NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2011

(Posted Fri. Sep 30th, 2011)

Keywords: Production

Sept. 30: Corn supplies for the coming year are higher than previously estimated, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Stocks report released today. With the total carry-out estimate revised to include an additional 200 million bushels more than the Sept. 12 estimate, this new data indicates that carry-out stocks, coupled with an estimated 12.497 billion bushels of production in 2011, will provide more than 13.6 billion bushels of U.S. corn this year.  “Corn farmers have remained resilient throughout a difficult growing season, working tirelessly to grow an abundant crop,” said National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott. “With the additional corn carry-over incorporated into previous estimates, it is becoming increasingly evident that, while this...

(Posted Fri. Sep 30th, 2011)

Sept. 30: On this final day of the 2011 fiscal year, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board readies itself to seat new members and officers on October 1. When the 2011 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA President Bart Schott will assume chairmanship of the Corn Board, and First Vice President Garry Niemeyer will step into the presidency.  The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Schott today to discuss the highlights of his presidency, his outlook for the coming year, and to ask his advice for farmers considering volunteering for leadership roles.  To listen to the full interview, please click here.  Reflecting upon what he views as the most important achievements made over the past year, Schott first mentions the extremely visible ethanol...

(Posted Thu. Sep 29th, 2011)

Sept. 29: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board gets ready to seat new members and officers on October 1. When the 2011 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA Chairman Darrin Ihnen will retire from service following three outstanding years of leadership as first vice president, president, and, finally, Corn Board chairman.  The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Ihnen to discuss his tenure on the Corn Board, the accomplishments he found most rewarding, and to ask his advice for farmers considering volunteering for leadership roles.  To listen to the full interview, please click here.  Reflecting upon his time on the Corn Board, Ihnen explained that the strength of the overall organization lies within...

(Posted Wed. Sep 28th, 2011)

Sept. 28: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board gets ready to seat new members and officers on October 1. At this time, three current Corn Board members will retire from the board: Daryl Haack, Jerry Larson and Dave Nelson. The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with each retiring Corn Board member to discuss what each learned and experienced through service and to ask for any advice that might benefit farmers considering stepping up to a leadership role.  Off the Cob spoke with Jerry Larson, a farmer from Elbow Lake, Minn. During his tenure, Larson chaired NCGA’s Finance Committee and served on the Association Relations Committee, Ethanol Committee and Research and Business Development Action Team.  Larson initially entered...

(Posted Wed. Sep 28th, 2011)

Sept. 28: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board gets ready to seat new members and officers on October 1. At this time, three current Corn Board members will retire from the board: Daryl Haack, Jerry Larson and Dave Nelson. The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with each retiring Corn Board member to discuss what each learned and experienced through service and to ask for any advice that might benefit farmers considering stepping up to a leadership role.  Off the Cob spoke with Dave Nelson, a farmer from Belmond, Iowa. During his tenure, Nelson served as the Corn Board liaison for the NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team, the Ethanol Committee and the Biotechnology Working Group, and as NCGA’s...

(Posted Wed. Sep 28th, 2011)

Sept. 28: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board gets ready to seat new members and officers on October 1. At this time, three current Corn Board members will retire from the board: Daryl Haack, Jerry Larson and Dave Nelson. The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with each retiring Corn Board member to discuss what each learned and experienced through service and to ask for any advice that might benefit farmers considering stepping up to a leadership role.  First, Off the Cob spoke with Daryl Haack, a farmer from Primghar, Iowa. During his tenure, Haack served as the Corn Board’s liaison to NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team, chaired the Ethanol Committee, and represented the organization to the Rail Energy Transportation...

(Posted Tue. Sep 27th, 2011)

Sept. 27: The National Corn Growers Association mourns the loss of industry leader and past chairman David Meyers, who passed away this week. Meyer, who served as president of the National Corn Development Foundation, NCGA’s former research and education arm, leaves a rich legacy of service to his fellow farmer and a positive, energetic presence that will be truly missed.  “I remember David from even prior to my tenure at NCGA,” said NCGA Chief Executive Officer Rick Tolman. “From the start, he impressed me as an effective, engaged leader whose unpretentious, welcoming manner, coupled with his deep commitment to his fellow grower, set him apart. He worked tirelessly while remaining completely approachable. Here, and across the industry, he will be greatly missed.”  Meyer served in many...

