This week, New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association President Steve Van Voorhis testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business's Subcommittee on Health and Technology during a hearing on the benefits of partnership in small agriculture business development. During his testimony, Van Voorhis told the story of how growth in corn and soybean production has benefitted not only New York's family farmers but also the state's overall economy.
"What do the corn and soybean industries mean for New York's economy?" said Van Voorhis. "In 2012, the direct value of corn was over $600 million, and the direct value of New York's soybean crop was $195 million. This makes corn the second most valuable commodity, only following to dairy in New York, and soybeans come in at number six. Add in the indirect value of equipment purchases, fertilizer, seed, labor and more, and the value of these grains multiplies exponentially.
"Given the fact that farmers are planting more and more corn and soybeans in addition to the value of the crops in dollars, one can see just how large-and important-the grain and soybean industry in the state has become."
In his comments, Van Voorhis clearly outlined the many uses for both corn and soybeans which benefit the public while also benefitting the state's farmers as production of the two crops most widely grown across the country gain acreage in New York. Speaking of corn uses, he addressed the benefits of increased corn acreage in that it provides both silage and distillers dried grains (DDGs) used by the livestock industry. Noting that DDGs stand in direct opposition to false food versus fuel arguments, he detailed the many benefits ethanol provides New York noting that "ethanol for NASCAR comes right out of Sunoco's Fulton, New York facility."
The hearing was called to examine the new phenomenon of small agriculture producers entering into contracts and other supply arrangements with large processors and retailers. Testimony spoke to the arrangements made to enable small and large agricultural entities to enter niche markets while offering additional opportunities for small producers to access wider markets.
In addition to Van Voorhis, Linda Hamilton testified on behalf of New York Farm Bureau. Mike Weber Greenhouses, Inc., Vice President Joe Weber and Seneca Foods Corporation Eastern Operations Director of Agriculture Ray Schueth also provided testimony before the Subcommittee.