NEWS STORIES

NOVEMBER 2011

(Posted Wed. Nov 30th, 2011)

By Garry Niemeyer  NCGA President  Back in August, the Green Scissors Project identified ways the federal government could shave $380 billion from the federal budget over five years. But their $380 billion in proposed cuts included a major error that accounts for more that 10 percent of their suggested cuts — $38.8 billion that they argued the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit would otherwise cost between 2012 and 2016. They conveniently ignored the important fact that there will be no VEETC between those years. VEETC expires about a month from now, and corn growers and the ethanol industry have long agreed to let it expire and have since stopped fighting for its renewal.  Regardless, we are quite amused that ethanol opponents continue to attack VEETC, even though no one on our side is fighting for its renewal. We stressed this point as long ago as last September.  On Thanksgiving, it was the Washington Times’ turn to take up the cudgel and beat the already-dead tax credit....

(Posted Wed. Nov 30th, 2011)

Nov. 30: The National Corn Growers Association announced the sessions to be featured at the 2012 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference. The biennual event will be held June 4-6 in Indianapolis. With a theme of “Back to the Grind,” CUTC will feature the cutting-edge technologies and new uses that continually improve and dynamically change the corn industry.  “We are proud of CUTC’s position as the premier corn technology conference in the United States and of the many learning opportunities that we will offer,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair DeVonna Zeug. “The conference offers much more -- including incredibly important networking opportunities. By exchanging ideas with people who have common interests, we create the hybrid of new technology and new ideas.”  The 2012 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference will debut a third tier of presentation options offering participants the opportunity to hear the latest on mycotoxin research. The...

(Posted Tue. Nov 29th, 2011)

Nov.29: As the deadline quickly approaches, the National Corn Growers Association reminds members that it, along with the 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.  “This program is important for candidates as it helps fund their ongoing education, but it is also important for the industry as a whole,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team Chair. “By helping tomorrow’s leaders further their studies, we proactively create a generation ready to lead agriculture for decades to come.”  Applicants for the NCGA Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or any year of graduate study, and they, or a parent or legal guardian, must be an NCGA member. Scholarship applications must be postmarked on or before Dec. 9.  Scholarship recipients will be selected in...

(Posted Tue. Nov 29th, 2011)

Nov. 29: As campaigns for the 2012 elections heat up, the National Corn Growers Association joined a well-timed effort to let candidates know that farmers and their allies are paying attention to their positions on funding for essential lock and dam improvements along the Mississippi River. To determine how to best structure a strategic educational campaign on the issue, NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, NCGA staff and key industry stakeholders met in Quincy, Ill. for a discussion covering the importance of the actual improvements and the best way in which to move forward as a unified front.  “Our inland waterway system plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy, and we must act now to help our future leaders understand that funding improvements is critical to maintaining their viability,” said Niemeyer. “Acting together, we can magnify our voices, and thus our effectiveness, exponentially. Achieving our goal is not only important for farmers and shippers, our nation as a whole...

(Posted Mon. Nov 28th, 2011)

Nov. 28: With a final deadline submission deadline of Thursday, December 1, the National Corn Growers Association reminds entrants for the 2011 National Corn Yield Contest to submit harvest forms. Harvest forms, which are available online, not only complete yield contest entry but also supply NCGA with valuable information on production practices that can be used to benefit corn farmers across the country.  “With only days left, it is crucial that contest entrants complete the process that they started by sending in their final harvest forms and supporting documentation,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, chair of NCGA’s Growers Services Action Team. “The contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more productive techniques. By seeing their entry through and submitting their completed harvest data forms, farmers can show their support for the contest and their fellow growers.”  The National Corn Yield Contest is in its 47th year and remains NCGA’s most...

(Posted Mon. Nov 28th, 2011)

Nov. 28: The National Corn Growers Association today praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that crop insurance premiums for corn will be rerated for the 2012 crop year.  “NCGA has been working on this issue for more than eight years,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a corn farmer from Auburn, Ill., said. “We are pleased to hear our farmers will no longer be facing the continued widening gap between the loss for corn and the premiums charged to growers for policy coverage. This is a day long coming.”  The announcement stated the average premium for corn will be lowered by 7 percent beginning in 2012 and soybeans will be lowered by 9 percent. The rate adjustment is based on findings of an independent study and peer review process. The USDA’s Risk Management Agency also announced it will be releasing documents by Wednesday that outline premium rates and other program information for the 2012 crop year.  “Our farmers have historically paid more than their fair...

