NEWS STORIES

JUNE 2013

(Posted Fri. Jun 28th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

June 28:  All eyes will be on American Ethanol driver and spokesman Austin Dillon tonight. That’s because the 23-year-old is the two-time defending NASCAR Nationwide race champion at Kentucky Speedway. And so far this season NASCAR race weekends have been attracting an average of 7 million television viewers.   Dillon, in his sophomore season in the Nationwide, is attracting a lot of positive attention. He is currently fourth place in the Series and over four consecutive weekends (Charlotte through Michigan) Dillon captured four poles setting a new NASCAR record.   And corn farmers are seeing a lot to like with the American Ethanol program. “Our goal with the American Ethanol program is to raise awareness of the many benefits of ethanol and increase consumer demand. In NASCAR, performance is obviously a big priority but fans also care about jobs, the environment, and energy security,” said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton Neb., farmer who chairs National Corn Growers Association’s...

(Posted Fri. Jun 28th, 2013)

June 28:  In today’s report on planted farm acreage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate of 97.4 million acres planted in corn means growers navigated a wet planting season to provide for what can be one of the largest crops ever.   “Even though we had a planting season that was difficult at times, our farmers did a terrific job in the field and we are really looking forward to a great summer and bountiful fall harvest,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, a grower in Floyd, Iowa. “If the weather stays as expected, we may hit a record crop of about 14 billion bushels come harvest – great news after the drought of 2012.”   The USDA estimates that farmers planted 97.379 million acres in 2013, only about 200,000 more than in 2012. However, USDA also estimates they will harvest more than 1,700 more acres than 2012; at a yield of 156.5, as estimated in June, that would mean a crop of 13.9 billion bushels, the largest ever and more than 3 billion bushels over 2012.   The top...

(Posted Fri. Jun 28th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

June 28: The ethanol industry was kept busy this week in Washington as the Renewable Fuel Standard was a focus of events on Capitol Hill and the White House.  During a speech outlining new climate change initiatives, President Obama voiced his support of the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the same time on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing with some members urging an outright repeal.    “Having two completely different views and messages coming out on the RFS within days of each other just goes to show there is still work to be done,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Next week, members of Congress return home for the July 4th recess.  This provides an excellent opportunity for every farmer to meet with their lawmakers and outline how the ethanol industry has made a positive impact on their lives.”    The president’s plan specifically states that the “Administration supports the Renewable Fuels Standard,...

(Posted Fri. Jun 28th, 2013)

June 28: The National Corn Growers Association reminds those interested in the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest that only two weeks remain to file entry forms and take part in the popular competition.  The online entry format makes entry quick and simple, but growers wishing to take part must file entry forms by the July 12 deadline.   “While much of the growing season still lies ahead of us, the window of opportunity to enter the yield contest is quickly drawing to a close,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “I strongly encourage anyone interested in participating in the competition or just looking for a new way to explore different techniques to use the easy online form and become a part of the contest.  Also, I encourage non-members in particular to explore the many benefits that NCGA members enjoy and consider joining both the association and entering the contest.”   The online entry software allows growers to enter the contest and join NCGA and...

(Posted Thu. Jun 27th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the eighth and final installment in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board.   Wesley Spurlock, a native Texan, brings a nuanced view on a variety of subjects to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board. A strong proponent of balancing the wide array of unique situations farmers face across the country, he is seeking reelection and to continue his service in this capacity after his current term expires on October 1, 2013.   Spurlock would like to continue serving his fellow farmers as a member of the Corn Board because he sees NCGA’s role as a melting pot that brings together corn farmers from across the country to magnify the impact of their efforts for the betterment of the industry as a whole. A careful listener with significant experience in organizational finance, he hopes to continue sharing both the knowledge he has gained through his service and as well as gain a greater understanding of the broad spectrum of farmer...

