News Releases2016-11-14T23:08:29-06:00

Looking Forward to a Productive Year Ahead in the Nation’s Capitol

February 24, 2023|Categories: General Information, News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

Looking Forward to a Productive Year Ahead in the Nation’s Capitol

By Kathy Reding Bergren

Published 2.24.2023

[Editor’s note: Brooke S. Appleton, NCGA’s vice president of public policy, is on maternity leave, and this month’s issue of Ears in Washington has been written by a guest columnist.]

As the new Congress picks up the pace, NCGA staff are working on a number of issues in Washington, including the Mexican ban on genetically modified corn, reauthorization of the Farm Bill and biofuels policy, including reintroduction of The Next Generation Fuels Act.

Here are some highlights of our work so far:

Fighting Mexico’s GM Corn Ban. Mexican officials have issued a decree that would ban imports of biotech corn. That’s problematic for U.S. corn growers, as the majority of corn grown in the U.S. is biotech corn, and Mexico is one of our largest customers. Originally the ban was to take effect in early 2024, a little less than a year from now. But Mexican officials recently announced that biotech corn for human consumption would be banned immediately, while the ban on biotech corn used in animal feed would be postponed until a substitute is found.

We continue working closely with allies on Capitol Hill and in the administration to hold Mexico accountable for commitments made under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA is a rules-based and science-based agreement, and this issue provides our trade officials with an opportunity to stand up for this trade pact. We have also taken to the media and called on the Biden administration to initiate a dispute settlement under USMCA. Once that formal process is started, the issue could be resolved in six to nine months. With regular ongoing discussions among all parties, stay tuned for further new developments.

Supporting Reauthorization of the Farm Bill. This important legislation, which governs many of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agricultural and food programs, is up for renewal this year, providing policymakers with an opportunity to strengthen existing programs. NCGA, state corn associations and our farmer members are working closely with policymakers to help them understand the importance of the farm bill and ensure the bill addresses the needs of corn growers.

NCGA’s principles for the 2023 farm bill include protecting crop insurance, bolstering U.S. international market development efforts, strengthening the producer safety net, supporting voluntary conservation programs and championing initiatives important to rural America. Corn growers are participating in important congressional stakeholder meetings, collaborating with broad agriculture coalitions and working closely with members on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to secure a strong farm bill this year. With the process moving forward, and twists and turns expected along the way, NCGA will continue to keep you informed and provide opportunities to weigh in.

Next Generation Fuels Act Reintroduction. As high fuel prices and energy security concerns persist, along with a focus on cutting emissions, NCGA continues to advance ethanol as an energy, climate and economic solution. To that end, we are working with bipartisan members of the House and Senate on reintroduction of The Next Generation Fuels Act for this Congress. This legislation would clean up our nation’s fuel supply and transition new vehicles to use low carbon, high octane fuels, creating an important pathway for higher ethanol blends. This transition to updated fuels and vehicles would cut fuel costs, reduce emissions, and increase fuel efficiency. This transition would also support agriculture’s contribution toward decarbonizing transportation.

Working on corn farmers’ behalf requires great leadership. NCGA staff were thrilled to learn in late February that one of our own, Neil Caskey, was chosen by the Corn Board as NCGA’s new CEO. Neil has decades of experience advocating on behalf of farmers, and we’re excited about new ideas he has for NCGA.

We will keep up the good fight on these and many other issues, and at times, we will call on you to take action. To that end, please make sure you are signed up for NCGA’s action alerts by texting COB to 52886.

Here’s to a productive year ahead!

Bergren is director of public policy and renewable fuels at the National Corn Growers Association.

Kathy Bergren 2022 Recent
Ears In Washington Dc (002)

To Successfully Shape 2023 Farm Bill, Corn Growers Encouraged to Build Bridges with Groups Outside of the Ag Community

August 3, 2022|Categories: General Information, News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

By Brooke S. Appleton

After Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861, he appointed to his cabinet the very opponents he had vanquished in the bitter and hard-fought battle for the Republican nomination the year before. The team of rivals, representing very different ideological positions within the GOP of the time, helped the president go on to win the Civil War, abolish slavery and keep the country intact.

I thought of Lincoln’s team of rivals as I moderated a recent discussion in Washington on the upcoming farm bill reauthorization.

The panel, composed of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and Richard Fordyce, who served as Farm Service Agency administrator during the Trump administration, echoed the team of rivals approach by challenging corn growers to take the lead in broadening the coalition engaged in the farm bill and fostering relationships with stakeholders outside of commodity and livestock organizations.