(Posted Wed. Nov 23rd, 2011)

Nov. 23: The National Corn Growers Association is moving along plans to develop a National Agricultural Genotyping Center that will translate scientific discoveries, such as the information from the maize genome project, into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy and national security. The center, being formed through a partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, will benefit growers through the development of improved varieties and livestock and new traits, while NCGA’s leadership in the project provides farmers with input into the agricultural applications of the newest technologies.  “We are extremely pleased with the progress toward the center that our partnership is making,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair DeVonna Zeug. “When realized, the center will truly benefit all growers by furthering the sorts of applied research that fuel change.”  NCGA, Los...

(Posted Wed. Nov 23rd, 2011)

By Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President  Nov. 23: An Associated Press story today discusses how certain members of the meat industry want to see changes made to our nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard, for the sole purpose of giving them access to cheaper corn. That’s what it’s really all about for them.  Corn growers support ethanol because it is good for our farmers, to be sure, and for other reasons as well. It helps rural economies. It’s good for energy independence. And it’s better for the environment than gasoline. What’s not to like?  We supported the growth of the ethanol industry for reasons that are as valid today as they have ever been. Corn farmers have the ability to grow more corn per acre and this ability will continue for the foreseeable future, with some predicting 300 bushels per acre, more than double the 2011 crop. Finding other major uses for corn provides security and stability for the American farmer.  The fact is, this stability has carried over into other...

(Posted Tue. Nov 22nd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Nov. 22: U.S. farmers achieved an important trade milestone today as the Korean National Assembly ratified the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement. With a vote of 151 to 7, the assembly approved all 14 implementation bills accompanying the agreement as well. The National Corn Growers Association, along with many others in the U.S. and Korean business communities, applauded this announcement which they have championed since the first announcement of the FTA in 2006.  “The ratification of this agreement is an important victory for U.S. farmers as we will soon be able to compete in this vibrant market on a level playing field,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Chad Blindauer. “The Korean market continues to grow, both for grains and for meat imports, it is crucial the U.S. providers remain competitive.”  Korea is currently the United States’ third largest corn market and is a potentially important market for distillers grains. Korea imported more than seven...

(Posted Tue. Nov 22nd, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Research

Nov. 22: The National Corn Growers Association actively defended the importance of publicly funded research into corn last week to a panel of industry stakeholders tasked with discussing the future of federally funded agricultural research programs. Noting that corn is not only the largest crop in the United States but also a major export product, NCGA staff defended against calls to kill public funding for corn research, stressing the importance of public research that generates ideas, encourages collaboration and confirms the internal findings of private companies.  “Corn is too valuable of an asset to our country for publicly funded research to cease,” said NCGA Director of Research and New Uses Dr. Richard Vierling. “Halting this important, unbiased source of data would be disastrous for the future of the industry and deeply injurious to the future of the country. Right now, we still have an advantage in production agriculture. It is an edge we cannot afford to lose in the...

(Posted Mon. Nov 21st, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol

Nov. 21: Last week, representatives of the National Corn Growers Association attended the NASCAR Green Summit in Miami Beach, Fla. The day-long meeting, held in advance of the season-finale races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, highlighted the sport’s environmentally responsible efforts, and brought together the stakeholders to share ideas on furthering this green movement.  NCGA played an integral role, through the American Ethanol partnership, in NASCAR’s most visible green initiative this season, the switch to Sunoco Green E15. The 15 percent ethanol fuel blend helped NASCAR decrease their environmental impact, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create American jobs in this growing industry.  “NASCAR fans represent more than 25 percent of the adult population and statistics show they are much more tuned into the outdoors and the environment than the average consumers,” said Corn Board member Jon Holzfaster. “NASCAR is a great place to spread the good word about...

(Posted Mon. Nov 21st, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Nov. 21: National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to produce a deficit reduction plan:  “We’re disappointed the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction did not agree on a plan to reduce our federal deficit. We appreciate the hard work of the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Ag Committees to meet agriculture’s responsibility to help address our debt crisis.  “NCGA will continue to advocate for market-based risk management farm programs that recognize our nation’s difficult financial situation. As the farm bill process moves into next year, we look forward to working with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to address the critical challenges facing America’s corn farmers.” 

