NEWS STORIES

NOVEMBER 2012

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2012)

Nov. 30: With a deadline of December 7, only one week remains to apply for scholarships made available by the National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation. For the sixth consecutive year, the NCGA/BASF scholarship program will again award five $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2013-14 school year.  “NCGA and BASF both understand that we must actively support the best and brightest students interested in our field today if we want to have strong leadership tomorrow,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “The scholarship program is rooted in NCGA’s commitment to nurturing youth in agriculture and to growing a bright future of our rural...

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Nov 30: Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture released its second ‘Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade’ report showing American farm exports have climbed more than 50 percent in value since 2009.  The most recent forecast for 2013 is $145 billion, up from $96.3 billion in 2009. The National Corn Growers Association is committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade practices and policies.   “Continued growth of American farm exports is good for rural America and good for the national economy,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Over 1 million American jobs are supported by these exports and we hope to see that trend increase. Developing new markets for our country’s agricultural products will help our sector lead the nation in economic...

(Posted Fri. Nov 30th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Nov. 30:  The National Corn Growers Association submitted the following letter to the editor of USA Today in response to a story about the American Automobile Association’s position on the safety of E15 for cars and trucks.  Click here for more information on how E15 is one of the most tested fuels available.  “While controversy makes a better story than tried-and-true facts, the November 30 story about the American Automobile Association’s attack on E15 ethanol is baffling. The National Corn Growers Association agrees that American drivers should not be exposed to fuel blends that are untested and possibly unsafe. The fact is, E15 has been the most aggressively and comprehensively tested fuel in the history of the EPA, which allows its use for vehicles starting with the 2001 model...

(Posted Thu. Nov 29th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Nov. 29: The National Corn Growers Association recently joined the Urban Air Initiative, an organization that promotes the human health and environmental benefits of ethanol.  Focusing on ways to reduce the impact of particulate matter emitted from automobiles, UAI brings a new coalition of partners together to support government standards that recognize the important role ethanol plays in lowering these harmful emissions.  “Joining UAI will benefit corn farmers by involving NCGA in important conversations about how ethanol can help our nation achieve important health and environmental goals,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis. “Additionally, joining UAI builds relationships with a variety of influential groups, such as those representing asthma interests, with whom we share common interests but...

(Posted Wed. Nov 28th, 2012)

Nov. 28: With only days remaining until the deadline, the National Corn Growers Association reminds 2012 National Corn Yield Contest entrants that harvest forms must be submitted by December 3, 2012. In order to make submission simpler, harvest forms are available online.  Click here for the 2012 National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC) Online Harvest Form.  Click here for the 2012 National Corn Yield Contest Harvest Form, PDF version.  Click here for more information on the National Corn Yield Contest.  “With only days remaining, I hope that entrants take the time to submit harvest forms even if they did not achieve the yield targets for which they had originally aimed,” said Dean Taylor, chairman of the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant...

(Posted Wed. Nov 28th, 2012)

Nov. 28: As the new Board of Directors assumes leadership of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, National Corn Growers Association Past President and former USFRA Vice Chair Bart Schott took a moment to speak about his experience in USFRA with Off the Cob. Reflecting on a variety of issues, from the formation of the alliance to his future goals for USFRA, Schott shares his perspective on the importance of the work USFRA has done and challenges his fellow farmers to get involved in this growing conversation.  Schott, who served as NCGA Corn Board President during fiscal year 2011, played an integral role in the formation of USFRA. Active in discussions since the program’s inception, he worked with a variety of grower leaders to shape an alliance that...

(Posted Wed. Nov 28th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Nov. 28:  The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson on a report released today by the National Council of Chain Restaurants attacking the Renewable Fuel Standard:  “A half-baked report from the lobbyists for chain restaurants does not serve up an accurate picture of ethanol’s impact when it comes to boosting jobs in rural America, lowering fuel prices or helping increase energy independence by expanding domestic, renewable fuel use in the United States. These are all points that make the Renewable Fuel Standard an important policy we need to protect and defend.  “The fact is, the NCCR study by PricewaterhouseCoopers was limited to only two possible scenarios. When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its look at the...

