NEWS STORIES

JANUARY 2012

(Posted Tue. Jan 31st, 2012)

Jan. 31: Some of Nashville’s top talent will take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry for Commodity Classic’s closeout Evening of Entertainment, an exclusive event for Commodity Classic attendees on Saturday, March 3, sponsored by Monsanto. The roster of stars includes:  -Darryl Worley, who has sold nearly two million albums, earned nominations for five major ACM and CMA awards, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year, and has written songs for other major artists, including George Jones. -Born and raised in Kentucky farm country, John Conlee grew up plowing fields, slopping hogs, harvesting grain, raising tobacco and tending cattle. In March 1978, “Rose Colored Glasses,” a song Conlee wrote, became a huge hit as well as his signature song. -American country music singer and songwriter Sarah Darling’s debut album, Every Monday Morning, was released in June 2009. Her single "Jack of Hearts" successfully made its debut on Country Music Television's top 20 countdown. A...

(Posted Mon. Jan 30th, 2012)

Keywords: Corn Sugar

Jan. 30:  Problems with recent reports attacking high fructose corn syrup demonstrate the need for clarity and caution on the part of research scientists, the National Corn Growers Association said Monday.  Even though researchers may acknowledge specific limitations, the mainstream media does not always act so prudently as they report the news.  “Even peer-reviewed research has limitations and caveats that need to be clearly stated by the authors and reported by the news media, so consumers have a clear understanding of what the research really means,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “When it comes to high fructose corn syrup, it’s important to avoid biases based on unfounded attacks. The science is clear that, enjoyed in moderation, there is no difference between HFCS and other sugars.”  Niemeyer pointed out that not only do table sugar and HFCS have a similar composition, according to the American Medical Association, but the American Dietetic Association has found...

(Posted Fri. Jan 27th, 2012)

Keywords: Research

Jan. 27:  The National Corn Growers Association’s Research and Business Development Action Team investigated plant nitrogen use efficiency at its meeting this week in Fresno, Calif. Team members toured Biagro Western, where they saw several varieties of citrus crops, and heard a presentation on nitrogen efficiency in plants.  Biagro is commercializing a metabolite, developed by Pat Unkefer of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bioscience Division, that modifies a plant’s metabolism by raising the amount of carbon dioxide the plant takes from the air and nitrogen from the soil.  “Although not much field testing has been done on corn, the team encouraged Biagro scientists to do more,” said team Chair DeVonna Zeug, a grower from Minnesota. “Farmers welcome technologies that can help reduce the cost and environmental pressure of inputs such as nitrogen.”  The team also toured University of California Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Kearney, along with members of...

(Posted Fri. Jan 27th, 2012)

Jan. 27:  Now in its 55th year of operation and going strong, the National Corn Growers Association continues its role in creating and increasing opportunities for its farmer members, and a new series of interviews with current and former grower leaders demonstrates this success.  From the introduction to the series:  Corn growers have increasingly stepped beyond the farm itself to influence changes that affect their ability to operate. One of the most important steps came in 1957, when farmers saw the need for a stronger voice on corn issues in Washington and decided to establish the National Corn Growers Association.     It has been farmers, in each generation since then, who have spoken for their neighbors and their industry on a roster of issues that began with agricultural policy and now includes infrastructure, energy, biotechnology, conservation, research, and education about production agriculture.     Their stories are a study in grower initiative, leadership,...

(Posted Thu. Jan 26th, 2012)

Keywords: Conservation Production

Jan. 26: The National Corn Growers Association’s Production and Stewardship Action Team traveled to Fresno, Calif., this week to tackle issues related to sustainability, water quality and other conservation and environmental concerns.  At the meeting, Gary Edwards and Ken McCauley, who serve as NCGA organizational appointees on two sustainability initiatives, spoke to growers about sustainability efforts in the agricultural industry.  McCauley, an NCGA past president who farms in eastern Kansas, discussed the importance of corn farmers playing an active role in the development of farm management systems that will help producers to achieve verifiable sustainability outcomes that satisfy performance expectations of manufacturing supply chains and still maintain farm productivity.  Such is the mission of the National Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, McCauley noted, which expects to implement model systems developed through producer leadership and participation in...

