In The News

Mar 2022

Mar 30, 2022

NCGA Research Ambassadors Learn Firsthand that “The Future is in Your Hands!”

Key Issues: Research

Author: Stacey Stiens

In-person education is the primary focus of Commodity Classic, and the 2022 conference held in New Orleans was definitely no exception!  This year’s theme —"The Future is in Your Hands!”—encapsulated the first-time experience had by NCGA’s Research Ambassadors.   The four ambassadors in attendance—Claire Menard, Alden Perkins, Dylan Schoemaker and Corey Schultz—were able to experience the trade show, talk one-on-one with growers, network with Nourish the Future teacher leaders and attend Corn Congress.   “I spend less than 14 days in a cornfield, so talking at length with farmers was eye-opening. Somewhere there is a massive disconnect between farmers and academia,” noted Corey Schultz, a graduate student from the University of Georgia. “I know the farmers here were the cream of the crop—the most active and the most forward-thinking—but I had many misconceptions about farmers dispelled.”   In its inaugural year, the Research Ambassador Program, an initiative of NCGA’s...

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Mar 29, 2022

Growers Welcome EPA Decision on Enlist, Hope for Continued Progress and Lessons Learned

Key Issues: Farm PolicyProduction

Author: Bryan Goodman

Grower groups including the American Soybean Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, and National Cotton Council welcomed and expressed appreciation for an announcement from EPA that will restore use of Enlist herbicides to many U.S. counties. This label amendment, prompted by new data submitted to EPA, lifts county-level bans on use of Enlist and Enlist Duo in 134 counties across multiple states, including those where the American Burying Beetle is alleged to be present.   Brad Doyle, soy farmer from Arkansas and president of the American Soybean Association, welcomed the announcement, stating, “County-level bans had growers in these areas anxious and frustrated when the announcement came out in January – especially in this market where inputs are scarce and costs are sky high. We appreciate EPA hearing our concerns and working to quickly restore access in many counties where science and data support doing so.”   "On behalf of corn...

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Mar 29, 2022

EP. 31 - Smooth Sailing on River Transportation Infrastructure, with Jim Tarmann and Tracy Zea

Key Issues: Farm PolicyTransportation and Infrastructure

Author: Dusty Weis

Jon celebrates a big win in Congress with the leaders of the Illinois Corn Growers and the Waterways Council.   The Mississippi River transports 60% of American corn and soybean exports to market. The massive barges that ply America’s waterways are more cost-effective than any other form of transportation, and also play a role in getting vital inputs to growers.   And yet, much of the infrastructure that makes this possible hasn’t been updated since the 1930s… until now.   In this episode, we talk about a key win for the NCGA and other groups who have spent decades pushing Congress to act on this critical infrastructure problem.   Joining us are Jim Tarmann, the managing director with Illinois Corn Growers, and Tracy Zea, the president and CEO of the Waterways Council, which is an association dedicated to advocating for a modern national system of inland waterway infrastructure.   We discuss how we got to this point, what it means for growers in the Midwest, and what...

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Mar 28, 2022

NCGA National Yield Entrants Share Tips in New Video

Key Issues: Production

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) released a video offering tips from perennial high-yield entrants of the National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC) during a breakfast at Commodity Classic in New Orleans honoring the state winners of the 2021 contest. The new video, which accompanies the traditional online NCYC Guide, offers farmers across the country a chance to apply the tips learned through the contest to their own operations to improve their yields and their bottom line.   To view the video, click here.   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 58th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.   For more than half of a century, NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest has provided corn growers the opportunity to compete with their colleagues to grow the most corn per acre, helping feed and fuel the world. This has given participants not only the recognition they deserved, but the opportunity to learn from their peers.   Enter the 2022 contest and accept...

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Mar 25, 2022

Bipartisan Members of Congress to U.S. International Trade Commission: This Is No Time for Tariffs on Fertilizers

Key Issues: TradeFarm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

Nearly 90 members of Congress sent a letter recently to the U.S. International Trade Commission calling on it to reconsider the tariffs placed on phosphate fertilizer products imported from Morocco and suspend the current process to impose new duties on nitrate fertilizers from Trinidad and Tobago. The effort was spearheaded by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rep. Tracey Mann and Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa).   “We are deeply appreciative of these leaders for their efforts to protect farmers who have felt the crippling effects of high fertilizer prices and shortages,” said Iowa farmer and National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will no doubt worsen these problems.”   Alluding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and many of the supply-side issues plaguing the country, the letter noted that conditions surrounding on-farm expenses in the U.S. have dramatically changed since the ITC made its determinations and that tariffs are making a bad...

