NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2012

(Posted Fri. Sep 28th, 2012)

Sept. 28: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board gets ready to seat new members and officers Monday.  Among the changes: NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, of Illinois, will become Corn Board chairman, passing the role of president to current First Vice President Pam Johnson, of Iowa.  The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Niemeyer to discuss the Corn Board’s accomplishments in 2012, other highlights from his presidency, and to ask his advice for farmers considering volunteering for leadership roles.   To listen to the full interview, please click here.  Reflecting upon his time as president of the Corn Board, Niemeyer explained that 2012 was a challenging year as NCGA simultaneously urged passage of a farm bill, faced the issues brought about by the drought and contended with a challenge to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Directly addressing each issue, he reflected on leading through circumstances which continually pushed new...

(Posted Fri. Sep 28th, 2012)

Keywords: Production

Sept. 28:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this morning that, as of Sept. 1, there were 988 million bushels of corn held over from 2011. This reflects a decrease of 193 million bushels from the USDA’s Sept. 12 supply-and-demand report, and represents a 12 percent drop from the same time last year, the National Corn Growers Association noted.  “While we were not expecting a decrease such as this, it still reflects something we always want to remind the public about – the marketplace works to make sure all needs are covered,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “In such a challenging year with a broad and persistent drought, our resilient growers have worked hard to bring a crop that will still be one of the largest on record.”  In its stocks report, which excludes new corn harvested before Sept. 1, the USDA also noted that corn use (or “disappearance”) for the last quarter of the marketing year (June-August 2012) was 15 percent lower than the same period last year,...

(Posted Thu. Sep 27th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 27: The National Corn Growers Association joined forces with a large coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders that launched today to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard and its benefits to our nation’s economy, domestic energy supply and national security. The new coalition, Fuels America, spans the full spectrum of agriculture, national security, renewable energy and other stakeholders.  “In joining Fuels America, NCGA joins a broad spectrum of renewable fuel stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of our efforts in the defense of ethanol and other biofuels,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a farmer from Auburn, Ill. “Corn farmers support ethanol and other biofuels not only because they are essential to the continued growth of rural economies but also because they play an essential role in ensuring the future of our nation. Domestically produced, renewable fuels create American jobs and increase national energy independence. Renewable...

(Posted Thu. Sep 27th, 2012)

Sept. 27: As fiscal year 2012 comes to a close, Off the Cob takes time to look ahead with the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board members moving into new leadership roles on October 1. Examining their views on membership, leadership and insight into the issues that will affect corn farmers over the year to come; these interviews provide a glimpse into the leadership which will guide NCGA during 2013.  Elected by the Corn Board to serve as First Vice President in 2013 and ratified by the full Corn Congress to the role in July, Martin Barbre, a farmer from Carmi, Ill., has been extensively involved in NCGA leadership for years now. Already keenly aware of the challenges corn farmers will face in 2013, Barbre looks forward to the hard work needed to move the industry forward.  “There are a lot of things going on right now that will carry over into next year,” Barbre explained. “We are going to have to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard in order to keep it in tact. Our board...

(Posted Wed. Sep 26th, 2012)

Sept. 26:  On Sunday, at the end of the National Corn Growers Association's fiscal year, Corn Board member Guy Davenport, of Creswell, N.C., will retire following several years of distinguished service.  In 2012, Davenport served as the Corn Board liaison to the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team.  Previously, he served on the Corn Board’s Finance Committee, on NCGA’s CornPAC and as board liaison to the National Chicken Council. He has also held positions on NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team, Association Relations Committee and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.  “I have always understood how important it is to give back to your industry,” Davenport explained while describing his motivation for such extensive service. “So often, people just assume someone else will take care of running the groups that work on their behalf, but, as NCGA remains a strong grassroots organization, it is essential that farmers step up to lead. In doing so, I have gained friends across...

(Posted Wed. Sep 26th, 2012)

Sept. 26: As fiscal year 2012 comes to a close, Off the Cob takes time to look ahead with the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board members elected or reelected to their position during Corn Congress this July. Examining their views on membership, leadership and insight  into the issues which will affect corn farmers over the year to come, these interviews provide a glimpse into the leadership which will guide NCGA during 2013.  For Keith Alverson, a farmer from Chester, S.D., reelected to the board in July, the challenges facing American agriculture are multiple and, in the most prominent cases, issues which we have been dealing with for a significant amount of time.  “Obviously, as the farm bill has stalled out in the House at the moment, we must make sure to get something accomplished by passing a farm bill in 2013,” Alverson explained. “Getting that done in the fall of 2012 or early in 2013 is critical for our success as farmers. Also, challenges to the Renewable Fuel...

