NEWS STORIES

MAY 2012

(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2012)

Keywords: Corn Sugar

May 31: The National Corn Growers Association supports the Corn Refiners Association as it questions the issues ignored by the Food and Drug Administration in their decision to deny the CRA petition seeking the ability to use the term “corn sugar” to describe high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  “We support CRA’s efforts to help consumers make informed decisions,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “Clearly, HFCS has been targeted by competing products through a campaign of misinformation and propaganda.  Thus, CRA does a great service in educating consumers that sugars are all the same nutritionally, whether they come from corn, cane or beet.  Promoting the responsible, moderate use of all sweeteners, CRA aims to provide clear, unbiased information to all Americans, a goal the FDA should support.”  The denial, issued yesterday, ignored important concerns raised in the CRA petition about consumer confusion surrounding the term HFCS.  The petition requested this change on the basis...

(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 31:  A new report from the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute shows how a key farm bill program being considered by Congress treats crops like corn, soybeans, rice, wheat and peanuts equitably. This study comes at an important time, as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, which was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26, is expected to be considered on the floor of the Senate as early as next week and the House of Representatives is also moving forward on farm bill legislation.   “When you talk about farm bill equity, it is important to consider the market value of each of the covered crops,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “This research shows how well senators on the agriculture committee have done in maintaining balance and equity while drafting a very complex piece of legislation. We are hopeful that members of the House Agriculture Committee will do the same.”  Niemeyer notes the FAPRI report finds that the Agriculture Risk...

(Posted Thu. May 31st, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

May 31: This week, the National Corn Growers Association brought together representation from state corn associations, members of its Ethanol Committee and various other stakeholders to discuss the importance of ethanol both to farmers and the country as a whole.   With a full day of presentations on upcoming events in the industry and expert analysis, participants discussed short-, intermediate- and long-term goals which will be used to help NCGA as it refines its strategic plan.  “Farmers and those in rural American have long seen the impressive economic impact that ethanol brings to bear while experts have cited its important contributions to our environment and national energy independence,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis.  “This meeting provided us with an opportunity to collaborate on ways to work together in the promotion of this sustainable, domestically-produced fuel.”  Held outside of Chicago, Ill., the summit had a total attendance of 73 with...

(Posted Wed. May 30th, 2012)

May 30: With reports of equipment fires cropping up in dry, windy areas across the Midwest, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to carefully follow proper safety procedures that minimize the possibility of a farm machinery fire, much like those taken during last year’s harvest.  Even if the weather has not been warm and dry, fuel sources such as leaves, stalks, husks, dust, oil and fuel come into constant contact with potential sources of ignition from farm equipment, such as exhaust, bearings and electrical wiring presenting an ever present fire risk.  “Equipment fires are not only dangerous but are often extremely costly for farmers,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “During this busy season, a fire can halt work in an instant causing property damage and consuming valuable time.  Building risk management practices into your schedule could end up saving both time and money.”  First, keep farm equipment clean, particularly the...

(Posted Tue. May 29th, 2012)

May 29:  In June, farmers and ranchers are headed to Los Angeles – the entertainment capital of the world – for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s second Food Dialogues event. Four separate discussions – being held over two days –will bring together entertainment movers and shakers, chefs, academics, large restaurant operators, journalists, local leaders, farmers and ranchers for an in-depth conversation about food.  All panel discussions will be available online (either live streamed or taped) so all interested parties can join the conversation during or following the actual events.  USFRA will announce the full list of panelists prior to The Food Dialogues events in Los Angeles. Two of the four panel discussions will stream live online on both Wednesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT, providing opportunities for farmers, ranchers and the general public to register to watch and participate in the discussion online. Additionally, individuals with...

(Posted Fri. May 25th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

May 25: Both the farmers and citizens of countries using biotechnology reap considerable economic and environmental benefits, according to a study released this week by PG Economics Limited.  Spanning 15 years, the report documents important gains in production, improved incomes and reduced risk for farmers.   “The environment in user countries is benefiting from farmers using more benign herbicides or replacing insecticide use with insect-resistant GM crops,” said Graham Brookes, one of the study’s authors. “The reduction in pesticide spraying and the switch to no till cropping systems is also resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of these benefits are found in developing countries.”  Looking at the farm-level impact on socio-economic and environmental factors beginning in 1996, the year in which crop varieties developed through biotechnology became commercially available, the researchers found that use of this technology consistently produced benefits for...

