In The News

Apr 8, 2024

Corn Demand Takes a Hit in EPA’s New Tailpipe Rule

Author: Krista Swanson

Motor gasoline use is expected to decline in the future even under a baseline case, but new tailpipe emissions rules really put the pedal to the metal – rapidly accelerating that process. This would be a major shock on demand for corn used to produce ethanol spurring potentially devastating impacts on farmers and the rural economy.       The New Tailpipe Emissions Rule The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its final rule for multi-pollutant emissions standards for model years 2027 and later light-duty and medium-duty vehicles with heavy reliance on the use of electric vehicles. The ruling dictates that sales of non-electric vehicles will drop from over 92% of new vehicle sales in 2023[i] to under 30% of new vehicle sales in 2032. In the EPA central scenario, that translates to a 6.9-billion-gallon reduction in motor gasoline use in 2032, a 5.7% decline from the baseline projection for that year. Motor gasoline use is expected to decline in the baseline, but...

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Feb 16, 2024

Breaking Down 5 Projections in the USDA 2024 Corn Outlook

Key Issues: Production

Author: Krista Swanson

USDA released the Grains and Oilseeds Outlook this week providing an initial look at the 2024/25 marketing year projections that include lower production, greater domestic use, increased exports, and higher ending stocks as compared to the current 2023/24 market years. The following is a summary and some additional context for five projections from the latest outlook.   Yield Corn yield is projected at 181 bushels per acre. Yield projections depend on the modeling approach and time series used. While a 3.7 bushel per acre increase over the 2023 record 177.3 bushels per acre may seem like a stretch, a regression on annual yields from 2023 to several different historical points including 1934, 1980, and 1996 all predict 2024 yields within about one bushel of the USDA projection.   Trendline yields are a reasonable expectation at this point. Adverse weather is generally thought to have a negative impact on yields but in 2023 a record yield was achieved in a year with widespread...

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Feb 9, 2024

Climate, Conflict, & Currency Impact Cost Competitiveness for U.S. Corn Exports

Key Issues: Trade

Author: Krista Swanson

A combination of climate, conflict, and currency values are factors in cost competitiveness that impacts transits and overall U.S. corn exports.   Climate Climate conditions brought widespread drought to the United States Corn Belt in 2023. Dry conditions in the Mississippi River basin led to record low water levels. As a result, barge weight and traffic restrictions were imposed, and the 7.7 million tons of corn moved by barge on the Mississippi River in 2023 was 30% lower than 2022 and 54% lower than 2021. Ultimately, the cost of added time and weight restrictions were factors contributing to a higher corn price at port but also meant pace of getting grain to the port was slowed.   Climate-induced waterway challenges for U.S. corn don’t end at the Gulf. Extreme drought has forced substantial scaleback of shipping through the Panama Canal, a key global maritime channel. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reduced traffic to 24 ships a day, about two-thirds of the normal...

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Dec 1, 2023

Drought & River Transport Impact on Corn Competitiveness

Key Issues: TradeTransportation and Infrastructure

Author: Krista Swanson

For the second year in a row, drought conditions are impacting transportation on the Mississippi River at the peak shipment point of the year. Shallower river levels mean barge weight restrictions, slower barge traffic, and higher costs to ship commodities on the river. Ultimately, this translates to a relatively lower price at the farmgate and higher cost for the world buyer.   Drought Slows Grain Barge Traffic in 2022 and 2023 The Mississippi River is an important channel for commodity transportation. The USDA reports the final mode of transport was barge for 13% of U.S. grains in 2020, and 46% of exported U.S. grains[i]. There are normally two peaks in grain barge movements, one in late summer leading up to the end of the marketing year for corn and soybeans, and the other emerging in the fall harvest season and into the post-harvest months.   The impact of low water levels on grain barge movements was notable in 2023, marking the second consecutive year of drought...

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Aug 9, 2022

Meet Corey Schultz, NCGA Research Ambassador

Key Issues: Research

Author: Savannah Peterson

University of Georgia Bioinformatics doctoral student, Corey Schultz has focused on finding way to improve yields by understanding how corn interacts with beneficial microbes. Through the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Research Ambassador program, Corey has recognized farmers’ concerns and learned how to proactively communicate research results.   With a saturated market of beneficial-bacteria products, Corey began to realize that different corn lines reacted differently to the same microbes. This concerning realization led Corey to study both how microbes affect corn and how corn affects microbes.   “I used three different growth-promoting microbes on a variety of genetically-diverse corn lines in the greenhouse. I found variable growth promotion among the different types of corn, with some corn lines showing improved growth above ground, some below ground, and some not responding at all,” shares Corey, concluding that the best way to tailor microbes depends on the...

