The incoming president of the National Corn Growers Association says growing demand is rapidly becoming job No. 1 for U.S. grain producers.
Wesley Spurlock, a corn producer from Stratford on the Texas High Plains, became the president of NCGA on Oct. 1. He formerly served as first vice president of the organization that represents most of the nation’s corn producers.
“This year is much like the one we just finished,” he said. “We are looking at a massive corn crop. It is still being harvested but, even with some rain problems in the Midwest, the yields may be there. So, growing demand remains awfully important to finding a use for this crop.”
The day Spurlock was interviewed by NCGA communications specialists, click here, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA was beginning to make $7 billion in Agricultural Risk coverage and Price Loss Coverage payments for the 2015 crops, including corn.
“Farmers are struggling. This is a shot in the arm when they need it most,” said Spurlock. “We advocated for a shift to a market-based program that kicks in only when needed. Now is that time.”
10 percent of revenue
According to USDA calculations, these payments will account for 10 percent of 2016 projected net farm income. Net farm incomes have declined 55 percent over the last two years, and most farms will be operating at a loss in 2016.
“These payments will help provide reassurance to America's farm families, who are standing strong against low commodity prices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release announcing the program payments.
USDA is forecasting U.S. producers will harvest more than 15 billion bushels of corn in 2016, a massive crop that is forcing growers to scramble to find places to store what will be a record amount of grain.
They’re also trying to build more demand, as Spurlock noted, in this interview at last year’s Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga. To watch, click on http://bit.ly/2dZehxg. One of the keys will be the NCGA’s new action team structure that aligns team goals with the strategic plan.
“"Our new action teams work well with our strategic plan,” said Spurlock. “We have three new teams focused on demand: the Ethanol Action Team; the Feed, Food and Industrial Action Team; and the Market Access Action Team. These groups on the demand side will all be working hard to find out where we are and where we need to be.
“We have to work every side of this. We need trade. We need to work for the Trans Pacific Partnership. We need to work with our partners in the livestock industry. We need to work with the ethanol industry to keep that market open. And, we need to keep government regulations from becoming more cumbersome."
Spurlock stressed the role members play: “Our grassroots are an essential part of our organization. We have to hear from the bottom all the way up. Members can start in their state associations and speak to them. The states can bring that to the national organization.
“We need the grassroots to go straight to their representatives and senators. They have to be active on the political side and the regulatory side. When we ask, it is because we do really need all of our members to come out and voice their opinions so that we can all keep the freedom to farm.”
Spurlock thanked Secretary Vilsack and USDA for their efforts to strengthen the farm economy, and he called on Congress to support policies that will improve market access and grow demand for corn.
“Thank you to Secretary Vilsack for being a strong advocate for farmers and rural communities. We appreciate USDA's Farm Service Agency for getting payments out in a timely fashion,” he said.
For more on the NCGA, visit http://www.ncga.com/home.