More than 9,500 people are in the “Big Easy” for Commodity Classic 2016. From New Orleans, the National Corn Growers Association promises to continue building demand and protect programs farmers need in the current marketplace.
“Farmers are facing serious problems today - one that has ripple effect across rural communities and across our entire national economy,” said Corn Board President of the National Corn Growers Association Chip Bowling. “From 2013 to 2015 net farm income dropped by 54%, and it’s expected to drop by even more this year. This represents the largest decline in the farm economy in 100 years.”
Bowling said this is not the time to put farm safety nets in jeopardy.
“NCGA advocated for reforms that provided a market-based safety net that kicks in when needed. Unfortunately that time is now,” said Bowling. “We’ll continue to fight for this program that helps farmers manage their risk.”
They also want to build demand for corn. Bowling said ethanol remains the critical factor, and is NCGA’s focus.
“Ethanol is the most important driver for future growth of corn demand. We’re investing in fuel pump infrastructure that will give more access to higher ethanol blends,” he explained. The goal is to give every American year round access to E15.
NCGA also plans to fight for renewable fuel standards before EPA announces 2017 RFS numbers at the end of March.
Another tactic for boosting demand is asking Congress to support the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement and restore agricultural trade with Cuba. “To return profitability, we need Congress to do its job to ensure we have a free and fair market access,” Bowling added.
What about infrastructure to handle increased demand? Bowling notes plans to foster public and private investment in “roads, bridges, and waterways that get our product to market quickly, safely and efficiently.”