(Posted Wed. Jun 26th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

June 26: During a House Committee on Small Business hearing today in Washington, National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson provided policy recommendations for the U.S. Trade Representative on growing export opportunities.  Johnson focused on the benefits for family famers of expanding export markets and maximizing foreign market access.   “Agricultural producers succeed when industry and government work side-by-side,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said during her testimony.  “It is critical that U.S. negotiators have an appreciation for how increasing exports translates into benefits for family farmers.  The U.S. economy will not benefit from agriculture issues being placed on a ‘to do’ list.  Now is the perfect time to eliminate long standing barriers to agricultural exports and promote policies that bring economic opportunity back to rural America.”   NCGA members have much to gain from government policies that encourage exports and facilitate small, family-owned...

(Posted Wed. Jun 26th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the seventh in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board.   June 26: As he will complete his first term of service on the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board in September, Jon Holzfaster is running for reelection and a second term helping develop policy to guide the association. A native Nebraskan, Holzfaster provides unique perspective when balancing issues involving the interaction between the livestock and ethanol markets.   Holzfaster decided to run for reelection to the Corn Board because he strongly believes in NCGA’s grassroots vision and focus. He is proud to have played a small role in the organization’s successes since 2002 and looks forward to working toward greater accomplishments in the future.   “In order to be an effective leader, you have to be familiar with the organization which you have been chosen to lead,” said Holzfaster. “You have to be receptive to your fellow board members, staff and, most...

(Posted Tue. Jun 25th, 2013)

June 25: Increasing demand for major crops and the use of biotechnology in agriculture was the topic during today’s American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture.  National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson answered questions as part of a panel after the lecture, with representatives from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.   “The continued use of biotechnology in agriculture is a key component to food security,” Johnson said.  “However, we need to greatly improve the public’s acceptance of biotechnology.  Agriculture needs to lead the conversation on this important topic and provide education on the advancements of the industry.  Consumers should be able to make decisions based on science and facts, not fearmongering.”   The Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at AAAS is in honor of Professor Riley’s legacy as a “whole picture” person with a vision for...

(Posted Tue. Jun 25th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the sixth in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board.   June 25: Already an experienced leader at both the state and national level, Paul Taylor brings a dedicated approach and well-honed skillset to a leadership position. Already a veteran leader having led state corn and soy associations, he now hopes to serve his fellow farmers across the country as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   Taylor is running for election to the Corn Board because he has gained a passion for serving his neighbors and NCGA’s broader membership that was fostered by his prior service and attendance of NCGA events including Corn Congress and Commodity Classic. While participating in the Leadership at Its Best program and the Advanced Leadership program, he developed a deep respect for the level of professionalism exhibited by NCGA spokespersons and of the level of respect afforded them in both commodity and political circles. Thus,...

(Posted Mon. Jun 24th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol E15

June 24: The National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson issued a statement expressing the association’s support for the Supreme Court decision today not to hear the petroleum industry’s appeal in E15-related case: “In their decision today, the court upheld not only the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to approve a partial waiver and allow E15 into the marketplace; it also upheld our nation’s science-based approach to regulation and the importance of consumer choice. With this issue resolved, the ethanol industry can move forward, providing a renewable, environmentally friendly fuel choice to consumers."   The original lawsuit from which the appeal came was filed by the American Petroleum Institute claiming that the EPA did not have the authority to grant waivers allowing the use of E15, a 15 percent ethanol fuel blend, in 2001 and newer vehicles. API was eventually joined in this suit by a group of engine manufacturers and food groups.   In August of...

(Posted Mon. Jun 24th, 2013)

Keywords: Crop Condition

June 24: The U.S. corn crop is maturing rapidly and remains in good condition according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. Since last week, corn emergence came within three points of the five-year average, with 96 percent of the crop now emerged. With the crop now closing in on average progress despite a late planting season, reports indicate that 92 percent of the crop remains in fair to excellent condition. Last year at this time, only 86 percent of the crop still fared as well.   “As the crop matures, it is heartening to see that the vast majority of corn acres seem to be thriving despite the cool, wet summer weather,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “While we certainly extend our support to those battling weather conditions, we also feel increasingly confident that, through hard work and given continued improvement in weather conditions, America’s corn farmers will once again grow a crop that meets all...