Our View: Ethanol Wins

(Posted Tue. Sep 25th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

By Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President -    Ethanol is a winner. This remarkable fuel, that happens to be made from corn, has been asked to be many things since it first emerged in the marketplace in the late 1970s. Remarkably, this domestically produced fuel has met all the challenges offered on every level.  Reduce our dependence on expensive foreign petroleum? Check! Improve air quality by reducing emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gases? Sure, why not? Revitalize our rural economy and help keep family farmers in business? Consider it done. Help meet all the goals of our nation’s blueprint for a successful biofuels initiative (RFS2)? Piece of cake.  And notably, ethanol is providing all these documented benefits with a prices tag that is cheaper than gasoline -- sometimes, like now, significantly cheaper.  Historically, the wholesale price of ethanol has been cheaper than wholesale gasoline prices. However, with recent soaring gasoline prices, the chasm has widened even further,...

(Posted Tue. Sep 25th, 2012)

Sept. 25: As fiscal year 2012 comes to a close, Off the Cob takes time to look ahead with the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board members elected or reelected to their position during Corn Congress this July. Examining their views on membership, leadership and insight  into the issues which will affect corn farmers over the year to come, these interviews provide a glimpse into the leadership which will guide NCGA during 2013.  For Mike Geske, a farmer from Matthews, Mo., reelected to the board in July, the breadth and depth of the issues NCGA addresses play an important role in the organization’s importance while simultaneously presenting challenges.  “Like almost every year, the Corn Board’s plate will be full with a wide variety of issues,” said Geske. “But it’s like that every year and that makes it interesting. Looking at the action teams and committees, you get an idea of the flavor of the issues which we address, and we do so in great depth. One of our challenges...

(Posted Mon. Sep 24th, 2012)

Sept. 24: Farmers will complete corn harvest well ahead of schedule if conditions hold. Currently, nearly 40 percent of harvested acres have already been brought in, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. A full 26 points ahead of the five-year average and 13 points ahead of just the prior week, farmers across the country are working diligently to bring the crop in from the fields and get it into the U.S. corn supply.  “Even in times of drought, farmers continue to work tirelessly, always aiming to keep the crop cycle moving forward and improve their land,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer. “The drought may have taken its toll, but farmers remain committed to their work and to fulfilling their responsibility as stewards of the land. Right now, Congress has decided to recess rather than deal with the tough issues. Let’s keep the pressure on to pass the farm bill that our hard working farmers need.”  The report released...

(Posted Fri. Sep 21st, 2012)

Keywords: Transportation

Sept. 21: Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on reauthorization of the Water Resources and Development Act.  Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) expressed support for moving a WRDA bill to the Senate floor during the lame duck session of Congress.  Members of the Committee expressed support for passing a bill as it authorizes a variety projects nationwide.  The hearing could not have been more timely given the events unfolding in the nation’s heartland.  Earlier in the week, barge traffic on the Mississippi River ground to a halt as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed Lock 27, located near Granite City, Ill., for emergency repairs. The closure, which affected one of the busiest locks on the Mississippi, caused U.S. grain exports to grind to a halt. The National Corn Growers Association, who has conducted sustained efforts to restore the outdated locks and dams systems on the Upper Mississippi and...

(Posted Fri. Sep 21st, 2012)

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.  This week, Field Notes caught up with Don Rutledge, a farmer and rancher who grows corn and raises cattle, in addition to a variety of other things, outside of Yuma, Colo. Rutledge reports that, with harvest running a full two weeks ahead of schedule, he has seen good corn yields thus far. With moisture levels decreasing to the ideal for harvesting, he projects that his area will complete corn acres by mid-October this year.  Rutledge goes on to offer insight into how rising hay prices, coupled with a growing corn stalk selling industry, are impacting Colorado’s cattle ranchers. Then, he walks listeners...

