NEWS STORIES

FEBRUARY 2013

(Posted Thu. Feb 28th, 2013)

Keywords: Scholarship membership Commodity Classic

Feb. 28: The National Corn Growers Association, in conjunction with cosponsor BASF, honored five college students with scholarships this week at Commodity Classic 2013 in Kissimmee, Fla. This year, the scholarships, created to foster promising agricultural leaders for the future, provided five winners with $1,000 for use in pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field. This year, the scholarship has been renamed the NCGA William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program, in memory of Ohio corn grower and NCGA colleague Bill Berg. A long-standing member of the NCGA Grower Services Action Team and true believer in the scholarship program, Bill unexpectedly passed away last year. “Anyone who ever met Bill knew he had a passion for agriculture; this seemed like a fitting way to honor his memory and support the future of the industry he loved so much,” said NCGA Pam Johnson. The program will continue its mission of recognizing academic excellence to foster the...

(Posted Thu. Feb 28th, 2013)

Keywords: Commodity Classic Farm Bill RFS ethanol

Feb. 28: Today, the Commodity Classic Trade Show opened, showcasing the latest farming products and innovations. With opening remarks by National Corn Growers Association Joint Venture Committee 2013 Co-Chair Mark Schwiebert closing the ribbon cutting ceremony along with his American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers counterparts and Jessica Simmons, the Corporate Communications Lead for Monsanto, the show flung open its doors and welcomed farm families, their friends and industry allies to agriculture’s premier showcase. “The Commodity Classic Trade Show is always a popular event, and this year is no exception with a sold out event that offers attendees a chance to see the most cutting edge technology while interacting with industry leaders,” said Schwiebert. “Those searching for new ideas and a better picture of what is now and soon will be available to farmers will find the most extensive, comprehensive offering to date...

(Posted Wed. Feb 27th, 2013)

Feb. 27: Today, farmers and industry members are arriving in Kissimmee, Fla. for Commodity Classic 2013. As the wide array of events begins, the National Corn Growers Association’s Commodity Classic Joint Venture Committee Co-Chair Mark Schwiebert took a moment to speak with Off the Cob about the learning opportunities, exciting entertainment and NCGA-specific events that offer the chance to play an active role in shaping the policies that affect farmers. “First, I would like to welcome those already at Commodity Classic and thank them for coming down,” said Schwiebert. “We have got a great show lined up, including a sold-out premier trade show. Once again, we are pleased to welcome Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who will address our General Session on Friday too.” Schwiebert noted that, in addition to the traditional events associated with Commodity Classic, corn farmers have many chances to interact with their national organization." “NCGA is offering a variety of...

(Posted Wed. Feb 27th, 2013)

Keywords: Leadership

Feb. 27: The National Corn Growers Association invites farmers who are graduates of the NCGA Leadership Academy to further hone their leadership skills by participating in the Advanced Leadership Program, sponsored by Syngenta. Applications for the program are due April 12. NCGA urges interested members to contact their state associations now for further information and to be nominated to participate. “Building a strong cadre of well-trained leaders is an important part of growing a respected and professional association,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “Our grower leaders serve a great role as industry spokespersons and valuable thought-leaders, and programs like Advanced Leadership give them the opportunity to learn leadership and practice what they learned in several important ways. I found my participation in Advanced Leadership to be invaluable.” The Advanced Leadership Program is open to graduates of Leadership Academy. The first session addresses personal communications,...

(Posted Mon. Feb 25th, 2013)

Keywords: Commodity Classic

Feb. 25: With Commodity Classic 2013 only days away, farmers and industry are preparing to enjoy the wide array of learning opportunities and exciting entertainment that this year’s show will offer. Officially kicking off this Thursday in Kissimmee, Fla., Commodity Classic will feature a record-breaking trade show, a General Session address from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, learning sessions, an Evening of Entertainment with the World Classic Rockers and much more. “Attendees should expect a very exciting program this year,” said NCGA Commodity Classic Joint Venture Committee Co-Chair Mark Schwiebert. “We have been working hard to make this event even better with a variety of learning sessions on topics from production to estate planning to social media and marketing. Through WIN sessions, we will offer in-depth looks at some of the newest, most innovative products hitting the market. The trade show is completely full of interesting exhibitors with 234 companies...