(Posted Tue. Nov 27th, 2012)

Nov. 27: Corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers who attend the 18th Annual Commodity Classic, Feb. 28 through March 2 in Kissimmee, Fla., will witness innovation and gather information that will grow their profitability potential and change the way they farm. Online registration for this one-of-a-kind, can’t-miss event is now open at www.CommodityClassic.com. Register before Jan. 20 to take advantage of the best rates.  “Commodity Classic is all about farmers – what farmers want, what farmers are doing, and the policies farmers need,” said Commodity Classic co-Chair Bob Worth. “This show has the best and the newest of what the industry is presenting to farmers. And on top of all the knowledge, you’ll make new friends and visit with old ones.”  Growers go to Commodity Classic to...

(Posted Tue. Nov 27th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Nov. 27: The National Corn Growers Association today voiced support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that rate adjustments will be made to crop insurance premiums over the next two crop years.   “Crop insurance rating reforms have been a priority for our members for many years,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “NCGA feels the Risk Management Agency’s announcement represents real reform in decreasing the widening gap between the loss ratio for corn and the premiums charged to growers for policy coverage.”  The USDA’s Risk Management Agency stated in the announcement that an independent and peer reviewed study recommended more weight be given to recent years, rather than the current approach of giving equal weight to all years back to 1975.  This...

(Posted Mon. Nov 26th, 2012)

Keywords: Corn Sugar

Nov. 26: Last week, the Corn Refiners Association released the 2012 Corn Annual. The publication, titled Made in America: Corn Refined Products Help U.S. Industries Thrive, explains how many U.S. industries are able to thrive, in part, because of the versatility, functionality and affordability of the refined corn ingredients.  “The 2012 Corn Annual serves as an excellent supplement to the data offered in NCGA’s 2012 World of Corn,” said NCGA Growers Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “As NCGA serves growers by providing credible, comprehensive information about corn farming and the issues impacting farmers, CRA works diligently to give a reliable and interesting account of the incredible products made from corn through the wet milling...

(Posted Wed. Nov 21st, 2012)

Nov. 21: Food. Everyone buys it. Everyone eats it, and everyone talks about it. But, not everyone gets a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how food is grown, traveling with it as it goes from the farm to the plate. With more Americans growing up in urban and suburban areas, miles from farm life, there is an increasing disconnect between consumers and the people who grow their food.   Now, thanks to a program called CommonGround created through a partnership among the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates, five Wisconsin farm women are working to reverse this trend by sharing their personal stories and experiences about farming and the food they produce.   "With so much information about food and how it is raised, we are here...

(Posted Tue. Nov 20th, 2012)

Nov. 20: This holiday season, members of the National Corn Growers Association can save on travel expenses by using discounts available exclusively through NCGA. Through partnerships with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the exclusive NCGA Worldwide Hotel Discount Program, NCGA offers members valuable savings on car rentals and hotel bookings whether they travel across the country or even to many locations around the world.  “NCGA works hard to increase opportunities for farmers in the market place, but we also strive to offer a wide array of benefits to our members,” said NCGA Growers Service Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “Growers benefit from our work to grow the market for corn and maintain their freedom to operate, but we also want to provide special opportunities for our members...

(Posted Tue. Nov 20th, 2012)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Nov 20: With the failure of a California ballot initiative to require labeling of some foods with biotech ingredients, the National Corn Growers Association reiterated its support of federal efforts to provide guidance for voluntary labeling that indicates whether goods have been developed using biotechnology.  “We were pleased voters in California saw through this misleading campaign,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “Roughly 70 percent of food in the grocery store contains a biotech ingredient.  We know this effort won’t be the last to try and mandate labeling, but it is a significant step in the right direction.”  Proposition 37 would have forced farmers, food producers and grocers to implement record keeping and labeling mandates that no other state or country requires. They would also...

(Posted Tue. Nov 20th, 2012)

Nov 20: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC 21) yesterday released a final set of recommendations on enhancing coexistence among different crop production methods. Over the course of the last year, AC 21 committee members focused on identifying ways to improve successful coexistence and made recommendations to the USDA emphasizing education, stewardship and good neighbor-to-neighbor communications. The National Corn Growers Association commends AC 21 committee members for developing innovative and effective tools that help balance risks and rewards for all farmers.  “During meetings, the conversations I had with other growers were the most helpful,” AC 21 committee member and NCGA Past President Darrin Ihnen said. “Farmers have one...

