Trade Tuesday: Tariff Lift Clear Barrier for USMCA

(Posted Tue. May 21st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

NCGA continues to celebrate World Trade Month and Friday’s announcement that the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada had been lifted was a major positive step for passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Lawmakers on Capitol Hill frequently cited this tariff as a roadblock for the bill.   USMCA would update the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to further solidify the U.S. trading relationship with Canada and Mexico, two of the largest markets for U.S. corn. Passing this agreement would help farmers in the frontlines of the economy. Exports to Mexico and Canada produced $4.1 billion in economic activity, supporting 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms in 2016.   U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated on Friday: “Today’s announcement is a big win for American agriculture and the economy as a whole. I thank President Trump for negotiating a great deal and for negotiating the removal of these tariffs. Canada and Mexico are...

NCGA Provides Trade Aid Recommendations to USDA

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Policy

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with recommendations outlining both short and long-term actions that would provide assistance to farmers facing losses due, in part, to the most recent tariff increases and prolonged trade dispute with China.   NCGA analysis, capturing corn market impacts from May 2018 to April 2019, showed an average price loss of $0.20/bushel. In March and April of 2019, as trade talks with China lagged on, that loss widened again to closer to $0.40/bushel.   Given these losses, NCGA is urging USDA to improve upon last year’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) which set the payment rate for corn at just one cent per bushel, to make sure that assistance more equitably compensates farmers for market losses. Beyond USDA, NCGA is also urging the Administration to address demand destruction caused by the EPA’s small refinery exemptions to oil refiners, among other actions.   NCGA members have...

USMCA Roadblock Cleared

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade USMCA Policy

Leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada today announced that a deal has been reached to lift the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.   Lawmakers on Capitol Hill frequently cited the tariffs as a roadblock to passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley leading the charge. NCGA appreciates lawmakers’ support for USMCA, along with the Administration’s willingness to hear from agriculture and work to resolve the industry’s concerns.   Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. In 2016 alone, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion.   USMCA secures and builds upon this important partnership, which is why ratifying USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019.   Tell Congress to Pass USMCA!

Another Penny for Corn Farmers Won’t Cut It

(Posted Wed. May 15th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

We need your help. Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration is increasing the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China’s retaliatory tariffs, could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers, bringing more uncertainty to markets and impacting commodity prices.   In an effort to ease this impact, the Administration is now pursuing a second round of trade assistance for agriculture with the intent of making an announcement in the next few days. As you’ll recall, the previous Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment rate for corn farmers was just one cent per bushel.   Please tell the president that a penny didn’t cut it then and won’t cut it now.   On top of trade disputes and tariffs, EPA granting RFS waivers to oil refiners, devastating weather conditions, farm incomes on a downward trend, and crumbling infrastructure have all created a perfect storm for agriculture.   Tell the President that one penny won’t provide the market certainty that...

Trade Tuesday: Farmers Need Certainty

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Policy

Friday’s announcement that the Trump Administration was moving forward to increase the tariff rate from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods could not have come at a worse time for corn farmers.   As NCGA President Lynn Chrisp noted, “Corn farmers are watching commodity prices decline amid ongoing tariff threats, even while many can’t get to spring planting because of wet weather.” This spring’s heavy rains have impacted farmers across the country, with the most recent WASDE report showing that only 30 percent of the corn crop has been planted, half the five year average of 66 percent.   Trade disputes and tariffs, devastating weather conditions, stagnant farm incomes, crumbling infrastructures and EPA waivers to oil refiners have all combined to create a perfect storm for agriculture.   Times are tough for farmers. More tariffs won’t help, neither will another penny per bushel trade assistance payment. Simply put, farmers need a win and they need...

