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 ST. LOUIS, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has completed the first phase of Corn Vision 2020, a visionary, in-depth research project intended to provide growers and their corn industry partners with a road map to the future.
 Co-sponsored by NCGA and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Corn Vision 2020 was a month-long, in-depth survey of 37 industry executives and decision makers. The panelists have expertise in domestic farm policy, international trade, biotechnology, new uses, livestock trends, environmental policy, corn processing, macroeconomics and demographics.
 "NCGA has always been ahead of the curve," says NCGA President Randy Cruise, a farmer from Pleasanton, Neb. "Corn Vision 2020 is our latest effort to position our grower-members at the cutting edge of the industry. We know no one can predict the future, but we also know that only those who prepare themselves to adapt to change will continue to thrive."
 Cruise notes that NCGA will use the findings of the Corn Vision 2020 panelists to set association goals and fine tune its strategic plan.
 Pioneer also intends to use the study's results in its long-range planning process. "Pioneer is committed to the application of technology to develop superior plant products which increase the efficiency and profitability of farmers," says Connie Christensen, director of marketing, North American Operations for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. "To continue to accomplish this, we must constantly be taking a long-term view of the corn industry to ensure that we have focused our research and development efforts in the most productive areas for both the farmer and Pioneer."
 At the conclusion of three rounds of the Corn Vision 2020 study, the 37 respondents had identified six major factors as having the greatest likelihood and impact on the future profitability of corn:
 -- LIBERALIZATION OF GLOBAL TRADE POLICIES. Panelists expect trade to become somewhat freer over the next 30 years, which would be positive for the U.S. corn industry.
 They noted that trade agreements such as the pending General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would probably not include all the provisions needed for completely free trade.
 -- CHANGING STATUS OF TRADITIONAL FARM PROGRAMS. Panelists said they expect agricultural legislation to play a lesser role in corn production than it does today. Specifically, they predicted a reduction in farm program benefits as the federal budget deficit increasingly drives domestic legislation.
 This could create short-term hardships and dislocations among corn producers, but in the long term it would reward efficiency with greater profits.
 -- WORLD DEMAND FOR PROTEIN. Panelists had very different predictions about the impact of economic development, population growth and dietary trends -- at home and abroad -- on demand for corn as a feedstuff for livestock.
 Clearly vigorous economic and population growth in key markets would increase demand for protein, benefiting the corn industry. Even in the most optimistic scenario, increased competition from alternate crops or competing nations could moderate that impact.
 -- PARALLEL CORN INDUSTRIES: COMMODITY AND SPECIALTY. Panelists do not foresee major departures from present production and marketing patterns in the corn industry resulting from increased production of specialty corn. However, they did expect specialty varieties to become more important, providing increased profits for growers with access to contract or identity-preserved markets.
 -- EFFICIENCIES ACHIEVED THROUGH TECHNOLOGY. A large percentage of the panelists said the comparative advantage/price competitiveness of U.S. corn production hinges on a U.S. commitment to the research and development of technology.
 Potential offsets to this edge may come from increasingly rigorous environmental regulation and technological advances in competing countries.
 -- NATURAL RESOURCE, FOOD SAFETY AND NUTRITIONAL CONCERNS. Panelists agreed that these non-agronomic concerns will continue to alter corn production decisions. Water quality and quantity issues will impact where corn is planted. Food safety interests will alter how corn is grown. Nutritional concerns may change what types and quantities of corn are produced.
 In many cases, panelists felt that agricultural biotechnology -- if society accepts it -- has the potential to deflect the potentially negative impact of these variables.
 NCGA is a national commodity organization with more than 27,700 members in 47 states and 24 affiliated state organizations.
 -0- 2/22/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: The findings of Corn Vision 2020 will be analyzed by a Think Tank composed of a dozen industry experts recruited from the original panel. Their analysis will be forwarded to NCGA's farmer directors at the March board meeting in Washington, D.C. The board will then decide when additional information should be made available./
 /CONTACT: Debbie Rudin, 314-275-9915, or Tim Martin, 515-270-3149, both of NCGA/

CO: National Corn Growers Association ST: Missouri IN: SU:

SH -- NY063 -- 0062 02/22/93 14:08 EST
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Date:Feb 22, 1993

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