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Corn growers keep revenue-based policy

Agriculture.com Staff 03/05/2007 @ 7:06am

TAMPA, Florida -- By a vote of 59% to 41%, delegates to the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Congress defeated an attempt Saturday to combine support for marketing loans with the group's push for a new type of commodity safety net that would be similar to revenue-based crop insurance.

The argument for including marketing loans was led by delegates from Texas and others who said that pushing a revenue-based program was isolating the corn growers from other commodity groups and that a revenue-based program might not work as well for some other crops. The Texas delegation also had support from Alabama, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota and News York.

Delegates from Iowa and Illinois and Ohio said the current system that includes marketing loans fails when farmers don't have crops to harvest.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't work," said Fred Yoder, an Ohio farmer and past president of NCGA.

Leon Corzine of Illinois, another past president, argued against giving up.

"We've gotten a lot of good publicity and a lot of good momentum from the action team," that developed the new policy. Corzine said.

The Corn Growers accepted that argument, and the fact that it may not be possible to find enough money in the new farm bill to keep marketing loans and add on a revenue-based system that would provide financial support when yields as well as prices are low.

The Corn Growers adopted a policy that calls for a revenue-based counter cyclical program that would be integrated with existing crop insurance. It wouold also be market sensitive while providing a safety net to farmers.

The proposal wasn't more specific and is designed to allow NCGA leaders and staff to work with other commodity and farm groups.

After the meeting, NCGA president Ken McCauley said he still thinks it's possible to get Congress to consider the idea, even though the other commodity groups meeting in Florida last week, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the American Soybean Association, have their own ideas for price support changes that keep the marketing loan program.

"I think we owe it to our members to look and evaluate this," McCauley told Agriculture Online. "It's got a lot of opportunities if we can make it work right."

McCauley and others in NCGA think that the revenue-based counter cyclical program might work as a permanent disaster program if Congress includes that in the next farm bill.

"It's got the most permanent disaster of anything I've seen of any of the commodities. That's a real plus," McCauley said.

Meeting at the same time on Saturday, the American Soybean Association didn't change its policy that favors rebalancing loan rates and target prices for all commodities, based on a 130% Olympic average of prices from 2000 to 2004 for target prices and 95% for loan rates.

"Everybody pretty much as far as I've seen among our delegates was 100% in favor of where we've gone on the commodity title," said ASA president Rick Ostlie after the meeting. "There was no dissention at all."

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