PILES OF CORN AND LIMITATIONS TO MARKET ACCESS

Tricia Braid

Oct, 22, 2014  |  Today's News

Millions of bushels of corn are already in temporary or emergency storage in Illinois and the corn harvest isn’t even half completed as of yet: where will all the corn go and when will we see at least break-even prices again?

These questions are top of mind as Illinois farmers get back to work this week to bring in a record breaking crop.

“What I really need to know as a corn farmer is when are all these unnecessary policies, regulations, and rules going to be dealt with?” asked Gary Hudson, Illinois Corn Growers Association President. “At this point we are looking at barriers to market access and we can’t afford that with 200 bushel per acre corn yields.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now forecasting Illinois corn yield at 200 bushels per acre, the highest ever forecasted number and up six bushels from the September forecast. The yield forecast that is next highest was the 180 bushels forecasted 10 years ago in 2004.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Warehouses reports that as of October 21, 2014, temporary storage applications had been authorized or were in the approval stages for some 107,421,000 bushels of grain, typically corn. Authorization for another 3,155,000 bushels had been requested for emergency storage. The Bureau estimates that by the end of harvest, they will have received permit requests for more temporary and emergency storage than in typical crop years, well exceeding historic averages.

“Given the large corn harvest, we know that it’s important to build new demand for our corn, but we also know that demand exists that we just can’t access for a variety of reasons,” said Hudson.

Export markets are rebuilding after the demand destruction of the 2012 drought, but waterways infrastructure is inadequate and failing and Congress hasn’t funded the necessary improvements.

Ethanol remains less expensive than gasoline and should provide a price benefit to all motorists, but the arbitrary blend wall established by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rules limits domestic demand. Big Oil actively limits corn ethanol’s market access, as well. Less than one percent of gasoline stations controlled by the so-called Big 5 Big Oil companies offer E85 or E15 at their pumps. Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether these oil industry contract and pricing strategies limit marketplace access to ethanol, thereby harming consumers.

Burdensome regulation and slow governmental response in permitting livestock facilities keeps inexpensive corn from supporting growth in the livestock industry.

“I just hope that as folks are heading to the polls in November that they think about these piles of corn and determine which candidate will do the most to eliminate barriers to market access,” Hudson added.

**Click here for an election-time message from IL Corn Growers Association.