NEWS STORIES

MAY 2013

(Posted Fri. May 31st, 2013)

May 31: The recent news that Chinese company Shineway, also known as Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., has agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest hog and pork producer in the world, has sparked speculation that U.S. pork exports to China may rise in coming years. However, according to the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, the resulting increased pork import program is unlikely to hold off China's expected future corn import program. Dr. Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China, says it will be extremely difficult for Shineway to significantly increase U.S. pork exports to China simply through its control of Smithfield in coming years. "Let's say Shineway seeks to increase U.S. pork to China by 1 million metric tons per year,” said Lohmar. “Even if it does somehow manage to increase production and meet such an ambitious export target, that much additional imported pork would displace only 118 to 138 million...

(Posted Thu. May 30th, 2013)

 May 30:  The National Corn Growers Association announced the participants who will constitute the 27 th class of NCGA’s Leadership at Its Best Program, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 19 aspiring leaders from 11 states, from as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado. “Leadership at Its Best has trained strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent service at the state and national level,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, who completed the class in 2006. “We’re excited to see such great interest in the program and strongly believe the quality of the applicants bodes well for the future of our industry. NCGA depends upon grassroots leadership, and, as a graduate of the program, I personally understand the important role this program plays in helping develop the skills and build the relationships necessary to lead such a dynamic organization in an ever-changing environment.” This year’s Leadership at Its...

(Posted Thu. May 30th, 2013)

May 30: With only two weeks left to take advantage of the early registration discount, the National Corn Growers Association reminds those interested in the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest that time remains to enjoy valuable savings while participating in this popular program. The online entry format makes entry quick and simple, but growers wishing to take advantage of the reduced $80 per hybrid entry fee must do so by June 15. After that, NCGA will continue to accept entries until the July 12 deadline, but fees will return to the normal rate of $110 per hybrid. “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. “As farmers across the country wrap up corn planting, 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...

(Posted Wed. May 29th, 2013)

May 29: With the generous support of the Nebraska Corn Board, two college students from the Cornhusker State are joining the National Corn Growers Association as interns this summer to learn more about the industry and provide valuable support to NCGA. NCGA’s headquarters office in suburban St. Louis is hosting Casey Campbell as its second summer intern supported by a partnership between NCB and NCGA. Campbell will be a junior in agricultural leadership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and is assisting NCGA with communication and agricultural economics programs, as well as participating in committee meetings. She started with NCGA on May 13. Starting this week, the NCGA Washington office is hosting Kyle McGinn of Lincoln, Neb., as its summer intern. McGinn is a student in at the University of Nebraska College of Law, and will be involved with a variety of issues related to environmental regulations, transportation, free trade agreements, biotechnology, ethanol and...

(Posted Wed. May 29th, 2013)

Keywords: USDA

May 29: With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. USDA has already received more than 2 million completed census forms. “It is imperative that farmers speak up and ensure that they are accurately represented, and the Census of Agriculture provides a unique opportunity for us to do so,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “The information compiled this year will impact the agricultural community for half of a decade with the data the Census provides influencing how USDA and the Congress perceive agriculture and thus how rules and regulations are written. I strongly urge every farmer and rancher to act quickly if they have not already done so and play an active role in securing the future of our industry.” The Census of Agriculture, conducted only once every five years, is the only source...

(Posted Tue. May 28th, 2013)

Keywords: Planting Progress

May 28: Farmers continued to make up for early spring planting delays last week, bringing corn planting progress within four points of the five-year average according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. As of May 26, 86 percent of projected corn acres had been planted, while only 28 percent were planted two weeks prior. While progress lagged behind the five-year average by nine points last week, it now lags only four points behind the 90 percent five-year average for this point in the season. “Farmers again demonstrated that, by working tirelessly and using new technology that allows us to cover more ground in less time, we can accomplish an incredible amount given the smallest planting window,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “Now, we have planted more than half of the corn acres in the country in only two weeks. America’s farmers are working hard to grow the food, feed, fuel and fiber that our country, and...

