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It’s National Pollinator Week; Take a Bee to Lunch

(Posted Mon. Jun 18th, 2018)

Keywords: conservation

  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. As owners and managers of large amounts of land, farmers are stepping up to do their part.   More than a decade ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.   Today kicks off the official 2018 Pollinator week which has been designated as June 18-24, and farmers interests in helping pollinators continue to grow. It’s estimated that pollinators provide us with one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our...

(Posted Mon. Jun 18th, 2018)

Keywords: trade

If you have been following the roller coaster ride that is trade policy these days and are trying to decide how you feel about it, remember two things: Most of our customers live outside the U.S. and it’s impossible to find historic examples of tariffs or related trade wars that accomplished the intended goal.   NCGA Executive Vice President Jon Doggett told 50 corn farmer leaders attending a Trade School in St. Louis it is critical farmers engage in the ongoing trade issues and while they do, they should reference their history books. A good example of failed trade policy is President Carter’s Russian grain embargo in the 1980’s. The embargo removed them as a customer and ultimately caused Russia to increase their own grain production.   One positive development in the current trade arena is tariffs and ongoing trade rhetoric have raised the profile of trade as a key issue farmers care about. Maintaining and growing exports of U.S. agricultural goods has migrated to the top of...

(Posted Fri. Jun 15th, 2018)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its eighth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   This week, Field Notes spoke with Iowa farmer April Hemmes, who resides in the north-central region of the state. Discussing the crop condition, she explains that this is the most variable year that she has ever seen in her area.   “There are problem spots showing up. I have one field that has yellow streaks in it. I have had four professionals, including one Ph.D., come out to look at it, and they all scratched their heads. They gave me four different reasons,” Hemmes said. “A lot of the problem has to do with the wet spring. When we were able, we tried to rush into the field too early in...

Agriculture Associations Appeal to Congress: We Need #TradeNotTariffs

(Posted Thu. Jun 14th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

After weeks of engaging with the Trump Administration to gain insight into the future of trade tariffs, agriculture producers and related industries dependent on exports to China are turning to Congress for help.   The White House has declared that by June 15 it would announce its final list of $50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. In response, China’s Commerce Department announced several months ago that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on 106 U.S. goods amounting to roughly $50 billion in imports.   In the announcement, China specifically stated that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans, a tax that could be devastating to growers of the number one U.S. agricultural export, with sales to China last year totaling $14 billion.   Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower and vice president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), is among growers distraught over the...

Midwest Farmers to Pruitt: It’s Time to Take Action

(Posted Thu. Jun 14th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol public policy

(Photo courtesy of the American Coalition for Ethanol)   This week, farmers across the Midwest made their voices heard and shared their frustrations with EPA Administer Scott Pruitt for not moving forward with the president’s request to make higher blends of ethanol, like E15, available year-round and for granting RFS waivers to refineries at the expense of farmers.    Pruitt made his way through farm country, making stops in Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska.    “Corn growers came out in force this week to reinforce the importance of allowing higher blends of ethanol in the marketplace and shine a spotlight on EPA’s actions that are destroying demand for corn,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “We have to continue to beat-the-drum and be vocal about these issues. Farmers have been very clear – It’s time for Administrator Pruitt to uphold the president’s statements on granting E15 year-round and time to stop granting waivers to refiners.”   Pruitt started his visit in...

(Posted Tue. Jun 12th, 2018)

Lowered supply projections and increased yield forecasts may bump the price farmers receive for a bushel of corn upward by ten cents according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. Given the shift was, in large part, due to strong exports, the information reinforces the incredible economic importance of U.S. trade policies that allow for further demand growth.   This report indicated no change to projected production since the month prior. If realized, the yield, projected to 174 bushels per acre, would be the third-highest yield on record.   Beginning stocks projections were lowered to reflect a 75-million-bushel increase in 2017/2018 projected exports to 2.3 billion bushels. If realized, this would be the highest export level since 2007/2008. Notably, April exports hit a record high, surpassing November 1989 which was the best prior month to that point. May exports are expected to remain strong given export inspection data.   The report also indicates...

(Posted Fri. Jun 8th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

Monday, June 11, at 9 p.m. central time, the Renewable Fuels Association custom motorcycle will be unveiled on Discovery Channel’s American Chopper. RFA teamed up with Paul Junior Designs on the project. The custom bike runs on ethanol.   “We are looking forward to the episode airing and can’t wait for the public to see the bike,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “We hope corn farmers will tune in and follow along on social media using the #fuelyourknowledge hashtag.”   The “Fuel Your Knowledge” campaign was launched by RFA to educate consumers about the proper use of ethanol-blended fuels in motorcycles and other small engines.   E10 is endorsed for use by all motorcycle manufacturers. Ethanol blends of gasoline provide consumers with a lower-cost, high performance fuel. It’s homegrown and burns cleaner and cooler than gasoline.   For more information on RFA’s partnership with American Chopper, click here.   To learn more about the Fuel Your...

Student Research Efforts Recognized at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

(Posted Thu. Jun 7th, 2018)

Keywords: new uses

A graduate student from Iowa State University took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2018 Poster contest held in St. Louis, Mo. this week. Joseph P. Polin, from Iowa State University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for his work on improving the process economics of making bio-renewable fuels and chemicals from corn stover.   “Encouraging young researchers to consider a career in agriculture is a major focus for the National Corn Growers and their State Partners. Those recognized in the poster contest show our efforts are paying off and they provide another reason for optimism,” said Dennis Maple, chair of CUTC and the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “I think all of the conference attendees were very impressed with the quality of research and...

Share Your Corn Pics for Chance to Win

(Posted Thu. Jun 7th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association invites photographers, both amateur and professional, to help share our story of farming field corn in America through the fifth annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. Interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2018.   Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 25 cash prizes. Prizes include cash awards for the top three entries in eight categories including Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farm Family Lifestyle, Scenery/Landscape, Farming Challenges, SHP Conservation, one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes” and, new this year, True Grit.   The new True Grit category was borne out of the Farm Family Lifestyle category. This new category focuses on the people getting work done with...

NCGA Commends Efforts to Protect the RFS

(Posted Wed. Jun 6th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol public policy

Following White House postponement of potential damaging changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes thanked those who stood up for America’s corn farmers.   “The nation’s corn growers thank Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for their advocacy and steadfast support for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels. We greatly appreciate their efforts,” Skunes said. “With the expectation that the Administration was preparing to take drastic actions to unravel the RFS, farmers are very pleased those actions have been set aside and strongly encourage the Administration to keep the President’s commitment to America’s farmers and leave the RFS intact.”