(Posted Mon. Sep 26th, 2011)

Keywords: Production

Sept. 26: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday afternoon that the 2011 corn harvest is 15 percent complete, one percentage point below the five-year average but lower than last year’s harvest by 11 points. At the same time, the corn condition is rated at 80 percent fair-to-excellent.  “This is such an important and busy time for our growers,” said NCGA President Bart Schott, who farms near Kulm, N.D. “I know a lot of us are looking to make the most of what has been a very challenging year, and we’re proud to be on track to bring home what the USDA estimates to be the third-largest crop ever produced.”  Schott noted some of the many challenges growers experienced, from floods to drought. While the Southern states have nearly finished their harvests, some of them – notably, Texas –...

(Posted Fri. Sep 23rd, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Sept. 23: The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the bipartisan work of Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Thune (R-SD), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) to introduce legislation that will create the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management (ARRM) Program.The bill is designed to simplify, consolidate and streamline existing commodity programs that were authorized as part of the 2008 farm bill.  “We greatly appreciate the senators’ work to introduce legislation that will provide a more effective and responsive safety net for America’s farmers,” NCGA President Bart Schott said. “This legislation addresses several concerns raised by farmers regarding the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program, including overly complicated procedures and...

(Posted Fri. Sep 23rd, 2011)

Sept. 23: Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas. Today, we caught up with Maryland grower Chip Bowling as he drove his new grain truck home from Missouri to discuss what he is seeing this harvest.  Bowling, who was approaching Lexington, Ky., when we spoke, noted that new technology allows farmers to connect more efficiently in business transactions.  “Thanks to the Internet, farmers like me in Maryland can connect with farmers in Missouri to buy equipment like this truck,” said Bowling. “I just had a meeting of the Corn Board at NCGA’s St. Louis office. I had already made a deal over the phone, so now I am driving it back.”  Upon his return, he will...

(Posted Thu. Sep 22nd, 2011)

  Sept. 22: Findings of two national surveys about food and how it is grown and raised were released during “The Food Dialogues,” a town hall-style discussion presented by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.  The surveys focused separately on the opinions, attitudes and questions consumers and farmers/ranchers have about the current and future state of how food is grown and raised in the United States. Results reveal that lack of access to information, as well as no interest or passion for the topic, have divided consumer opinion on the direction of agriculture.  The National Corn Growers Association is a founding affiliate of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and NCGA President Bart Schott, a USFRA board member, represented the organization at the New York City panel...

(Posted Wed. Sep 21st, 2011)

Keywords: Transportation

Sept. 21: Steve Ebke, chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Production and Stewardship Action Team and a farmer from Nebraska, testified today before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. The hearing focused on the economic importance and financing challenges of the nation’s inland waterways system.  “The U.S. agricultural sector is the largest user of the freight transportation network, accounting for nearly one-third of all freight transportation services utilized across the country,” Ebke stated during his testimony. “With the primary agricultural production in the interior of the country, far from the ports that link to international trade, transportation is critical to the competitiveness of...

(Posted Wed. Sep 21st, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 21: Since the February Daytona 500, Americans with questions about ethanol’s performance characteristics have been getting answers at NASCAR races nationwide. Every driver from Dale Jr. to Clint Bowyer, in all three NASCAR racing series has been running on a 15 percent ethanol blend. Today, NASCAR confirmed what millions of viewers have seen by officially announcing mid-level ethanol blends have now demonstrated their high-performance for more than one million driving miles. Considered by most America’s toughest proving grounds, E15 has proven its fuel quality in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series by maintaining high levels of performance while consistently providing normal mileage.  “Ethanol is an agricultural success story. It is an...

(Posted Tue. Sep 20th, 2011)

Keywords: Production

This piece is an installment of series launched this spring featuring interviews with executives from organizations representing corn growers at the state level on the specific issues affecting their growers.  Sept. 20: Today, Off the Cob speaks with Texas Corn Producers Board Executive Director David Gibson about the devastating drought that has severely impacted corn growers across his state this growing season. As water pumping restrictions on the high plains continue to decrease farmers’ ability to irrigate, Gibson looks at how a lack of water will impact corn production and necessitate the import of feed grains from out-of-state in order to supply the thriving livestock industry.  Even in a summer plagued by record heat waves, hurricanes and flooding, the...