(Posted Mon. Jun 24th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the fifth in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board.   June 24: Already an experienced leader at both the state and national level, Gary Schmalshof brings a wealth of experience to a leadership position and now hopes to serve his fellow farmers across the country as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   A careful listener who places the greater good of corn farmers across the country first, Schmalshof chose to run for the Corn Board after serving on his state’s board and traveling extensively on behalf of his fellow farmers for the U.S. Grains Council.  He brings this experience, an international perspective and his dedication to service to the position.   “I am just finishing up nine years of service on the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, and I could bring a unique set of characteristics to the Corn Board,” said Schmalshof. “I am an avid listener, and I love to solve problems. I am ready to go to work for...

(Posted Fri. Jun 21st, 2013)

Keywords: RFS Ethanol

June 21: The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the important role the Renewable Fuel Standard plays in our nation’s broader energy policy. In these comments, submitted in response to the committee’s recent white paper on energy policy, NCGA addressed the important role that the RFS continues to play in meeting federal goals of increasing national security by improving energy and economic security.   NCGA notes in the comments that the government continues to invest in alternative energy sources with the goal of increasing national security by increasing energy security and thus decreasing our reliance upon foreign energy sources. Given this objective, NCGA then looks at initiatives which are effectively improving domestic energy supplies today.   “One of these initiatives is the RFS, which has contributed to U.S. energy security by providing an affordable domestically produced alternative to oil while...

(Posted Fri. Jun 21st, 2013)

June 21: Last week, the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board had a unique opportunity to explore the importance of biotechnology while visiting the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa. While there, the group learned about the lasting legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug and the contributions to society made by the scientists which the prize honors.   In 1970, Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a lifetime of work to feed a hungry world. Although a scientist with outstanding contributions, perhaps Dr. Borlaug's greatest achievement has been his unending struggle to integrate the various streams of agricultural research into viable technologies and to convince political leaders to bring these advances to fruition.   The World Food Prize, created by Borlaug, is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. It...

(Posted Fri. Jun 21st, 2013)

Keywords: Field Notes

June 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 checks in with three farmers to find out how about the condition of the corn crop in a variety of areas. While they all experienced cool, wet conditions this spring during planting season, changing conditions in their respective areas have led to a diversity of opinion on how their harvests might be this year.   For Jennie Schmidt, who farms in Maryland, the possibility of slow growth and a growing season which could be cut short by weather unique to her coastal area lead not only to concern but also to action.   “In the last ten days, I have had eleven inches of rain....

(Posted Thu. Jun 20th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Bill

June 20: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives failing to pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (2013 farm bill):   “The National Corn Growers Association is extremely disappointed to see the House of Representatives fail to pass the 2013 farm bill.  Up to the last minute our organization has actively and consistently called for passage of the legislation.  We will be engaged in all efforts needed to secure passage in the House and bring the bill to Conference.” 

(Posted Thu. Jun 20th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the fourth in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board.   June 20: Kevin Ross offers a unique combination of attributes, bringing both the energy of youth and seasoned experience of a veteran leader to his service of other farmers. Having already served farmers in his home state as president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association by the age of 33, he now hopes to serve his fellow farmers across the country as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   Ross decided to run for election to the Corn Board because he wants to contribute to the greater good for the future of agriculture, solidifying the ability of future generations of farmers. Through his service, he hopes to add to the strength and reputation of the organization, which he sees as agriculture’s most respected voice representing farmers today.    “For me, leadership requires a great amount of accountability and responsibility, especially at the national...