(Posted Mon. Nov 19th, 2012)

Nov. 19:  Last week in New York, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance announced the finalists of its Faces of Farming and Ranching program, a nationwide search launched earlier this summer to help put real faces on agriculture at the national level.  The National Corn Growers Association is a proud founding affiliate of USFRA,  the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to lead the dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food – while being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for our animals and maintaining strong businesses and communities.  For the Faces of Farming and Ranching Program, more than 100 applications were received from passionate, dedicated farmers and ranchers from...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Ethanol

Nov. 16: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement to deny the request to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard:  “The National Corn Growers Association supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to deny the Renewable Fuel Standard waiver request.  We believe Administrator Jackson appropriately recognized petitioners did not properly prove severe nationwide economic harm had occurred thereby creating no justification for a waiver of the RFS.  “The ethanol industry plays a pivotal role in job creation throughout the country supporting over 400,000 jobs nationwide.  This includes many in ethanol plants in rural America.  The RFS advances the use of domestically produced renewable fuels, encourages new technologies and enhances U.S. energy independence.” 

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Nov. 16:  Past and present grower leaders of the National Corn Growers Association took part in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s third Food Dialogues town hall event, held this week in New York City. NCGA was a founding affiliate of USFRA, with leadership actively involved in the broad movement to restore consumer confidence in today’s agriculture.  “I’m very excited to be part of USFRA,” said NCGA Corn Board member Mike Geske, a Missouri corn farmer who became an at-large member of the USFRA board’s executive committee. “The farmers and ranchers alliance has taken great strides in reaching out to important audiences and telling the story of our farmers’ commitment to continuous improvement in what we do to help provide healthy choices for consumers.”  On the USFRA board, Geske...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Nov. 16: With U.S. Department of Agriculture reports indicating that corn harvest is now complete, the National Corn Growers Association reminds 2012 National Corn Yield Contest entrants that harvest forms must be submitted within a week of harvesting. In order to make submission simpler, harvest forms are available online.  Click here for the 2012 National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC) Online Harvest Form.  Click here for the 2012 National Corn Yield Contest Harvest Form, PDF version.  Click here for more information on the National Corn Yield Contest.  “While many look to December 3 as the deadline for harvest form submission, contest rules require entrants to submit these forms within one week of harvesting contest acres should that occur sooner,” said Dean Taylor, chairman of the NCGA...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Nov. 16: The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from members for the 2014 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization’s leadership.  Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.  “Through working with my fellow growers on the Corn Board, I have come to more fully appreciate the wealth of talented, dedicated volunteers who step forward to lead this organization,” said NCGA Chairman and Nominating Committee Chair Garry Niemeyer. “This willingness plays an integral role in ensuring NCGA’s continued success. As a true grassroots organization, we rely upon farmers to volunteer for leadership, helping to shape policy...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Nov 16: With very few days left in the 112th Congress, the National Corn Growers Association asks members to contact their representatives and tell them to pass the 2012 farm bill now; no more delay, no extensions.  The House Agriculture Committee passed their version of the legislation in July but it has yet to be scheduled for a vote on the House floor.  "Passage of a new five-year farm bill by Congress continues to be a top priority for our membership," NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  "This legislation allows farmers to create long term business plans and assess the best risk management options.  We need each and every voice to be heard.  I ask each of you to reach out to your representatives and tell them we need a farm bill now."  Farmers can contact...

(Posted Fri. Nov 16th, 2012)

Keywords: Trade

Nov 16: Today, the House of Representatives approved legislation granting Russia Most Favored Nation status.  The National Corn Growers Association previously urged Congress to lift the Jackson-Vanik restrictions thereby allowing farmers to take advantage of a more open and level playing field with Russia.  The Senate Finance Committee passed the legislation in July. Full Senate consideration is expected after Thanksgiving.  “America’s farmers will be able to take advantage of lowered trade barriers that result from repealing Jackson-Vanik,” NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman said.  “The Senate must act soon so other WTO members cannot take advantage of a more level trade playing field before our farmers.”  Russia joined the World...

