The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is preparing comments in response to a U.S. Department of Agriculture inquiry regarding the department’s role in differentiating grain inputs for ethanol production and standardizing testing of the co-products of ethanol production.

An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in July by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) asks stakeholders to weigh in on the potential role of GIPSA in formulating standard practices for the trade of ethanol co-products and ethanol input grains.

“In the case of ethanol input grains and co-products, it is the opinion of NCGA the market is working and emerging impediments to domestic and international trade are being proactively addressed by industry,” said Geoff Cooper, NCGA director of ethanol and business development.

“The current market framework for trading distillers grains, which involves minimal government participation, is effective.”

Cooper cited several examples of how the ethanol and feed industries are already taking voluntary action to add more structure to the distillers grains marketplace. One such example is the recent release of a report containing new guidelines for the analysis of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

The report, which also contains information on the definitions of DDGS and condensed distillers solubles, is the result of a year-long study funded jointly by NCGA, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA).

“Because ethanol co-products are critically important to the profitability of an ethanol plant, the industry has in recent years intensified efforts to better facilitate the global trade of co-products, improve physical and nutritional product quality, enhance product handling characteristics and implement best management practices,” he said.

“NCGA does not currently anticipate a need for GIPSA or other U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies to intensify their involvement in issues related to differentiating grain inputs for ethanol production or the testing and marketing of ethanol co-products.”

NCGA will formally respond to GIPSA with written comments within the next two weeks.