(Posted Thu. Jun 20th, 2013)

June 19: This week, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a team organized by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program for discussions on sustainable agriculture, efforts towards conservation, agricultural productivity, marketing and policy advocacy. With participants from Fiji, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan who work in academia, agriculture and for non-governmental organizations, these dignitaries brought insightful questions and a deep appreciation for the opportunity to the discussion.   NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields walked the group through subject matter while fielding questions on many related topics. Team members expressed particular interest in the effectiveness of biotechnology, the science behind the products and the approval methods in place for biotech traits in the United States.   “Interacting with teams such as this one benefits America’s farmers in many ways,” explained...

(Posted Thu. Jun 20th, 2013)

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2013) - As part of its debate on the 103 amendments to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, the House of Representatives concluded consideration of an amendment offered by Representative Bob Gibbs of Ohio that would set target prices for all crops at 55 percent of the five year rolling Olympic average. After the amendment was offered, House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas of Oklahoma requested that Rep. Gibbs withdraw his amendment with the promise that he will work with Rep. Gibbs in the conference committee to see enacted an “equitable and market-oriented farm bill”. Leaders from the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association and U.S. Canola Association released the following statement on the withdrawal of the Gibbs Amendment:   “Our collective groups believe the Gibbs amendment would have received strong support on the House floor, and would have made the 2013 farm bill...

(Posted Wed. Jun 19th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the third in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board.   June 19: An experienced leader with broad perspective, David Howell brings a deep appreciation for the importance of forward-looking policy that benefits all American farmers to his work. Now, he wishes to serve his fellow farmers as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   David is running for election to the Corn Board because he feels that agriculture and corn farming have been good to his family for generations. As he has been fortunate enough to have children that have the desire and ability to take over management of the family operation, he wants to devote time back to the service of that industry and use his accumulated experience and leadership skills to the fullest of his ability.   "I will strive to position the American corn producer to provide and improving a reliable level of nutrition for a rapidly growing world population," said Howell. "By...

(Posted Tue. Jun 18th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the second in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board. June 18: A critical thinker who aims to create consensus and balanced solutions, Rob Elliott brings both passion for agriculture and a calm, nuanced approach to his work on behalf of farmers. Now, he wishes to continue his service as he runs for a second term on the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board. In running for a second term, Elliott desires to help his industry address the challenges it faces. Particularly, he sites public awareness of agriculture as one of the most important issues which must be addressed to build a better future. “Our society has a shifting dynamic, and I think that public perception is going to continue to be one of our biggest challenges,” said Elliott. “We live in a world where people removed from the farm seem not to have an understanding of where food comes from or what agriculture is really all about. Some of that crowd tends to want to...

(Posted Tue. Jun 18th, 2013)

Keywords: Water Quality

June 18: To help corn farmers understand water issues and ways to enhance water quality on their farms, the National Corn Growers Association has added a video and an interactive educational module to its online learning tools concerning water quality management. “NCGA is dedicated to continuous improvement, education and supporting water conservation and input management,” said Dean Taylor, chair of the Production and Stewardship Action Team. “Our goal in producing these tools is to communicate the actual production related practices farmers are successfully implementing related to water quality.” The video, titled “Driving Change,” showcases NCGA members describing the practices they are implementing to enhance water quality on their farms and in their area. The 30-minute NCGA Water Issues Learning Module was developed to help farmers better understand water quality issues and best practices. Both tools reveal the major benefits in using best management practices, and stress...

(Posted Mon. Jun 17th, 2013)

This article and podcast are the first in a series profiling candidates for the 2014 Corn Board. June 17: An active listener who aims to find solutions that benefit all farmers, Ronnie Burleson volunteers long hours to the service of farmers in his home state of North Carolina. Now, after more than two decades of membership, he wishes to contribute his perspective, hard-work and insight by servicing as a member of the 2014 National Corn Growers Association Corn Board. “A leader has to be a good listener who is able to look at the picture as a whole and not take a narrow sighted view,” said Burleson. “As a member of the Corn Board, you have to be a passionate person for what you believe in while being compassionate to how others are affected by your decisions.” Burleson now serves as president of both the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina and of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association. He also serves as a director on the boards of the North Carolina Farm Bureau,...

