Opportunities and Challenges for US Corn Producers

(Jamie) Thanks for staying with us. Now Duane and Chris will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing US corn producers.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again here on AGam in Kansas, and an opportunity while at the Kansas Commodity Classic held in Manhattan, Kansas, to catch up with Chris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. Chris, you had an opportunity to talk to growers about the corn industry and some troubling times for some aspects of the industry, but in the big picture of things in terms of production, growers are still getting things done. (Chris) Growers are still getting things done and I think that presents both the challenge and the opportunity. We know that 2015 not a record crop but certainly a very large crop, 2013 and 2014 were record crops and we’re seeing that as we carry over supplies into this next crop year. What that means for us is we have to find additional ways to grow demand. The opportunity to talk with the Kansas farmers about what we’re doing to promote ethanol, what we’re doing to ensure access to international markets, the other things that will help us utilize the corn that they’re producing. (Duane) Isn’t it ironic it wasn’t that many years ago when ethanol really started to take a foothold? There were those discussions out there of how will we ever grow enough to supply all the needs that we have, be it from the livestock, export and ethanol markets. Just a few short years later here, we’ve got stock numbers that are a bit cumbersome. (Chris) I saw a flyer recently that was sponsored in part by the folks in the petroleum industry and they’re still talking about food versus fuel and how the fact that we can’t produce energy from corn without shorting our food supplies. And yet as we look at record crops, as we look at the stocks that farmers are holding on their farm, I think we can probably put those myths to rest. The challenge is farmers have proven throughout history that their productivity, their opportunity to use new technology and to produce more, year on year, is going to be able to meet the demands for food, for fiber, for feed for our livestock, as well as for the fuel that is running our cars today. (Duane) You referenced that our producers are extremely dynamic in their abilities to overcome those challenges. Regulations government-wise, we still continue to battle some issues there. It is an issue and one of the messages I left with the Kansas farmers, this is a time where you do tighten your belts. You buckle down. You figure out ways that you can cut costs and it’s frustrating to those farmers as we’re looking at regulatory challenges. A new Clean Water Act proposal from the U.S. EPA stayed by a court decision out of North Dakota and so therefore, not being implemented and yet farmers are committed to clean water. We have offered to work with the agency, have attempted to work with the agency and yet there wasn’t willingness to listen and so we’ve filed suit on behalf of our farmers. Yet at the end of the day we know that farmers need clarity in the rules and regulations governing clean water, governing environmental management on the farm. We’ve willing to work with the agency to do that. We’re just hopeful that there is a new spirit in the next administration that may be more open to sitting down at the table and working through these challenges. (Duane) Our thanks to Chris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, joining us at the Commodity Classic Kansas. Jamie back to you.
(Jamie) Thanks, Duane! Folks, come back after the break for the Kansas Farm Bureau Legislative Update.

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