(Posted Mon. Sep 19th, 2011)

Sept. 19: The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Natalie Cook, the organization’s new office manager for the Washington office. In this position, Cook serves as the assistant to NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett.  “Natalie brings not only a strong background in legislative issues and organization to the position but also a deep-rooted passion for agriculture,” Doggett said. “Her strengths will complement those of the staffers already on our team. We look forward to utilizing her solid skill set and unique perspective to further our efforts on behalf of corn farmers across the country.”  Cook will also have responsibilities in organizing the CornPAC, special meetings held in Washington, and coordination of other events.  Cook holds a Master of Arts degree in International...

(Posted Mon. Sep 19th, 2011)

Sept. 19: National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott released the following statement in response to President Obama’s Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction Plan:  “NCGA strongly supports the effort to get our federal budget under control and the need for shared sacrifice in order to achieve an equitable, balanced approach. We appreciate the recognition in President Obama’s plan of how important reliable effective risk management tools are to farmers and rural communities. While NCGA agrees the fiscal challenges before us require even greater efficiency in the delivery of farm safety net programs, we are deeply concerned by proposals that would directly undermine a farmer’s ability to purchase adequate insurance coverage at a time of...

(Posted Mon. Sep 19th, 2011)

Sept. 19: This week marks National Farm Safety and Health Week. This annual promotion, which has been proclaimed by every president since 1944, highlights the importance of exercising proper caution on farms. To commemorate this week as harvest begins, the National Corn Growers Association has posted farm safety information on its website, featuring a grain bin safety video and links to other resources providing on-farm safety information.  “While on-farm safety should be a priority every day, it is important to set aside a special time to remind and update our neighbors, our families and ourselves on proper safety procedures,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “NCGA hopes to provide farmers with vital information that can, when implemented, greatly...

(Posted Fri. Sep 16th, 2011)

Sept. 16: As summer draws to a close, members of Congress have returned to Washington after their month-long District work period. With only a few short months left until the end of the year, the legislative calendar will be extremely busy for members and their staff.  “Immediately upon return from August recess, Congress was faced with two problems,” National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett said. “They must fund the federal government by the end of the month, and focus on providing the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction with tax and budget cut proposals to meet the new committee’s mandate.”  As Congress and the Administration prepare and position themselves for the final months of 2011, NCGA believes that, outside of the Joint...

(Posted Thu. Sep 15th, 2011)

Sept. 15:  While harvest progresses throughout much of the Corn Belt, a select group of growers are ramping up their efforts to become the most effective leaders possible through a new National Corn Growers Association training program.  NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, sponsored by Syngenta, launched its second class this week in Greensboro, N.C.  The session helps qualified and motivated candidates finely hone their leadership skills and prepared them to lead the industry forward.   "Advanced Leadership training is providing an excellent opportunity to hone skills with media and interpersonal communications,” said Paul Taylor, a grower from Esmond, Ill.  “It has been great so far, and we're eager for more."   During the course, a small group of...

(Posted Thu. Sep 15th, 2011)

Sept. 15:  While harvest progresses throughout much of the Corn Belt, a select group of growers are ramping up their efforts to become the most effective leaders possible through a new National Corn Growers Association training program.  NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, sponsored by Syngenta, launched its second class this week in Greensboro, N.C.  The session helps qualified and motivated candidates finely hone their leadership skills and prepared them to lead the industry forward.   "Advanced Leadership training is providing an excellent opportunity to hone skills with media and interpersonal communications,” said Paul Taylor, a grower from Esmond, Ill.  “It has been great so far, and we're eager for more."   During the course, a small group of...

(Posted Wed. Sep 14th, 2011)

Sept. 14: Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas. Yesterday evening, we caught up with Illinois grower Tom Martin to see talk about his perceptions of harvest following Monday’s release of revised U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates of crop condition, yield and acreage.  In the crop production report issued Monday, USDA revised previous estimates of the national average yield downward to 148.1 bushels per acre. Also dropping estimates of the corn acreage that will be harvested this fall, the report places the projected total U.S. corn crop for 2012 at 12.5 billion bushels, still the third largest on record. Specifically, the average yield estimate...