(Posted Fri. May 24th, 2013)

May 24: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third 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 caught up with Jennie Schmidt, a Maryland farmer with a diverse operation, to discuss how the corn crop appears to be progressing in the mid-Atlantic. She explained that, despite unseasonable weather early this spring, her corn crop is maturing quite nicely. “Planting is basically finished in my area with only a few of the largest operators who have a few hundred acres of corn left to plant,” Schmidt said. “On our farm, we planted about 800 acres of corn, and we finished planting that about ten days ago. Some of our earliest planted corn is in its fourth or fifth week stage of...

(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)

May 23: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a farmer from Iowa, participated in a panel at the Washington Post’s forum “Future of Food 2013: Building a Sustainable Food System” earlier this week. During her presentation, Johnson emphasized technological innovations in agriculture that have allowed corn growers to produce greater yields on roughly the same amount of land while simultaneously improving the environment. Johnson also effectively defended biotechnology as an important part of sustainable production systems. “This forum offered an exceptional opportunity to bring the real stories of America’s farmers into public conversation in a meaningful way,” said Johnson. “America’s farmers are doing excellent work every day, meeting the world's need for food, feed, fuel and fiber while leaving the land better than we found it. By joining in discussions on food and farming, we open a dialogue with consumers, who may be many generations removed from the farm,...

(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Bill Farm Policy

May 23: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Senate’s progress toward a farm bill today: “We greatly appreciate the work by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and the Committee to put forth a well-crafted farm bill, and we thank the U.S Senate for the time given to debate and for floor votes today. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see progress is being made and a priority is being placed upon passage of this vital legislation. “We are disappointed with the passage of the Durbin-Coburn Amendment that would significantly reduce premium support for crop insurance participants through an Adjusted Gross Income means test. As the Senate moves forward, we reinforce our opposition to proposed amendments which would cut crop insurance programs and damage the farm safety net that supports our nation’s family farmers when facing adversity. “Now, we reiterate our call to continue...

(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol RFS

May 23: The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments on the impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in response to their third white paper, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Environmental Impacts.” In these comments, NCGA addressed how the RFS has decreased greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s vehicle fleet while leading to innovations that have made U.S. agriculture more sustainable and ethanol facilities more efficient. It also noted that unnecessary Congressional tinkering with the RFS would jeopardize investment in advanced and cellulosic biofuels, undermine incentives for further innovation in the existing renewable fuels sector and make the United States more dependent on dirtier petroleum sources than when the RFS was first enacted in 2005. The comment begin by detailing the incredible advancements made by corn growers that have allowed them in the last 30 years to decrease the amount of land used to grow...

(Posted Thu. May 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Trade. Farm Bill MAP

May 23: As part of ongoing debate over the 2013 farm bill in the Senate, Senators Coburn (R-Okla.) and McCain (R-Ariz.) filed Amendment #1007. This amendment would reduce funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program by $40 million dollars annually and place additional restrictions on use of program funds. The National Corn Growers Association, along with a broad coalition of allies, strongly opposes this amendment. Earlier this month, NCGA joined a broad group of more than 140 organizations in sending a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran in support of MAP. Stressing the importance of long-term export market development partnerships in the face of growing foreign competition, the letter urged that MAP, along with USDA’s Foreign Market Development Program, receive the same level of funding authorized in the previous farm bill. Since 2006, MAP has been funded at the level of $200 million annually. Reducing...

(Posted Wed. May 22nd, 2013)

Keywords: ethanol E15

May 22: As public awareness of the many economic and energy security benefits ethanol offers continues to grow, demand for higher blends of ethanol is also on the rise. This month, Wisconsin became the sixth state to offer E15 as a fuel option for consumers. With E15 already available in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, American drivers now have more choices at the fuel pump across a greater portion of the country. “Decisions by the EPA opened the door for broader E15 availability, and fuel station operators in many areas see how much sense E15 makes for both many drivers and our country as a whole,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chairman Chad Willis, a farmer from Minnesota. “E15 has undergone some of the most extensive testing ever performed and proven that it offers a reliable, green option. Whether on the track at NASCAR races or on the road in America’s cars, E15 helps reduce pollution and our dependence of foreign fuels.” E15, which is a fuel blend of 15...