(Posted Thu. Sep 20th, 2012)

Sept. 20: Although growing conditions may vary from year to year, U.S. grades and safety standards for grain remain stable. The U.S. grain marketing system ensures that domestic and export buyers receive safe cargoes of corn based on buyer-seller contract terms and the minimum requirements of U.S. grain grades and standards. The U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, closely monitors aflatoxin levels in the United States so it can appropriately address the concerns of its global customers. The Council's annual U.S. Corn Harvest Quality Report, set to be released at the end of November, will be a key tool in releasing this information.  “As farmers, we are dedicated to providing our customers, both at home and abroad, with safe, quality corn,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “We commend the Council’s efforts to help our valued overseas customers understand the procedures in place to ensure the safety and quality of the product...

(Posted Thu. Sep 20th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Sept. 20: Yesterday, a group of primarily French researchers published a paper questioning the safety of Roundup Ready corn and glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup. The National Corn Growers Association, after reviewing this study, has concluded that the research is questionable, at best, and does not offer credible evidence that biotechnology in agriculture negatively impacts animal health.  “There has been a strong backlash against the validity of this study in the scientific community with some even questioning how it was ever published,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “We join these respected academics in questioning the methods used and conclusions drawn. With so many issues already apparent and in the absence of other reputable data that would support the study’s conclusions, we hope that the public will see that this is an agenda-driven attack on agriculture and not a scientifically-valid study.”  Published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, “The Long-Term Toxicity...

(Posted Wed. Sep 19th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Sept. 19: As the Farm Bill Now message resonates throughout the country, state affiliates of the National Corn Growers Association are also doing their part.  During Husker Harvest Days, the Nebraska Corn Board created banners for visitors to sign, showing their support of Congress passing new farm bill legislation.  The banners were sent to Washington this week for delivery to the Nebraska delegation in the House of Representatives as a reminder that this legislation will have an impact on many.  “We are excited to see so many farmers taking action to tell Congress to pass a Farm Bill Now,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “However, there is still work to be done.  We continue to encourage farmers to contact their Representatives either by calling, sending a letter, tweeting or signing the online petition.  Every one of us can make a difference, and we need to remind Congress we mean business.”  Other Farm Bill Now efforts currently taking place include a “Calls from the...

(Posted Tue. Sep 18th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Sept. 18:  Citing numerous concerns about a fundamentally flawed ballot measure, the National Corn Growers Association has joined a large and broad coalition to oppose California Proposition 37, which, if approved by voters in November, will require labeling of some food products sold in that state that contain genetically engineered ingredients.  “We have several good reasons to oppose Prop. 37,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  “First and foremost, while requiring a specific label about genetic modification, this added information says nothing about food nutrition, dietary requirements or food safety. And it does nothing to educate consumers about what biotechnology really means. While some tout this as a ‘right to know’ it actually will lead to more confusion that will cost farmers, consumers and California taxpayers at a time the state and its citizens cannot afford it.”  In addition, it is important to remember the benefits of biotechnology. The World Health...

(Posted Tue. Sep 18th, 2012)

By Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President  A few weeks ago, a longtime neighbor of ours here in central Illinois died in a farming accident. His death was a reminder to all of us was of how careful we need to be on the farm, or around farm equipment on the roads. With harvest underway, and as we observe National Farm Safety and Health Week, we all need to remember how easy it can be to get hurt, or even killed, at the farm.  Last year, working with the National Grain and Feed Foundation, NCGA released a video about grain bin safety. You can view it here.  But grain bin safety is only part of the picture. With combines and other farm equipment growing in size, with more distractions like texting and social media, it’s important for all people around the farm – including drivers on rural roadways -- to be more alert, with both eyes and ears paying attention to what’s happening around you.  In every part of the farm, whether they’re in the shop with power tools, preparing and using...

(Posted Mon. Sep 17th, 2012)

Sept. 17: The National Corn Growers Association, as a member of the Ag Nutrient Policy Council, invites all interested members to participate in a webinar on nutrient management challenges in the wake of this year’s historic drought. The 90-minute session, offered by the American Society of Agronomy and the Certified Crop Advisors, is free to growers but does require advance registration to hold one of the 1,000 slots being offered for the September 26 session, to be held at Noon CDT.  “The dry conditions that plagued much of the country will do damage beyond impacting yields and this year’s crop,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “These conditions have created a fundamentally new set of even more complex considerations that farmers must consider when planning how to most effectively use and manage the nutrients necessary for crop production. I strongly encourage farmers interested in exploring this important topic to register today and,...