(Posted Mon. Jun 17th, 2013)

Keywords: Crop Progress

June 17: With U.S. corn planting complete, the crop is maturing well and continues to appear in good condition according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. Since last week, corn emergence rose by seven points to 92 percent, only trailing the five-year average by only five points despite planting delays. “Farmers are watching the weather and monitoring crop progress closely in the hopes that favorable conditions will help plants thrive despite planting delays,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “Early season weather always leads to speculation about the potential size of a year’s crop, but the remainder of the summer’s circumstances play the crucial role in determining how much spring plantings will yield.” Corn emergence continued to close the gap on the five-year average, with overall emergence shown on 92 percent of the total corn acres in the top 18 corn-producing states by June 16. The lags behind the...

(Posted Fri. Jun 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Leadership at Its Best

June 14: The National Corn Growers Association announced participants for the fourth class of NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Program, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes seven Leadership at Its Best graduates who will undergo intensive training in order to hone their media, leadership and lobbying skills and prepare to lead the industry forward. “We are excited to see another class of leaders who seek to truly elevate their skillset and further their work on behalf of U.S. farmers,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “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 Advanced Leadership Class includes: Jedediah Bower (Ohio); William Christ (Ill.); Jerry Lee Demmer (Minn.); John Linder (Ohio); Debra Keller (Iowa); Bruce Rohwer (Iowa);...

(Posted Fri. Jun 14th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

June 14: This week, the National Corn Growers Association brought the corn farmers perspective to leaders and innovators in the ethanol and related industries as they met in St. Louis for the 29th Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo, the largest ethanol conference currently in the world. For four days, attendees participated in a variety of sessions on topics ranging from regulatory compliance, improving nutritional quality in distillers’ dried grains and technological innovations. In addition to these panel-led sessions, the conference also offered industry tours and the opportunity to speak with vendors about new products. Yesterday, a select group of industry members came together at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center on Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville’s campus to learn more about new technology in fuel and feedstocks. During this event, NCGA Director of Biofuels Dr. Pam Keck, Director of Biofuels spoke on the role of corn as a feedstock...

(Posted Thu. Jun 13th, 2013)

June 13: In a letter to lawmakers, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, National Sunflower Association and the U.S. Canola Association urged the House of Representatives to quickly consider and pass H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (“FARRM”) Act. “Our organizations support many of the programs included in H.R. 1947, as reported by the Committee on Agriculture. The bill would consolidate conservation programs, reauthorize and fund agricultural research, energy, and export promotion programs, and make improvements in federal crop insurance. We strongly support these provisions, and ask that you oppose any amendments which would eliminate or weaken them,” said the groups in the letter. "We were pleased to see the 2013 farm bill pass with such strong support in the Senate last week and urge the House to swiftly follow suit," NCGA President Pam Johnson, a corn farmer from Floyd, Iowa said. "Passing a comprehensive,...

(Posted Thu. Jun 13th, 2013)

Jun. 13: Today, the National Corn Growers Association brought the story of how America’s corn farmers are growing corn in an increasingly sustainable manner to Capitol Hill staffers as part of a panel sponsored by Fuels America. NCGA Director of Public Policy Rod Snyder, along with other energy and agriculture representatives, provided an update on important issues shaping agriculture and the renewable fuel industry in America. “As Congress makes long term policy choices about renewable fuels production in the United States, it is important to keep in mind that farmers are producing corn and other ethanol feedstock more sustainably than ever before,” said Snyder.“Farmers continue to create more with less by reducing soil erosion, water use and energy use per bushel.” This panel is the second in a series of educational briefings organized to highlight the facts about a variety of issues and situations associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard. Other participants on the panel...