(Posted Thu. Nov 17th, 2011)

Nov. 17: The National Corn Growers Association hosted a webinar today that helped agvocates already using social media explore new strategies and tools to maximize the impact of their efforts. This session, the eleventh in a year-long series co-sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business, presented attendees with the latest research data on what makes some social media users more effective than others and offered simple tips that yield real results.  The session began with remarks from NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt, an active social media user and advocate. Noting the importance of reaching consumers where they feel comfortable, Hunnicutt highlighted both the importance of fostering an active community of farmers with a noticeable social media presence and the noticeable effect that incorporating even a few new strategies into a routine can have.  “For me, using social media to talk about what I do on my farm was as natural as it would be for...

(Posted Wed. Nov 16th, 2011)

Keywords: Transportation

Nov. 16: National Corn Growers Association representatives last week traveled to the Panama Canal to explore improvements currently underway with a group of agricultural leaders organized by Informa Economics. During this investigative tour, the group looked at efficiencies in the Panama Canal improvements, particularly those to the locks system, in an attempt to find successful approaches that could be emulated in the United States.  Focusing on the critical need for improvements to the locks and dams on northern sections of the Mississippi River, the group looked at how the Panamanian Canal Authority is managing to accomplish such a large project for a reasonable price tag while remaining both on time and on budget. Analyzing the similarities and differences between the current situation in Panama and projections for the needed improvements on the Mississippi, the group noticed practices which could improve upon the current structure and system for waterway infrastructure...

(Posted Wed. Nov 16th, 2011)

Keywords: Conservation

Nov. 16: Last week, representatives of the National Corn Growers Association attended a National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (NISA) workshop in Chicago to discuss the future of the project with representatives from dozens of other agricultural organizations, food companies, retailers and conservation groups. During the two-day meeting, participants reviewed existing sustainability initiatives and gathered perspectives from various sectors about the need for a national umbrella organization that brings farmer voices to the sustainability movement.  “NISA aims to develop a roadmap of farm management systems that will help farmers achieve verifiable sustainability outcomes, improve the environmental services and productivity of their farms, help their rural communities thrive and satisfy performance expectations of the value chain,” said NCGA Past President Ken McCauley, who attended the meeting. “With efforts focused at the farm level, this grower-driven effort will...

(Posted Tue. Nov 15th, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Conservation Trade

Nov. 15: Last week, the National Corn Growers Association met with Dr. Saturnina Halos, a senior agriculture science consultant at the Philippines Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research, to discuss biotechnology usage in the United States. NCGA staff emphasized the practices in place to ensure safe and responsible use of these improved varieties, also providing information on structured refuge, new refuge-in-a-bag options and farmer attitudes toward compliance.  Marketing staff began the meeting by providing an overview of the organization, its mission and activities to aide Halos in understanding the specific role NCGA plays in the greater U.S. industry and why it does so.  Halos expressed particular interest in NCGA’s involvement with technology providers to ensure the availability of traits and in efforts to ensure farmers use these products responsibly. Expressing concern over farmer attitudes in the Philippines, she sought advice on conveying the...

(Posted Tue. Nov 15th, 2011)

Keywords: Ethanol Trade

Nov. 15: This week, the National Corn Growers Association participated in a roundtable that brought experts from various areas within agriculture to Kansas City for a discussion of upcoming issues that will impact agriculture. Focusing on issues such as the sustainability of utilizing corn stover as a biofuels feed stock, increasing grain exports from the Black Sea region and the future of ethanol, these discussions helped both the host and participants develop a more comprehensive view of the potential impacts of developing situations.  “By sharing insight into the issues NCGA thinks will influence the national corn industry and exploring the variety of ideas these experts brought to the table, we are able to create a more comprehensive look at what must be dealt with today in order to create the best possible scenario for our farmers tomorrow,” said Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels, who represented the organization. “Each participant brings a unique...

