Delegates to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress policy meeting and corn growers elsewhere during the 2013 Commodity Classic last week talked up the importance of defending the Renewable Fuel Standard and getting a smart and strong five-year farm bill passed this year after the numerous delays of 2012.

At a time when corn yields are still rising strong, the importance of protecting a growing market like ethanol is paramount to corn farmers.

Despite the drought last year, for example, more corn growers than ever before had yields of 300 or higher on the National Corn Yield Contest, demonstrating that all markets — livestock feed, exports, and others as well as ethanol — will be important to the organization.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard is important because it provides a level of stability to the marketplace and ensures there is a good supply of domestic, renewable biofuel available,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “It helps create jobs and save struggling rural communities.”

Johnson also noted corn growers believe it is time to make fundamental changes to long established farm programs, and growers support reforms that include programs that will provide assistance to growers only when it is most needed.

“An effective, affordable federal crop insurance program remains our No. 1 farm policy priority,” Johnson said. “And we have long supported programs that complement growers' crop insurance protection in those years where prices or yields are significantly reduced.

“For growers, especially young farmers, managing the potential loss of revenue is critically important.’’