(Posted Wed. Sep 14th, 2011)

Keywords: Transportation

By Garry Niemeyer, NCGA First Vice President   Sept. 14: In recent years, many farmers have seen good prices and plentiful crops, allowing us to purchase some much needed new equipment. However, we know that tough times usually follow and there will be years we have to make do with what we have, not matter how much we need to replace it. Our nation’s infrastructure is in some wayslike that worn out equipment. Whether its locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi, bridges on interstates or the road to town, we need to address our country’s crumbling infrastructure.  We are all aware that our nation is in serious financial trouble and hence, we cannot afford to replace the entire existing infrastructure. But we do need to have a plan to...

(Posted Wed. Sep 14th, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol Livestock

Sept. 14:  As the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry held a hearing today examining the availability of feed and its effect on the livestock industry, the National Corn Growers Association submitted a statement for the record that reminded critics we don’t need to choose between using corn for feed or fuel.  “Corn fuels nations around the world, as a food ingredient, a feedstock, a fuel, a fiber, an ingredient in building materials and beyond,” NCGA’s statement said. “It is possibly the most versatile crop in the world, and demand is at an all-time high.”  Many areas of the country saw a more difficult than average growing year for corn with record heat, floods and drought plaguing the Corn Belt. But even still, the U.S....

(Posted Tue. Sep 13th, 2011)

  Sept. 13: The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation will again award five $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2012-13 school year.  “NCGA understands that, to remain successful as an industry, it must focus on agricultural education and fighting the rural ‘brain drain’,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team Chair. “This program is an important component of NCGA’s commitment to fostering youth in agriculture and to the future of our rural communities. It is an investment in the future of our industry.”  Applicants for the NCGA Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or...

(Posted Mon. Sep 12th, 2011)

Keywords: Production

Sept. 12: The United States is still on track to produce the third-largest corn crop on record, estimated to total 12.5 billion bushels of corn, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released this morning. Despite U.S. corn farmers facing several major weather events that negatively impacted much of the production acreage, causing national average yield estimates to drop to 148.1 bushels per acre, the world corn stocks projection has increased, more than offsetting the reduction projected for the country.  “We have heard from many of our peers across the country about what’s going on in their fields and their expectations come harvest, and we have seen first-hand some of the problems of a very difficult year in important areas of the Corn Belt,” said National Corn...

(Posted Mon. Sep 12th, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Sept. 12: The National Corn Growers Association today unveiled the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Program, a commodity title proposal for the 2012 farm bill that will modify and replace the existing Average Crop Revenue Election Program and provide a more effective and responsive safety net for growers.  “Responding to a charge by our voting delegates to investigate transitioning direct payments into programs that allow producers the ability to mitigate risk, our grower-led Public Policy Action Team developed a crop-specific, revenue-based risk management tool that provides a safety net when growers are facing a loss,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “We are focusing on simplification and faster delivery of assistance when it is needed.”  ADAP builds on the existing structure of ACRE and is...

(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2011)

Sept. 9: Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas. Today, this series visited with Illinois grower Tom Martin to see how harvest is progressing thus far on his farm and to gain perspective into the crop in his area before Monday’s release of revised U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates of crop condition, yield and acreage.  “We opened up the fields about 10 days ago and began harvesting some of our early April planted corn,” said Martin. “We were only able to plant about 10 percent of our acreage then, and the moisture for this section is running at about 23 percent. This week, we got into some of our later planted corn from May, which is running in the 27 to 32...

(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 9: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing more than $11.6 million in grants to more than 900 agricultural producers and rural small businesses to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. While all of these grants aim to improve rural economies, many will directly impact corn farmers as a portion of the funds are designated for the installation of blender pumps, which allow customers the choice to purchase higher blends of ethanol.  "These investments enable our farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners to develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements that will save them thousands of dollars in energy costs each year," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This funding is an important part of...