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Mar 24, 2022

Corn Growers Call on the Biden Administration to Use Emergency Authority to Maintain Consumer Access to Lower-Cost Fuel

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

Corn grower leaders from 19 states sent an open letter to President Biden today calling on him to use the administration’s existing emergency authorities to tap more homegrown renewable fuels, like ethanol, to help stabilize energy markets and lower the price of fuel for consumers.   The letter comes as Russia’s attack on Ukraine has impacted energy markets, increasing oil and gas prices.   The letter called on the president to prevent consumers from losing the choice of E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88, a higher ethanol blend that costs less and reduces emissions. A 2021 court decision resulting from oil industry efforts to limit the growth of higher ethanol blends reversed year-round market access for E15, beginning this summer, absent action from the Biden administration or Congress.   “We urge your administration to act to prevent consumers from losing access to a lower-cost fuel option on June 1,” the letter read. “As gas prices have increased following the rise in oil...

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Mar 23, 2022

Up to Bat at Classic: Nourish the Future’s Teacher Leaders

Key Issues: Research

Author: Stacey Stiens

Did you know that only 4% of students take agriculture science? It is the primary goal of Nourish the Future (NTF)—a national education initiative developed by science teachers for science teachers—to have ag science taught in every biology classroom across America.  During 2022’s Commodity Classic in New Orleans, NTF came out swinging with a heavy-hitting agenda to help meet that goal.  Not only did the STEM-based initiative lead a dynamic three-day Teacher Leader Community (TLC) conference where they introduced ag-based science curriculum and peer-networking, but additionally, participants stepped downstairs to the trade show floor and interacted with growers from around the country.    On the first day of the trade show, NTF knocked it out of the park with an expert panel discussion that was moderated by Dale Minyo, general manager for Ag New Communications and broadcaster for Ohio Ag Net.  The discussion centered around the importance and impact of NTF’s curriculum and...

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Mar 22, 2022

Farm Life Comes to the Nation’s Capital on National Ag Day

Author: Bryan Goodman

The nation’s capital looked a lot like rural America this week as farmers, organizations, and companies representing and serving farmers took to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to celebrate National Ag Day.   “National Ag Day provides farmers with an opportunity to raise some of our key issues with policymakers and their staff in a fun and engaging way,” said Iowa farmer and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Chris Edgington. “The event attracts everyone from people strolling the Mall to senators and leaders at USDA.” Staff standing at the NCGA booth stayed busy talking with visitors. At one point, NCGA staff spoke with Robert Bonnie, USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation, while curious tourists looked on and joggers breezed by. Congressional staff also walked over to the booth as U.S. senators spoke at various events and moved quickly to greet people at various places on the mall. Farm equipment was placed strategically across the...

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Mar 21, 2022

2022 World of Corn Is Ready to Explore

Key Issues: Production

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

U.S. corn farmers raised the bar in 2021, setting a new record-high national average yield. To highlight the many achievements of corn farmers and explore the data, the National Corn Growers Association delves into the facts about corn production, using a historical comparison in its newest edition of the World of Corn. This statistical look at the corn industry, both domestic and worldwide, features a wide array of information on corn production and usage.   “With weathered hands, a spark in their eye and steel in their spines, corn farmers grow a world of possibilities from the soil. Bone-deep knowledge and unwavering resolve to improve every season grew into a new record-high national average yield at 177 bushels per acre this year,” said NCGA President Chris Edgington and Chief Executive Officer Jon Doggett note in the introduction. “Yet, everything farmers build rests on the legacy bestowed upon them. We build a brighter future for the next generation, using technology and...

