MAY 2018

(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement after the White House announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, triggering potential retaliatory actions against American agriculture.   “Farmers are busy with planting season but are moving forward without knowing who will buy their crop when it’s harvested later this year. With a 52 percent drop in net farm income over the last five years, and depressed commodity prices, this is not the time to face such a burden. This uncertainty impacts every step of the agriculture economy, from securing financing to marketing.   “Imposing tariffs has the potential to undermine positive relationships with our closest allies and erode long-standing market access. NCGA urges policymakers to strengthen cooperation with our trading partners and stay at the negotiating table.”

Ethanol Coalition Files Suit Against EPA’s Secretive Small Refinery Exemptions
While Investors Reaped Millions, Three ‘Small’ Refineries Claimed They Could not Afford to Comply with Renewable Fuel Obligations

(Posted Wed. May 30th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and National Farmers Union (NFU), with support of Farmers Union Enterprises, today filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to challenge several waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted in secret to profitable refining companies.    The petitioners are challenging three EPA decisions, made under unusually clandestine proceedings, to exempt refineries in Wynnewood, Oklahoma; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Woods Cross, Utah from the RFS requirements of the Clean Air Act. The Wynnewood refinery is owned by Wynnewood Refining Company, a subsidiary of CVR Energy, and the Cheyenne and Woods Cross refineries are owned by Holly Frontier Corporation. The companies have since estimated in financial disclosures that the exemptions have saved them a collective $170 million in compliance...

(Posted Wed. May 30th, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

America’s farmers’ access to biotechnology seeds has been impeded by regulatory delays in China, costing the overall U.S. economy both jobs and billions of dollars in economic output, according to a study released today by Informa’s Agribusiness Consulting Group in tandem with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.   “This report further confirms something that we have already known: China’s biotech approval process has functioned in an unpredictable manner that compounds delays and has global ramifications,” said Don Duvall, a farmer from Illinois and Chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Freedom to Operate Action Team . “For American agriculture to achieve its full potential, farmers need access to both the most cutting-edge technologies as well as to international markets.”   More timely biotech import approvals would benefit China, as well as ag exporters such as the United States, Argentina and Brazil, by increasing food security and decreasing food prices...

(Posted Wed. May 30th, 2018)

As the spring moves along, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 29, fees will be reduced to $75. NCGA reminds growers that a small-time investment now saves money later this summer.   To enter today using the online form, click here.    Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through July 31. All harvest forms will be due by November 16. Contest winners will be announced on December 17.   Two new rules will be implemented in 2018. First, a recheck of 1.2500 acres or more using the same harvest pattern in the rows next to the complete harvest is required if the first check yields 300.000 bushels per acre or higher. Secondly, all yields of 325.0000 bushels per acre or higher require the supervisor to contact NCGA to report the first yield as well as the recheck yield.   Two clarifications of note will be implemented in 2018. There will be two testing...

(Posted Fri. May 25th, 2018)

Efforts to help the Monarch butterfly continue to gain momentum as farmers, agricultural stakeholders, land owners and other citizens in the Monarch Flyway work toward creating significant acreage of monarch habitat in the United States.   The National Corn Growers Association supports these efforts and continues to encourage members to take a close look at their farms to find ways to join in this worthwhile effort. This is a great time of year to consider special plantings that can give our butterfly brethren a helping hand.   Much of the flyway is right in the heart of corn production country so farmers can play a key role. Monarch butterflies face many challenges contributing to a population decline such as loss of breeding and feeding habitat.   There are a lot of great groups at the local, state and national level who can assist in your efforts to help the Monarch. For instance, Farmers for Monarchs continues to reach out to directly to farmers to assist in...

(Posted Thu. May 24th, 2018)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association kicked off its eighth 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.   This week, Field Notes caught up with Lowell Neitzel, who farms just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. With his corn acres planted and only about 1,000 acres of soybeans left to go, his planting season has gone well so far this year despite sporadic issues with the weather.   “We started out in April with cold weather and kind of drug our feet getting going,” he explained. “But, we finally decided that we should start planting, or we would never get done. Then, the cold sort of turned off, and it got warm. We have gotten a couple of timely showers, and we were able to finish up corn...

(Posted Tue. May 22nd, 2018)

National Corn Growers Association has been around for – decades but when it comes to membership this farmer-led, and driven, organization is reinventing itself every day. With so many issues and outside forces effecting corn growers a strong collective voice is more important today than ever.   That’s why NCGA will be hosting a new, interactive program that will focus on member advocacy on July 25-27, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  While some of the foundational recruiting methods haven’t changed, our target grower population has changed dramatically, according to Mike Shelby, NCGA association and membership services manager.   “As a grassroots advocacy group, numbers still count and when you are a shrinking part of the population, we need every farmer to join and weigh in on the issues including the next generation. So, we must ask ourselves what motivates a millennial grower to belong to a trade association today?  How do we market to a younger, and more diverse grower...

