Everyone at Commodity Classic this year seemed to be impressed that attendance was as good or better than ever.
“As I understand it, we are either right at the record or over it, so that is phenomenal,” said National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman. Unofficial numbers I heard were about 4500 total registration with 1500 of those actual corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers.
The state of the ethanol industry was a major focus at the meeting, as well as the state of the livestock industry – both major concerns for corn growers since they represent two of the biggest markets for the commodity. Tolman says they are working hard to improve their relationship with the livestock industry which has been strained in the past year over biofuels.
NCGA is also working with the ethanol industry on two important issues that could adversely impact future production – indirect land use and higher blends. “The indirect land use issue is one that by statute the EPA has to look at in the Renewable Fuels Standard,” Rick says. “Personally, I think its a ridiculous concept and doesn’t make any sense at all, however it is in law, so EPA has to look at it.” Regarding both issues, Rick believes sound science will eventually win out.
Concerns about potential changes to the 2008 Farm Bill surfaced at Commodity Classic this week, as the Obama administration unveiled its budget proposal which calls for cuts in farm program spending. “The farm bill is a five year program and we just went through a whole two years of discussions to get that done and finally we get it signed and it hasn’t even been implemented yet and they’re talking about changing it,” Tolman said. “That’s a principal I think is wrong.”
Listen to an interview with Rick here: [audio:http://www.zimmcomm.biz/commodity-classic/cc-09-tolman.mp3]
If you’d like to see photos from this year’s Commodity Classic please feel free to visit our: 2009 Commodity Classic Photo Album