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Mar 18, 2022

Wrong Again: It’s Time to Get the Facts Straight on Corn Production and Ethanol

Key Issues: Ethanol

Author: Julie Busse

I’ve been farming for a long time, so I’ve heard all the arguments about corn and ethanol – and they’re always wrong. The Washington Post Editorial Board suggested waiving the renewable fuel standard would help address outcomes of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead, the Washington Post should be crediting farmers’ increased productivity and efficiency, resulting in higher yields using fewer resources, meeting food and fuel needs to keep prices down.   What’s happening in the world today is disheartening. I recognize how fortunate we are to live in this country where we will plant crops this spring without a war coming through our fields. Corn farmers’ yields are up more than 25 bushels per acre since 2007 on a similar acreage footprint, and we are here to answer the call and help feed and fuel the world.   For the current 2021-22 corn marketing year, USDA estimates corn ending stocks at 1.5 billion bushels. We carried out 1.2 billion bushels in the 2020-21 marketing year....

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Mar 18, 2022

National Butterfly Day + First Day of Spring = Practically Perfect Pollinator Planning

Key Issues: SustainabilityPollinators

Author: Stacey Stiens

Let’s talk environmental equations!  March 14th’s National Butterfly Day plus March 20th’s first day of Spring . . . equals the perfect calendar calculation for planning a new pollinator habitat!   Pollinator health is one of the leading sustainability issues in twenty-first-century agriculture. As public interest in pollinator health continues to increase, stakeholders in this discussion – our members and producers nationwide – have a critical role to play for implementation. Therefore, NCGA has partnered with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever – the nation’s leading charities for upland wildlife habitat conservation – to provide our members with direct complimentary conservation planning services for pollinator habitat outcomes in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.   In addition, NCGA proudly supports pollinator health awareness through initiatives like the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund, the Honeybee Health Coalition and Farmers for Monarchs. These programs offer online...

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Mar 17, 2022

Commodity Classic Scores A Big Hit in the Big Easy

Author: Kris Martinez

Nearly 8,000 Attendees in New Orleans for Farming’s Must-Attend Event   Nearly 8,000 attendees – farmers as well as exhibitors, industry stakeholders and members of the media – gathered for the 2022 Commodity Classic, as the popular annual event returned to an in-person format March 10-12 in New Orleans.    “We were so excited to be live and in-person in New Orleans after a digital event last year,” said Gerry Hayden, 2022 Commodity Classic co-chair and soybean and corn farmer from Kentucky. “The energy of seeing everyone together after being separated for two years by the pandemic was amazing. What a great start to 2022.”   Gary Porter, a Missouri corn and soybean farmer and co-chair of the 2022 Commodity Classic, said, “There’s nothing like connecting in person and seeing the best agriculture has to offer. I can’t wait to see everyone again at the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando.”    The 2022 Commodity Classic featured more than 50 educational sessions, a sold-out trade...

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Mar 17, 2022

EP. 30 - AgriTalk's Chip Flory: Flipping the Script on Chip at Commodity Classic

Author: Dusty Weis

"The Voice of Rural America," Chip Flory has been informing growers about the ag industry for decades.   Chip Flory is sometimes called the Voice of Rural America.   Host of the AgriTalk radio program and podcast, he brings ag news, policy updates and expert insights to a network of more than 135 radio stations across the U.S.   So in this episode, we flip the script on Chip, interviewing him at the National Corn Growers Association booth on the show floor at Commodity Classic.   Plus, we finally settle, once and for all, who’s the biggest music buff—Chip Flory or NCGA CEO Jon Doggett—with a classic rock trivia contest for the ages.     DIRECT SHARE   Transcript   Chip Flory: We went from one day being an operating family farm, a farm that I saw my future on, and the next morning when the bank president called and said, "We've got to have a conversation because things have changed." To being in a position that I felt like I could help farmers make better business...

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Mar 16, 2022

House Agriculture Committee Receives Feedback on the Role of USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing today to review the role USDA programs can play in addressing climate change. Several coalitions that the National Corn Growers Association participates in were invited to provide testimony, including the AGree Economic and Environmental Risk Coalition, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force and the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance.   “We believe that policies should be voluntary, and incentive-based; that they should advance science-based outcomes; and that they should promote resiliency and help rural economies better adapt to climate change,” said Charles F. Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and co-chair of FACA.   The witnesses told committee members that there are several ways that the USDA could help address climate change, including by:   Strengthening the agency’s commitment to agricultural and forestry research to help provide farmers,...

