previous work in this area, in a manner that is both concrete and results-oriented. Understanding the magnitude of the need to grow demand, he also will work...

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Brian Thalmann

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2021 Corn Board.   Working with his fellow farmers and staff, Minnesota farmer Brian Thalmann will bring passion and perspective as a member of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board. Thalmann values the positive impact agriculture has had on him personally, as well as the many ways in which corn-based products touch the lives of so many people every day.     If elected, Thalmann will place a high priority on bringing NCGA to the forefront of the many new and improved ideas for decreasing the environmental footprint of corn production while expanding current market opportunities. Brian also believes strongly in the importance of laying the foundation for a successful tomorrow by actively exploring the realm of possibilities for new products and markets that corn offers.    “NCGA is able to complement the work done in all of the states by keeping a larger perspective and scope to projects and...

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Gary Porter

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2021 Corn Board.   As the global marketplace continues to expand, Missouri farmer Gary Porter knows it is necessary to aggressively explore new strategies and new partners to move the industry forward.  Given today’s growing pile of corn, Porter recognizes just how crucial of a time it is for corn growers.   Porter and his family own and manage a local fuel station offering E15 and other higher ethanol blends. This provides a unique perspective when Porter and his wife Lori testify at EPA hearings and other policy-related events. In addition to ethanol, he’s passionate about growing opportunities in export markets, also actively serving as a farmer leader for the U.S. Grains Council.   “NCGA works to promote and better the corn industry and the thousands of farmers it represents. I have personally seen the strength of strong grassroots. I was humbled when my fellow farmers elected me to the Corn Board. Now, I want...

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Brandon Hunnicutt

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2021 Corn Board.   Making sure the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is the leading voice in all of agriculture is the focus of Nebraska farmer Brandon Hunnicutt. Working with new partners to build a bright future for agriculture, he envisions a tomorrow where farmers communicate in a transparent, transformative way with the public. As a member of the Corn Board, he uses his wide array of experiences, while engaging listening skills, to actively foster a productive conversation that finds innovative solutions.    “NCGA is the leading voice and advocate for the corn farmer in America regardless of the situation. More importantly, though, it is truly a grassroots organization that brings together individuals with different perspectives, to do what is best for the corn industry as a whole.”   If re-elected, Hunnicutt will push NCGA to continue to drive and protect innovation and technology within the industry....

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Bob Hemesath

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2021 Corn Board.   Balancing the specific needs of members with the broader perspective of factors influencing the industry to achieve the best possible future outcomes is why Iowa farmer Bob Hemesath is running for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board. Hemesath wants to help move NCGA’s portfolio of issues and programs forward to build a positive future for farmers.   Drawing upon his passion for both NCGA and the Iowa Corn Growers Association, his service is motivated by a desire to help the entire industry remain strong for the benefit of all members. As a member of the Corn Board, Hemesath will utilize the problem-solving skills he has honed through years of leadership experience and work collaboratively with corn grower members, state and national staff, and industry partners.   “NCGA is built on grassroots membership and grower leadership. I would bring passion and commitment to my service...

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Kenneth Hartman, Jr.

Looking beyond the curve and embracing innovative thinking, Illinois farmer Kenneth Hartman, Jr. aims to improve the corn industry for the years to come. Seeking another term on the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board, Kenneth hopes to continue his service to NCGA as he feels the work of this grassroots-oriented organization puts members first without being dominated by personal agendas.   “I would like to continue my service on the NCGA Corn Board to help find opportunities for today’s producers while, at the same time, looking to find the long-term opportunities that will make us profitable and sustainable in the future. By working hard today, we can position U.S. corn farmers for a successful future, offering solutions that better the nation as a whole.”   Hartman strongly believes that it is imperative for board members to be dedicated, sharing both their talents and experiences for the betterment of NCGA’s members and holding themselves to a higher standard...

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Jul 7, 2020

Meet the FY21 Corn Board Candidates: Jed Bower

This article is part of a series profiling candidates for the 2021 Corn Board.   Providing a stable, sustainable, and profitable environment for today’s farmers and future generations is why Ohio farmer Jed Bower is running for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board. Currently the vice chair of the Market Development Action Team and member of the NCGA Corn Sustainability Advisory Group, he hopes to be an asset at moving NCGA into the future.   As a member of the Corn Board, Bower would hold to the belief that we should always lookout for the best interest of corn farmers as a whole while remaining vigilant to find the best new ideas that will drive forward progress for the association and its members.    “NCGA is the voice of the corn farmer and, as an organization with a history of great leadership, I appreciate your consideration. With my leadership skills and confidence gained through both personal experience and service as a grower leader, I will continue...

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Jul 6, 2020

Ohio and Nebraska Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Now, the series is being presented in an exciting new format that features reports in a short format with insight and provides a real picture of American farm life through visuals.   “We are hot, dry, and begging for rain. We’ve had a few pop-up showers in the area, but our farm hasn’t had rain since a week ago Saturday. With temperatures in the 90s, we are really cooking. I don’t think that the damage to our corn crop is critical yet, but it looks stressed with leaves that roll in the afternoon. As we near pollination, a popup storm this week would improve the situation substantially. We...

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Jul 2, 2020

NCGA Submits Fueling Regulations Comments to EPA

Key Issues:EthanolFarm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association this week submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Agency’s Fuels Regulatory Streamlining proposed rule to update and streamline certain fuel regulations.   Clear and objective regulations around the manufacture and sale of fuels, including existing E85 for use in flex-fuel vehicles, E15, and future mid-level ethanol blends, are important to corn growers.   NCGA President Kevin Ross asked EPA to ensure proposed changes to the definition of gasoline do not add new and unnecessary regulatory burdens for E85, keep pathways to higher ethanol blends open, and build on the successful rule for year-round E15 by addressing additional regulatory barriers to expanding E15 sales.   Ross urged EPA to, “follow through and take action to update E15 labeling and equipment certification requirements. Streamlining E15 labeling and certifying current E10 equipment for E15 would support more retailers offering this fuel to...

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Jul 2, 2020

Agriculture Recognized in House Climate Report

Key Issues:EthanolFarm PolicyHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis this week released a report titled, “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.” The report from the Democratic Majority details the Select Committee’s plan for recommended Congressional action to provide climate solutions.   Notably, the report includes several provisions related to agriculture, including an expansion of conservation programs and increased funds for climate-related research, recognizing the positive role agriculture can play in addressing climate change.   The Select Committee also recognizes the benefits of renewable fuels, like ethanol, in reducing carbon emissions. Ethanol already offers much lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels which, by accounting for beneficial farming practices and other improvements, can be further reduced in the future.   NCGA is pleased to see the report acknowledge that high-efficiency...

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Jul 1, 2020

It’s Official: USMCA Enters into Force Today

Key Issues:Trade

The United States-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is officially the law of the land, replacing the 25 year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   Today’s action is the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations and ratification between the three countries. Following the initial signing November 30, 2018, the United States ratified USMCA on January 29, 2020, followed by Canada on March 13 and Mexico on April 3.   NCGA endorsed USMCA at Commodity Classic 2019 and declared the trade deal the organization’s top legislative priority for the year. Corn farmers submitted over 1300 comments in support of USMCA.   Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. Since NAFTA, U.S. ag exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico. In 2018, 21.4 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products, valued at $4.56 billion, were exported to Mexico and Canada. Mexico is the top buyer of U.S. corn and DDGs.   These exports have a...

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