(Posted Fri. May 18th, 2018)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association kicked off its eighth 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.   Today, Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, who farms in northern Iowa. From her tractor in the fields, she discussed how wet weather near her this spring has impacted her ability to plant corn, and other crops, in a timely fashion.   “Hopefully, this is the last day I will be planting soybeans. Then, I have to go back and fill in some wet spots,” she explained. “But, that is how the spring has gone in Iowa this year. The farther north you are the uglier it gets. The southern counties were begging for rain, but our northern counties are swimming in it.”   To listen to the full...

NCGA Statement on House Failure to Pass Farm Bill

(Posted Fri. May 18th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Bill

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the following statement after the House failed to pass the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2).    “Passing a farm bill through the House is the first, critical, step in getting a new bill. NCGA urges House Leaders to quickly find a way forward to pass a new farm bill as soon as possible. Depressed commodity prices, the increasing threat of a trade war, and disruptions in the ethanol market are creating uncertainty across rural America. Our farmers need clarity on the prospects of a new farm bill signed into law this year.   “While today’s action is disappointing, we will continue to work with members of Congress and advocate for a strong farm bill that can be signed into law this year.”

(Posted Wed. May 16th, 2018)

With another growing season underway across corn country, the National Corn Growers Association encourages farmers to complete a mental check list and assess your farming operation and any potential impact for pollinators like honey bees.   If you are using treated seed, remember to consider the following five basic steps for stewardship of treated seed during planting season:   Follow Directions: Follow directions on treated seed container labels for handling, storage, planting and disposal practices.    Eliminate Flowering Weeds: Eliminate flowering plants and weeds in and around the field prior to planting.   Minimize Dust: Use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust.   Bee Aware: Be aware of honey bees and hives located near the field, and communicate with beekeepers prior to planting when possible.   Clean and Remove: Completely clean and remove all treated seed left in containers and equipment used to handle harvested grain and dispose of it properly....

(Posted Tue. May 15th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association invites photographers to help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the fifth annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest just opened last month, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2018.   Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 25 cash prizes. Prizes include cash awards for the top three entries in eight categories including:  Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farm Family Lifestyle, Scenery/Landscape, Farming Challenges, SHP Conservation, one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes” and, new this year, True Grit.   The new True Grit category was borne out of the Farm Family Lifestyle cateogy. This new category focuses on the people getting work...

(Posted Mon. May 14th, 2018)

As the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s spring semester winds down, seven students are starting summer internship programs supported by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association. The National Corn Growers Association is thankful for Nebraska’s generous support of the two interns who will share their talents with the association this summer.   Although these internships may vary in scope and location, each are designed to provide students with an overview of Nebraska’s corn industry through real-world professional examples and experiences.   “At this point in my college career, I don’t quite know what I want to do after graduation,” said Liz Ruskamp, a UNL animal science major from North Bend who began her internship in the St. Louis office of NCGA today. “I am hoping this internship will help me narrow down options and figure out what I am good at and identify areas where I could improve.”   “Nebraska Corn has long been helping students identify their...

(Posted Thu. May 10th, 2018)

The U.S. corn industry may see lower, but still strong, production according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. Lower forecast production coupled with somewhat decreased demand results in higher cost projections, with the mid-range projected 40 cents higher than the previous year.      This report, the first forecasting overall U.S. corn supply and demand for the next marketing year, projected lower production with both lower acreage and yields forecast as compared with the previous year. The yield, projected to 174 bushels per acre, is based on a weather-adjust trend assuming that both planting progress and summer weather remain normal in comparison with that seen over the prior thirty years. If realized, it would be the third-highest yield on record. Beginning stocks are projected lower than the prior year and, thus, the total corn supply would be down 675 million bushels from the year before at a total 16.3 billion bushels.   Total corn use is...

(Posted Thu. May 10th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association conducted an open house of sorts for media guests this week. The purpose was to introduce them to key staff members and to expand their base of knowledge related to projects and initiatives targeting increasing corn utilization.   Seven media - representing print, digital and broadcast - attended the all-day briefing session to learn about innovative ways NCGA is focused on grinding the increasing productivity of the nation’s family corn farmers.   “We work with media regularly throughout the year to educate consumers about the benefits of various corn-related products, keep farmers up to speed on emerging agronomic issues, and we place a lot of emphasis on policy legislation,” said Jim Bauman, NCGA director of market development. “This informal briefing session focused exclusively on finding new markets and technologies to utilize corn. With farmers growing consistently large crops and prices at low levels, increased corn grind is...