(Posted Fri. May 25th, 2012)

May 25:   The National Corn Growers Association continues the second 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.      Today, Field Notes checks in with Sam Hancock, an eighth-generation farmer in Fulton, Ky., who was featured in the first season of the series.  While he was optimistic during the first interview of the season due to favorable weather conditions in April that allowed for early planting, a hot, dry May could damage his corn crop if his area does not see rain in the next week.  “We are in unusually bad shape for this time of year,” Hancock explained. “May is usually our wettest month, but I think that we have only had two-tenths of an inch of rain so far. The corn is looking really rough, and...

(Posted Fri. May 25th, 2012)

May 25: The settlement of a lawsuit against Syngenta related to the herbicide Atrazine ensures that corn farmers who depend on the important product continue to farm efficiently and safely, the National Corn Growers Association said.  While NCGA is concerned about the longer term impacts of unmerited class-action lawsuits against agricultural production, it is important that this case was resolved with an acknowledgement of the safety of atrazine.  “We’re relieved that a settlement has been reached that will allow our farmer members to use this proven and safe tool on their farms,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “Atrazine safety has been verified by thousands of studies and numerous reviews by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and we’re happy to have this nuisance lawsuit behind us so our growers can move forward and do what they do best – help feed and fuel the world, sustainably.”  According to the settlement, the scientific evidence continues to make it clear...

(Posted Thu. May 24th, 2012)

May 24:  The nation’s top crop and the farm families who grow it will return to the U.S. capital this summer for the fourth year in a row as part of the Corn Farmers Coalition educational program that debuts June 1, at Union Station, an important venue for reaching policymakers inside “The Beltway.”  “Nine of the largest corn crops in U.S. history have been grown in the last decade by family farmers,” said Jay Lynch, a fifth-generation farmer from Humboldt, Iowa. “Corn is incredibly versatile, and our ability to grow it so successfully has made huge contributions to our economy and balance of trade. When people hear of this increased productivity in conjunction with the rapid environmental improvements coming from our family farmers, it gives them an important perspective on this critical job.”  Corn farmers from 14 states and the National Corn Growers Association are supporting the Corn Farmers Coalition program to introduce a foundation of facts seen as essential to...

Our View: A Winning Ethanol Program

(Posted Thu. May 24th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

By Garry Niemeyer, President, National Corn Growers Association:       May 24:  In late 2010, with our support, NASCAR announced it was switching to a 15 percent ethanol blend in all races starting with the 2011 season. We at the National Corn Growers Association and our allies in the ethanol industry saw a tremendous opportunity to spotlight the importance of ethanol and the E15 blend. With the second year of racing well underway, it is clear that the American Ethanol NASCAR program has been highly successful.  Just consider that more than one quarter of the U.S. population – 80 million people – are NASCAR fans. The American Ethanol partnership is the first program we’ve been involved in with our state affiliates that has a reach of this magnitude.  Each week, NASCAR fans are exposed to positive ethanol promotions: American Ethanol fuel for every race, American Ethanol on every green flag and fuel port and American Ethanol in the winner’s circle. American Ethanol drivers...

(Posted Wed. May 23rd, 2012)

Keywords: Production

May 23: Today, the National Corn Growers Association opened online entry for the 2012 National Corn Yield Contest.  This format allows farmers to quickly and easily submit all necessary entry forms while taking advantage of the special early entry discount available until June 15.  With fees reduced to $80 until that time, NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.  “The online entry option makes taking advantage of the early entry discount easier than ever,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “We have seen many consecutive years of significant contest growth.  With favorable conditions across much of the country, I encourage members to take advantage of the discount, use the easy online form and become a part of the contest.  Also, I encourage non-members to explore the many benefits that NCGA members enjoy and consider joining both the association and entering the contest.”  The online entry...