(Posted Mon. Nov 14th, 2011)

Nov. 14: Ten times this year, the National Corn Growers Association has provided free online training seminars to its members and others to help them learn more about social media and build their skills and impact as public advocates for today’s agriculture. This series continues Thursday, Nov. 17, with an hour-long program that provides a “deeper dive” into using social media to truly engage with a variety of audiences.  “The media landscape has changed dramatically in just a few short years, and the Internet has helped individuals transform from media consumers to ‘citizen journalists’ who themselves can have a lot of influence on their peers and others,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team and an active social media user. “These sessions, now nearing an end, have worked well to provide our growers with knowledge and confidence to speak out on the issues that impact their farms and their industry.”  Past online seminars, or “webinars,” have...

(Posted Mon. Nov 14th, 2011)

Nov. 14: The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is partnering with Discovery Networks to continue to help Americans learn more about how food is grown and raised. Discovery will air short videos featuring real farmers and ranchers answering real consumers’ questions about the role farmers and ranchers play in providing healthy choices for people everywhere.  Click here for the videos.  “This is a terrific partnership with a high-profile media network to visibly demonstrate our public commitment to continuous improvement,” said NCGA Chairman Bart Schott, who serves as vice chairman of the alliance. “Dozens of organizations representing our nation’s farmers and ranchers have collaborated in ways never seen before, to focus on building a real dialogue with American families about the food we produce and they consume.”  The videos reinforce farmers’ and ranchers’ commitments to having a conversation with consumers and answering questions about food production. They are meant to...

(Posted Fri. Nov 11th, 2011)

Nov. 10: This week, National Corn Growers Association Corn Board officers met with members of the mainstream and agriculture media in Kansas City where they talked about topics ranging from sustainability to the upcoming farm bill legislation to the 2011 harvest, a subject of particular interest following U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released Wednesday.  On Wednesday, NCGA hosted the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention’s Welcome Reception. During this well attended event, NCGA shared the spotlight with the Missouri Corn Growers Association to help draw attention to the devastating flooding of farm land in the summer of 2011. Attendees watched a teaser for MCGA’s short documentary, Underwater and Overlooked: Crisis on the Missouri River, which holds the Corps accountable for the 2011 flood along the Missouri River banks and pushes them to take steps to ensure this never happens again.  On Thursday, NCGA President Garry Niemeyer and First Vice President...

(Posted Thu. Nov 10th, 2011)

This weekend 1,000 green American Ethanol flags will fly over the campgrounds as NASCAR comes to Phoenix, Arizona as part of a large promotion targeting some of the sport’s biggest fans. These flags, like those that have been used to start every NASCAR race in the 2011 season, will draw even greater attention to ethanol and NASCAR’s move to an E15 blend this season.  “NASCAR’s conversion to Sunoco Green E15 ethanol is providing major, positive public exposure for this renewable fuel,” said Martin Barbre, an Illinois corn grower and chairman of the NCGA NASCAR Advisory Committee. “Our primary target in the first year of the program is raising positive awareness of ethanol among NASCAR’s fan base of 80 million people. American Ethanol is doing this very effectively both at the track and during the nationally televised races.”  This weekend, each camper will receive a postcard detailing the promotion when picking up their information packet from the Phoenix International Raceway....

(Posted Wed. Nov 9th, 2011)

Keywords: Production

Nov. 9: Despite slightly lower corn harvest estimates for 2011, growers are still pulling in the fourth-largest U.S. corn crop ever to meet all needs for food, feed and fuel, the National Corn Growers Association said Wednesday upon release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly report on supply and demand.  “Even in light of slightly lowered estimates, U.S. corn farmers remain on track to produce an abundant crop that will be more than enough to meet all demand,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer. “Recently, we have become accustomed to setting new yield and production records every year, but 2011 reminds us that the weather still plays a major role in growing a successful crop.”  Estimated U.S. corn production fell by one percent, roughly 123 million bushels, from October projections as national average yield forecasts were revised down by 1.4 bushels per acre according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. With yield...

(Posted Tue. Nov 8th, 2011)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Today, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a group of Brazilian dignitaries, including World Food Prize winner Alysson Paolinelli, who was key in transforming the country’s infertile high plains region, Cerrado, into highly productive crop land. Now the CEO of the Brazilian Corn Growers Association, Paolinelli, along with colleagues from his organization, the food processing industry, agribusiness and an environmental consulting group, met with NCGA marketing and biotechnology staff to better understand the organization and the role of biotechnology in the U.S. corn market.  NCGA Vice President of Marketing Fred Stemme welcomed the team and spoke with them on the association’s structure, the key issues on which it focuses and updated them on major projects currently underway.  Stemme was followed by Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields who provided an overview of the state of the 2011 U.S. corn crop. Giving information on both current supply and...