(Posted Thu. Sep 8th, 2011)

Sept. 8: The National Corn Growers Association’s 2011 Social Media Training Program will feature a webinar next week that will offer a look at how mobile applications can help make social media manageable. The program is generously supported by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business, and is the ninth of 12 free hour-long online learning sessions underway monthly through 2011.  “As a farmer, my days are far too busy to spend hours sitting in front of a computer, but, through the use of mobile apps, I can stay connected through social media no matter where I go,” said Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “Whether tweeting from the cab of my combine or posting news from a town hall meeting while I am still there, smartphone apps make it easy and fun to tell the...

(Posted Thu. Sep 8th, 2011)

Sept. 8: Now, all of the information, news and updates available on the National Corn Growers Association Website are available on-the-go. A new, smartphone-friendly mobile version of the NCGA Website launched today, allowing visitors to access the main sites information in a faster, more streamlined manner better suited to current cell-phone technology.  “Research shows that, like the majority of Americans, farmers are accessing the Internet through a Smartphone increasingly frequently,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “The mobile site helps NCGA stay current with ever-evolving technology and makes sure that our members have the information they need available to them no matter where they go.”  Accessing the mobile version of the Website is as easy. Simply go to

(Posted Wed. Sep 7th, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Sept. 7:  Today, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association brought together key industry stakeholders to start a discussion about how to best begin construction of a framework for addressing biotech events and impacts on end use markets.   Acknowledging that all parts of the value chain share a common goal of an uninterrupted flow of corn, soybeans and technology, attendees shared ideas and insights on finding a solution to disruptions that could potentially impact growers.  NCGA CEO Rick Tolman opened the meeting welcoming farmers, members of the grain trade, association staff, biotechnology firm leadership and others from the grain and oilseed trade with a reminder of both the importance and scope of this discussion.  In...

(Posted Tue. Sep 6th, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 6: Now more than ever, it is critical the Congress ratify the pending U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement and ensure that U.S. farmers compete on a level playing field against foreign suppliers set to make significant headway into the country’s feed market. Traditionally a Top 10 export market for U.S. corn, Colombian corn imports have eroded substantially over the past four years and stand to further decline in light of new trade agreements recently implemented with alternate suppliers.  “U.S. corn producers stand ready to develop and provide corn products to meet the modern demands of global consumption,” said National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Garry Niemeyer. “I urge Congress to work swiftly to pass the pending free trade agreements...

(Posted Tue. Sep 6th, 2011)

Keywords: Production

Sept. 6:  As growers gear up for this year’s corn harvest, Hurricane Irene was the latest in a number of weather-related challenges that have affected acreage, yield and corn condition across the nation’s corn fields. 2011 has definitely been a year to test the resilience of the American farmer, the National Corn Growers Association reports.  “We had delayed planting and flooding in the upper Midwest, we lost acreage to floods along the Mississippi River and we saw our crops fade in scorching drought in Texas well before the hurricane came along,” said NCGA First Vice President Garry Niemeyer of Illinois. “Last week at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur I heard from many of my peers across the Corn Belt about what’s going on in their fields and their expectations come harvest, and we saw...

(Posted Fri. Sep 2nd, 2011)

Sept. 2: Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas. Today, this series visited with Maryland grower Chip Bowling to find out how Hurricane Irene impacted his Chesapeake Bay farm.  “Where I am faired pretty well compared to many of my neighbors,” said Bowling. “We had wind gusts up with speeds up to 74 miles per hour starting Saturday morning at 11 o’clock and it didn’t stop until Sunday around noon. In those 24 hours, we had five and a half inches of rain, but some farmers who don’t live that far away had up to 14 and 20 inches of rain.”  Bowling noted that, due to this summer’s weather, the rain did not negatively impact his crop.  “We were so...

(Posted Thu. Sep 1st, 2011)

Sept. 1: As growers head to the fields to begin harvest, the National Corn Growers Association announces that harvest forms for the 2011 National Corn Yield Contest are now available online. While the harvest information form deadline of Dec. 1 may seem distant, entrants are invited to report online at their earliest convenience to facilitate the expedient processing of information.  “As growers in many areas are already beginning final harvest preparations, we invite contest applicants to submit harvest forms early thus allowing NCGA staff time to thoroughly review each form,” said Steve Ebke, chairman of the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more...