(Posted Thu. Jun 13th, 2013)

Jun. 13: E15 will race into the spotlight this weekend as Austin Dillon pilots the No. 33 American Ethanol car in NASCAR®’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Pulling double duty as he attempts to make his second career Sprint Cup start in the American Ethanol Chevrolet, Dillon will look for victory while sporting the black and green colors of American Ethanol on Sunday and during the Nationwide Series race on Saturday in the AdvoCare/American Ethanol No. 3 car. “Fans are going to love seeing American Ethanol on the car. We ran an American Ethanol paint scheme in Michigan last year, and it was really neat to get feedback from our fans. We went out to some camp sites during the race weekend, and the fans were really positive and excited,” Dillon said. “There are a lot of people that are passionate about NASCAR who have become really interested in ethanol and want to learn about it because they see it on the racetrack running well. It’s cool...

(Posted Wed. Jun 12th, 2013)

Keywords: Corn Board

Jun. 12: The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected Chip Bowling of Maryland to become the organization's first vice president for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. “I am honored that my colleagues on the board have placed their trust in my ability and dedication to moving our association’s mission forward and creating greater opportunities for corn growers across the country,” said Bowling. “At the same time, I realize that farmers face many challenges right now as threats to the Renewable Fuel Standard abound and we continue operating without a new, five-year farm bill. I look forward to working with our grower leadership over the coming years to find innovative, impactful ways to deal with the situations at hand and those which will certainly arise in the future.” A farmer for more than three decades, Bowling is a third-generation farmer who operates a 1,400-acre grain farm growing corn, soybean, wheat, barley and grain sorghum only an hour’s drive...

(Posted Wed. Jun 12th, 2013)

Keywords: WASDE Crop Production

Jun. 12: Despite weather-related planting delays this year, U.S. farmers are still 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 at 156.5 bushels per acre, strong yields coupled with record plantings will help farmers produce a record total corn supply of 14.0 billion bushels, three billion bushels more than last year. “While projections were lowered to reflect the anticipated impact planting delays will have upon our corn crop, the fact that U.S. farmers are anticipated to produce a record crop even facing such obstacles is a testament to the tenacity of farmers and innovation of agribusiness,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “Farmers merge cutting-edge technology and ever-improving practices to create a dynamic industry capable of operating at a level unthinkable only a few decades prior. Now, we wait to see how...

(Posted Tue. Jun 11th, 2013)

Jun. 11: With only days 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 consider...

(Posted Mon. Jun 10th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

June 10:  The National Corn Growers Association today congratulates the Senate on passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (2013 farm bill). The legislation was agreed to by a vote of 66-27. NCGA now urges the House of Representatives to quickly follow suit. “America’s farmers greatly appreciate the leadership and bipartisan efforts by the Senate to complete their work on the farm bill,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “We also recognize the efforts put forth to address regional concerns to ensure all areas of the country are adequately represented in the final language.” NCGA has worked to advance market-oriented reforms in commodity programs to address significant gaps in the farm safety net. The revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage Program, designed to complement producers’ individual crop insurance policies, will provide protection against multi-year price and production declines that adjusts with the marketplace. This signature reform, coupled with a strong...

(Posted Mon. Jun 10th, 2013)

June 10: Farmers charged ahead with corn planting despite delays and are nearly complete with a full 95 percent of corn acres planted according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. Since last week, planting progress increased by four points to close in on the five-year average of 98 percent at this point. At the same time, corn emergence also rose by 11 points to 85 percent, only trailing the five-year average by seven points despite planting delays. “The progress we are seeing is a positive indication that many farmers are deciding to move ahead with corn acres despite delays,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “With progress still underway in some areas and many expecting favorable conditions, it is still possible that we will see a bountiful harvest. Early season weather always leads to speculation, but the remainder of the summer’s circumstances are what really impact the health of a crop. Now, we just need to...

