Ohio family farmer John Linder understands 2020 has been a difficult one and he pledges to remain optimistic and help his fellow corn producers.
On Oct. 1, Linder, of Edison, Ohio, whose operation with his brother, Mike, and wife, Cheryl, includes 3,000 acres of corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat and soybeans for seed, became the new president of the National Corn Growers Association.
The road to economic recovery for producers will come in part through partnerships that increase ethanol consumption; expand market access particularly in Southeast Asia and other countries that prefer and value United States corn; and improve the country’s infrastructure.
He believes that ethanol is one that benefits the industry and environment and it has been a tough several years. “The plants are feeling a lot of pain.” Getting idle plants running again is a high priority and ethanol exports help the economy.
Linder plans to meet as many growers as he can even if the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow in-person visits. Technology, such as the Zoom conference call he did on Oct. 1, was an example of a new way to gather input and share the story of corn growers. The NCGA is an organization he highly values because of its members and staff and that allows him to give back to the industry.
The corn growers have faced challenges because of waivers granted for the Renewable Fuels Standard and as the NCGA moves ahead it wants to continue to make sure decisions and conversations are the right ones. He said the 10th circuit court ruling earlier this year meant the Environmental Protection Agency could deny 54 small refinery exemptions and committed to at least 14 more pending petitions. The EPA under the Trump administration has often been at odds with the ethanol over the small refinery exemptions.
“It’s the law,” Linder said. “The circuit court agrees with us.”
He has had good dialogue with EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler and Linder said the NCGA president noted that growers have always had a “double-edge sword” when discussing the EPA. The EPA relationship is valued one and requires having dialogue with the agency.
Linder did not want to weigh into the 2020 presidential election. Regardless of who is president many of the issues remain—upping ethanol consumption, boosting exports and improving infrastructure.
“The issues are the same. This is normal business,” he said of the November election between incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden because NCGA members believe in the long run. “We’ll be fine, we’ll get there.”
Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].