WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama touched on issues important to rural America and our nation’s corn farmers, the National Corn Growers Association said on Jan. 26. This includes the role of biofuels in reducing dependence on foreign oil, the importance of pending trade agreements and the part our farmers play in feeding the world.

“We were encouraged that President Obama spoke about the needs of rural America and the importance of our country’s global leadership when it comes to agriculture,” said NCGA Chairman Darrin Ihnen. “Our growers have been working hard and smart to meet all needs for food, feed and fuel and we have long recognized the need for policies and programs to grow opportunities for American farmers here at home and in markets abroad.”

Specifically, Ihnen cited President Obama’s mention of three free trade agreements important to the organization: South Korea, Panama and Colombia.

“We need quick action on these three agreements, which have been languishing in Washington for years,” Ihnen said. “These agreements will help our country’s economy by increasing exports and creating sorely-needed jobs.”

Similarly, President Obama mentioned biofuels as part of a plan to “break” dependence on oil, and called for more research and incentives.

“The success of all biofuels hinges on the success of ethanol from corn – on the growth of an ethanol industry that is leading the way, sustainably increasing in economic, environmental and energy efficiency,” Ihnen said.

NCGA also noted with pride the role agriculture plays in American leadership around the world, as stated by our president in his speech:

“Around the globe, we’re standing with those who take responsibility — helping farmers grow more food, supporting doctors who care for the sick, and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.”