(Posted Wed. May 23rd, 2012)

May 23: The National Corn Growers Association continues the second 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.    Today, Field Notes meets with Billy Thiel, a farmer from Marshall, Mo., who was featured in last year’s Corn Farmers Coalition campaign.  Through his work with this program, the National Corn Growers Association and the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Thiel gives back to the industry he loves through his efforts to educate legislators.  During the interview, Thiel’s tractor hummed along through the fields planting soybeans.  The technology incorporated into his operation, including GPS auto-track and precision planting, allow him to minimize farm inputs.  “The GPS technology we have now...

(Posted Tue. May 22nd, 2012)

Keywords: Research

May 22: The National Corn Growers Association proudly launched a redesigned version of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center website.  The site, which features more intuitive navigation and a more pleasing visual layout, offers an abundance of information on the project, the partners involved in the center and many resources for those interested in its work.  “We believe strongly in the mission of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center and hope to promote the concept, its benefits and to better explain the reason for its creation through the site,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair DeVonna Zeug.  “In furthering the science behind improved corn varieties in a way that is available to a larger pool of researchers, NCGA ensures that the most innovative, effective solutions reach farmers’ fields in an efficient, responsible manner.”  The website clearly defines NAGC’s mission, to which Zeug referred, as translating scientific discoveries into...

(Posted Tue. May 22nd, 2012)

May 22: In this article, the National Corn Growers Association continues the second 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.     Today, Field Notes meets with Donna Jeschke, a grain farmer whose corn and soybean farm is typical of those in her area of Northern Illinois. Yet, while Jeschke’s farm may be quite like those around it, her intense involvement in the state and national issues affecting agriculture makes her, personally, quite an extraordinary farmer.  Like many farms across the country, farming is a family affair for Jeschke.  “I farm together with my husband, and my brother and sister-in-law,” Jeschke explained. “Their son, my nephew, is starting to get more involved in the farm. Our son is...

(Posted Mon. May 21st, 2012)

Keywords: Research

May 21: With the 2012 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference rapidly approaching, the National Corn Growers Association’s Off the Cob podcast series spoke with Indiana Corn Marketing Council Secretary Gary Lamie, one of the event’s platinum sponsors.  Lamie welcomed attendees to his home state and invited them to attend the Amazing Maize exhibit at the Indiana State Museum.   “Those of us on the boards of the Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Corn Marketing Council are very proud to have the CUTC here in our home state,” said Lamie. “We are really looking forward to attending the event.”  Opening June 4, the conference is quickly approaching, and many attendees are gearing up for the array of educational and networking opportunities that it offers.  “This year, the theme is Back to the Grind,” Lamie explained. “We will be looking at new uses for both wet and dry grind processing.  There will be a variety of sessions on subjects from enzymatic technology in...

(Posted Mon. May 21st, 2012)

Keywords: Production

May 21: The 2012 planting season is almost over, with 96 percent of U.S. corn acres already planted, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today.  In addition, the report indicated that the crop appears to be progressing well with 76 percent of corn acres emerged and 77 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition.   “This year, it seems that every week that passes brings additional indicators that, if the corn crop stays on course, we will see an unparalleled harvest this fall,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer.  “Farmers persevered through difficult weather conditions for two years.  This year, we hope that the weather will provide us with the opportunity to provide an abundance of corn for food, feed, fuel and fiber that will exceed even the growing global demand.”  Planting progressed quickly this year, currently exceeding the five-year average by 15 points. Only three states, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania,...

(Posted Fri. May 18th, 2012)

Keywords: Corn Sugar Ethanol

By Rick Tolman, NCGA Chief Executive Officer:     May 18:  Two pieces of research that were dropped this week and then picked up in the mainstream  media clearly demonstrate that there’s something off in the way research is (1) conducted, (2) summarized, and (3) reported to the public. None of this surprises us; as an organization that often must deal with controversy, we’ve seen it all before and there is nothing new under the sun.  In the first case, researchers at UCLA, without even testing high fructose corn syrup, announced on Tuesday that they discovered that HFCS may have deleterious effects on cognitive ability. They did this by feeding lab rats enormous quantities of a “fructose solution” and seeing how well they did running through a maze. The UCLA news release stresses HFCS; the research itself does not mention it at all.  And what does this research mean in the real world? Nada. According to one doctor, you would have to drink more than 50 cans of soda a day to...

