Despite recent doldrums, the U.S. corn industry offers opportunities for grower profitability.

“The potential for corn is almost limitless,” says Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association.

Tolman, speaking at the recent Texas Commodity Symposium in Amarillo, said the NCGA will focus on six national priorities in the immediate future: Research and business development, transportation, ethanol, trade, biotechnology, and the farm bill.

“Through research and business development, we'll look for new uses for corn, including non-food items.”

He said transportation needs include improving locks and dams on the upper Mississippi River and “keeping the Missouri River navigable. We may need legislative initiatives,” he said.

He said a goal for biotechnology will be “to minimize trade distortions. We also need to promote international trade.”

He said the farm bill should be “globally competitive with U.S. grains given ample access to world markets.”

“It needs to be environmentally conscious, and it needs to update bases and yields. We also need to maintain the current level of market loan assistance.”

Tolman said ethanol will be a key for the grain industry. “We need for demand to grow. Production capacity will increase this year. Currently, 56 plants are in operation, 16 more are under construction and others are on the planning boards.

“We also need to market ethanol by-products aggressively. Dry distillers grain, for instance, provides a good livestock feed supplement. We're seeing a tremendous interest in ethanol by-products,” Tolman said.


e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com