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Seated beneath some California palm trees, Ty Higgins got an interview with Gene Baumgardner, president of the NCGA CornPAC Committee and a farmer from Ohio.

Commodity Classic kicks off in the California sun

Farmers from around the nation are gathering in Anaheim, Calif. this week for the 2018 Commodity Classic to find the answers, ideas, innovation, technology, equipment and expertise that can make a powerful difference on their farms while also setting policy for their national commodity organizations for 2018.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Visitors to this year’s Commodity Classic get to enjoy the event’s massive trade show and hear from speakers including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the Hefty Brothers, the nation’s highest yielding farmers, and many other industry experts.

Ty interviews Gene Baumgardner, president of the CornPAC Committee and a farmer from Ohio.
Ty interviews Gene Baumgardner, chairman of the CornPAC Committee and a farmer from Ohio.

Last night events kicked off with some committee meetings, state caucuses, issues briefings, and the National Corn Growers Association Corn PAC.

“Money that we raise for the PAC will be used to promote agriculture and to get our word out as we educate legislators about the importance of agriculture and the importance of corn growers to help ensure the status of our industry in the United States,” said Gene Baumgardner, chairman of the NCGA CornPAC Committee and a farmer from Jeffersonville, Ohio. “PACs are the most highly-regulated giving form in Washington. Everything is out in the open, everything is on the up and up and we can only solicit from membership of NCGA. It takes a lot of money to accomplish what we need to accomplish when it comes to policies in D.C.”

Much of the discussion among corn growers this week in Anaheim will be about the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and RINs, the mechanism put in place to move ethanol into the petroleum supply.

“This very important part of the RFS is under fire as we speak,” Baumgardner said. “We have politicians that represent everybody in the Nation’s Capitol, including some that represent the petroleum industry pretty heavily and we have to protect our place in the marketplace. All we are asking for is a place to sell ethanol. We will let our products speak for themselves but we need to have access to the marketplace first.”

Baumgardner admits that some of the conversations this week will not be as sunny as the Anaheim skies.

“There is a lot of concern for our markets, a lot of concern for prices and there’s a lot of concern for our customers,” Baumgardner said. “We worry about milk prices, we worry about the price of poultry and eggs and the price of pork. When we have $6 corn and $12 soybeans life is pretty easy, now there is plenty to be concerned about in the countryside.”

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