ST. LOUIS, August 10, 2012 – National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Garry Niemeyer released a statement in response to USDA reports released today that estimated the U.S. corn yield this year to be its lowest in 17 years.
Niemeyer said the August crop report “confirms our concerns that corn production may be several billion bushels less than previously anticipated, due to a summer heat wave which kept temperature well above normal and offered only sporadic rain.” In his statement, Niemeyer voiced confidence that “in the long run, the market works.”
“While speculators aiming for personal gain and emotionally charged decisions may drive corn prices beyond justifiable levels in the short term, these factors will subside,” he said. “As it always has, the market will correct and continue to effectively allocate the corn supply for our various customers.”
Giving credit to advanced seed technology, biotechnology and new genetics, he said innovative agronomic practices will salvage some supply.
Without these technologies, “which help corn plants use water more efficiently and better tolerate extreme heat and other drought conditions, production losses would be much greater,” he said.
He also emphasized the minor impact corn has on consumer food prices in America, noting that USDA projects the total impact of the drought on retail food prices to be less than one percent.
“Corn remains an incredibly small portion of the price paid for groceries and provides a relatively inexpensive, quality ingredient used to make the affordable, nutritious foods we enjoy,” he said. “While the price of corn may be higher than it has been historically, the amount of corn in a box of corn flakes still only costs about 12 cents, and only 37 cents’ worth of corn is needed to produce a pound of hamburger.”
Reaffirming NCGA’s support of the Renewable Fuel Standard, Niemeyer did say the organization supports the waiver process to reduce the mandate that is embodied in the current RFS. He asked “that any parties who would seek RFS changes do so in this manner, rather than through legislation.”
“We think that it is still somewhat premature to consider a partial waiver of RFS provisions,” he added.
Finally, the NCGA president called on Congress to pass a farm bill this year, because “the crop insurance and risk management tools authorized in this legislation provide critical assistance to crop and livestock farmers when they face losses due to drought and other adverse weather conditions.”
He said the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee “have already done their job,” and “we strongly urge the Speaker of the House to get the farm bill on the House floor for an open debate and quick vote.”
“Now is the time for all of American agriculture to pull together and work together for solutions that benefit us all,” he said in the statement.
For Niemeyer’s full statement, go here.
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