(Posted Fri. Feb 22nd, 2013)

Keywords: NASCAR American Ethanol ethanol

Feb. 22: American Ethanol announced its plans to enhance its partnership with Richard Childress Racing and driver Austin Dillon for the 2013 NASCAR® season. Dillon will race the No. 33 American Ethanol Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ at Michigan International Speedway on June 16 and will drive a RCR-fielded entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ at Eldora Speedway on July 24 with an American Ethanol paint scheme. The National Corn Growers Association is a proud partner in this effort. “We want to show the people coast-to-coast there is a great alternative to imported oil and our association with NASCAR and RCR is doing that extremely well," said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton, NE farmer and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association's NASCAR Advisory Committee. "Ethanol is also responsible for bringing a rural renaissance from Main Street to the family farm.” American Ethanol will be an associate sponsor of Dillon’s No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet in the NASCAR...

(Posted Thu. Feb 21st, 2013)

Keywords: Commodity Classic Secretary of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack

Feb. 21: For the fourth straight year, farmers and other attendees to Commodity Classic will have the opportunity to welcome U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the annual convention and trade show for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers. The secretary will deliver a keynote address to an expected crowd of more than 6,000 during the event’s General Session, to be held March 1 in Kissimmee, Fla. “Secretary Vilsack has been a steadfast supporter of agriculture, and it is an honor to welcome him once again to Commodity Classic as he begins his second term,” National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson said. “Agriculture will be facing many important topics over the next year including a new farm bill, expanded trade and the federal budget. We look forward to hearing the secretary’s remarks on these and other issues.” “As we gather in Florida next week to explore ways to optimize farmers’ sustainability, profitability and impact in the larger American...

(Posted Wed. Feb 20th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Feb. 20: While trade talks between the United States and European Union have yet to begin, the National Corn Growers Association, along with many other agricultural trade associations and members of Congress, are working to ensure U.S. agricultural interests receive proper attention in any final agreement. For NCGA members, the most obvious challenge is approval of corn and corn products derived through biotechnology. The EU is a market that holds great potential, however, that potential is often overshadowed by delays in approvals and regulatory decisions dictated by political pressure and not science-based evaluations. “Completing a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union has gained national attention, and we want to reassure farmers that NCGA is raising the concerns of America’s corn farmers with our trade negotiators,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. “Improving our country’s trade ties with the EU can mean more jobs and...

(Posted Wed. Feb 20th, 2013)

Keywords: NCGA National Corn Yield Contest

Feb. 20: The National Corn Growers Association has released its 2012 National Corn Yield Contest Guide online, providing an online look at the winner profiles and yield boosting tips that will hit many farmers’ mailboxes in the mid-February issue of The Progressive Farmer. With a personal message from NCGA President Pam Johnson and a look at the lessons contest winners took away from the 2012 drought, this edition of the annual publication provides the detailed contest information, insightful articles and exciting updates upon which farmers have come to rely. This year, the format of the online edition has been updated to take advantage of interactive technology and provide a richer experience. Incorporating a search function and easy-share options, the 2012 online guide allows readers to customize their experience and delve more deeply into enhanced content. To view the full guide, click here. In her letter, Johnson praises the resilience of America’s corn farmers, noting...

(Posted Tue. Feb 19th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade USGC

Feb. 19: More than 200 delegates attended the U.S. Grains Council's 10th International Marketing Conference and 53rd Annual Membership Meeting in Charleston, S.C., last week. There, attendees, including leadership from the National Corn Growers Association, reviewed strategies and opportunities for competing in the rapidly changing global marketplace.“Coordination is essential to best leveraging the checkoff dollars entrusted to us,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “The programs run by NCGA and USGC complement one another in many ways with the Council engaging in valuable projects overseas to cultivate markets for U.S. corn while NCGA works back home to push for government policies and production strategies that benefit our farmers.”USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight emphasized that now is the time to redouble the Council's efforts – with customer servicing to sustain export demand and ensure that the United States can regain its market share next year, and with continued efforts...

(Posted Fri. Feb 15th, 2013)

Feb. 15:  This week, CommonGround took to the airwaves in Nebraska, participating in a series of interviews with radio and print outlets in the northeastern part of the state. The media tour, which covered areas close to Omaha, featured Dawn Kucera and Joan Ruskamp addressing topics from high fructose corn syrup to the animal care practices used by local ranchers.“We think that it is important that the people who are buying food have a chance to ask questions of those of us who are raising it,” said Kucera. “Our state’s volunteer represent a broad variety of farmers and ranchers including pork and beef producers, organic farmers and conventional vegetable producers as well as corn and soybean farmers. Our goal in including so many types of producers is to answer all of the questions consumers might have and help dissolve some of the fears that comes from confusion.”While meeting with the media, Kucera and Ruskamp found that consumers have a wide variety of questions about how their...