Heitkamp used food security as an example, noting that increasingly members on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are prioritizing domestic and international food security. She said to be successful, corn growers are going to have to build relationships with members of Congress who focus on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Not every congressional district has a farmer. But they do have people who need food and security assistance,” Heitkamp observed.

The panelists stated that corn growers have a lot to offer groups outside the ag community, noting for example, that we have a great story to tell on helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions that could help us collaborate more with conservation and environmental organizations. Our discussion, which delved into the farm bill process and is available online, got me to thinking about how some of our recent wins were made possible precisely because we broadened our messages and worked with policymakers on both sides of the aisle.

For example, our bipartisan work in Congress created an atmosphere where we could send a strong signal to the administration about biofuels having the ability to lower the skyrocketing prices drivers were paying at the pump while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the president used his authority to extend consumer access to higher levels of ethanol through this summer.

I also credit our bipartisan work for the recent win with the U.S. International Trade Commission. After months of speculation that ITC would grant a petition by a U.S. fertilizer company to place duties on nitrogen fertilizers imported from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago, in mid-July the commissioners ruled against imposing such duties.

And in late July, senators worked across party lines to introduce the Next Generation Fuels Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill would allow for higher blends of ethanol, saving consumers money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We must continue to think strategically about the ways in which we can forge relationships with people and groups outside the agricultural industry. As the upcoming midterm elections approach, it is also important that we support candidates who express a willingness to work across the political divide in the interest of helping farmers succeed.

While political firebrands can be appealing and effective at getting their point of view across, we also need consensus builders to deliver results, especially during trying and tumultuous times.

My years in Washington have shown me that great things can be accomplished when advocates build inclusive coalitions.

As Lincoln taught us, politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Appleton is vice president of public policy with the National Corn Growers Association.


North Dakota Corn Grower-leaders Visit Capitol Hill

July 20, 2022|Categories: News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

Six board members from the North Dakota Corn Growers Association and its executive director just returned from Washington D.C., participating in National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) action teams, Corn Congress, and visits on Capitol Hill. 

A full day of appointments on July 13 included, Farm Service Agency Zach Ducheneaux the ag counselor at the Embassy of Canada, North Dakota three members of Congress Senator John Hoeven, Senator Kevin Cramer and Representative Kelly Armstrong, and U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member John Boozman of Arkansas. The ag leaders conveyed priorities to the public officials including roll-out of the new Emergency Relief Program, the Upcoming Farm Bill, biofuels and ethanol, pesticides and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed restrictions, vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the border with value-added ag products, trade, and climate policy in agriculture. The group also presented to the state’s Congressional delegation photos of North Dakota corn as depicted by NDCGA’s photo contest winners across the state. 

President Andrew Mauch served as a delegate and also on the Production Technology Access Action Team, Board members Joe Sheldon serves on the Risk Management and Transportation Action, Board member Greg Amundson serves on the Stewardship Action Team, executive director Brenda Elmer on the Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team, and Vice-President Brian Leier and Secretary-Treasurer Drew Courtney served as delegates. Board member Ben Bakko served on the NCGA election committee for Corn Board elections. 

During Corn Congress session, where delegates consider the public policy priorities of NCGA and proposed changes, North Dakota proposed an action item that was adopted to ask federal officials to consider how the vaccination mandates to cross the border are impacting trade, and worsening inflation and supply chain problems. This Department of Homeland Security regulation prompted during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and renewed as recently as April of this year without an end date. Growers gave examples of workforce shortage made worse as fewer trucks can get through. The item was passed by the corn delegation. 

During this time too, NCGA presented the organization’s prestigious President’s Award to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for his significant contributions to agriculture policy that is advantageous to corn growers. 

The delegates also elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board. Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2023 fiscal year, are new board members Matt Frostic of Michigan and J.R. Roesner of Indiana. Current board members Kelly Harsh of Ohio, Brian Thalmann of Minnesota and Dan Wesely of Nebraska were re-elected. 

The delegation also heard from a guest panel discussing the upcoming farm bill, that included Brooke Appleton, VP Public Policy for NCGA, Richard Fordyce, former Administrator, Farm Service Agency; the Honorable Daniel Glickman, former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Heidi Heitkamp, former Senator from North Dakota 


North Dakota Corn Growers Appreciate EPA Action on 2022 Renewable Fuel Volumes

June 3, 2022|Categories: News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

The final 2022 renewable fuel volumes released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will support access to higher blends of ethanol, saving consumers money at the pump and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

For 2022, the final Renewable Fuel Standard volume of 20.63 billion gallons includes an implied 15 billion gallons of ethanol, following the law. EPA also added a supplemental 250-million-gallon requirement for 2022, responding to a 2017 Court decision finding EPA improperly waived past volumes. EPA finalized the delayed 2021 volume at 18.85 billion gallons, including an implied 13.79 billion gallons for ethanol, tracking retroactive renewable fuel consumption for the year.