(Posted Mon. Sep 17th, 2012)

Sept. 17: As harvest progresses and the fiscal year draws to a close, Off the Cob takes a moment to visit with the grower leaders departing and coming on to the Corn Board in fiscal year 2013. First, Corn Board member Clark Gerstacker, who will retire from Corn Board service this October, gives his thoughts on the accomplishments during his tenure and the importance of the organization moving forward.  “One of the things that we have really worked hard on over the past few years is the infrastructure of the organization,” explained Gerstacker. “We have not only grown our membership, setting three records in as many months and now standing more than 38,000 members strong, we have also taken advantage of these good years to provide our staffs in St. Louis and D.C. with the tools necessary to elevate how farmers across the country are represented. They can handle a challenging year, given these structural improvements.”  Even though membership has grown considerably during...

(Posted Fri. Sep 14th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 14: This weekend, American Ethanol hits the track in Chicago to educate NASCAR attendees and viewers about the many benefits of E15. The National Corn Growers Association, the Illinois Corn Growers Association, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Growth Energy will work together to promote the benefits of this sustainable, domestically-produced fuel blend through a display on the midway.  Here, consumers will learn more about ethanol and the importance of the farmers who grow our food and fuel.  In Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, Austin Dillon will have the American Ethanol #3 car on the track for the seventh time this season.  Austin continues to hold on to the Rookie of the Year lead and pursue the Nationwide Series Championship, which is increasing the positive attention he brings to ethanol.    Corn grower members at the race will have the opportunity to meet the #99 Nationwide driver and American Ethanol champion Kenny Wallace early Saturday and then to see him...

(Posted Fri. Sep 14th, 2012)

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.  This week, Field Notes caught up with Brian Scott, an Indiana farmer and agvocate blogger. With harvest well underway, Scott describes how the weather caused yields in his fields to vary drastically from spot to spot. This afternoon, he hopes the sun peaks out and helps his newly-planted cover crops germinate.  To listen to the audio interview, click here.  Field Notes also caught up with Billy Thiel, a Missouri farmer expecting to complete his corn harvest today. Thiel notes that, while the drought did cause damage, he has seen a larger crop of drier, better quality corn than he had previously...

(Posted Fri. Sep 14th, 2012)

Sept. 14: Only a day after hundreds of America’s farmers participated in the Farm Bill Now rally on Capitol Hill, Representative Bruce Braley filed a petition to require the House of Representatives to vote on the 2012 farm bill before the fall recess.  To be successful, the petition requires 218 signatures are achieved.  “NCGA greatly appreciates Representative Braley’s action to begin the process of the discharge petition,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “The September 30 expiration of current law is only a few short weeks away, and we need Congress to do their job.  We urge all members of the House of Representatives to sign the discharge petition before the end of next week. ”  NCGA has previously stated that delaying a new farm bill would mean even deeper cuts in farm and nutrition program spending in 2013 and greater uncertainty for farmers’ long-term planning.  In addition, a new Congress would restart the legislative process which must allow both the House and...

(Posted Thu. Sep 13th, 2012)

Sept. 13:  While harvest progresses throughout much of the Corn Belt, a select group of growers are ramping up their efforts to become the most effective leaders possible through a National Corn Growers Association training program.   NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, sponsored by Syngenta, launched its third class this week in Minneapolis, Minn.  The session helps qualified and motivated candidates fine-tune their leadership skills and prepare them to lead the industry forward.   "Advanced Leadership training is providing an excellent opportunity to hone skills with media and interpersonal communications,” said NCGA First Vice President Elect Martin Barbre, a grower from Carmi, Ill.  “Many in attendance have already had a significant amount of leadership experience and, particularly with so many members of NCGA’s top leadership involved, we have been working with a laser focus to ensure we are at the top of our game and ready to lead our organization into 2013 and...

(Posted Wed. Sep 12th, 2012)

Sept. 12: More U.S. corn will be available in 2012 and 2013 than previously anticipated, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released this morning.  Despite reductions to the corn production forecast, revised forecasts indicating higher projected carry-in increased overall supply estimates by 108 million bushels.  “The estimates released today illustrate how, even under such adverse conditions, U.S. corn farmers provide the corn that our nation needs,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Illinois.  “Additionally, the increased overall supply further shows what our members have understood all along, that you cannot count the corn before it is harvested. In light of this, I hope that cooler heads prevail both in the media and our government. With harvest less than a quarter complete, we need to wait patiently for a clearer picture of the crop to emerge.”  Estimated U.S. corn production in 2012 did decrease by 52 million...