(Posted Wed. May 8th, 2019)

Keywords: Policy

A bipartisan coalition of 35 members of the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and Adrian Smith, R-Neb., today called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to end the practice of granting small refinery exemptions (SRE) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for large or unqualified refiners.  The EPA has approved 54 SRE petitions totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuels in the past year and a half; EPA currently has 40 more refinery waiver petitions pending.   “This unprecedented rate of granting waivers is a betrayal of our rural communities, detrimental to our energy security, and threatens our entire agricultural sector at a time of declining incomes and rising debts for our producers. EPA must halt this process and reallocate waived gallons as the law intends,” the lawmakers wrote.   Read the letter sent to the EPA.   NCGA thanks Representatives Axne and Smith and the 33 House members who...

(Posted Mon. Apr 15th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol policy

  It was recently reported that the EPA will likely be considering the 39 pending petitions for 2018 small refinery exemptions very soon. The EPA approved 53 small refinery waivers from 2016 and 2017. These waivers have a direct impact on rural America and corn farmers. With an already tough economic environment, more waiver abuse will continue to chip away at farmers’ bottom line by destroying demand for corn. While EPA considers this next round of waivers, we came up with 39 facts and reasons why they should not grant any additional SRE’s.   53 - The number of refinery waivers EPA granted for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years since early 2018. 39 – The number of refinery exemptions EPA Administrator Wheeler has pending for 2018. 9.4 percent -- The percent of the 2017 RFS ethanol volume waived through SREs. 636 million – The difference in the amount of corn bushels needed to meet the RFS volume EPA set for 2017 and the amount needed to meet the effective...

(Posted Thu. Mar 14th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol policy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, National Ag Day, granted five additional Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) for the 2017 compliance year, waiving 366 million gallons of biofuels from RFS compliance.   EPA’s decision today brings the total waivers from 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations to 53, amounting to 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons.  In years prior to 2016, SREs totaled less than 300 million gallons per year.   This action continues to chip away at the RFS and corn demand, hurting America’s corn farmers. NCGA has called for EPA to account for these lost volumes and disclose which refineries receive these waivers and why the waivers are justified.   The five refineries receiving today’s exemptions produced approximately 3.4 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel in 2017, resulting in 366 million Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) being exempted.    Currently, EPA has two remaining refinery exemption petitions for...

NCGA Statement on E15 Proposed Rule

(Posted Tue. Mar 12th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp made the below statement today following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of a proposed rule to allow for year-round sales of E15.   “Today’s proposed rule is great progress to getting the rulemaking completed by the start of the summer driving season, June 1. NCGA appreciates EPA’s efforts to meet this deadline, and we look forward to fully reviewing the content of the proposed rule. We will be providing comments to EPA and urging our membership to provide input during the comment process as well.   “Allowing year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol not only grows a domestic market for farmers, but E15 gives consumers more choice at the pump, a lower price option and greater environmental benefits from a cleaner fuel. It’s time to remove the barrier to all of these benefits.”  

(Posted Fri. Mar 1st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers today announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.   Members representing the four organizations will be advocating members of Congress to ratify USMCA this year while also urging the Administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement intact until the new agreement is ratified.   “Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable corn market; Mexico is corn’s number one buyer and Canada is one of our largest ethanol importers. We cannot afford to risk losing this market,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019, and we will be working closely with the Administration...

NCGA Recognizes NAFTA Benefits

(Posted Thu. Jan 10th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

NCGA is committed to creating new market opportunities for U.S. corn. This includes expanding market access for U.S. corn around the globe and securing our most important markets by injecting certainty back into our relationships with Mexico and Canada.   The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been an unequivocal success for American corn farmers. Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to these regional partners have increased 300 percent and Mexico is now the top export destination for U.S. corn.   Corn exports to Mexico were up nearly 13 percent for 2017/2018 from the previous year, reaching a record high of 15.7 million tons or 618 million bushels.   In 2016 alone, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion. These exports produced $4.1 billion in economic activity as well as supported 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms.   Now, as Congress looks to consider the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,...

