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Bowling highlights global view of corn
By DOROTHY NOBLE
GRANTVILLE, Pa. (March 7, 2017) — Chip Bowling, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association, reviewed the NCGA’s priorities, growth objectives and projections at the Corn and Soybean Congress on Feb. 23.
In addition to his leadership role in the NCGA, Bowling grows corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and grain sorghum in Newburg, Md.
NCGA’s strategic priorities, Bowling said, include increasing corn demand, strengthening customer and consumer trust, enhancing productivity and environmental sustainability, and striving for organizational excellence.
“People don’t understand farming, don’t like GMOs, and don’t want the land polluted.” Bowling said, idding, “They want safe food.”
A recent statement by NCGA CEO Chris Novak, said NCGA is working with other agricultural organizations to help reduce consumer misconceptions.
NCGA’s stated mission is to create grower opportunities in keeping with its vision to sustainably feed and fuel a growing world. And NCGA stresses that corn, a uniquely American crop, plays an important role in furthering our country’s success.
Bowling said NCGA has already been in touch with the Trump administration, including Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue.
In contrast with the previous administration, which Bowling said was tough to work with and to work for, NCGA is optimistic.
NCGA has started talks on the new Farm Bill. President Trump supports the renewable fuel, ethanol; and Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is committed to keeping ethanol. Consequently, Bowling predicted the ethanol market will grow.
Regarding NAFTA, Bowling said “NAFTA works for agriculture.” He urged retaining the favorable parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but getting rid of the unfavorable portions.
The NCGA is working with value chain partners to increase the competitive market demand for 19 billion bushels of corn through stable annual growth by 2025. Since the current usage is about 15 billion bushels, Bowling indicated that goal is within reach. He added that yields are expected to increase.
Bowling pointed to collaboration with the ethanol industry, animal and plant scientists and the livestock industry to improve the nutrient composition of corn and corn products. Plus, a related objective is bolstering livestock exports by 40 percent by 2020 by working with livestock organizations. Rising demand for meat, particularly in developing countries, increases the demand for U.S. corn as a feed grain according to USDA.
Noting that ethanol exports are a good driver of corn demand, NCGA is striving for enhanced ethanol usage by 4 billion gallons by 2020.
The Prime the Pump program and the fuel dispenser infrastructure initiative are targeted to increase ethanol utilization.
Designed to incentivize high-volume, independent retailers to upgrade equipment and market E15, Prime the Pump involves nine major retailers, including Sheetz, Mapco Mart, Kum & Go, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Thorntons, Protec Fuel, RaceTrac and Cenex.
The retailer requirements are: E15 at all pumps, a 5-year agreement, one million gallons per year per site, and E15 ads on the street.
Of the $68.7 million from the ethanol and corn industries, the NCGA and the state associations pledged $2.4 million. Current projects have committed $62.2 million.
Retail sites number 725, with Prime the Pump E15/E85. Over 4,400 E85/E15 dispensers are being installed in 23 states.
NCGA supports upgrading the fuel dispenser infrastructure. At this time 90 percent of fuel dispensers are not certified to dispense fuel above E10.
For mid-level blends, autos must double corporate average fuel economy mileage standards and meet greenhouse gas reductions by 2025. Numerous technologies are being investigated. The easiest and least expensive is engine downsizing, longer stroke, high compression ratio and turbocharged.
Optimal performance requires higher octane and ethanol is the cheapest source. NCGA reports that E25 blended with existing blendstock gives the high octane fuel required by optimized engines.
To further the export objective, NCGA is reviewing opportunities to partner with the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council on specific projects.
The U.S. exports feed grain corn to numerous countries. At present, the top destinations are Mexico, Japan, Columbia, South Korea, Peru and China (Taiwan).