(Posted Mon. Jun 10th, 2013)

Jun. 10: Last week, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance hosted a dinner for 40 select bloggers who attended the BlogHer Food Conference in Austin, Texas. Held on a small urban farm, the dinner brought celebrity chef Danny Boome, USFRA Faces of Farming and Ranching winners Chris Chinn and Will Gilmer, representatives from the pork industry, Texas cattle ranchers and CommonGround volunteers together with food-centric female bloggers for a farm-fresh meal and fresh conversation on farming. Following a brief tour of the facilities, which grow organic vegetables and raise chickens for egg and meat production, the bloggers sat at the table with the farmers, who grow a variety of crops in addition to raising beef cattle and hogs, to discuss topics that currently are heating up food discussions on the internet. Questions surrounding the idea of “factory” versus family farming, genetically modified crops, animal welfare and the use of pesticides and fertilizers drew significant...

(Posted Fri. Jun 7th, 2013)

Jun. 7: CommonGround volunteers are sharing the story of food and farming with bloggers from across the country today and tomorrow at the BlogHer Food conference in Austin, Texas. With more than 500 leading female bloggers on subjects including food and nutrition in attendance, Iowa farmer and blogger Sara Ross and South Dakota farmer and blogger Morgan Kontz are helping share a farmer’s perspective on a variety of current issues, including GMOs, organic farming, antibiotic use in livestock, and the prevalence of family farms, while they deepen their relationships within the blogging community. “We have received an incredible response from the other bloggers in attendance so far,” said Ross. “All of us have so many common bonds; we all have a particular interest in food, in sharing our story, and in doing what is best for our families. There is such a strong desire here to really delve into every aspect of American food and, as farmers, we bring a unique perspective to a...

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Sustainability

Jun. 6:  During an event at the National Press Club yesterday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a series of agricultural adaptations to climate change. The secretary primarily focused on food supply and environmental challenges American agriculture will face in years to come. “Our food supply stands at the core of our strength as a nation,” Secretary Vilsack stated during the event. “The bottom line is that in the United States, we produce an amazing amount of food because we adapt to today's threats and prepare for tomorrow's threats. Today, we face a new challenge in the form of a changing and shifting climate.” The secretary continued by stating the latest science states the threat of a changing climate is new and different from anything American agriculture has tackled. Earlier this year, USDA released two studies detailing projected effects of climate change on agriculture and forestry production. The studies found that short term means exist to manage threats,...

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Jun. 6:  National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the Senate’s farm bill cloture vote: “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the cloture vote on the farm bill received 75 votes, well over the 60 votes necessary to move the legislation forward. However, there is still important work that needs to be done. We urge the Senate to quickly take action and vote to pass the legislation.” NCGA was one of the one hundred twenty farm and conservation groups that sent a letter to all senators yesterday urging them to vote for cloture on the farm bill. Click here to read the letter.

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2013)

Jun. 6: As the Maize Genetics and Genomics Database project moves forward, Off the Cob caught up with MaizeGDB Curator Dr. Jack Gardiner for an update on the progress made over the last quarter. In the interview, Gardiner explained how the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service-supported database in Ames, Iowa has been refining descriptions of maize phenotypes and thus making them more consistent with how other groups describe and classify phenotypes. Gardiner began by explaining what the difference between a genotype and a phenotype actually is and providing examples of how one might distinguish between the terms. “When we say genotype, we are referring to the inherited instructions that are specified by an organism’s genetic code or DNA sequence,” Gardiner explained in reference to the way in which scientists use this terminology. “Genotype can refer to either a single gene or the entire set of genes in an organism. When we say phenotype, we are...

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2013)

Jun. 6: 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 who also works as a crop consultant. Jobman explained that corn planting is complete on his farm and wrapping up in the surrounding area. “Corn planting has been done for a while here and, right now, I just see a few guys out finishing planting soybeans,” he said. “For the most part, planting is completely done in my area.” With the first estimates of crop condition coming in, Jobman explained the factors contributing to the overall condition of corn in Nebraska. “From what I have found scouting my clients’ fields and looking at...

