Category: Policy

Don't play political games with crucial farm policy

Congress has started debating a fiscal year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill, which funds important food safety, farm services, animal health and nutrition programs. Unfortunately, some lawmakers are already trying to undo important parts of the farm bill, a piece of legislation that took four years to pass and hasn’t even been fully implemented yet.

Farmers’ crops are in the ground, and planting decisions were based on what they understood to be the rules of a the new five-year farm bill.

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Will there be another propane shortage this winter?

The weather is (finally) warm, but it wasn’t long ago that Minnesota farmers, homeowners and businesses were dealing with a propane shortage during harvest season made worse by a long, frigid winter.

Staff from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association have been meeting with industry representatives and government officials who are working to develop strategies to prevent another shortage this winter.

Here is a Q&A to summarize of what MCGA has learned so far:

What’s the issue?

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EWG recycles a bunch of ethanol myths, calls it a "study"

What do you get when Big Oil and corporate activists team up to attack farmers and consumers?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and its new (*ahem*), “study” bashing ethanol and corn farmers.

The (*cough*) “study” comes out just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to issue a final ruling on its proposal to slash the amount of homegrown ethanol blended into our fuel supply as called for in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

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NCGA to President Obama: Allow the bipartisan RFS to continue working

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), along with biotechnology businesses and ethanol groups, called on President Obama last week to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to slash the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In a letter sent to the President, NCGA and the other groups cited the recently released National Climate Assessment as yet another reason to maintain a strong RFS and continue setting our goals high for blending homegrown biofuels in our gasoline.

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What's up with EPA and the Renewable Fuel Standard?

It’s been two months since the public comment period ended on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and drastically reduce the amount of the homegrown ethanol blended in our fuel.

Over 7,000 Minnesota corn farmers signed letters telling EPA to not mess with the RFS. EPA still hasn’t decided if it will keep the proposed cuts, scale them back, or ditch them altogether.

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Making their voices heard: Legislative reception connects corn farmers and policymakers

Over 40 state legislators, staff, and agency leaders talked farming, biofuels and agriculture policy with corn farmers at the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) legislative reception in St. Paul on Wednesday.

The annual reception is an opportunity for corn farmers to connect with policymakers in an informal setting and help develop a better understanding of the challenges faced by farmers.

“The reception is another way to make sure the voices of corn farmers are being heard,”

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Corn farmers talk taxes, biofuels and stewardship at state capitol

Repealing the farm machinery repair tax, including farmers on discussions about environmental regulations, and supporting ethanol and biodiesel were just a few of the topics Minnesota corn farmers covered while meeting with more than 50 legislators at the state capitol on Thursday.

“Before we head out into the fields for spring planting, we went to St. Paul to make sure the voices of corn farmers are heard,” said John Mages, a farmer in Belgrade and chair of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s (MCGA) government relations committee.

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USDA releases before and after of the 2014 Farm Bill

USDA has released a document highlighting some of the differences between the previous farm bill and the recently passed 2014 farm bill.

Notable differences on the farm safety net provisions include:

  • Direct payments are eliminated
  • Farmers will now choose between Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage

The new farm bill also consolidates several conservation programs and links basic conservation practices to crop insurance premium subsidies on highly erodible lands and wetlands.

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EPA lands another blow to ethanol

With public comments on its proposal to slash the Renewable Fuel Standard currently under review, the Environmental Protection Agency has dealt yet another blow to ethanol. The agency announced yesterday that it will switch its test fuel from the proposed E15 to E10 as the certification fuel for new emissions standards to be in place by 2017.

(E15 is gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. E10 is blended with 10 percent ethanol.)

EPA says it’s doing this because E15 isn’t widely available on a national scale.

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Record breaking year for Commodity Classic

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

By just about every measure Commodity Classic grew by leaps and bounds in 2014. Held in San Antonio, Texas, the national annual farm gathering for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers drew 7,322 attendees — more than a thousand above last year’s total.

Organizers attribute much of the growth to a changing demographic that included 1,151 first-time attendees (a record) — many of them young farmers.

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