In a separate action, EPA finalized denial of 69 pending RFS exemption petitions. Closing the books on RFS exemptions helps restore much-needed integrity to the forward-looking volumes set today.

“More ethanol in the fuel supply saves Americans money at the pump and lowers greenhouse gas emissions,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington. “Higher renewable fuel volumes for this year, which will increase and diversify our fuel supply, come at a crucial time as policymakers are working to lower fuel prices.”

Ethanol is priced $1.42 less per gallon than unblended gasoline at wholesale today, and drivers currently save up to 20 cents or more per gallon where E15 is available. Ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 50% compared to gasoline and replaces the most toxic gasoline components to cut air pollution.

“American consumers are increasingly looking for relief from 40-year high inflation that continues to erode the family budget. Using ethanol is an easy part of the equation in stretching their dollar and giving drivers more for their money,” said North Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Brenda Elmer. “And homegrown ethanol is not only a better value than imported oil, but it also cuts climate emissions. It’s really a win-win.”

“When President Biden visited an Iowa ethanol production facility in April, he said ethanol reduces our reliance on foreign oil, creates choice and competition at the pump for better prices, creates good-paying jobs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” said Edgington. “Farmers agree, and the increased RFS volumes for 2022 and denial of pending refinery exemptions will advance these objectives and move renewable fuels forward.”

While Edgington praised EPA for the strong forward-looking 2022 renewable fuel volumes, he expressed disappointment the agency made an unnecessary retroactive reduction of 2020 RFS volumes. The RFS already self-adjusts for declining fuel use, such as occurred in 2020, and this further reduction rewards the use of more oil at the expense of the environment.

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association advocates for the more than 13,000 corn growers in the state and has since 1987. NDCGA is the farmer-led membership organization focusing on policy that impacts North Dakota corn producers. The NDCGA board of directors consists of 14 growers from 7 districts along with 2 at-large directors and 3 industry representatives. Become a member today at


Even with Unprecedented Events in Washington, Good News Abounds for Farmers, Though Challenges Also Lay Ahead

May 31, 2022|Categories: News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

By Brooke S. Appleton

I have spent close to 20 years living and working in our nation’s Capital, and I have never seen the number of unprecedented events here that we’ve seen over the last year.

From the war in Ukraine to the Roe v. Wade leak to inflation, leaders in this city are moving from one unprecedented event to another, and other important issues are being drowned out as a result.

Luckily, NCGA has still been able to secure important wins for farmers, though we face many challenges ahead. Indeed, thanks to the hard work of farmer leaders, we have seen the following results in recent months:

  • Extension of Access to Higher Ethanol Blends. The president’s recent announcement that his administration is allowing for the continuation of consumer access to higher blends of ethanol through the coming summer months was a major victory for consumers and corn growers alike. Having the president, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders, take time to visit an Iowa ethanol plant and highlight the many economic and environmental benefits ethanol offers speaks to what can be accomplished with a unified message.
  • Expansion of High-Speed Internet Access. Funding is being released to lower the cost of high-speed internet throughout the country, including in rural communities. This is a product of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed late last year. The development is a crucial win in helping farmers become even more competitive in a digitally connected marketplace. It’s also an example of the type of work that can be accomplished when both parties work together.
  • Updates to Locks and Dams. Thanks to funding provided for in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Army Corps of Engineers has begun to implement plans to update the locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi River System. This is important to farmers because the system transports 60% of American corn and soybean exports to the market. Yet, much of the infrastructure that makes this possible hasn’t been updated since the 1930s. Farmers who are used to the financial burdens associated with delays along the system, will soon see barges moving more quickly and efficiently thanks to these updates.

While we have a lot to be appreciative of, our path forward is formidable. A host of hot-button issues means Congress will continue to engage in a game of whack-a-mole.

Even in this chaotic environment, we are moving forward with our legislative priorities. For example, we are working to garner more support for the Next Generation Fuels Act, which recognizes and takes advantage of the high-octane, low-carbon, lower-cost benefits of ethanol to begin to transition the United States to a higher-octane fuel supply. We are also focused on what can be done to lower farmer input costs and working hard to preserve the usage of important crop protection tools while gearing up for reauthorization of the next farm bill.