(Posted Wed. Jan 25th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Jan. 25:  National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, where the president called for an “all-of-the-above” policy to promote domestic energy.  “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to hear President Obama’s continued commitment to the nation’s energy independence during his State of the Union address. Corn farmers and the American ethanol industry answered the call nearly 30 years ago to provide feedstock for a domestically produced renewable energy source.  Today, that same feedstock constitutes more than 10% of the nation’s fuel and continues to provide a bountiful supply of corn to our long-term customers.  “The corn ethanol industry has proven that good government policy sends signals to the market place for producers to increase production and efficiencies.  As family corn farmers have risen to the challenge to meet our nation’s energy...

(Posted Wed. Jan 25th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Jan. 25:  The National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team convened today in Orlando, Fla., to review the organization’s policy and recommendations coming out of the Priority and Policy Conference held earlier in January. Additionally, team members will meet with representatives from government and industry to explore current challenges and opportunities in the areas of trade and biotechnology.   Looking at a variety of issues including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of refuge compliance and facilitate successful communication across the biotechnology value-chain on their issues, the team will use its in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to guide NCGA policy effectively.  “During the winter months, it can begin to feel like farmer leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings for a variety of agricultural groups,” said team Chair Chad...

Growers Get Taste of Leadership

(Posted Tue. Jan 24th, 2012)

Jan. 24: Growers are gathering this week in Washington for the second session of the National Corn Growers Association’s Leadership Academy, sponsored by Syngenta. Upon completion, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 25 years.  At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from Chairman Bart Schott, also a Leadership Academy alumnus. NCGA staff in Washington also provided briefings on current issues facing corn farmers on Capitol Hill.  The training will also include panels designed to explain how lobbying works and the role lobbyists play in the federal government.  Finally, the group will have a chance to implement their knowledge, along with the skills honed during the first session in August, as they visit with their representatives in Congress.  “As a Leadership Academy graduate, I have a deep appreciation for the expertise attendees develop in such a short time, and of the ability of Syngenta...

Racing Partnerships to Promote Ethanol

(Posted Mon. Jan 23rd, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Jan. 23: In a nod to its commitment to the sport, the American Ethanol partnership, which includes the National Corn Growers Association, on Saturday announced that it will continue relationships with Richard Childress Racing and RAB Racing for the 2012 season.  Austin Dillon, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season with American Ethanol serving as the primary sponsor for six races as well as one race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012. Dillon’s No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet paint scheme was unveiled at the event.  “I’m proud to carry the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR,” said Dillon. “Growth Energy is committed to clean air, and as an avid outdoorsman I truly appreciate their desire to protect our nation’s air and water for future generations. I commend the work they do and I am looking forward to representing American Ethanol, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers...

(Posted Thu. Jan 19th, 2012)

Keywords: Livestock

Jan. 19: Corn’s second-largest livestock market is set for a rebound, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released earlier this week. With poultry forecast to consume more than 1.2 billion bushels of corn in the 2011-2012 marketing year, the significant recovery in broiler production since its September low benefits poultry producers and corn farmers alike.  “Corn farmers have always understood the importance of strong livestock markets to support corn demand,” said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott. “The recovery in poultry markets plays an essential role in maintaining demand for our crops. Now, more than ever, we are seeing how cooperation and understanding between grain farmers and livestock producers plays a pivotal role in ensuring our own future success.”  While broiler placements were slightly lower than at this time in 2011, the significant recovery bodes well for the coming year. Current USDA projections forecast a continued...