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Mar 15, 2022

Illinois’ Tarmann Recognized for Advocacy to Update Vital Locks and Dams on Upper Mississippi River System

Key Issues: Transportation and Infrastructure

Author: Bryan Goodman

The National Corn Growers Association recently recognized Illinois Corn’s Managing Director Jim Tarmann for his work to secure vital funding for locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi River System.   The recognition came at the end of Commodity Classic in New Orleans.   “Jim spent years educating public policymakers about the importance of the locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi River System,” said Iowa farmer and NCGA President Chris Edgington. “Thanks to his efforts, billions of dollars are going to update this system that is so vital to farmers.”   More than 60% of the nation’s corn and soybean exports are transported on the Mississippi River. Yet, many of the locks and dams along the river system have not been updated since the 1930s, leading to breakdowns that have delayed shipments along the river. Knowing that breakdowns along the system would lead to costly delays for farmers, Tarmann began decades ago advocating for updates to the system’s locks and...

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Mar 10, 2022

Bill Introduced in Congress Would Provide Relief on Fertilizer Tariffs

Key Issues: Farm PolicyProduction

Author: Bryan Goodman

Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D., and Rep. Tracey Mann introduced the Emergency Relief from Duties Act today. The bill would create emergency waivers for duties levied on fertilizers by the U.S. International Trade Commission.   “Fertilizers and other inputs have been at an all-time high, and the war in Ukraine promises to drive up the price of products even more,” said Iowa farmer and NCGA President Chris Edgington. “Fertilizers have become increasingly hard to secure and pay for because of tariffs or the threat tariffs on imports. That’s why passage of this legislation would come as a welcome relief to farmers across the country.” The bill comes as the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) levied tariffs against imports of phosphate fertilizer at the behest of a U.S. fertilizer company. A petition for additional tariffs on urea ammonium nitrate is also being considered by ITC. This bill would introduce a pathway to establish a waiver of countervailing duties or anti-dumping...

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Mar 8, 2022

Deadlines Near for Enrollment in Farmer Safety Net Programs

Author: Bryan Goodman

The deadlines for enrolling in USDA commodity and crop insurance programs are quickly approaching.   Farmers have until March 15 to enroll in the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2022 crop year. These safety-net programs provide financial support to farmers who experience substantial declines in crop prices or revenues.   To qualify for the 2022 Pandemic Cover Crop Program, producers must file a Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) for cover crops with FSA by March 15, 2022. Producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit if they planted cover crops during this crop year.   To learn more and enroll in FSA programs, visit: https://www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/program-deadlines.    Many crop insurance policies for corn growers also have a sales closing date of March 15. Contact your local crop insurance agent for more information. 

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Mar 7, 2022

Trade School Comes to Minnesota – Register Today!

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Julie Busse

The Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, U.S. Grains Council, National Corn Growers Association and Northern Crops Institute are hosting a trade school event for farmer members and stakeholders in Alexandria, Minnesota, on Wednesday, March 16. Held at the Arrowood Resort and Conference Center, the agenda will cover the benefits of trade, current hot button issues, regional trade topics, and key updates pertaining to policy initiatives and market development efforts.   “Trade School gives folks an opportunity to learn more about the current global market that we all operate within,” said NCGA Manager of Market Development Michael Granché. “In 2020, the U.S. exported 2,550 million bushels of corn, which makes up roughly 17.5% of our entire demand portfolio, so it’s important that we’re all aware of current barriers to trade and that we’re all equipped with the information needed to talk about trade within our communities. Sometimes...

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Mar 4, 2022

Biofuel & Ag Leaders Call on White House to Provide Relief at the Pump Through Higher Blends of Biofuels

Key Issues: EthanolFarm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

To provide relief at the pump in response to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector, six farm and biofuel organizations wrote to President Biden urging his administration to use existing authority to allow for the year-round sale of gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15).   In a letter to the White House, American Farm Bureau Federation, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association explained that an immediate move to restore year-round sales of E15 can ease the impact of oil market disruptions and surging gas prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   “As American families continue to confront skyrocketing gas prices, we write today to urge the Administration to take a simple action that can provide immediate relief at the pump while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions from the transportation...

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Mar 3, 2022

Heading to NOLA for Commodity Classic? Come See us at our Booth!