(Posted Thu. May 17th, 2012)

Keywords: Research

Recent Purdue University research about growing efficiency in nitrogen use shows the importance of science in making modern production agriculture not only more efficient, but more sustainable in the long run, the National Corn Growers Association said.  “At a time when farmers need to work smarter and harder to grow their crops and maintain their farms for future farming generations, we’re especially looking for ways to reduce inputs and costs,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a corn grower in Illinois. “Research like this shows the importance of technology and smart agronomics in boosting yields in a sustainable way, with an eye toward conservation.”  In the case of the new Purdue study, researchers there reviewed 72 years of public-sector research data and found that today's hybrid corn varieties more efficiently use nitrogen to create more grain. The amount of grain produced per pound of nitrogen accumulated in corn plants is substantially greater than it was for corn...

(Posted Thu. May 17th, 2012)

May 17: In this article, the National Corn Growers Association revisits the second 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.     Today, Field Notes introduces Brian Scott, who farms with his father and grandfather in Monticello, Ind.  On their 2,300 acres, the Scotts grow mostly corn and soybeans with some wheat and popcorn. Scott, a young farmer who has recently returned to the family operation, already shares his story with the public through a variety of new and social media including his blog, The Farmers Life, and on Twitter.  Explaining his perceptions on corn farming in America today, Scott notes that, despite often being maligned in the media, corn farmers play an important role by using the...

(Posted Wed. May 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

May 16:  In a letter to the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Corn Growers Association requested a 30-day public comment period before grain traders are allowed 22-hour-per-day electronic trading of grain and oilseed futures contracts. NCGA believes it is important for CFTC to take input and further analyze the proposals from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and the CME Group.  “As currently formulated, both ICE’s plans for new contracts with greatly expanded trading hours and the CME Group’s plans to expand hours raise serious issues that potentially place the Nation’s corn growers at a marketing disadvantage,” wrote NCGA President Garry Niemeyer in his letter to CFTC Chair Gary Gensler. “Approval of these major market changes without a 30-day comment period is ill-timed since many growers are currently preoccupied with planting.  We believe that there is no compelling reason why 22-hour trading needs to begin imminently.”  Niemeyer cited two...

(Posted Wed. May 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 16: Marking the first of a two day series, National Corn Growers Association Board Member Chip Bowling testified today before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Commodities and Risk Management on the 2012 farm bill.  Bowling, who also serves on the Public Policy Action Team, outlined NCGA’s priorities for a strong federal crop insurance program and a revenue-based, risk management tool.   “The ability to purchase federal crop insurance and have access to a flexible revenue-based, risk management program to mitigate risks is even more critical today,” Bowling, a grower from Newburg, Maryland said. “NCGA understands farmers need to be able to endure a certain amount of loss in any one year.  However, we are trying to protect farmers from depleting their emergency funds when they encounter revenue losses over multiple years.”  Bowling also stated NCGA believes the Agricultural Risk Coverage program in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s version of the farm bill...

(Posted Tue. May 15th, 2012)

May 15:  The National Corn Growers Association celebrates and congratulates the United States Department of Agriculture today on its 150th Anniversary.  President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an Act of Congress establishing the department on this day in 1862.   “When President Lincoln established the USDA, I doubt he could have envisioned what agriculture has become today,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “We have evolved from a time when corn planting used mule-drawn plows to an era of technically sophisticated tractors, multi-row planters and GPS systems.  Over the past 150 years, the USDA has helped advance American agriculture, spur economic growth, conserve natural resources and build stronger communities.”  Nicknamed “The People’s Department” by President Lincoln, the USDA has become an outstanding example of innovation and technology.  Created during a time when nearly half of all Americans lived on farms, the USDA today touches the lives of every American...

