National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Chip Bowling took advantage of one of the nation's largest farm shows to talk about the important actions that must be taken by the federal government to shore up markets for the record 15.2 billion bushel corn crop anticipated in 2014.
"Farmers like to grow good crops. We remember the years we struggled, as many of us did just back in 2012 with the drought. We also like to sell our crops at a good price so we can leave our farms to future generations in better shape," said Bowling at the Farm Progress Show currently underway in Boone, Iowa. "As thrilled as we are with a record crop, we know it has its challenges, but there are a few simple actions Washington can take that will keep the situation from becoming much worse."
Specifically, Bowling called upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations set by Congress and clearly outlined in the Renewable Fuel Standard, eschewing previously proposed reductions.
"Let's be clear. Reducing the demand of corn for ethanol will significantly impact corn prices - at a time when prices are already too low. We need stability and we need EPA to stick to the statutory amount of corn ethanol in the RFS."
Bowling then pushed farmers to contact the EPA regarding the proposed rule defining what qualifies as a water of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act. Noting that farmers do need clarity on this issue, he stressed that important changes must be made before the rule is finalized.
"Farmers cannot afford more regulatory uncertainty that drives up costs," said Bowling. "We urge them to make their voices heard before the comment period ends Oct. 20."
Adding to the call for action, he urged the EPA to reaffirm its commitment to basing action upon sound scientific evidence rather that public opinion.
"EPA needs to stick with respecting sound science on crop protection products and seed treatments," he summarized. "The science is there, and it's in our favor. Let's move along now, and move ag forward, not backward."
Finally, he called upon Congress to move forward in passing modernized Trade Promotion Authority legislation, thus improving our nation's ability to advance trade agreements that open markets for U.S. farmers. He simultaneously called upon President Obama to play a role in promoting agricultural trade by intervening with China on the issue of biotechnology, stressing the need to remove barriers to corn and distillers grain imports that have been accepted in the other major corn markets.
This week, Bowling, who was joined by NCGA First Vice President Elect Rob Elliott, will spend time touring the show, meeting with scores of farmers and taking part in numerous interviews with farm media at the annual event.