(Posted Thu. Nov 15th, 2012)

Nov. 15:  As an organization that spearheaded passage of the Water Resources Development Act in 2007, the National Corn Growers Association has long been an advocate of improving and updating the locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. NCGA is now supporting a bipartisan congressional effort to help fund projects on the river, the American Waterworks Act.  The importance of the inland waterways to moving corn and other products to markets cannot be overstated, said NCGA Chairman Garry Niemeyer, an Illinois corn farmer long active on waterway issues. Niemeyer was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Waterways Council (WCI), the national public policy organization focused on educating policymakers, the news media and the general public about the critical importance...

(Posted Thu. Nov 15th, 2012)

Keywords: Transportation

Nov. 15: The Army Corps of Engineers announced earlier this week that it will proceed with plans to reduce the flow from an upper Missouri River reservoir. This action will be taken despite growing concern that this action will worsen low-water problems on the Mississippi River.  In a recent interview with National Public Radio, National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Research and Development Paul Bertels addressed the situation saying, “we oppose the curtailing of water discharges from the Missouri River until the corps has fixed the issues presented by rock pinnacles in the Mississippi River, thus decreasing the negative impact of lower water levels for traffic using the waterway.”  Corps officials expect to cut the flow from the Gavins Point Dam in South...

(Posted Wed. Nov 14th, 2012)

Nov. 14:  Registration and housing reservations for the 2013 Commodity Classic will open online 9 a.m. CST Thursday, Nov. 15, with hotel rooms expected to book fast.  This year’s Commodity Classic will make use of two first-class venues, each within a free, five-minute shuttle ride of each other. Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center will be the site for the General Session, trade show and educational sessions. Additional educational sessions also will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott, as will Commodity Classic’s Evening of Entertainment, sponsored by Monsanto.  Commodity Classic is presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers. The event offers a wide...

(Posted Wed. Nov 14th, 2012)

Nov. 14: This week, Off the Cob caught up with Maize Genetics and Genomics Database Curator Jack Gardiner to find out how the project has progressed over the past three months.  The MGGD, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, is a tool being developed with assistance from the National Corn Growers Association. When complete, it will help scientists efficiently apply the knowledge gained from the Maize Genome Sequencing project to develop varieties that perform for farmers in the field.  “Recently, we have been working on ways to visualize new sequences of the maize genome that we know are currently being developed in the maize research community,” Gardiner began. “We call these alternative genome sequences.”  While the term alternative...

(Posted Tue. Nov 13th, 2012)

Nov. 13: Farm volunteers and staff talked with Incredible Food Show goers in Lexington. The annual show, sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and CommonGround, brings together more than 3,000 exhibitors and attendees from across Kentucky and surrounding states to look at the latest food trends and innovative cooking methods. During the show, CommonGround Kentucky volunteers Jeanine Raymond, Miranda Chaplin and Carly Guinn kept the stories of the farmers growing the delicious foods on display, engaging in conversations with foodies interested in finding out about agriculture.  “The Incredible Food Show always brings attention to agriculture in Kentucky,” said Kentucky Corn Growers Association Director of Communications Jennifer Elwell. “Our CommonGround...

(Posted Tue. Nov 13th, 2012)

Keywords: Research

Nov. 13: The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) announce the incorporation of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC). Structured as a non-profit initiative for the purpose of agricultural development, the NAGC will leverage the benefits of high-throughput genotyping with the support of two of the nation’s most prominent organizations in the fields of science and agriculture. With incorporation complete, the NAGC now seeks partners looking to become a part of this project.  “In the coming years, genotyping is expected to be a part of every aspect of agriculture from breeding to production to the table,” said DeVonna Zeug, chair of NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team. “NAGC will also be a driver for business development and a...

(Posted Fri. Nov 9th, 2012)

Keywords: Production

Nov. 9: 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.  Raising total production by 19 million bushels with a three-tenths of a bushel increase in the corn yield to 122.3 bushels per acre, forecasts now project higher ending stocks of 647 million bushels, an increase of 28 million bushels since last month’s report. The increased production came as USDA revised upwards yields in Illinois, North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio and the far eastern Corn Belt.  These increases were tempered by slight reductions in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Texas.  “The estimates released today illustrate how, even under such adverse conditions, U.S. corn farmers can produce a crop,” said National Corn Growers...