(Posted Tue. May 15th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

May 15:  America’s growing use of domestically produced ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $1.09 per gallon in 2011, according to updated research conducted by economics professors at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University.  The 2011 results, which are up from an average impact of $0.89 per gallon in 2010, were released today by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. To our nation’s corn growers, this is just further demonstration of this valuable domestic fuel.  “I hope that every time drivers pull into a gas station, they think about how worse things could be without ethanol,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer. “Our farmers are completing planting what appears to be a record-breaking corn crop, and they have worked hard, in good seasons and challenging ones, to meet all needs for food, feed, fiber – and fuel.  It’s gratifying to realize that our work is also helping consumers nationwide by...

(Posted Tue. May 15th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

May 15: As the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement takes effect today, NCGA applauds implementation of the agreement and appreciates the work of U.S. trade negotiators and Congress to get the FTA across the finish line.  “NCGA is excited to see an additional FTA go into effect,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “Colombia is traditionally one of the top ten export markets for U.S. corn, but we have seen a decline in recent years as Colombia imported corn from our biggest competitors.  We believe implementation of the FTA will help level the playing field.”  In marketing year 2011-12, the United States exported 154 million bushels of corn to Colombia.  Under the FTA, U.S. corn producers would gain immediate access to the Colombian market for 2.1 million metric tons of corn at zero percent duty. 

(Posted Mon. May 14th, 2012)

May 14:  The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance recently held its spring meetings in St. Louis, where significant growth in support of the organization was reported and the greater role farmers and ranchers are playing in our nation’s conversations about food was discussed. The National Corn Growers Association is a founder of USFRA, and NCGA Chairman Bart Schott, a North Dakota Corn Grower, serves as USFRA vice chairman.  “In its first 18 months, USFRA has made a significant impact on the conversation America is having about how its food is produced,” said USFRA Chairman Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Through our Food Dialogues, U.S. farmers and ranchers are actively engaging in this conversation by telling their personal stories of continuous improvement in the operations.”  With nearly 80 affiliate and industry partner organizations supporting USFRA to-date, Stallman said these meetings allowed representatives from a majority of those...

(Posted Mon. May 14th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 14: As the House Agriculture Committee continues farm bill hearings this week, the National Corn Growers Association and several other agriculture groups today sent a letter to House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson on the importance of crop insurance.   “Federal crop insurance provides an effective risk management tool to farmers and ranchers when they are facing losses beyond their control,” the letter stated. “It reduces taxpayer risk exposure; it makes hedging possible to help mitigate market volatility; and it provides lenders with greater certainty that loans made to producers will be repaid.”  NCGA has previously stated that crop insurance remains the number one priority in the new farm bill as well as a market oriented, risk management tool to cover multi-year price declines.  Chip Bowling, a member of the Corn Board and liaison to the Public Policy Action Team, during a hearing on Wednesday before the Subcommittee on General Farm...

(Posted Mon. May 14th, 2012)

Keywords: Production

May 14:  In its weekly crop progress report released today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 87 percent of the nation’s corn is now planted. Based on the prospective plantings report of 95.9  million acres total, this means that 83.4 million acres planted, the National Corn Growers Association said, with all states currently ahead of their five-year average for planting.  “It’s been a great spring for planting, and our farmers are excited about the potential of the 2012 crop,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a corn grower near Auburn, Ill. “We’re especially happy to see the breadth of this planting progress against the entire corn-growing region and what this means for a successful harvest in the fall.”  With regard to the states surpassing their 2007-2011 average, North Dakota and Indiana are the farthest ahead of trend, at 42 and 40 points ahead, respectively.     Wisconsin and Michigan are the closet to their five-year trends, up 4 and 6 points,...