(Posted Wed. May 22nd, 2013)

Keywords: CommonGround Food and farming

May 22: Last week, CommonGround took conversations about food and farming to New England, hosting a dinner for influential members of Boston’s media and food communities. CommonGround volunteer Joan Ruskamp from Nebraska, Christine Lindner from Wisconsin and Rachel Heimerl from Ohio shared dinner with chefs and mama bloggers at Anthem Kitchen + Bar in Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace. During the event, the farm women provided unique insight about what happens on farms across America’s Heartland for the East Coast food elites. “I found that, more than anything, people who do not see farming around them have questions about how the food on their plates was grown or raised,” said Ruskamp. “This curiosity is completely understandable. We all just want to feel good about how we care for ourselves and our families. By sharing our experiences as farmers, I feel like we helped alleviate some of their food fears and opened an ongoing dialogue that will spread the word that America’s...

(Posted Tue. May 21st, 2013)

Keywords: Public Policy Farm Bill

May 21: As the U.S. Senate resumes debate on the 2013 farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week, the National Corn Growers Association joined a broad coalition of commodity organizations and conservation and environmental groups in announcing its opposition to a variety of proposed amendments that would have an adverse impact on the federal crop insurance program. The amendments include provisions that would introduce means testing, subsidy caps and public disclosure of information on crop insurance participants into the program. NCGA, along with the other coalition partners, cited particular amendments as harmful to the federal crop insurance program including the Begich-Flake Amendment, the Durbin-Coburn Amendment, two Flake Amendments, Gillibrand Amendments #931 and #944, and the Shaheen-Toomey Amendment. The Begich-Flake Amendment would require the disclosure of information on crop insurance program participants who receive benefits including their...

(Posted Tue. May 21st, 2013)

May 21: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third 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 caught up with Jay Beckhusen, a Texas farmer, to discuss how the corn crop appears to be progressing 90 miles north of Austin. He explained that three nights of rain came at critical times and thus his crop is maturing well right now. “We had just started to see a bit of drought stress in early May, but rain on the 10 th, 11 th and 16 th saved the crop, and now it is tasseling quite nicely,”Beckhusen said. “I know that not everyone in my area was as lucky, but we were blessed.” To listen to the full interview with Beckhusen, click here. Stay tuned over the coming weeks as...

(Posted Tue. May 21st, 2013)

May 21: For American farmers succession planning is top-of-mind. The USDA reminds us that, “70 percent of farmland will change hands in the next 20 years. If a farm family has not adequately planned for succession, the farm is likely to go out of business, be absorbed by a large farming neighbor, or be converted to non-farm use.” This crisis-in-the-making comes at a time when land prices are out-stripping our ability grow the operation and fewer members of the family are involved in day-to-day farming. The National Corn Growers Association is dedicated to strengthening member farmers, maintaining a healthy organization and continuing prosperity for the industry. To serve that purpose, NCGA is proud to announce that members now are entitled to a discount when using eLegacyConnect. eLegacyConnect is a dynamic online succession planning community. “NCGA always strives to provide a rich portfolio of membership benefits that help farmers maximize their opportunities and build a better...

(Posted Mon. May 20th, 2013)

Keywords: Planting Progress

May 20: Farmers who had delayed planting corn due to cool, wet conditions hit the fields in force last week planting enough acres to bring progress within eight points of the five-year average according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. As of May 19, 71 percent of projected corn acres had been planted, while only 28 percent were planted a week prior. While progress lagged behind the five-year average by 37 points last week, the rapid progress closed the gap to only nine points. “Farmers have the technology and the drive to accomplish more in a week than we could have in three only a few decades ago,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “Last week, we knew that we needed a week of drier, warmer weather and, throughout much of the Corn Belt, we got just that. Taking shifts and working together, our nation’s family farmers will get the crop planted and work just as tirelessly through harvest to make sure that we...

