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Keeping a watchful eye on Washington

US Capitol

Colorado Corn and the National Corn Growers Association are keeping a close eye on what looks to be the nation’s largest corn crop on record and resulting low corn prices, and are particularly concerned about efforts in Washington that may drive prices down farther, stagnate markets or raise the cost of production.

Specifically, we’re watching:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut by 10 percent the amount of corn ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, a step that means future years also may see reductions. Reducing the demand of corn for ethanol will significantly impact prices.
  • The EPA’s proposal for new regulations regarding the Clean Water Act and the definition of which waters will be covered. Farmers need clarity and the proposed rule regarding “Waters of the U.S.” needs to be fixed. Farmers cannot afford more regulatory uncertainty that drives up costs.
  • Our own push in Washington for modernized Trade Promotion Authority legislation as provided in the bi-partisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014. This would improve our nation’s ability to advance trade agreements that open markets for U.S. farmers and increase export demand for corn and corn products.

New USDA Forecast: Corn production up in Colorado this year, record-high nationwide


Colorado's corn production is expected to be 138.2 million bushels this fall, almost 9 million bushels more than last year, according to a new USDA report released Tuesday morning.

Corn yields, too, will be up over last year, the forecast says. On average, Colorado’s corn growers are expected to harvest 144 bushels per acre, up from the yields of 131 bushels per acre they saw last year.

At 14.0 billion bushels, 2014 nationwide corn production is forecast to be the highest production on record for the U.S. The forecasted yield, at 167.4 bushels per acre, is also expected to be a new record for the U.S.

Eleven states expect a record high corn yield for 2014.

July began with below-normal temperatures in the Corn Belt, which helped the crop to rapidly progress in development. By July 13, thirty-four percent of this year’s corn crop was at or beyond the silking stage, with 76 percent of the crop reported in good to excellent condition. This rating was the highest recorded in the month of July since 2004.

Still waiting to see if GMO labeling will make the ballot


Proponents of a mandatory GMO-labeling initiative in Colorado turned in signatures prior to the deadline last week and now are waiting for verification.

If enough signatures are valid and this measure goes on the ballot in November, we cannot stress enough to vote "NO."

A statewide, mandatory labeling system would only contribute to an already complicated state-by-state patchwork of new food-labeling laws, and create more confusion for consumers and food producers.

Additionally, studies show genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption. The Food and Drug Administration recognizes these foods as safe, and the World Health Organization has said no ill health effects have resulted on the international market.

In response to what was believed to be an information gap, a team of Italian scientists summarized 1,783 studies from 2002-12 about the safety and environmental impacts of GMO foods. Those scientists concluded “the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops.”

Furthermore, some, including an editorial writer at The Denver Post,  have pointed out the "unintended consequences" of mandatory GMO labeling in Colorado - particularly those that would await small businesses.

Instead of mandatory, statewide food-labeling rules, Colorado Corn and many others support a nationwide labeling system, currently being pushed in D.C., which would create standards for all food labels, increase food-safety research and keep food producers on a more level playing field.

Colorado Corn's 'early warning' efforts honored by environmental officials


Colorado’s family corn growers have proven yet again that, while providing our feed, fuel and fiber, they’re doing so with the environment at the forefront of their minds.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced recently that the Colorado Corn Growers Association received the Bronze Environmental Achievement Award. The Greeley-based organization was recognized for its participation in the Early Warning System Development Team, which is creating a system to alert agricultural producers of impending weather conditions likely to transport nitrogen into Rocky Mountain National Park.

Nitrogen levels in Rocky Mountain National Park are attributed to various sources, not just agriculture. Additionally, many agricultural producers already have practices in place that help reduce the release of nitrogen, and only when weather conditions are right does nitrogen drift into the park.

“But we’re willing to put forth additional efforts to help protect the park,” added Mark Sponsler, CEO of the Colorado Corn Growers Association. 

GMO resources for you

We want you to have the information you need to be able to have fruitful discussions with your friends and neighbors about this important topic.



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