(Posted Fri. May 11th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

May 11:  The U.S. Grains Council reports this week strong and growing overseas interest in importing some key corn products from the United States, great news for stateside corn farmers, especially looking at the crop now being planted that is expected to break many records.  For example, Japan's 2011 imports of dried distillers grains with solubles – a key ethanol coproduct – surged 31 percent ahead of 2010 levels. U.S. market share, already dominant, climbed from 89 to 93.7 percent. Further, Japan's DDGS imports thus far in 2012 are on track to exceed last year's record, with U.S. market share edging up yet again, to 96 percent through the first quarter.  “This is great news from Japan,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said. “One of the untold stories about ethanol is the important and growing role played by ethanol coproducts, such as distillers grains, a high-protein livestock feed. It’s important to remember that, taking into account these distiller grains, ethanol only...

(Posted Fri. May 11th, 2012)

Keywords: Production

Mar. 11: The National Corn Growers Association joined the American Farm Bureau Federation, The Fertilizer Institute, National Pork Producers Council and other farm groups this week to file a motion to intervene in the Gulf Restoration Network v. EPA lawsuit.  More than a dozen environmental groups are seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to establish strict water quality standards for nutrient runoff for all states in the Mississippi River Basin. With the amount of corn produced throughout the massive watershed, the outcome of this court case could have a profound impact on many of NCGA’s members.   “For the past two years, NCGA has warned that a regulatory framework similar to the Chesapeake Bay would be devastating to agricultural production in the Midwest,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.   “We are one court case away from that becoming a reality, which is why our organization decided to intervene.”   The Gulf Restoration Network lawsuit alleges that the...

(Posted Thu. May 10th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

May 10: This week, Representatives John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) sent an email and fact sheet refuting allegations about corn ethanol made by several of their colleagues.  The National Corn Growers Association applauds their efforts to supply their colleagues with accurate information about the importance of both the Renewable Fuels Standard and corn ethanol to our nation.  “On behalf of NCGA’s more than 37,000 farmer-members, I thank Representatives Shimkus and Peterson for working across party lines to disseminate factual, accurate information about corn ethanol,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “These distinguished Representatives demonstrated that they understand what corn growers have long known; corn ethanol provides important benefits to our economy, our energy security and to our environment.”  The Shimkus-Peterson letter reminded their colleagues in the House of Representatives that, “as originally envisioned by Congress in 2005, the multiple...

(Posted Thu. May 10th, 2012)

May 10: U.S. corn farmers are on course to shatter production, yield and supply records according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released this morning.  Projecting a record production of 14.8 billion bushels with record average yields of 166 bushels per acre, the report provides an extremely positive initial assessment of the 2012 corn crop.  Additionally, the projected increases in harvest acres and expected yields put the country on track for a record corn supply of 15.7 billion bushels, 2.2 billion higher than in 2011.  “In farm communities across the country, there has been a positive buzz building about this crop as early planting and emergence have given farmers a solid reason to be optimistic,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Illinois.  “The estimates released by USDA today show that the experts in government agree with our assessments on the ground.  Farmers have worked hard to lay the groundwork for a bountiful...

(Posted Wed. May 9th, 2012)

May 9: CommonGround, a volunteer group of farm women dedicated to creating conversations around farming and food, wants to help moms looking for information on some of the most common questions about food. To do so, the group, which was developed through a partnership between the National Corn Growers Association and the United Soybean Board, commissioned the Gate-to-Plate Survey to gain insights into how U.S. moms feel and think about their food and the food choices they make for their families.  Overall, the study showed that more than 70 percent of moms have questions or concerns about how their food is grown or raised.  Through honest conversations in which volunteer farmers share their own experiences and by providing independent scientific data from reputably third-parties, they hope to offer the information that they need to feel confident in their food choices.  “As our population continues to shift from rural to urban communities, people become more disconnected from...

(Posted Tue. May 8th, 2012)

May 8: Dr. Michael Ladisch, director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, will deliver the keynote address to participants at the grand opening of the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, June 4 in Indianapolis, Ind.  “Dr. Ladisch ’s work focuses on bringing biotech products to large numbers of people,” said  NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair DeVonna Zeug. “We are excited to have him set the stage for three days of discussion among the corn industry’s leading researchers, processors and business representatives.”   At Purdue University’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering, Ladisch and his colleagues address topics in bioprocess engineering as they apply to bioenergy, bioproducts, biorecovery and bionanotechnology. He has authored 150 journal and proceedings papers, issued and applied for 14...

