Grain News & Updates
2018 Farm Bill Passes House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Farm Bill yesterday afternoon, with a 213-211 vote. Thank you to all of our members who reached out to Congressman Andy Harris on this issue. He did vote for passage of the bill. A full role call of votes can be found by clicking here .

“[Yesterday]’s vote is a big step forward to seeing a new farm bill this year. The House farm bill maintains a robust crop insurance program, ensuring it continues to be a viable risk management tool for farmers across the country. Now we will be looking toward the U.S. Senate and possible efforts to further strengthen the farm safety net, making it more equitable for our nation’s corn growers, as they bring the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor,” remarked National Corn Growers Association President, Kevin Skunes of North Dakota.

It is still unclear when the Senate version of the Farm Bill will be brought to the Senate floor. NCGA and other commodity organizations are monitoring possible amendments to the bill, including some that are expected to make cuts to the crop insurance program. Keep an eye out for Action Alerts on this issue in the coming weeks.
As Trade Wars Continue, Farmers Receive Advocacy Training
On Friday, June 15, President Trump announced he would move forward with Section 301 tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports. The first $34 billion worth of tariffs would go into effect on July 6. USTR is expected to announce a later date for the remaining $16 billion as well as new restrictions on Chinese investment activity. China has responded with tariffs of “equal scale, equal intensity”, including 25% tariffs on corn, DDGS, denatured ethanol, soybeans, beef, pork, chicken and other agricultural products. 
As this exchange ensued, Maryland Grain Producers Association President Evan Miles traveled to St. Louis, along with nearly 50 other corn leaders, to arm themselves with the knowledge and skills needed to advocate for trade. A mixture of tenured trade champions, farmers newly engaged on trade issues and state corn organization staff attended the 2018 “trade school,” conducted by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). The trade school encouraged farmers in attendance to engage in ongoing trade issues by providing extensive data on the economic and foreign policy implications of trade and walking them through activities intended to help them feel comfortable telling their own stories about the impact of trade.
Sign Up for Cover Crops June 21 to July 17
The annual sign-up period for Maryland Department of Agriculture’s cover crop program will take place June 21 to July 17 at soil conservation district offices statewide. This popular grant program provides farmers with cost-share assistance to offset seed, labor and equipment costs to plant cover crops on their fields this fall to control soil erosion, reduce nutrient runoff, build healthy soils and protect water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Gov. Larry Hogan has allocated approximately $22.5 million for Maryland’s 2018-2019 Cover Crop Program.

“Planting cover crops this fall is a great way to recycle or scavenge any nutrients that were not used by corn and other cash crops by the end of the growing season,” said Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder. “To give farmers more planting options, several new small grain/legume cover crop mixes were approved for payment this year. I urge farmers to take advantage of our popular cover crop program.”

4R Technology Field Day to be Held August 15
The Delaware-Maryland 4R Alliance and University of Maryland Extension invite growers and agribusiness professionals to join them for their 4R Technology Field Day on August 15, 2018 at the Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, Maryland. The event will be showcasing application of the 4Rs (right source, right rate, right time, and right place) on the Delmarva. Demonstrations will include phosphorus placements, drones and mapping, options for nitrogen management and conservation practices and water quality monitoring. There will also be a panel of local farmers discussing how they have been successful in implementing 4R nutrient management practices in their operations. Lunch will be provided as well as Nutrient Management and Certified Crop Adviser credits.

Celebrate National Pollinator Week
This National Pollinator Week, take a bee to lunch! No seriously, if you care about pollinators like honey bees and Monarch Butterflies a great way to help them prosper, and help our food production system in the process, is to plant things they like to eat or use for habitat. It’s estimated that pollinators provide us with one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Increase the numbers of pollinators on your agricultural lands.
  • Learn how to reduce the direct exposure of pollinators to pesticides and how to protect critical nesting sites and food sources for beneficial insects & pollinators.
  • Restore pollinator-friendly practices at your farm. Study the habitat on your land: look for areas that can support all kinds of pollinators and other wildlife.