The National Corn Growers Association respectfully reminds its customers that their negative comments could further exacerbate price challenges.

"It's unfortunate that several of our key corn customers are sending negative signals to the marketplace right as corn farmers are making planting decisions," said NCGA President Ken McCauley.

"Higher futures prices today will encourage farmers to plant more corn acres and strive to maximize yields," he said. "However, if our customers' negative comments about corn and ethanol depress market prices before planting season, less corn will be planted, further exacerbating price challenges for our customers next fall after harvest.

"Yes, corn prices have increased. However, corn growers have been reminding their key customers for nearly a year of the importance of employing risk management strategies to hedge against rising corn prices," McCauley added.

The dynamic interest in corn and ethanol from Main Street to Wall Street is a long-term positive for all of agriculture, most importantly corn growers' customers, he said. "Profitable and efficient U.S. corn growers means that inputs for American livestock and poultry producers will be less expensive in the long term, as corn and other feedstuffs can be produced and procured domestically, at a price less than that of imports." he said. "Ethanol will continue to be a rising tide that lifts all boats - for corn growers, meat and food producers, and ultimately consumers here and abroad."

Some in the industry have speculated that outside detractors - possibly extreme environmentalists or Big Oil barons - have planted these seeds of discontent with livestock and poultry interests to intentionally start a so-called agricultural industry "food fight" in advance of Congressional deliberations on a new farm bill and proposed energy legislation.

"Booming opportunities in agriculture will entice the necessary capital to our industry for further research and development into all biofuels, which in turn will result in the higher productivity in yields for corn and other crops. This higher productivity will allow American farmers to once again rise to the challenge: continuing to satisfy food, feed, fuel and export customers AND help make a reality the President Bush's vision of expanding use of homegrown, renewable ethanol and other fuels."

Conversely, NCGA asks concerned parties to consider the possible results of increased scrutiny, less incentives, and more regulations on corn growers. "The impact of short-sighted, knee-jerk reactions by customers for corn may in the long term reduce opportunities for corn growers and result in less U.S. production of corn as well as other food and feedstuffs. Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it," McCauley said.

SOURCE: NCGA news release.