(Posted Thu. Feb 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Commodity Classic

Feb. 14: Today, Commodity Classic launched its mobile application allowing attendees to access information, receive messages and engage in social media from their smart phones and tablets. The Commodity Classic convention and trade show mobile application gives show-goers the ability to make their own schedules, take notes on activities, lookup session and event times, navigate with maps and much more. Visit www.commodityclassic.com/app.In less than two weeks, soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers from around the country will gather at the 18 th Annual Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. for an experience that will educate, enlighten and entertain. From new product rollouts to thoughtful discussion of important agricultural issues – education is a key element of Commodity Classic.“The innovation you’ll witness and information you’ll gather at Commodity Classic will absolutely change the way you farm,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Bob Worth. “Agriculture faces new...

(Posted Wed. Feb 13th, 2013)

Keywords: HFCS

Feb. 13: A new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism adds to an already well-established body of science that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar are metabolically equivalent. Presenting compelling data, the study found that the consumption of both high fructose corn syrup and sucrose (table sugar) at levels consistent with average daily consumption do not increase liver fat in humans.“This study, like so many others, adds to the body of scientific evidence supporting the safety of high fructose corn syrup when consumed in moderation, just like any sugar,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “Our organization continuously pushes for the public dissemination of real information about the crops that we grow and the products they make and for a science-based approach to regulatory efforts. In the case of HFCS, the truth is apparent. Sugar is sugar, whether it comes from corn, cane or beet.”This finding is...

(Posted Wed. Feb 13th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol RFS Fuels America

Feb. 13: Last night, the Fuels America coalition, of which the National Corn Growers Association is one of the founding members, released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:“Tonight, President Obama laid out an agenda that includes cutting our dependence on oil, fighting climate change and creating jobs. The current administration has been a long-­time supporter of renewable fuel, which can help meet all three of these goals.“The Renewable Fuel Standard is an essential policy that is already helping to wean us from oil and that, if left intact, can do even more to benefit America. The RFS has been crucial in encouraging investment in oil alternatives, driving innovation in advanced biofuels and opening up markets so that Americans have a choice at the gas pump.“Last year, 13 billion gallons of renewable fuel were added to our fuel supply. That production supported jobs for and employed more than 380,000 Americans while reducing the need...

(Posted Tue. Feb 12th, 2013)

Keywords: Production

Feb 12: Farmers participating in the National Corn Growers Association 2012 National Corn Yield Contest set a new record by submitting 75 entries that surpassed the 300 bushels-per-acre mark. Bucking trends and overcoming severe drought conditions, these entrants showed the incredible achievements that are possible in farming using advanced practices and state-of-the-art technology.“NCGA’s corn yield contest continues to enjoy such popularity because it showcases what is possible for our industry moving forward,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “I applaud the level of achievement that this record number of entrants attained this year and thank them for their contribution to agriculture. Through knowledge acquired from entrants we learn practical techniques that can be applied on other farms thus enhancing our ability to continually improve as farmers.”Despite higher average yields nationally among all farmers in 2011, only 10 entries achieved the...

(Posted Mon. Feb 11th, 2013)

Keywords: Leadership

Feb.11: The National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the Leadership At Its Best Program, sponsored by Syngenta. Applications for this best in the industry leadership training program are due to NCGA by March 29. Interested members are urged to contact their state associations today and be nominated to participate in the program.“Since the first class in 1986, Leadership At Its Best has helped train strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent work at the state and national level,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “This year, we again ask that farmers come forward and act upon their desire to give back to their peers. NCGA depends upon grassroots leadership, and I personally can attest that the time and effort dedicated are repaid in full through the incredible relationships built with like-minded individuals.”Open to all NCGA members,...

(Posted Mon. Feb 11th, 2013)

Keywords: USDA Government Reports

Feb. 11: Our nation’s farmers will harvest a record 14.4 billion bushels of corn this year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture report released earlier today. The realization of this projection, which assumes the planting of 96 million acres and a national average yield of 163.5 bushels per acre, would require a return to more favorable weather patterns.“The projections released by USDA this morning inspire cautious optimism for the upcoming year,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd, Iowa. “While the promise of a record crop certainly inspires farmers recovering from a difficult year, we have seen what would have been bumper crops wither in our fields. With a renewed spirit, U.S. corn farmers will enter the planting season with optimism tempered with a steady determination to do our best to provide an abundant, quality crop.”In 2012, drought severely impacted the U.S. corn crop, which totaled 10.78 billion bushels. Should the...