(Posted Thu. Jan 19th, 2012)

Jan. 19: Ongoing media coverage on corn usage tends to sensationalize trends by pitting demand from the ethanol industry against that from livestock, but Corn Board member Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer, has been speaking to groups across the Midwest on why this so-called “feed versus fuel” debate is based in fallacy. Explaining how U.S. corn farmers continue to grow a crop abundant enough to meet all growing demands, he has gained attention from industry publications looking to find the truth behind the headlines.  With further coverage of his success in combating the misinformation plaguing this debate pending, NCGA’s podcast series Off the Cob caught up with Spurlock to discuss how corn farmers are growing a larger crop on the land already in production while decreasing inputs used. During this interview, he discussed the innovations facilitating increased yield trends, how the Texas drought plays a major role in recent cattle industry shifts, and the amazing story of modern...

(Posted Wed. Jan 18th, 2012)

Jan. 18: Recently, former National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Jamie Jameson enjoyed a unique honor when he presented an address on the past and future of corn production in Maryland during the Talbot County Corn Club’s 60th Anniversary Dinner. Reportedly the oldest organization of its kind in the nation, the club members looked to NCGA as a resource for an analysis of the production and use trends they have witnessed first-hand through their on-going county-wide yield contest.  NCGA’s Off the Cob podcast caught up with Jameson to explore his thoughts on the experience and the value that yield contests, held at the county, state or national level, offer farmers.  “Since this club was founded, we have seen a marked improvement in corn yields, corn varieties and in the treatments used,” said Jameson. “It has been quite an evolution that has brought us to many of today’s practices, such as no-till farming. It was rewarding looking back at this process with many...

(Posted Tue. Jan 17th, 2012)

Jan. 17:  Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s top leadership departed on a mission to Brazil and Argentina today, where they will work with agricultural officials to discuss how the three corn exporting nations can work together to help meet the growing global demand for food, feed and fuel.  Along with representatives from the U.S. Grains Council, NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, First Vice President Pam Johnson and CEO Rick Tolman will join in high-level discussions on key issues including the importance of education on biotechnology and the role biofuels can play in the global energy market.  “Our counterparts in Brazil and Argentina face many similar challenges and, working together, we can magnify the effectiveness of our efforts to overcome them,” said Tolman.  “Demand for corn is growing and, while we may traditionally have viewed them as competitors, they are becoming cooperators as the demand for corn grows globally.  Today, our work coincides as we work...

(Posted Tue. Jan 17th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Jan. 17:  As auto makers retool engines to maximize gas mileage while minimizing emissions to meet future Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards, a new study reveals that ethanol provides the higher-octane these high-efficiency engines require while remaining both affordable and environmentally friendly.   The study, conducted by AVL, a global leader in the development of powertrain engines with internal combustion systems, was funded in part by the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee and Research and Business Development Action Team.  The goal of this research was to explore the role corn ethanol could play in meeting the new CAFÉ standards enacted by the U.S. federal government.  “The findings of this study further support our existing understanding of ethanol in that they demonstrate its inherent ability to meet our nation’s need for an affordable, sustainable domestically-produced fuel source,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chairman Chad Willis. ...

(Posted Fri. Jan 13th, 2012)

Jan. 13:  Commodity Classic is less than two months away, and growers are encouraged to take advantage of the lowest rate by registering before the early discount deadline of midnight, January 20. Registering early will save attendees up to $50. To take advantage of the early registration discount, register now at www.CommodityClassic.com.  Corn, soybean wheat and sorghum growers attending Commodity Classic March 1-3 in Nashville will benefit from a wide variety of educational sessions, networking opportunities and a sold-out trade show with more than 960 booths displaying the newest technology, equipment, ideas and innovations in agriculture.  “If you want to know where agriculture is headed, this is the place to be,” said Commodity Classic co-chair Martin Barbre. “2012 will be a sound success for growers who attend Commodity Classic with the solid foundation they’ll build after learning about the issues and advancements affecting their operation this year.”  Commodity...