You are an important part of this effort. Members of Congress listen to their constituents, so when you send a letter or call your member, it helps us advance our policy priorities. So, we will continue turning to you and your fellow growers as we work on these key issues.

If you aren’t already, please sign-up for the National Corn Growers Association advocacy alerts. You can sign up here or by texting GROW to 50457. We will send you alerts that will provide you with an opportunity to connect with your members of Congress on key priorities.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one. We are competing for the attention of our national leaders, who are dealing with a world of problems. But we know from recent accomplishments that when we work together, we can make meaningful accomplishments.

Let’s keep going!

Appleton is vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.


North Dakota Corn Growers Pleased with New Whip+ Program Implementation

May 17, 2022|Categories: News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) was pleased with USDA’s announcement that the implementation of the new Whip+ disaster program and funding will finally begin.

NDCGA President, Rob Hanson, stated, “The North Dakota Corn Growers Association thanks Senator John Hoeven for his continuous support and prompting in getting the new Whip+ program rolled out for our state’s corn growers who have taken the brunt of drought and other disaster events the last two years. Senator Hoeven worked closely with our state’s corn grower leaders during development of the assistance program and then pressing the administration consistently to implement it. It’s been a long time coming and it will be an important tool as we now try to counter unusually high input cost increases from fertilizer, chemicals, farm equipment, and even land. Net farm income is expected to be down because of the input cost spikes, despite good commodity prices. We thank Senator Cramer and Congressman Armstrong for their support as well.”

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association advocates for the more than 13,000 corn growers in the state, and has since 1987. NDCGA is the farmer-led membership organization focusing on policy that impacts North Dakota corn producers. The NDCGA board of directors consists of 14 growers from 7 districts along with 2 at-large directors and 3 industry representatives. Become a member today at


35 Years of NDCGA

April 22, 2022|Categories: News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

By Robert Thompson, NDCGA’s First President


This year marks the 35th Anniversary of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA). In the late 1980s, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) was interested in establishing NDCGA for several reasons. The Canadian Countervailing Duty (CVD) on corn was destroying the Canadian corn market, the Ontario corn market was major for the Eastern corn belt, and North Dakota needed access to our Senators to promote corn policy. The NCGA headquarters are located in St. Louis; however, the NCGA Washington office oversees government affairs. NCGA has a major influence on the Farm Bill and other government related issues because of the large number of acres grown and bushels of corn produced. Corn acres in North Dakota were increasing dramatically in the 1980s which made North Dakota a viable option.

In 1987, the growers of corn in North Dakota saw the CVD affecting demand for corn and the influence NCGA had on policy; thus, corn farmers in the state showed strong interest in joining NCGA. Other issues were: extending communication with other states about expanding markets for corn in food, fuel, ethanol, and industrial uses. We realized corn was king. Dave Drennan, NCGA Field Services Director, was quoted in the Forum newspaper about looking at North Dakota as its next affiliated NCGA state. Informational meetings were held in Page and Southeast North Dakota. Several people were interested in the start-up of NDCGA including; Dave Drennan, NCGA; Kevin Pifer, North Dakota Department of Agriculture; Rudy Radke, Cass County Agent; industry personnel, seed dealers, chemical representatives, the American Coalition of Ethanol, North Dakota State University Extension, and Minnesota and South Dakota Corn Growers Associations.

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association was organized on April 13, 1987, at the Fargo Doublewood Inn. By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation were accepted. Officers elected were Robert Thompson, President and National Director; Wallie Hardie, Vice President and Alternate National Director; Henning Anderson, Secretary; and Wayne Rehovsky, Treasurer. Wallie Hardie was elected to be the NDCGA President in 1989. Thompson went on to be the NCGA Treasurer. Hardie was subsequently elected NCGA President.

January 1988 membership meetings were held in Mooreton, Oakes, Valley City, Carrington, and Grand Forks. 1989 meetings were held in Colfax, Lisbon, Oakes, Bismarck, and Page. A decision was made to publish a newsletter at the end of each year outlining NDCGA activities. On November 19, 1990, the NDCGA passed a motion to establish a check-off. The legislation for a corn check off of ¼ of one percent of the value per bushel sold passed in the spring of 1991. The legislation provided funds for feeding distillers dried grain, ethanol promotion, Canadian free trade agreement, coal desulfurization project, degradable plastics and increasing corn acres.

The production and marketing of corn was making huge changes in the late 1980s. On the production side, better hybrids, genetically modified seed, fertility, rootworm, corn borer, frost, crop insurance, water issues, drought tolerance and other factors were important to farmers. Marketing presented more decisions for the farmer with Canadian, west coast, Montana, local, and ethanol demands. It used to be enough to grow corn, but there is a need for demand with the increasing corn production.