(Posted Mon. May 20th, 2013)

May 20: The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Clint Raine, who joins the organization as a legislative assistant in the Washington, D.C. office. Raine, who recently completed an internship with Representative Benishek (MI- 01), will support the DC staff in their day to day activities and assist the Public Policy Action Team “We are pleased that Clint is joining our team and we already recognize the positive attitude and strong work ethic he will bring to the position,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a recent intern on the Hill, Raine is looking forward to being part of the NCGA team and learning all he can about agricultural policy and issues that affect U.S. corn farmers.” Raine holds a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in English from the Virginia MilitaryInstitute. Prior to his work on the Hill, Raine served as an English as a second language teacher through the Teach for America...

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2013)

May 17: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third 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 Rob Korff, a Missouri farmer, who turned off his tractor to talk about planting progress in mid-Missouri. Korff explained that, while the weather has delayed planting by about a month, round-the-clock work since Mother’s Day will allow him to finish planting corn sometime today. “I usually like to be done planting corn by the 15 th or 20 th of April,” Korff said. “By now, I would normally like to be done planting beans too, but I have yet to start those. We should be able to finish corn planting late tonight, and we will go right into planting beans tomorrow....

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2013)

May 17: The National Corn Growers Association is pleased with the Senate confirmation of physicist Ernest Moniz as secretary of Energy. “I would first like to congratulate Secretary Moniz on his confirmation and express our eagerness to work with him on the many energy issues facing our nation,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “The Secretary’s strong scientific background makes us optimistic that he will be an excellent partner in realizing the opportunities that domestically-produced, sustainable biofuels such as ethanol have to offer and look forward to collaborating with his office to maximize the benefits ethanol can provide our nation.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor was confirmed by a unanimous vote of 97 to 0.

(Posted Fri. May 17th, 2013)

May 17: With NASCAR ® season heating up, the National Corn Growers Association reminds members that they are entitled to exclusive online NASCAR news and discounts as part of the association’s American Ethanol partnership with the sport. Through this online portal to all things NASCAR, members can access a customized site that offers the best deals on NASCAR tickets, discounts with other NASCAR partners and a vast assortment of other fun extras. In the “Deals” section of the website, members have access to exclusive offers on the latest gear and unadvertised offers from Official NASCAR Partners and Licensees such as: Bank of America Exide Batteries New Holland Sprint Wireless UPS Additionally, the NASCAR Fuel for Members website offers many other exciting and valuable benefits. The “Race Tickets” section hooks NCGA members up with the best ticket deals on the circuit. Through NASCAR RacePoints, the official rewards program of NASCAR, NCGA members can enroll and earn points...

(Posted Thu. May 16th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Bill

May 16: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House Committee on Agriculture’s farm bill passage late Wednesday night: “We greatly appreciate the work by House Committee on Agriculture’s Chairman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member Collin Peterson and the Committee to move forward in the process to develop a five-year farm bill. NCGA is assessing similarities and differences between the legislation and our grower-developed policy. “While we are pleased the process is moving forward, NCGA remains extremely concerned with the Committee’s decision to adopt a fixed-target-price program that moves U.S. farm policy away from the market-oriented reforms that have made possible a robust rural economy. It is also disappointing the Committee failed to use this opportunity to ensure a Revenue Loss Coverage program that is a genuine risk management option for producers. “We understand this is only the second step in a long...

(Posted Wed. May 15th, 2013)

Keywords: Transportation Locks and Dams

May 15: The National Corn Growers Association thanked members of the U.S. Senate who overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Development Act today, a bill that represents an important step forward in upgrading the inland waterways system. “Our inland waterways, in particular the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, are an important route for moving our corn to markets worldwide,” said NCGA Chairman Garry Niemeyer, who has been active on the water issue for decades. “We’re proud to see such a united Senate approve this with an 83-14 vote and are looking forward to the day when some of these much-needed projects get rolling and get completed.” Of specific interest to corn farmers, the bill contains provisions to remove the over-budget and long-delayed Olmsted lock and dam project from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF), the remainder of the cost to be paid 100 percent by general treasury revenue and not cost-shared 50-50 through the IWTF. This action will free up around...