(Posted Wed. Jun 5th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

Jun. 5: Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements held a subjective hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard and the blend wall. The hearing did not invite representatives from the renewable fuel industry to testify and was not announced until late Friday evening. “It was a disappointment to hear the outcome of today’s hearing on the RFS and blend wall,” NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis said. “During the summer months, when gas prices are typically the highest, consumers could have benefitted from a balanced discussion on the future and positive impacts of the renewable fuel industry. Unfortunately all we saw today were mistruths and a one-sided agenda.” While some positive comments were made by a few members of the subcommittee, the majority of testimony and discussion focused on misguided and previously refuted allegations. This includes Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford’s (R-OK) opening...

(Posted Wed. Jun 5th, 2013)

Jun. 5: 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 who also blogs at thefarmerslife.com. Scott gave a brief update on corn progress in Indiana, explaining that, even though planting is complete, there are still many things that must be done to ensure a successful corn crop this year. “It is still pretty wet out here from the rains that we had last weekend,” he said. “We started side dressing some corn last week and got about a quarter of that done. Then, we got about two inches of rain on the farm land around our house and four inches on our land to the north. While it has delayed...

(Posted Tue. Jun 4th, 2013)

Jun. 4: It is an undeniable fact that corn represents a large proportion of our foodstuffs. Everything from meat to soda to plastic contains some variety of corn products. Of course, the product that gets the most media attention is ethanol. Even with the world's largest ethanol industry, the United States will over time bounce back from 2013's drought-depressed levels to remain the world's leading corn exporter. Therefore, internationally, ethanol is often made the scapegoat for the rising cost of animal production, which contributes to the rising consumer price index. But, as long-time students of the matter know, the data tell a different story. Japan is the United States' largest importer of corn and this week's U.S. Grains Council Chart of the Week graphs the price of corn versus the Japanese CPI and more selectively, the "meat CPI." Japan has had a longstanding economic policy of deflationary practices. Crippled with the highest standards of living and most expensive costs...

(Posted Tue. Jun 4th, 2013)

Jun. 4: A new study out of Rice University and the University of California at Davis that looks ahead 40 years at farming and climate change and draws some very specific conclusions needs to go back to the research table, according to the National Corn Growers Association. “At a time when meteorologists struggle to tell you what the weekend will be like, it’s odd to see a report that tries to so specifically pinpoint the weather 40 years from now,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “But that’s only one of the problems we have with this very problematic study.” The report, published in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology, states that the yield of corn grown for ethanol in the United States would be reduced by an average of 7 percent over the next four decades, and the amount of irrigation needed for the corn would increase by 9 percent. Among its other flaws, Johnson noted: The news release that accompanies the report, which looks only at...

(Posted Mon. Jun 3rd, 2013)

Jun. 3: Farmers continued to make planting progress this week despite wet conditions across much of the country, holding last week’s gains on corn planting progress to maintain progress only four points behind the five-year average according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. As of June 2, 91 percent of the corn acres had been planted, while only 28 percent were planted three weeks prior. “Growers continued their efforts to get the crop in the ground despite challenging conditions that made many areas too wet for planting,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “With progress nearing normal, farmers are giving corn planting one last, hard push to the finish line. For farmers who have acres left to plant and those who have already finished, the most important factor that will determine the success of this crop is whether the weather will provide timely rains, sunshine and temperatures conducive to corn...

(Posted Mon. Jun 3rd, 2013)

Keywords: Corn Farmers Coalition Image Campaigns

Jun. 3: For the fifth year in a row, policymakers in our nation’s capital are learning about the U.S. family farmers who produce corn, our nation’s top crop, as part of the Corn Farmers Coalition program. Once again, the program, which is sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and its state affiliates, showcases how innovative and high-tech corn farmers have become by introducing a foundation of facts about farmers and farming. “This has always been a crucial time of year in Washington to make sure our lawmakers and those who influence them remember the importance of corn farming to our nation and our economy,” said Pam Johnson, NCGA president and a corn grower in Iowa. “Our state corn checkoff programs have seen the importance of this program each year for educating a very important audience about this essential crop and its high value.” The Corn Farmers Coalition program launched June 1 with a major advertising presence in Washington that puts prominent facts about...