NCGA Statement on WOTUS Rule

(Posted Tue. Dec 11th, 2018)

Keywords: wotus policy conservation sustainability

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The new rule replaces the 2015 WOTUS rule that would have increased regulatory burdens and costs for farmers.   “Farmers rely on clean water and are committed to protecting our environment and the communities where we live and work. With a clear understanding of what is and is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act, farmers can implement stewardship practices such as grass waterways and buffer strips without the burden of bureaucratic red tape or the fear of legal action.   “NCGA looks forward to fully reviewing the new WOTUS rule to ensure that it provides clear jurisdictional boundaries to farmers, protects our nation’s water and can be implemented without confusion.”

NCGA Testifies in Support of RFS

(Posted Tue. Dec 11th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy rfs

Texas farmer and National Corn Growers Association past president and chairman, Wesley Spurlock, today testified on behalf of NCGA at a House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee hearing to review a discussion draft of the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act.   Spurlock told the Subcommittee of the significant opportunities the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has created for farmers.   “The RFS is one of the most ambitious and successful energy, environmental and economic policies Congress has enacted, not only for farmers and rural communities but also for drivers, our air quality and our nation’s energy security. As use of homegrown renewable fuels has grown and as farmers have become more productive using fewer resources, the benefits of the RFS have exceeded those Congress projected,” Spurlock said.   Spurlock’s testimony cited farmers’ increased productivity, increasing their average yield by more than 25 bushels per acre, or 17 percent, since 2007, as well as...

EPA Fails to Account for Future Refinery Waivers in Final 2019 RVO Rule

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy

The National Corn Growers Association today said the EPA’s final 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) moves renewable fuels and energy security forward in 2019, but the growth will only be realized if EPA does not grant refiners further RFS exemptions.   “We are pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintained the implied conventional ethanol volume of 15 billion gallons and increased the total 2019 renewable fuel volume as intended by the RFS. However, EPA granted refineries 2.25 billion gallons in RFS waivers over the past year but did nothing to account for those lost volumes. If EPA continues to grant large amounts of waivers in this manner, the volumes set in this final rule cannot be met,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp.   In comments on the rule, NCGA and its grower members urged EPA to take steps to maintain the integrity of the RFS, including projecting 2019 waivers and accounting for those gallons to keep the...

NCGA: USMCA Signing an Important Step Forward

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2018)

Keywords: trade policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement applauding the important step taken by U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials today in signing the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   “U.S. corn farmers are proud of the strong trading relationships NAFTA has enabled us to build with our North American trading partners, exporting more than $3 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada last year. Today’s signing is an important step toward cementing a modernized relationship with these important partners. NCGA commends leaders from all three nations and looks forward to engaging on next steps as the USMCA moves to Congress for consideration.”

(Posted Tue. Nov 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Bill policy

Lawmakers are returning to Washington this week with just a few legislative days to reach an agreement on a new farm bill before Congress adjourns in December. Your representatives need to hear from you! Restarting the process next year, even passing an extension, will put vital programs in jeopardy and increase uncertainty across rural America.   Click here to contact your Representatives in Congress and tell them agriculture needs a farm bill now!

Grains Leadership Visits Mexico to Meet Customers, New Administration Officials

(Posted Tue. Nov 6th, 2018)

Keywords: trade policy

Leaders from the U.S. feed grains value chain traveled together to Mexico last week to meet with longtime customers and incoming officials from the Mexican government on the heels of the recently-concluded U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations.    The annual officers mission brings together leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the national organizations representing the feed grains it promotes in international markets, including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA).    Mexico is the top foreign buyer of U.S. corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and barley and a significant buyer of U.S. sorghum. The country also holds near-term potential for increased use of U.S. ethanol following energy policy changes in recent years.    "Mexico is the most critical market for our members and an amazing example of...