Author: Julie Busse

The National Corn Growers Association has a full line-up of activities at our booth at Commodity Classic, and we hope to see you there! Stop in for a giveaway and hear from a variety of experts. There will be a live taping of the U.S. Farm Report with Tyne Morgan, a discussion with NCYC high-yield record holder David Hula, updates on NCGA programs, podcast recordings and more!   We also hope you’ll stop by to join NCGA as we raise a collective voice in support of the Next Generation Fuels Act. While you are at the booth, you can also update your contact information to ensure you are the first to know when NCGA releases future calls-to-action. All advocates who sign up for mobile advocacy alerts will receive a special gift.   The tradeshow hours are Thursday, March 10, from 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Friday, March 11, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, March 12, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.   We hope to see you there! For a schedule of events at the NCGA booth, click Read More

Mar 3, 2022

Commodity Classic announces relaxed COVID-19 guidelines City of New Orleans lifts indoor mask mandate, keeps testing requirements

Author: Kris Martinez

2022 Commodity Classic is pleased to announce that attendees at the March 10-12 event in New Orleans will not be required to wear masks indoors at the convention center or in convention hotels, according to new guidelines announced by the City of New Orleans yesterday afternoon.    The 2022 Commodity Classic is being held March 10-12 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Per City of New Orleans mandates in effect during Commodity Classic, attendees are still required to show proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or a recent negative COVID test in order to attend the trade show and events at the convention center, to attend events in hotel ballrooms and meeting spaces, and to enter restaurants and bars in New Orleans.    “We are excited to learn that it will be even easier for producers, exhibitors and agribusinesses to join us for our live, in-person event next week,” said Gary Porter, a Missouri farmer and co-chair of the 2022 Commodity Classic. “I...

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Mar 3, 2022

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Confirmed as Keynote Speaker at 2022 Commodity Classic

Author: Kris Martinez

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will be the keynote speaker during the General Session at the 2022 Commodity Classic held March 10-12 in New Orleans. The General Session is scheduled for Friday, March 11, at 9 a.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.   Secretary Vilsack is expected to share his vision for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the role of U.S. agriculture in America’s economic vitality, including his thoughts on more, new and better market opportunities; expanded capacity and competition; exports performance; and rural development and climate programs.   The General Session will also include a panel discussion with leaders of the five associations that present Commodity Classic: American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. And, attendees will hear from key agricultural industry leaders on current priorities and...

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Mar 2, 2022

Grower Leaders Gather to Expand their Advocacy Skills

Key Issues: Farm Policy

Author: Gaylen Holloway

The Advocating for Corn Effectively (ACE) Series brought together grower leaders from 12 states to further develop their advocacy skills. The program is designed to create prepared, informed, and effective advocates to carry the message of corn growers to elected officials across the nation.   This three-part virtual series covered How Congress Really Works, Effective Advocacy, and Becoming a Trusted Resource. Participants heard directly from congressional staff, leaders at the Congressional Management Foundation, and completed training on virtual and in-person professionalism. Those who completed the program are now empowered to fully engage in the political process.   The ACE Series is just one of NCGA’s leadership and grassroots programs. You can learn more about NCGA’s Leadership Programs and Grassroots Advocacy efforts on NCGA’s website or by contacting Gaylen Holloway at holloway@ncga.com.    

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Mar 1, 2022

NCGA President Provides Testimony on Farm Bill Commodity Programs

Key Issues: Farm BillFarm Policy

Author: Bryan Goodman

The president of the National Corn Growers Association spoke today before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture about the key challenges corn growers are facing and offered reflections on existing farm bill commodity programs.   “NCGA has a long history of advocating for market-orientated farm policies, including commodity and crop insurance programs that help growers manage their risks,” Iowa farmer and NCGA President Chris Edgington told the committee. “Our focus continues to be on accessible and defensible tools geared towards revenue, which factors in both yield and price risks that growers may face throughout the growing and market seasons.”   Edgington was invited by the committee to speak at the hearing, entitled “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Commodity Group Perspectives on Title 1.”   During the 2018 Farm Bill, NCGA supported increasing the opportunities for producers to choose between the commodity programs, Edgington noted. Thanks to that work, producers were...

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