(Posted Wed. May 15th, 2013)

May 15: Yesterday, National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman took part in a panel discussion on “Adapting in Real Time to Climate Change” held as a part of Monsanto Media Days. The dialogue, which featured many industry leaders and experts on environmental issues, provided information on agricultural innovation and sustainability for national, local and farm media. Tolman began his presentation by discussing how corn farming has adapted over thousands of years in North America from the early Native Americans who bred Teosinte to produce early corn to the modern farm families who use improved seed varieties and precision planting technology to increase yields while decreasing the amount of inputs needed to grow a bushel of corn. He then noted that, throughout history, corn has been a uniquely American gift to the world that is strategically and economically important as a crop in many countries and as an imported food and feed source in others. After this...

(Posted Wed. May 15th, 2013)

May 15: Ethanol not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to petroleum but continues to steadily improve upon the levels at which it does so, according to a report released by Dr. Steffen Mueller of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center. In his study findings, which are now available online, Mueller outlines how ethanol has helped the Renewable Fuel Standard meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and, due to a uniquely high rate of innovation and technology adoption in the ethanol industry, continues to improve the level of greenhouse gas emission reductions offered by this renewable, sustainable biofuel. The report, “Corn Ethanol: Emerging Plant Energy and Environmental Technologies,” comes from a study funded by the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee, the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Monsanto with research assistance provided by the Renewable Fuels Association. Using the data outlined in the paper, NCGA...

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade corn farming

May 14: The National Corn Growers Association, along with the U.S. Grains Council, MAIZAR, representing Argentina producers and the maize supply chain, and the Brazilian Association of Corn Producers (ABRAMILHO) today signed a memorandum of understanding to form an alliance of North and South American maize producers to collaborate on a global basis to address key issues concerning food security, biotechnology, stewardship, trade and producer image. The organizations will function under the name MAIZALL—The International Maize Alliance.Signatories to the memorandum representing the producer organizations included: Pam Johnson, President, NCGA; Don Fast, Chairman, USGC; Alberto Morelli, Chairman, MAIZAR; and Sergio Luiz Bortolozzo, 2nd Vice President, ABRAMILHO. The MAIZALL alliance was launched as part of the MAIZAR 2013 Congress meeting in Buenos Aires. Argentina. “Food Security is a priority for every country,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “Countries can be food secure...

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Bill Farm Policy Crop Insurance

May 14: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill passage: “We greatly appreciate the work by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and the Committee to put forth a well-crafted farm bill. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the Committee listened to the concerns of our nation’s corn farmers and have done a great job keeping our priorities, especially the importance of crop insurance and risk management, under consideration while drafting the legislation. “While we understand this is the first step in a very long process, we applaud the Senate Ag Committee for completing their bill and are encouraged that the House Agriculture Committee will swiftly follow suit. We look forward to continued work with members and staff on this important piece of legislation and urge Congress to pass a farm bill as soon as possible this...

(Posted Tue. May 14th, 2013)

May 14: With a plate full of hot issues on Capitol Hill, staff from the National Corn Growers Association’s Washington office had a lot to discuss in a round of interviews with farm-state media visiting the Capital for the annual Washington Watch meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Interviews covered a range of questions with particular interest paid to the farm bill, ethanol and the 2013 planting season. “These interviews help our growers back home get a deeper understanding of what we do in Washington and how we voice their concerns in the policy arena on Capitol Hill,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “It is vitally important for our corn farmers to stay aware of the challenges and opportunities we face in Washington so they can actively engage with their members of Congress and show broad, grassroots political activism in the farming community.” Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs Manager Ethan Matthews, who handled a variety of...

(Posted Mon. May 13th, 2013)

Keywords: biotech

May 13: The National Corn Growers Association expressed support today for the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Bowman v. Monsanto. The court ruled unanimously that Bowman, an Indiana farmer, violated Monsanto's patent on genetically modified soybeans when he purchased some from a grain elevator and used them to replant his own crop in future years. In doing so, the court reaffirmed the importance of maintain the integrity of intellectual property laws as they pertain to agricultural biotechnology. “In their ruling today, the court upheld the American values that underpin our economic system and help maintain our national spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said NCGA Chair Garry Niemeyer, a farmer from Illinois. “It is essential to future research that companies are able to profit from their innovations already on the market and under patent protection. In upholding the integrity of this right, the court shows that the American dream of achieving success through hard...