(Posted Wed. Sep 12th, 2012)

Sept. 12: During a rally on Capitol Hill today, National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer called on Congress to do their job and pass a new, five-year farm bill.  Over 80 agriculture organizations and associations supported the rally today as part of the Farm Bill Now coalition.  The current bill is set to expire Sept. 30.  “Just like every other farmer here, I had to get off the combine to come to Washington to deliver this message to Congress: Do your job!” Niemeyer said during the rally.  “America needs a new, five-year comprehensive farm bill now.  Agriculture is one of the few bright spots in the American economy.  We continue to be more productive and innovative.  But we need to have some certainty about how we plan our business.  And that is exactly what the farm bill does.”  Nearly 500 farmers heard from a bi-partisan group of congressmen and 10 organizations representing interests from row crops, specialty crops, energy and retailers.  The event was...

(Posted Tue. Sep 11th, 2012)

Sept. 11:  In its weekly crop progress report issued yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 15 percent of the nation’s corn has been harvested – triple the five-year average at this point in time. The reason is the impact of this year’s devastating drought and the recognition that farmers won’t gain much by delaying their corn harvest.  “Here in Illinois, one of the states whose corn farmers have been hardest hit, there are combines running all over the place,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, who farms near Auburn, Ill. “Our heart goes out to all farmers who are hit hard by this drought and the unceasing heat this summer.”  The condition of the corn crop itself has stabilized the past three weeks, Niemeyer noted, with only 22 percent rated good or excellent, and more than half – 52 percent – rated poor or very poor. The rain that came with Tropical Storm Isaac the first week of September helped get water in the...

(Posted Tue. Sep 11th, 2012)

Sept. 11: The National Corn Growers Association applauds the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement, issued earlier today, that it will grant a 15-day extension of the comment period on the requests for a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard. This extension, which NCGA requested on August 30, will give farmers a chance to participate more fully in this important policy process and for a more accurate picture of the year’s final corn supply to emerge.  “We are pleased to see the EPA take this important action to help ensure that the process outlined in the Renewable Fuel Standard moves forward in a thoughtful, analytical fashion,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “This extension will allow our farmers, who are currently harvesting the crop, to participate more fully and for a more accurate assessment of the final corn supply to emerge.”  To read the original letter requesting the waiver sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, click here.  Originally scheduled to...

(Posted Mon. Sep 10th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 10:  As the entry deadline nears for the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Rocks video contest, FFA Advisor Alaina Holdgrafer has what it takes to help Mediapolis, Iowa, high school students give their take on the advantages of corn ethanol. She is now the proud owner of an NCGA backpack filled with goodies, including a Sony HandyCam, and a lot of information about ethanol, which she won recently at the Farm Progress Show.     “Promoting the Ethanol Rocks video contest at Farm Progress was a great way for NCGA to interest high school and college students in taking part in supporting America’s leading source of domestic renewable fuel,” said Chad Willis, chairman of NCGA’s Ethanol Committee. “The drawing for the video camera, literature on the benefits of ethanol, along with presentations by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, turned Iowa Corn’s booth into the one-stop-shop for information on corn grower contributions to our economy.”  Ms. Holdgrafer was delighted...

(Posted Fri. Sep 7th, 2012)

Sept. 7: Several of the nation's leading corn refiners this week countersued The Sugar Association for deceiving consumers into believing that processed sugar is safer and more healthful than high fructose corn syrup, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the two forms of sugar are nutritionally equivalent.  “The National Corn Growers Association supports honest discussions about food and farming,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “What consumers should understand in this case is that an overwhelming number of sound, scientific studies have found that sugar is nutritionally the same whether it comes from corn, cane or beet.”  The filed counterclaims are available here.  The Sugar Association has made numerous "false and misleading representations that processed sugar is different from high fructose corn syrup in ways that are beneficial to consumers' health," the counterclaim states. "The Sugar Association preys on consumers' fears,” by falsely representing that high...