(Posted Tue. May 8th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 8: A week after the Senate Agriculture Committee completed its work on the farm bill, the National Corn Growers Association and more than 120 agricultural and other organizations sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.  The letter advocated for floor consideration of the legislation as soon as possible to enhance prospects of completing the process this year instead of having to extend current programs.  “This is one piece of legislation upon which all Americans depend, urban as well as rural,” the letter stated.  “With limited time remaining before expiration of current program authorities, time is of the essence.  While each of our respective organizations will continue to work to accomplish our key priorities, the farm bill must move forward.  We urge your leadership in allowing the Senate to consider this legislation as soon as possible.”  The Senate Agriculture Committee legislation reduces spending by $23 billion while...

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

May 7: After the U.S. Department of Labor announced it would withdraw its proposed rule limiting farm children’s involvement in agricultural activities, the National Corn Growers Association sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis applauding her decision.   “On behalf of the National Corn Growers Association, I commend you for your decision to withdraw the proposed child labor rule,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “As a family farmer, there is nothing more important than the safety of my children and grandchildren.”    The letter also said that NCGA looks forward to working with the Departments of Labor and Agriculture to develop an educational program that will promote safer agricultural practices. NCGA has previously worked with the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, FFA and 4-H to address this issue.  One example of taking a forward step toward promoting farm...

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

May 7: Last week, the Obama Administration released a National Bioeconomy Blueprint that outlines a comprehensive approach to drive the bioeconomy and guides federal agencies and the private sector to enhance economic growth and job creation.  The Bioeconomy Blueprint emerged as a priority not only for economic reasons, but also because it enables Americans to live healthier lives, develop new sources of bioenergy, address environmental challenges and increase the scope and productivity of the agricultural sector.  The National Corn Growers Association thanks the administration for highlighting the benefits of genetically modified crops to the U.S. economy.  According to the USDA, U.S. revenues in 2010 from genetically modified crops were approximately $76 billion. Biotechnology advancements combined with breeding techniques are expected, in the near future, to lead crops with desirable traits such as improved nutritional value, enhanced disease resistance and higher crop yields....

(Posted Mon. May 7th, 2012)

Keywords: Production

May 7: Corn planting is progressing well ahead of the five-year average across the vast majority of corn producing areas, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today.  As a whole, the report indicates that a full 71 percent of the nation’s corn crop had already been planted as of May 6,  24 points ahead of the five-year average at that time.  “What growers optimistically viewed as a potentially optimal planting season has become a reality in many areas,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer.  “With nearly three-quarters of the nation’s corn acres already in the ground, farmers have reason to look toward the 2012 harvest with greater hopes than in recent years.  Conditions could still change, but either way, farmers will meet the challenge and produce an affordable, abundant supply of corn.”  Tennessee, the state leading in corn planting progress again this week, had an estimated 98 percent of total corn acres planted as of...

(Posted Fri. May 4th, 2012)

May 4: Tune in Saturday as Kenny Wallace races a special American Ethanol paint out at the Talledega Speedway. As a founding partner of American Ethanol, the National Corn Growers Association urges members (and all race fans!) to watch the race and see the power of ethanol for themselves.  “I have fielded a lot of questions about ethanol through my work with NCGA,” said NCGA NASCAR Advisory Committee Chairman Martin Barbre.  “You can understand academically the environmental, economic and national security benefits of this sustainable, domestically produced fuel, but, to gain a more visceral knowledge, you just have to see Sunoco Green E15 in action on the track.  Ethanol doesn’t just make sense, it fuels some of the most exciting racing on the planet today.”  In 14 Nationwide Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway, Wallace boasts one top-five and four top-10 finishes. His best showing at the 2.66-mile track is a third-place finish, which he achieved in July 1995. The...

(Posted Fri. May 4th, 2012)

May 4:  This week, the National Corn Growers Association launches the second 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.      Today, Field Notes catches up with Sam Hancock, an eighth-generation farmer in Fulton, Ky., who was featured in the first season of the series.  Hancock combines farming techniques learned from his father with a formal business education to continually improve the sustainability of their family’s farm.  Hancock, like his father, pursued higher education including doctorate work prior to returning to the family farm.  Like most farmers today, he places a high value on running a sustainable operation.   “The way that I look at it, I am an eight-generation farmer that still uses the...