(Posted Mon. May 13th, 2013)

Keywords: Planting Progress

May 13: As persistently cool, wet weather finally began to relent, farmers across the Corn Belt headed into their fields, more than doubling the progress made to his point, according to reports released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As of May 12, 28 percent of projected corn acres had been planted, while only 12 percent were planted a week prior. Despite the rapid progress, corn planting still lags behind the five-year average by 37 points. “Farmers are heading into their fields and taking advantage of every possible window to get the corn crop planted,” said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Illinois. “Today’s planting equipment can plant four to six times more rows in a single pass than what was common even when I began farming. By taking advantage of every warm day dry enough to get into the fields and using significantly more efficient technology, we will be able to make progress that would not have been possible just a few...

(Posted Fri. May 10th, 2013)

Keywords: Biotech Regulatory USDA

May 10: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement today that it will prepare a full environmental impact statement regarding certain herbicide-resistant crops is bad news for corn farmers, the National Corn Growers Association said. “NCGA is extremely disappointed in USDA’s decision to require a full environmental impact statement for a much-needed corn biotechnology trait,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “Particularly troubling in today’s decision was that this trait has languished in USDA’s regulatory system for nearly four years. Despite this longer-than-normal review, USDA failed to provide any new scientific justification for requiring a full EIS versus the normal environmental assessment.” Growers need new herbicide products in corn, soy and cotton to manage weed pressure and limit their environmental footprint while helping ensure we can meet all needs for food, feed and fuel, Johnson said. This is why NCGA has promoted weed resistance management among corn...

(Posted Fri. May 10th, 2013)

Keywords: Record Crop Corn Production

May 10: This year U.S. farmers are on track to produce a record corn crop, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates released today. While the report projects average yields will not break previous records, strong yields coupled with record plantings will help farmers produce a record total corn supply of 14.9 billion bushels, three billion bushels more than last year. “The unprecedented abundance of corn projected by USDA shows the faith that credible, respected agricultural experts place in our nation’s corn farmers and in the agribusinesses which support them,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “As farmers, we take great pride in our work and feel that the projections recognize our efforts. At the same time, our optimism is tinged caution as we have all seen conditions change quickly and a crop shift course in a few short weeks. We remain diligent in our work, striving to produce that abundance for a world with constantly increasing food,...

(Posted Fri. May 10th, 2013)

May 10: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third 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 Andy Jobman, a Nebraska farmer and crop consultant. Jobman noted that the late snow storm that hit Nebraska only a week before many would have begun planting was actually a blessing in disguise. “A few weeks before planting we had some nice weather, but then Mother Nature switched back to Old Man Winter,”Jobman said. “The precipitation that came with that weather really did improve our soil profile, though. Our moisture levels are probably still a bit below normal, but we are sitting on pretty nice, warm, moist soil right now. A few weeks ago, we thought that we...

(Posted Thu. May 9th, 2013)

Keywords: NCYC

May 9: With only a little more than a month left to take advantage of the early registration discount, the National Corn Growers Association reminds those interested in the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest that time remains to enjoy valuable savings while participating in this popular program. The online entry format makes entry quick and simple, but growers wishing to take advantage of the reduced $80 per hybrid entry fee must do so by June 15. After that, NCGA will continue to accept entries until the July 12 deadline, but fees will return to the normal rate of $110 per hybrid. “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. “As planting season gets underway in many parts 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...

(Posted Wed. May 8th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

May 8: Today, the National Corn Growers Association expressed appreciation to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for co-authoring a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Acting Ambassador Marantis addressing international regulatory challenges for agricultural products derived from biotechnology. Biotech varieties accounted for 88 percent of corn planted in 2012. As the world’s leading exporter of corn, NCGA strongly supports efforts to ensure the uninterrupted flow of corn and corn co-products in the international marketplace. The letter identifies regulatory asynchrony, zero tolerance policies and re-registration requirements as costly regulatory barriers. It also acknowledges efforts currently underway by USDA and USTR to engage trading partners on these issues. “Biotechnology is a critical tool for farmers to help manage pressure from weather, pests and weeds,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd, Iowa. “We need to elevate the...