(Posted Thu. Jan 12th, 2012)

Keywords: Production

Jan 12: In its annual report on crop production released this morning, the U.S. Department of Agricultural slightly increased its previous estimates of corn production and average yield, now reporting a crop of 12.4 billion bushels harvested on 84 million acres, for a yield of 147.2 bushels per acre. This demonstrates the resilience of corn and corn growers despite significant weather challenges throughout the growing season, the National Corn Growers Association said.  “Despite lost acres and a 2011 yield that’s 5.6 bushels below the 2010 average, the corn crop itself is only one percentage point below last year’s number,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said. “A lot of people, including the grain market, expected a much different report, and that explains the price drop on corn futures, but we see this as a positive sign and even further reason to expect that we will continue to meet all needs into the foreseeable future.”  In the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates...

(Posted Tue. Jan 10th, 2012)

Jan. 10: The National Corn Growers Association’s annual Priority and Policy Conference takes place this week in St. Louis, bringing farmer leaders from many corn states to begin the discussion of state and national priorities for 2013 and NCGA’s policies on such subjects as trade, ethanol and biotechnology.  “This meeting is an important opportunity for us to learn from leaders in our state organizations about their concerns and work together on a consensus for moving forward in the months ahead,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a grower from Auburn, Ill. “It comes at an important time for our industry, with a new round of farm bill discussions on the horizon and presidential campaign underway. There’s much to discuss and much to take action on this week.”  The meeting is for chairs, presidents and executive directors of NCGA’s state organizations, as well chairs of the organization’s action teams and committees. It starts Tuesday evening with a visioning session during...

(Posted Mon. Jan 9th, 2012)

Jan. 9: The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Rachel Jungermann as the new Corn Yield Contest Manager. Jungermann, who has experience in agronomy data support and collection, enters this role with a strong background in many areas crucial to the success of the continually growing National Corn Yield Contest.  “Rachel will be a valuable addition to our team and play a key role in ensuring the continued success of the contest,” said Director of Production, Stewardship and Livestock Max Starbuck. “In 2011, the contest set yet another record with 8,431 entries, up an incredible 70 percent in only four years. We strive to ensure that, even with this rapid expansion, the contest maintains its integrity and are confident that Rachel will help us achieve this goal.”  Jungermann earned a Master of Business Administration Degree from Lindenwood University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business from Missouri State University, where she also minored in...

(Posted Mon. Jan 9th, 2012)

Jan. 9: The Kansas State University Lady Wildcats may have shot better hoops than the University of Kansas Lady Jayhawks Saturday night, but the real winners were the farm women who started a conversation about food at Allen Fieldhouse prior to the game. Teresa Brandenburg, Kara James and LaVell Winsor hosted dinner to launch the Kansas arm of the CommonGroundTM program, a national grassroots movement designed to bridge the gap between the women who grow food and those who buy it.  The event brought together members of the media, academics and government officials to discuss modern farming. During the dinner, guests were invited to partake in conversation about farming and food while enjoying delicious food and the company of the new Kansas CommonGround volunteer farmers.  The reason Kansas became a part of the CommonGround movement was clear during dinner as Alton, Kan., CommonGround volunteer Teresa Brandenburg explained. “Many consumers are confronted by a barrage of...

(Posted Fri. Jan 6th, 2012)

Jan. 6: As growers prepare to travel to St. Louis for the annual National Corn Growers Association Priority and Policy Conference, Off the Cob revisits conversations held with some members of the Corn Board following the organization’s Action Team and Committee Meetings in December. During these interviews, the attendees offer information on a variety of subjects covered that they feel to be of particular interest to farmers.  First, Off the Cob caught up with Corn Board member Guy Davenport, a farmer from North Carolina. Davenport cited NCGA’s efforts to reach out to animal agriculture groups and engage in joint efforts as one of the more interesting topics that he encountered during the meetings.  “There are many legislative issues where our positions coincide and a variety of other areas where we share common ground,” said Davenport. “In working together, we must rely on our common interests. We both face challenges from groups seeking to regulate agriculture without...