NCGA Statement on Environmental Groups Petition to the EPA on Land Use

(Posted Wed. Oct 31st, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy

The following is a statement from Nebraska farmer Lynn Chrisp, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on a petition filed by environmental and conservation groups regarding land use.   “The acreage data is very clear: farmers are planting fewer acres to corn today than we did when the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was expanded,” said Lynn Chrisp, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “And it’s not just corn acres that have fallen. The area planted to principal crops is shrinking nationwide. The reality of what is happening on today’s farms is not accurately portrayed in the petition.”   Farmers planted fewer acres to corn in 2018 (89.1 million) than they did when the RFS was expanded in 2007 (93.5 million). During that same time, ethanol production expanded from 6.5 billion gallons to 15.8 billion gallons. Overall, the area planted to principal crops in the U.S. has fallen from 328.6 million acres in 2000 to 322 million acres in 2018, according...

NCGA Urges EPA and NHTSA to Recognize Benefits of High-Octane Fuels

(Posted Fri. Oct 26th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy

The National Corn Growers Association today emphasized the benefits for fuel economy and emissions reductions from the use of high-octane fuels in comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule.   “As producers of the primary feedstock used for ethanol production, corn farmers have a strong vested interest in the future of transportation fuels,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp wrote.   The organization’s comments urged regulators to consider fuels and vehicles as a system of high-octane fuel used with optimized engines. NCGA also believes high-octane, low-carbon fuel can help support harmonization between federal and state standards.   “Pairing advanced engines with certain higher-octane fuel improves vehicle performance and efficiency while using less energy and releasing fewer emissions, particularly when the octane source is a midlevel ethanol blend,” wrote...

NCGA Welcomes Year-Round E15

(Posted Tue. Oct 9th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today praised an announcement from President Trump, setting the necessary regulatory steps in motion to allow for year-round sales of E15.   “Corn farmers across the country have been advocating for year-round sales of higher ethanol blends like E15 to help grow demand, provide consumers with more options at the pump and improve economic conditions across rural America,” said Chrisp. “We thank President Trump for following through on his commitment to America’s farmers.”   Outdated regulations currently require retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15, a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol approved for all vehicles 2001 and newer, during the summer months. Updating this regulation will give consumers year-round access to a fuel choice that can save them between three and 10 cents per gallon.   “Earlier this year, the President correctly described this barrier as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘ridiculous’,”...

Farm, Ethanol Groups Urge President Trump to Restore Integrity to RFS, Allow Year-Round E15 Sales

(Posted Wed. Sep 12th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy

In a letter to President Trump today, the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and Renewable Fuels Association urged the administration to act immediately to restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and allow year-round sales of E15 and other mid-level ethanol blends. The groups also expressed concern that any benefit from year-round E15 sales and proper implementation of the RFS could be nullified if refiners are given further regulatory bailouts that undercut the spirit and intent of the law.   The letter follows comments made by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Aug. 29 that an announcement on the RFS and E15 would be coming soon. “With ethanol prices hitting a 13-year low and net farm income plummeting to half of the record $123 billion achieved in 2013, such an announcement could not come at a more critical juncture for...

Corn Farmers Need a Break

(Posted Fri. Aug 31st, 2018)

Keywords: policy trade

In The Hill Friday, NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes shared the challenges facing corn farmers this year and the frustration following USDA’s announcement of just one cent per bushel in trade relief for corn farmers.   “It is insulting that USDA’s plan sells corn farmers so short. As history has shown, once you lose a market it is very difficult to get it back. Our global competitors are aggressively pursuing every opportunity we miss and our margin for error is shrinking. Corn farmers direly need a win,” Skunes wrote.   The op-ed cites NCGA-commissioned analysis, provided to both USDA and OMB, estimating trade disputes to have lowered corn prices by 44 cents per bushel for crop produced in 2018. This amounts to $6.3 billion in lost value on the 81.8 million acres projected to be harvested in 2018.   LINK:

(Posted Wed. Sep 20th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade Policy

The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction today of the CREAATE Act, a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products.   The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.   MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue—$309 billion since 1977.   “MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of NCGA.   “These programs deliver a strong...