(Posted Thu. Nov 8th, 2012)

Nov. 8: With a deadline of December 7, only one month remains to apply for scholarships made available by the National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation. For the sixth consecutive year, the NCGA/BASF scholarship program will again award five $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2013-14 school year.  “NCGA and BASF both understand that we must actively support the best and brightest students interested in our field today if we want to have strong leadership tomorrow,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “The scholarship program is rooted in NCGA’s commitment to nurturing youth in agriculture and to growing a bright future of our rural...

(Posted Thu. Nov 8th, 2012)

Nov. 8:  At the annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting this week in Kansas City, Mo., officers of the National Corn Growers Association took part in numerous media interviews on a wide range of subjects, such as the election results, the farm bill, the 2012 drought and the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard.  “This annual convention of farm broadcasters always provides us the opportunity to reach audiences across America’s heartland,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, a farmer in Floyd, Iowa. “Because they are so knowledgeable and concerned about American agriculture, farm broadcasters always ask smart and relevant questions and help us reach a large and important audience.”  Also on hand for media interviews were NCGA First Vice President Martin Barbre, a...

(Posted Wed. Nov 7th, 2012)

National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s successful re-election:  “The National Corn Growers Association congratulates President Obama on his successful re-election for president of the United States.  Our organization has worked closely with the president and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over the past four years on issues important to our members.  We greatly value our relationship with the administration and look forward to continuing that trend.” 

(Posted Tue. Nov 6th, 2012)

Nov. 6: Today’s urban moms have questions about the food that they prepare for their families, and CommonGround Colorado helped provide answers for a group of Denver’s most influential “mommy bloggers” during a tour of Cleland Dairy. Providing the women and their children a first-hand look at an operating dairy farm, CommonGround Colorado staff and volunteers, with the help of the Western Dairy Association, helped find answers to a variety of questions about food and farming, thus helping the bloggers and their readers to enjoy food without fear.  “During the first few events we hosted, our volunteers opened an incredible dialogue with the Mile High Mommas and a variety of other Denver-area bloggers,” said Colorado Corn Growers Association CommonGround...

(Posted Mon. Nov 5th, 2012)

Nov. 5:  The results of the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Rocks Video Contest are in. High school senior Jason Girouard from Brimfield, Mass. received first-place honors and an award of $1,500. Two second-place winners, freshman Emily Yue from Gilford, Conn., and senior Lewis Kloster of Minneapolis, Minn., each received $500 in prize money.  “The purpose of the contest was to get youth interested in learning about renewable fuel while having fun,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis. “However, I think we may have turned a few of the more inquisitive kids into ethanol evangelists. The enthusiasm about their learning experience was the biggest payoff of the project.”  The experience of entering the contest revealed just how much they learned about ethanol’s impact...

(Posted Fri. Nov 2nd, 2012)

Keywords: Transportation

Nov 2: Plans to file bipartisan legislation to modernize the nation’s ports, locks and dams have been announced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).  The American Waterworks Act would reform the system that builds and maintains the infrastructure. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased that Sens. Alexander and Graham have recognized the importance of the lock and dam systems to the American economy.  “America’s inland navigation system plays a critical part in a farmers’ business,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “More than one billion bushels of grain, or roughly 60 percent of all grain exports, move via inland waterways each year.  Locks and dams provide jobs, relieve highway and rail congestion and allow American agriculture to be competitive in the...

(Posted Thu. Nov 1st, 2012)

Nov 1: As the East Coast continues cleanup efforts from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced mobilized assistance.  In addition, the USDA urges farmers to record losses from the historic storm.  “Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week,” National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson said. “The past year has been a difficult one for farmers, and we are pleased to see continued support by the USDA.  While we realize many farmers have finished harvesting corn on the east coast, the assistance provided by the USDA goes far beyond those with crops.  We hope everyone in need finds some relief.”  USDA personnel are reaching out to all telecommunications, electric and water system...