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Aug 1, 2022

Meet Matthew Runyon, NCGA Research Ambassador

Key Issues: Research

Author: Savannah Peterson

Matthew Runyon is a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign and is a part of the National Corn Growers Association's (NCGA) Research Ambassador Program. After seeing how drought affected his family’s farm, Matthew sought to find sustainable ways to improve yield during dry times.   Matthew focused his research on aquaporins, which are proteins that help facilitate water movement, as well as other small molecules like CO2, between plant cells. By characterizing mutants with altered aquaporin expression profiles, Matthew hopes to change water-use efficiency (WUE) and photosynthetic parameters.   “In principle, overexpressing CO2-permeable aquaporins should increase the rate of carbon uptake,” shares Matthew. “This will reduce the amount of time the stomata need to be open to allow CO2-rich air to enter the leaf, consequentially reducing the amount of water transpired.”   Matthew’s research is divided into two pieces. First, he is studying...

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Jul 25, 2022

Meet Dylan Shoemaker, NCGA Research Ambassador

Key Issues: Research

Author: Savannah Peterson

Dylan Schoemaker, graduate research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has studied the response of maize hybrids across environments as part of the Genomes To Fields Initiative, which the  National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) funds. Aside from his studies, Dylan was a part of the NCGA Research Ambassador program where he found value in forming scientist-grower relationships to help bring attention to issues like food security and climate change.   Dylan’s research looks at understanding how corn responds to different environmental conditions and uses that information to predict hybrid performance in new environments. His research works to quantify these effects on genomes.   “My research strives to understand what components of the environment—such as rainfall, temperate, and soil moisture—can be incorporated into statistical models to predict hybrid performance across diverse environmental conditions,” explains Dylan.   Furthermore, Dylan’s work strives to...

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Jul 19, 2022

Meet Claire Menard, NCGA Research Ambassador

Key Issues: Research

Author: Savannah Peterson

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities doctoral student Claire Menard has been researching genetic elements that contribute to corn’s phenotype. Claire was a part of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Research Ambassador program. Coming from a non-agriculture background, she is grateful the program gave her the opportunity to connect with corn farmers to bring value to the purpose of her research.   With a focus on how maize responds to environmental factors, Claire’s research works to understand how transposable elements (TEs) affect corn production. TEs have the ability to move within genomes of maize which ultimately affects agronomic traits.   “My project is designed to identify these new regions where TEs jump into, measure the rate of movement, and characterize the types of TEs found within maize populations,” shares Claire, acknowledging TEs’ position in creating more sustainable practices. “TEs are greatly influenced by stress and may become activated under harsh...

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Jul 13, 2022

Meet Alden Perkins, NCGA Research Ambassador

Key Issues: Research

Author: Savannah Peterson

Alden Perkins is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his research is focused on improving seed lines by incorporating diversity from exotic corn varieties. During his time in the NCGA Research Ambassador program, Perkins has been able to better understand farmers' concerns which have helped him create purposeful research.    “The conversations I had through this program gave me a better understanding of what growers look for when choosing hybrids and the relative value of different traits,” Perkins shared. “For example, it was very helpful to hear from growers based in other parts of the country about their experiences with managing tar spot and recent wind events.”   Through his initial research, Perkins found that many of the current seed corn hybrids in the U.S. are the result of selecting the best progeny from improved U.S. inbred lines. While this has proven successful, W.A. Russell, Iowa State professor and colleague’s study on a Peruvian...

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Jul 11, 2022

NCGA Holds Second Annual Women and Mentors Retreat

Author: Savannah Peterson

On June 27 and 28, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) welcomed growers and staff to this year’s Women and Mentors Retreat. Focused on building a network of rising leaders, women and mentors came together to overcome workplace obstacles, share their leadership journey and empower each other.   The second annual conference kicked off with a lesson on Quieting Your Inner Critic and roundtable discussions. Both activities encouraged participants to put aside negative thoughts and experiences to lead with power and purpose. Then growers and staff separated into breakout rooms to individualize their experiences. Grower participants cultivated tools to lean on their network and get more involved in leadership, while staff learned tools to help them thrive in a male-dominated industry. This year’s conference concluded with a lunch program focused on Why Diversity is Important at Every Table.   Attendees left encouraged to continue their networking experience in their newly...

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For media inquiries contact Bryan Goodman, goodman@ncga.com