(Posted Wed. May 8th, 2013)

May 8: The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Beth Elliott, who joins the organization as a director of public policy. Elliott, who has worked in a variety of agriculturally focused positions in Washington, will handle ethanol and other energy issues at NCGA’s Washington office. “Beth is an incredibly valuable addition to our team, and we are excited to be able to utilize her broad knowledge base to further enhance our biofuels program,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “She brings a deep understanding of both public policy and agriculture to the position and will be a major asset as we confront the challenges facing our ethanol industry on the Hill.” In her most recent position, Elliott served as director of legislative affairs at the National Grain and Feed Association.  Previously, she served as legislative director to Representative Tom Perriello (D-Va.); Legislative Assistant for Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) and legislative assistant with...

(Posted Tue. May 7th, 2013)

May 7: Membership at the National Corn Growers Association reached a new all-time high with 38,810 on the rolls as April closed. This membership record replaces the former of 38,623 members at the close of August in 2012, when the association had set new records for three consecutive months. “What is truly unique about this record is that it comes at a time when we usually do not see increased new membership attributable to the National Corn Yield Contest, which normally drives enrollment increases,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “Setting a record of this nature at this time clearly demonstrates the value our state organizations and farmers across the country see in the work we do. Whether working to promote innovations that increase opportunity or voicing the support of America’s farmers for the Renewable Fuels Standard in Washington, NCGA draws upon the strength of its more than 38,000 members so that, together, we can accomplish much more than...

(Posted Tue. May 7th, 2013)

May 7: The National Corn Growers Association recently submitted comments on the impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in response to their second white paper, “Agricultural Sector Impacts.” In these comments, NCGA addressed how the RFS affects commodity products including corn, agricultural output and economics, RFS flexibility, food prices, cellulosic feedstock and global impacts. The comments began by noting that corn farmers have responded to the increased demand of ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard by producing more corn and doing so in a more environmentally friendly manner. “In the last 30 years, corn production has improved on all measures of resource efficiency, by decreasing per bushel: land use by 30 percent, soil erosion by 67 percent, irrigation by 53 percent, energy use by 43 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent.” Comments also noted the energy security and environmental benefits attributable to the...

(Posted Tue. May 7th, 2013)

May 7: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third 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 Brian Scott, an Indiana farmer and blogger who began sharing his story with NCGA in 2012. Scott explained that the cool weather and wet conditions have kept all but a handful of farmers out of their fields to this point. “Only one farmer by me has really planted any corn right now,” Scott said. “He only planted a few hundred acres in early April, like he normally does. I am not sure if he is going to have to replant though. I think a lot of those acres are under the Wabash River at the moment. It has just been too wet and too cold for us to do anything but...

(Posted Fri. May 3rd, 2013)

May 3:  This week, staff from the National Corn Growers Association and state corn associations across the country met in St. Louis to share insights gained over the past year and coordinate efforts for the next. With more than 130 attendees including state association executives, program directors and communicators, the conference also provided a forum to discuss pressing issues facing their farmer members. “By working together, our state and national organizations magnify our effectiveness and, subsequently, our ability to create positive change for farmers,” said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. “While each state organization faces unique opportunities and challenges resulting from their particular circumstances, America’s corn farmers share many common issues. Working collaboratively allows us to address these areas of commonality with the full force of our combined strengths while sharing insight and ideas that can be brought back to address unique issues in an innovative fashion.” In...

(Posted Thu. May 2nd, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

May 2: Key members of the U.S. agricultural value chain have joined together to applaud the work of the United States and like-minded governments to promote the importance of science-based regulations to facilitate trade of agricultural commodities derived from agricultural biotechnology. In a joint statement, the United States was joined by the governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Paraguay to announce their intention to work collaboratively to remove global barriers to the trade of agricultural biotechnology and promote science-based, transparent and predictable regulatory approaches. The American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, North American Export Grain Association, National Corn Growers Association, and National Grain and Feed Association said they welcome the leadership of the U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States Trade Representative, and U.S. Department...