(Posted Tue. Nov 8th, 2011)

Nov. 8: The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is holding committee meetings, a board meeting and its annual meeting for all affiliates this week in Kansas City. The National Corn Growers Association is represented by NCGA Chairman and USFRA Board of Directors Executive Committee Vice Chairman Bart Schott, NCGA and USFRA Advisory Committee CEO Rick Tolman and NCGA Communications Director Ken Colombini, a member of the USFRA Communications Advisory Committee.  “We are extremely excited by the progress made over the past year,” said NCGA Chairman Bart Schott. “From the growth of this unprecedented movement to the attention generated during our launch, the Alliance brings farmers and ranchers to the table for the conversation on food in a meaningful way. Now, we have a chance to regroup and find the most effective ways to become more engaged and in-tune with consumers concerned about farming today.”  During these meetings, Jane Ade Stevens, executive director of the Indiana Corn...

(Posted Mon. Nov 7th, 2011)

Nov. 7: An exclusive performance at the Grand Ole Opry awaits those attending the Evening of Entertainment at the 2012 Commodity Classic, March 3 in Nashville, Tennessee. Commodity Classic is the nation's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused conference and trade show, presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers.  “The Grand Ole Opry has launched country music careers and hosted entertainment icons,” said Commodity Classic co-chair Jeff Sollars. “This year Commodity Classic attendees are lucky to have the chance to visit the place that led the way for Nashville to become Music City.”  “The Opry’s rich legacy of showcasing legendary and rising talent is testament to the level of top entertainment attendees can look forward to experiencing,” said Commodity Classic co-chair Martin Barbre. “Unforgettable moments have happened on this most famous of country music stages,...

(Posted Mon. Nov 7th, 2011)

Nov. 7: The National Corn Growers Association welcomed Molly O’Connor, the organization’s new Legislative Assistant for the Washington, DC office, this week. O’Connor will be responsible for maintaining the front desk operations for the DC office in addition to assisting with the overall flow of the DC office.  “We welcome Molly to our staff enthusiastically, knowing that she will be an asset to our team,” Jon Doggett said. “Molly comes from a strong agricultural background and will be able to apply her personal, professional and academic understanding of our issues to her new role from day one.”  O’Connor will also be the staff assistant working with the Public Policy Action Team and Joint Trade Policy A-Team and will be responsible for maintaining the information flow of items within the DC. She will be reporting to Natalie Cook, NCGA’s Washington Office Manager and will also be working closely with Jon Doggett, Vice President of Public Policy.  Click here for the whole...

(Posted Fri. Nov 4th, 2011)

Nov. 4: 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. With corn harvest complete on his farm, we caught up with Illinois grower Tom Martin to review this year’s growing season and discuss what he plans to do this winter.  Martin assessed the year and decided that, overall, his corn crop performance exceeded his expectations.  “This year, we had a good outcome at harvest in this part of the world,” he said. “Personally, my corn yields were a little bit above average, in the 185 to 190 bushel per acre range. It was the first time in several years that we did not see many flooded out areas in our fields, so that definitely helped.”  He attributes much of his success to timing.  “On our farm, we got about 20 percent of our crop in during the first part of April and the rest went in the first ten days of May,” Martin explained. “From what I have heard, I think that...

(Posted Fri. Nov 4th, 2011)

Nov. 4: National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels spoke today to the Agriculture Future of American Alliance Forum on the global forces impacting the U.S. corn market. Held this year in Kansas City, the forum provided more than 50 young members of agribusiness an overview of international marketing trends and opportunities, along with a look at global factors impacting major U.S. agricultural commodities.  “In helping the younger members of the agribusiness community understand not only the implications of the current global grain trade situation but also how it has evolved, we ensure that our industry has the base understanding needed for continued success,” Bertels said. “In any sector, it is important that each new generation of leadership grasps the historical perspective of their trade. Through a deeper understanding, future leaders gain the overall outlook necessary to avoid many pitfalls and foresee possible...