(Posted Thu. Jan 5th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Jan. 5: The National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team was created in 2010 by the unification of two existing action teams. Seeing that trade issues facing the corn industry most often involved a biotechnology component, leadership saw it prudent to create a single group to explore these issues and develop an in-depth understanding of the nuanced areas of overlap involved.  In 2012, the team, along with state and national staff assistance, will face many important issues as they advocate for cooperation across the biotechnology value chain, provide innovative, cutting-edge tools to help farmers act as responsible stewards of biotechnology products, and support trade agreements that benefit U.S. agriculture and the national economy.  “We made major progress in 2011 when the U.S. ratified free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama, launched an updated version of our online IRM refuge calculator and opened a dialogue with groups from...

(Posted Wed. Jan 4th, 2012)

Jan. 4: With the Iowa Caucus complete, the National Corn Growers Association continues its push to help keep farmers informed of candidate views and engaged in the presidential primary process as the race for the Republican nomination continues. NCGA will continue to update the original Corn Caucus Project report card, offer expanded and updated information on the positions of the remaining Republican contestants and provide links to the caucus and primary schedule and a candidate tracker.  “With the 2012 Iowa Corn Caucuses behind us, I see the Corn Caucus project as a success. Corn farmers from across the state did their homework on the candidates, followed the campaigns, participated in local meetings, used the Corn Caucus report card and made sure agriculture issues were recognized and addressed by the candidates,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association Senior Policy Advisor Amanda Taylor. “As we move toward the nomination, we look forward to continuing to engage the campaigns in...

(Posted Wed. Jan 4th, 2012)

Jan. 4: The National Corn Growers Association’s Grower Services Action Team focuses on three areas for the organization: membership, leadership and communications. In each of these areas, 2012 will prove to be an important year for the group of 14 growers who, along with state and national staff assistance, keep a sharp eye on program efforts in these three areas.  “With membership setting records and a deeper level of state checkoff investment in core image programs, the Grower Services Action Team has its work cut out for it this year,” said Nebraska corn farmer Brandon Hunnicutt, who chairs the team. “We challenge ourselves at each meeting to ensure our national organization is more relevant to our individual grower members and to provide them the tools they need to excel in leadership and communications with a robust slate of services.”  Whether it’s something as simple as a discount on cars or computers or as complicated as an advanced leadership training program, the...

(Posted Tue. Jan 3rd, 2012)

Jan. 3: Today, Off the Cob spoke with National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer on his outlook for corn growers in the new year. Emphasizing the importance of cooperation and making changes on the horizon into opportunities for farmers, Niemeyer offered an optimistic outlook for agriculture should the industry take an active role in the many potential movements that could impact various pieces of the value chain.  “I believe that it is time we stand together as an agricultural industry and recognize the new year for what it is – an open horizon in which each change holds endless possibility,” said Niemeyer. “Things will not be the same. Let’s make them better.”  Offering direction on how to do so, he sighted many of NCGA’s accomplishments from the previous year.  “In 2011, we saw joint efforts like the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, CommonGround, the American Ethanol partnership with NASCAR and the Corn Farmers...

(Posted Tue. Jan 3rd, 2012)

Jan. 3: The National Corn Growers Association Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report is now available online. A printed copy of the report, which highlights the association’s achievements over the previous year and features current financial information, will also be sent to all active members.  The 2011 annual report is now available for download here.  “As the nation’s leading trade association representing corn growers, we’re proud of the work of our Communications team,” said NCGA Chairman Bart Schott, a grower from Kulm, N.D., who served as president last year. “We’ve toiled tirelessly over the past year to proactively advance the image of corn growers and create opportunities to increase demand for their product. This report not only illuminates what grower contributions support, it also demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of these activities.”  Themed “Success through Collaboration,” the 2011 report spotlights efforts made by NCGA throughout the year that brought...