NDCGA is instrumental in increasing corn acres in the state through promotions and educational communication. The structural organization of the NDCGA and NCGA provide the opportunity to make adjustments in the growing of corn. In the future, corn will continue to capture more acres in the state; however, North Dakota needs to increase its supply of nitrogen fertilizer and propane through processing plants in western North Dakota. Corn growers should help promote their corn and the corn industry by being members of NDCGA. It’s not enough to grow corn and hope someone will buy it.

35 Years Horizantal Stack



As Biden Steps Up for Farmers, Corn Growers Work to Advance Legislation on Ethanol

April 22, 2022|Categories: General Information, News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

By Brooke S. Appleton

It was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie. Just as it looked as though the oil industry had succeeded in ending consumer access to higher levels of ethanol – a biofuel that is environmentally friendly and cuts gas prices – over the summer months, President Biden makes an eleventh-hour decision to use his emergency powers to allow for consumer choice.

Yet, this wasn’t something out of Hollywood; it was reality. I was pleased to travel to Menlo, Iowa, on April 12 to watch the president tell a barn full of farmers that he would use his emergency authority to extend access to 15% ethanol blended fuel, or E15, through this summer.

The president’s announcement comes after two years of legal drama, in which the oil industry, looking after its own profit margin, sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end access to E15 during the summer months. A court ruled in 2021 that the EPA had acted outside of its authority, and, as a result, access to E15 was set to end over the summer months, each year, starting this June.

The consequences to ending access to E15, even for a few months, would have been serious for consumers and the U.S. economy. Gas prices would have risen even more than they already have; greenhouse gas emissions would have increased; and rural communities and farmers would have felt the economic effect of a shrinking demand for ethanol.

Many thought getting the president to step in was a long shot. Afterall, he’s dealing with a deadly pandemic, rising inflation, a devastating war in Europe and a host of other issues. But corn grower leaders understood that all the president’s travails were a recipe for a winning argument for higher uses of ethanol.

Corn grower leadership alongside the ethanol industry have been making the argument to administration officials and Congress that ethanol is a tool that can help the president address many of the country’s problems, from climate change to a sluggish economy. Timing was of the essence with the deadline quickly approaching, but just as it looked as though there wasn’t much hope, we received word from the White House that the president was to give a speech in Iowa the next day.

Mystery abounded, flights were booked, holding statements were drafted. Surely, we thought, the president wouldn’t give a speech in Iowa if he weren’t going to make an announcement about E15. Then official word finally came in the evening beforehand from the White House that the president would intervene on the matter in favor of consumers and corn growers.

Now we look to next steps.

As we look to build on this momentum, we encourage Congress to advance the Next Generation Fuels Act. The Next Generation Fuels Act highlights ethanol’s unique ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while unlocking new engine efficiency gains, allowing consumers to drive further between fill-ups.

The bill will not only help further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it will also help lower gas prices, help family farms and revitalize rural economies.

Whether it’s combatting climate change, helping lower soaring fuel prices or helping rural communities and family farms, there is something in the Next Generation Fuels Act for Democrats and Republicans alike. That’s why we are continuing to work to garner bipartisan support for this landmark legislation.

So, we’re leaving one movie and moving to the sequel. Like all movies, we have villains, heroes and many twist, turns and surprises. But unlike a movie, the outcomes of these efforts have a real impact on real people.

That’s why we take time to savor this victory while preparing for the next.

Appleton is vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.


New Wet Corn Mill in Grand Forks

November 9, 2021|Categories: General Information, News Releases, North Dakota Corn Growers Association|

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) is pleased with the recent announcement of Fufeng Group Limited’s plans to develop and build a wet corn mill in Grand Forks. President Rob Hanson, a corn grower leader from Wimbledon, ND made the following statement:

“North Dakota’s corn growers are seeing growing demand for our commodity here, in North Dakota, and we look forward to having an additional market for our state’s corn. Anytime we can take a raw agricultural commodity and add value through production processes, it helps our farmers and is beneficial to the community.

We look forward to working with the Fufeng Group and to step up to help provide them with the quality North Dakota corn they will need to be successful.”

Another corn grower leader and NDCGA Board Member, Greg Amundson, from Gilby, ND added, “We are glad to see investments in corn in the northern Red River Valley and are optimistic. Going forward, we will have the much-needed direct to end user option that has been lacking in recent years in the northern valley.”

The North Dakota Corn Growers Association advocates for the more than 13,000 corn growers in the state, and has since 1987.