(Posted Thu. Nov 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Farm Policy Production

Nov. 3: The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers and their allies to submit comments opposing a petition filed with the Environmental Protection Agency that would ban atrazine use and production before the public comment period closes on November 14. The petition, originally submitted this spring by an activist organization named Save the Frogs, asks for both further review of this proven herbicide and regulatory changes. The EPA posted this petition on its website for public comment, remaining consistent with its goal of openness and transparency in the regulatory and scientific processes.  “Growers must speak out right now in support of the current policies regulating atrazine use,” said Dean Taylor, chair of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “This herbicide has played a vital role in farming for more than five decades, both increasing corn productivity and allowing for the use of practices that protect our environment.”  The information submitted by...

(Posted Thu. Nov 3rd, 2011)

Keywords: Conservation Farm Policy

Nov. 3: Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry held a hearing on the EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. TMDLs are a common pollution control mechanism established by the Clean Water Act. The TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay watershed sets a firm limit on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that can be discharged in six states and the District of Colombia. Today’s hearing focused on state Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and their impacts on rural communities.  EPA Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin testified on behalf of the Agency, and he was asked tough questions about the validity of the Chesapeake Bay computer model, which forms the basis for the TMDL. Members of the Subcommittee expressed concerns that EPA’s flawed model does not take into account many of the voluntary best management practices that are currently undertaken by farmers in the watershed. In addition, Congressman Bob...

(Posted Wed. Nov 2nd, 2011)

Keywords: Conservation

Nov. 2: The National Corn Growers Association welcomed a high-level delegation from Argentina exploring how new technology improves yields and conserves resources when used in conjunction with other agronomic practices.  Designed to foster a farmer-to-farmer conversation across the Americas, delegates expressed particular interest in how U.S. growers have improved their sustainability.  “Fostering interaction between corn farmers across the hemisphere benefits both parties,” said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. “Working together, we can both improve the sustainability of farming as a whole while also better helping potential export markets realize the importance of biotechnology.”  During their visit, Tolman, along with Marketing Department staff, led off by explaining the association’s mission, organizational structure, the key issues with which it deals and some of the major activities currently underway. Representatives from NCGA’s Production and Utilization Department then took the...

(Posted Wed. Nov 2nd, 2011)

Keywords: Trade

Nov. 2: Last week, National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman joined U.S. Grains Council leadership and others on a mission to China during which they assured Chinese leaders of the United States’ ability and commitment to being a reliable corn supplier to their market. Speaking at several meetings on U.S. corn production and marketing systems, the delegation followed up on contacts made during the agricultural tour to the United States by high-level Chinese officials last August sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council.  Following this visit, Tolman stressed the immense growth of agricultural imports into China from the U.S. noting that, while many sectors face a trade deficit in this relationship, U.S. agriculture actually carries a favorable trade balance here.  “Many in ag grew accustomed to experts touting China as a major market for our exports in the future,” said Tolman. “While the projections continually cast this reality as only a few years away, this target has...

(Posted Tue. Nov 1st, 2011)

Nov. 1: As the deadline steadily approaches, the National Corn Growers Association reminds members that it, along with the 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.  “As schedules become increasingly busy over the holidays and finals season, interested candidates should make time soon for NCGA scholarship applications to make sure that they meet the December 9 deadline,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team Chair. “This program is important for candidates as it helps fund their ongoing education, but it is also important for the industry as a whole. By helping tomorrow’s leaders further their studies, we proactively create a generation ready to lead agriculture for decades to come.”  Applicants for the NCGA Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or...

(Posted Tue. Nov 1st, 2011)

Nov. 1: The National Corn Growers Association expressed disappointment in the Senate's failure to act on legislation that would have clarified federal permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA-approved label.  “NCGA is disappointed the Senate did not approve H.R. 872 prior to the October 31 deadline when the NPDES pesticide permitting program takes effect,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, an Illinois corn farmer, said. “Despite broad bipartisan support for the proposal, lawmakers were unable to identify a path forward for this important legislation. As a result, farmers like me are now exposed to a new set of legal liabilities and regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act, without a guarantee of any additional environmental benefits.”  For most of the past four decades, water quality concerns from pesticide applications were addressed within the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), rather...