NCGA 2018 Yield Contest Online Entry Now Open

(Posted Wed. May 9th, 2018)

With planting beginning in much of the country, the National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 29, fees will be reduced to $75. NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.   “We are excited to announce that yield contest entry is now open. While the early entry deadline may seem a ways out, we all know how quickly the time passes once planting season starts,” said Stewardship Action Team Chair Roger Zylstra. “Every year, we gain valuable data from the contest that helps develop the production practices of tomorrow. I urge those who haven’t entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2018.”   To enter today using the online form, click here.    Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through July 31. All harvest forms will be due by November 16. Contest winners will...

2019 Commodity Classic Trade Show Opens to New Exhibitors May 15

(Posted Wed. May 9th, 2018)

Booking space on the trade show floor at Commodity Classic—America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show—will open to new exhibitors on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.  The 2019 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, February 28 through Saturday, March 2 in Orlando, Fla.   Exhibit space is already limited.  For exhibitor information, visit, call 636.745.3008 or email:   Last year’s Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif., attracted thousands of America’s best farmers with an average gross farm income of $1.51 million and average farm size of 2,850 total acres.  The show also attracted scores of key media representatives.   Exhibitors who showcase their brands at Commodity Classic frequently remark on the “decision-maker” role of the farmers in attendance as well as the quality and depth of the conversations they have with those decision-makers.  In addition to the trade show, exhibitors have other...

NCGA Statement on RFS White House Meeting

(Posted Tue. May 8th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on the outcome of today’s White House meeting regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).    “President Trump today reaffirmed his commitment to our nation’s farmers by approving year-round sales of E15 without a RIN cap. This is a positive step because we know a RIN price cap would have been damaging to farmers.   “We have numerous questions, however, about a potential plan now being developed by USDA Secretary Perdue and EPA Administrator Pruitt to address small refiner waivers by potentially offering biofuels credits on ethanol exports, an idea that would harm our ethanol export success.   “NCGA has opposed RIN credits on exports, an idea that EPA stated last fall that it would not pursue. Offering RIN credits, which are supposed to be derived from a domestic renewable fuel use, for ethanol exports would threaten trade markets and impact corn...

Corn Growers Thank Perdue, Urge Continued Advocacy

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

On behalf of corn farmers nationwide, NCGA and state corn grower associations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue Monday thanking him for his advocacy within the Trump Administration and his recent statements encouraging the Administration to advance RVP parity. The associations urged Perdue to continue his efforts in support of farmers and rural America. “As you work with President Trump, EPA Administrator Pruitt and Members of Congress, we encourage you to continue to advocate for real solutions, such as RVP parity for higher blends, and to continue to highlight the demand destruction caused by EPA’s refinery exemptions, as well as how EPA’s actions contradict President Trump’s commitments,” the associations wrote.   Click here for full text of Perdue letter

NCGA Calls on President to Allow for Increased Ethanol Blends

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association today urged President Trump to follow through on the necessary steps to implement year-round sales of higher ethanol blends, such as E15, ahead of a planned Tuesday White House meeting regarding biofuels issues.     “Year-round sale of higher ethanol blends, like E15, would replace outdated policy and provide benefits not only for farmers but also for consumers and the environment,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “Corn farmers have made huge strides in increasing productivity but, at the same time, are facing a fifth consecutive year of declining corn crop receipts. A firm commitment to the RFS would help provide the stability farmers need during difficult times.”   NCGA was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association and National Association of Wheat Growers in a letter to the President thanking him for his recent comments in support of higher blends and urging that he begin the...

 New Field Managers Join Soil Health Partnership Team in Iowa and Wisconsin

(Posted Fri. May 4th, 2018)

Staff additions will offer enhanced support in states key to soil health effort   The Soil Health Partnership welcomes two new field managers to the staff, supporting farmers on the ground in the growing soil health effort. Lisa Kubik, and Tricia Verville joined the SHP in April to assist with the growing number of farmers in the program in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.   “Recent staff promotions within our organization and our growing presence in 12 states drives this latest staff expansion,” said acting SHP Director and National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Production and Sustainability Nick Goeser. ”We welcome Lisa and Tricia to the partnership and look forward to their expertise and enthusiasm.”   SHP field managers help new farmers get started in the program with test plots, and assist along the way with soil sampling, monitoring and answering questions about the farming techniques implemented on a particular site. They help organize, attend and offer...

Statement by the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food on the Publication of USDA’s Proposed Rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

(Posted Fri. May 4th, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

“The proposed rule published today by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is a critical step towards establishing a National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard by the July 29, 2018 deadline. We want to sincerely thank Secretary Perdue, Under Secretary Ibach, and the Agriculture Marketing Service team for their diligence to get this critically important proposed rule published. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food remains committed to a standard that gives consumers access to information about the food they purchase; ensures that farmers continue to have the tools they need to feed a growing world population; and provides certainty to food manufacturers, retailers and others in the supply chain.   “Over 1,100 national, state, and local organizations representing the food and agriculture value chain supported enactment of the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, because it prevented a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, that would have cost U.S. consumers, farmers and...