(Posted Thu. Sep 6th, 2012)

Sept. 6: The Custer County Corn Growers Association, a local chapter of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, presented checks to three local fire departments last week. This donation funds a program allowing each department to purchase grain bin rescue equipment and to be trained in the proper use of the equipment.  Fire departments receiving the equipment are based in Ord, Broken Bow and Loup City.  “We were planning a corn growers summer tour program to The Andersons new grain facility in Anselmo and the idea came up to raise money to provide safety equipment and training to fire departments,” said Custer Country Corn Growers Association President Guy Mills, who farms in Ansley. “We had a tremendous response and three fire departments will now have the tools in hand to help rescue someone who may become trapped in grain.”  Donors to the program included The Andersons, Chief Industries, Farm Credit, Cargill, Monsanto, Trotter Incorporated, Green Plains Energy and Valley...

(Posted Thu. Sep 6th, 2012)

Sept. 6: The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country hitting the fields in their combines, NCGA is again offering a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures and reviewing helpful guidelines.  To view the video, click here.  First released in 2011, this video remains relevant and illustrates the significant threat bin entrapment can pose.  “In 2010 we saw a record number of farmers becoming engulfed in grain bins and we decided it was time to have a proactive role in creating awareness about the serious nature of this issue,” said Bart Schott, who served as NCGA President at that time.  “We hope that this video makes farmers stop and think twice before the next time they put themselves in danger.”  The video, shot on location in several states, provides a wide range of information from prevention tips and background data on grain bin accidents. ...

(Posted Wed. Sep 5th, 2012)

By Rick Tolman, NCGA Chief Executive Officer  Winston Churchill once said, “For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history myself.” A decade from now—as we look back, how will we write the history of the Drought of 2012? I hope that I will look back and remember key lessons that can be gleaned from this experience and that collectively we are able to say that we are stronger and wiser because of having gone through the experience.  What nuggets or silver linings might there be in the most devastating drought of our life time? Consider:  The importance of risk management and crop insurance. Certainly, the impact of the drought on crop producers has been and will be mitigated by the widespread adoption of crop insurance and the shift in recent years in farm policy to focus more on Risk Management. A drought of this magnitude would have had a much more severe impact on the crop...

(Posted Wed. Sep 5th, 2012)

Sept. 5: The National Corn Growers Association recently submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signaling support for the agency’s June announcement that retains the existing standard for coarse particle pollution, known as PM10.  The announcement came after the EPA reviewed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter.     “We believe the current standard is sufficiently protective of air quality in agricultural and rural communities,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer stated in the comments.  “Dust is a fact of life in rural America. Creating more stringent regulations could cause many rural counties to fall into nonattainment, shifting additional costs to agricultural producers with minimal environmental benefit.”     Niemeyer also said that states currently have the option of incorporating conservation management practices into PM10 implementation plans to address air quality concerns. States also have the discretion to add monitoring...

(Posted Tue. Sep 4th, 2012)

Sept. 4: Membership at the National Corn Growers Association continued to climb again last month, smashing the previous record set in July of 38,369. With 38,623 members at the close of August, NCGA set an all-time high membership record for the third consecutive month.  “While NCGA’s new membership record is partially attributable to  the ongoing popularity of its National Corn Yield Contest, it is of note that an overwhelming majority of those joining this month did so because of efforts  put forth by the state corn associations and their network of  recruiters,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “Both at the state and national level, we understand the importance of our work at NCGA and that representing the voting power of over 38,000 farmer members means something on Capitol Hill when you are fighting to secure an equitable farm bill or preserve the Renewable Fuels Standard.”  Throughout NCGA’s history, grassroots efforts have been the strength...

(Posted Tue. Sep 4th, 2012)

Sept. 4:  As the agriculture industry’s attention was drawn to Boone, Iowa, for last week’s annual Farm Progress Show, the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association were on hand to join in the festivities and promote U.S. corn grower initiatives.  In addition to seeing agriculture’s latest tools and technology, NCGA First Vice President Pam Johnson and First Vice President-elect Martin Barbre took advantage of this occasion to reach out to members, the media and communities across the globe. In the weeks leading up to and during the Farm Progress Show, NCGA has given interviews to international media and met with groups from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Hungry, Japan, Brazil, Tanzania and Kenya.  “It was apparent that the drought, corn prices and a stall in passage of the farm bill, have brought increase attention to the issues and interests of corn growers,” said Johnson, an Iowa grower. “The Farm Progress Show presents a tremendous...