(Posted Fri. Feb 8th, 2013)

Keywords: Production Corn Supply

Feb 8: More U.S. corn will be available than previously forecast, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released earlier today. Revising corn ending stock projections upward by 30 million bushels, the report also indicates that a 20 million bushel rise in corn use projections for sweeteners and starch.“As the picture of the current corn supply continues to become more clear, we are seeing the markets are adjusting,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “U.S. farmers faced a tough drought but, due to biotechnology and enhanced production practices, we brought in a crop unimaginable under similar circumstances only decades ago.”Projected demand for corn from the ethanol sector held steady, while export projections were lowered by 50 million bushels. These factors, along with reports of forward sales made at prices below prevailing cash market bids, caused the projected range for the season-average farm price for corn to lower 20 cents at the...

(Posted Thu. Feb 7th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol RFS

Feb. 7: In a panel presentation this week, National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman highlighted the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard to help increase and guarantee a vibrant domestic renewable fuel market.“We cannot underestimate the importance of the RFS,” Tolman said. “It cut imported oil and serves as the basis for investment in infrastructure growth. It’s the single biggest reason for the prosperity across all of agriculture since its inception. It also has lowered fuel costs for consumers and created hundreds of thousands of jobs across America.”Tolman’s presentation, at the Renewable Fuel Association’s National Ethanol Conference, centered on five areas: the success of the RFS to-date, the importance of preserving the program, implementation challenges and opportunities, pathways to 36 billion gallons by 2022, and the future role of corn in the Renewable Fuel Standard.NCGA is involved in several programs to protect the RFS and ethanol’s role in America’s...

(Posted Wed. Feb 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Leadership

Feb. 6: Grower leaders from across the country gathered in St. Louis this week to explore a variety of issues that will affect corn farmers in the upcoming year and to determine a course for National Corn Growers Association activities to support them. For three days, members of five of NCGA’s issue-focused action teams and committees listened to reports from industry experts and discussed programs to guide NCGA staff as they work on behalf of growers.“These meetings play an important role in that they allow specialized teams to focus on their area of expertise and guide programs with a comprehensive, detailed understanding of the issues,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “It is inspiring to see the passion these volunteer leaders bring to their duties and to converse with such knowledgeable industry experts. As a farmer, I feel confident that they will lead us in the right direction.”With industry leaders including representatives from a variety of seed technology and grain trade...

(Posted Tue. Feb 5th, 2013)

Feb. 5:  Eight corn growers from around the country have been nominated for election to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. New board members will be elected by state delegates at the Corn Congress this July in Washington.“We appreciate the interest and dedication of the corn farmers who want to be active in our association and help lead it,” said Garry Niemeyer, NCGA chairman and chair of the nominating committee. “We once again have a great slate of candidates that will serve our industry well. We wish them all the best and thank them for getting involved.”Those nominated are, in alphabetical order:Ronnie Burleson, Richfield, N.C.. Burleson grows corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton in North Carolina with his son, brother and nephew. Together, they also raise beef cattle and operate a family-owned cotton gin. He is president of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina and a director of the North Carolina Farm...

(Posted Tue. Feb 5th, 2013)

Feb. 5: Last week, attendees of the Wisconsin Corn and Soy Expo met the faces that will represent their state’s farmers through the CommonGround program during an informational session held in conjunction with the event. Previewing the grassroots movement, orchestrated through the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates, the interactive presentation highlighted how the CommonGround movement has grown as more and more women who buy food look for answers about how it was produced and the women who grow food open their farms and a dialogue to help them find answers.“It was really exciting to see how farmers previously unfamiliar with CommonGround reacted to the questions and ideas posed during the presentation,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, who farms in Rosendale, Wisc. “The idea that these women open themselves to a real, honest discussion, promising only to remain positive and inclusive, felt...

(Posted Fri. Feb 1st, 2013)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Feb. 1:  The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to announce that the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program, which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and IRM education and awareness, is seeing strong success and an increase in the number of growers planting their corn refuge. The CAP is designed to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits. In 2011, ABSTC launched a new IRM on-farm assessment program that focuses more assessments on growers who may not have purchased sufficient refuge seed according to their purchase records. “The on-farm assessment process has proven to be an effective mechanism to identify Bt corn growers who are not following refuge requirements and provide...