(Posted Fri. May 4th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

May 4: In a continued effort by the administration to support the biofuels industry, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has called on petroleum companies to increase the percentage of ethanol in America’s gas tanks by adopting E15.  The Environmental Protection Agency approved the blend as a fuel option for most vehicles in 2010, and once the blend becomes commercially available, it will support the ethanol industry’s efforts to help keep gas prices down.  "The availability of E15 will increase America's energy security and spur additional job creation," Vilsack said. "Increasing the percentage of ethanol to be blended with gasoline will help boost economic growth while lessening the nation's dependence on foreign oil."  E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard advance the use of domestically produced renewable fuels, help encourage new technologies, bring jobs to rural America and enhance U.S. energy independence. More than 70,000 Americans are directly employed by the production...

(Posted Thu. May 3rd, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

May 3:  As advertising budgets decline and competition increases, media outlets and food manufacturers alike find themselves needing to exploit any possible factor that could differentiate their product from the crowd.  In many ways, the increased attention both parties pay to the use of biotechnology in agriculture stems from this predicament.  Without solid, scientific claims against these products, news providers and food makers alike have found that exploiting the physiological tendency to fear the unknown drives consumers toward products which they identify as more natural despite no evidence that this somehow improves said product.  When in doubt, cause mass hysteria.  Then, turn said hysteria into financial gain by promoting an agenda or product that can be marketed by promoting the lack of the very ingredient media outlets falsely villainized in order to gain ratings.  Finally, advertise said “natural product” through the various channels that originally introduced the...

(Posted Thu. May 3rd, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

May 3:  As the E15 ethanol fuel blend prepares for its national debut, the National Corn Growers Association calls on students to channel their “inner Spielberg” and submit entries in the Ethanol Rocks video contest.  “Today, we’re distributing Ethanol Rocks video contest application and rules packets online and to FFA chapters and members of the National Science Teachers Association,” said Chad Willis, chairman of NCGA’s Ethanol Committee. “Statistics and studies confirm that ethanol keeps the cost of gasoline down and reduces harmful emissions into the environment, and we’re looking for creative ways to tell ethanol’s great story. By giving American youth a creative platform, we hope to discover a wide variety of interesting perspectives on the benefits of ethanol.”  The contest is looking for short videos (2 minutes or less) from active high school and college students that highlight the benefits of ethanol fuel blends to the U.S. environment and economy.  Students from all...

(Posted Wed. May 2nd, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

May 2: Today, the National Corn Growers Association’s “Off the Cob” podcast series speaks with Dr. Jack Gardiner, the curator of the Maize Genome and Genetics Database, where NCGA has funded activities that will add functional genomic software tools into the preexisting USDA ARS database.  When completed, these tools will allow researchers to easily isolate and examine manageable data sets, thus decreasing the time and effort needed to utilize the massive amounts of genomic data on corn and produce results that will aid farmers.  The work on the Maize Genome and Genetics Database continues NCGA’s leadership in the area of corn genetics.  Instrumental in its role as a proponent of the original Maize Genome Sequencing Project, the organization continues service to growers in its work bringing together the scientific talent and funding needed to advance collective knowledge supporting innovation.  As work toward this eventual goal chugs along, Gardiner provides an update on the...

(Posted Tue. May 1st, 2012)

May 1: As farmers across the country have gotten a jump on planting season this year, the National Corn Growers Association invites them to register for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest early too. Until June 15, growers can also take advantage of a special early entry discount.  With fees reduced to $80 until that time, NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.  “While it may still seem a ways out, we all know how quickly the time passes once planting season starts,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “I have heard many growers speaking optimistically so far this year.  In light of the favorable early planting conditions, I urge those who haven’t entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high yield techniques as contest entrants in 2012.”  For access to contest information, rules and forms, click here.  As of today, entry forms are available for download, with submission through...