NEWS STORIES

JULY 2013

(Posted Wed. Jul 31st, 2013)

July 31: Yesterday, the National Corn Growers Association brought the corn farmer’s point of view to a panel on maritime issues at the Agricultural Transportation Summit Conference in Rosemont, Ill. The “A Modern Infrastructure for Modern Agriculture” conference brought together key legislators and leadership from government agencies, agribusiness, the grain and feed industry, shipping and academia for an in-depth discussion of the transportation issues facing the entire value chain.   NCGA Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels moderated a panel featuring participants from the Army Corps of Engineers, Cargill, Port of Grays Harbor and the Soy Transportation Coalition. During this discussion, the panelists looked at how outdated infrastructure on our...

(Posted Tue. Jul 30th, 2013)

July 30:  The International Maize Alliance (MAIZALL) today announced the election of its initial Board of Directors and officers. Elected as officers of MAIZALL are Julius Schaaf (United States), President; Sérgio Luis Bortolozzo (Brazil), 1st Vice President; Alberto Morelli (Argentina), 2nd Vice President.   MAIZALL is composed of MAIZAR, representing Argentina producers and the maize supply chain; ABRAMILHO (Brazilian Association of Corn Producers); the National Corn Growers Association, and the U.S. Grains Council. The organizations recently signed a memorandum of understanding to form an alliance of North and South American corn growers to collaborate on a global basis to address key issues concerning food security, biotechnology, stewardship, trade and producer image.   Ratified by the...

(Posted Tue. Jul 30th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

July 30:  A travelling group of journalists representing major Japanese news outlets visited the offices of the National Corn Growers Association today, to learn about corn farming in the United States and specifically about the use of biotechnology.   “It’s always great to welcome visitors from countries to which we export U.S. corn,” said NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields, who spoke with the group about biotech trends. “Japan is the largest export market for our farmers, and understands the importance of biotechnology in today’s agriculture. These reporters were eager to learn about how American farming works to help feed and fuel the world.”   The journalists represented news media with a combined circulation of about 27 million, representing the Yomiuri...

(Posted Mon. Jul 29th, 2013)

July 29: The U.S. corn crop made rapid progress toward full maturity last week while remaining in good condition, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. The percentage of the corn crop silking increased by 28 points last week, narrowing the lag behind the five-year average to a four point gap from a 13 point gap the week prior.  Reports also indicate that the crop condition remains unchanged from the previous week with 63 percent of the crop forecast to be in good-to-excellent condition. Last year at this time, only 24 percent of the crop still fared as well.   “As the summer passes, we are pleased to see that the crop condition across the country remains strong,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in...

(Posted Fri. Jul 26th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

July 26:  The National Corn Growers Association submitted comments in the form of a letter from President Pam Johnson today to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, responding to questions about the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard. In these comments, NCGA addresses corn ethanol-related questions about the Renewable Identification Numbers and Renewable Volume Obligations systems.   The letter begins by stressing how the RFS has succeeded in addressing a number of goals laid out at its creation.   “The Renewable Fuel Standard program is an ongoing success. Since its implementation in 2005 and revision in 2007 as RFS2, it has increased national energy security by creating a market for renewable fuel as a substitute for petroleum-based fuel thereby accelerating the...

(Posted Fri. Jul 26th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 26:  In a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees today, the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Canola Association made it clear that their position in favor of more market-oriented farm policies would not change as both chambers prepare their respective bills for a potential conference in September, and that the organizations would oppose any bill containing a risk management program that would tie planted acres to fixed reference or target prices.   In the letter, ASA, NCGA and USCA made it clear they would oppose any program that “would distort planting decisions in years when prices fall below support levels, resulting in surplus production of certain commodities, reduced acreage...

(Posted Thu. Jul 25th, 2013)

Keywords: NASCAR

July 25: Last night, Austin Dillon put American Ethanol in the winner’s circle as he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ Mudsummer Classic. This inaugural event was held at one of the world’s most iconic dirt tracks, Eldora Speedway in Ohio. The race, which was the first NASCAR-sanctioned national event held on a dirt track since 1970, brought American Ethanol to the forefront as Dillon finished in front in the No. 39 American Ethanol Chevrolet truck.   “There was a lot of excitement in the NASCAR community about this historic race,” said National Corn Growers Association NASCAR Committee Chair Jon Holzfaster. “Dillon’s win elevated the coverage of American Ethanol and provided an unprecedented opportunity to highlight how ethanol fuels champions on the track while...

(Posted Thu. Jul 25th, 2013)

Keywords: Biotechnology

July 25: This week National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman participated on a panel at the U.S. State Department National Foreign Affairs Training Center.  Zimmerman was the only agriculture producer to be invited to speak during the State Department’s course.  The panel focused on biotechnology and global challenges related to trade, food security, energy and climate change.   “With a rapidly growing world population it will be necessary to produce as much food in the next 50 years as was produced in all recorded history, making biotechnology in agriculture more important now than ever before,” Zimmerman said.  “Better seed technology provides farmers choices to cope with new and emerging challenges such as...

(Posted Wed. Jul 24th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

July 24: Today National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson spoke on the impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard on the agricultural sector before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.  Other witness panels focused on fuel production and fuel sale and use.   “The Renewable Fuel Standard is doing exactly what it was intended to do,” Johnson said during her testimony.  “It has positively impacted the agriculture sector by creating jobs and promoting rural development, reducing greenhouse gases and allowing our nation to grow our energy at home.”   Johnson stated the ethanol industry has created opportunity in rural America allowing her two sons and a growing number of young farmers to be able to return to the farm after college.  She also pointed to benefits...

(Posted Tue. Jul 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

July 23: Tomorrow, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ heads to Ohio for the inaugural Mudsummer Classic at one of the world’s most iconic dirt tracks, Eldora Speedway. This race, which will showcase the sport’s biggest names including American Ethanol spokesman Austin Dillon, is the first NASCAR-sanctioned national event held on a dirt track since 1970. Dillon will drive ethanol into the spotlight as he takes on the mud in the No. 39 American Ethanol Chevrolet truck.   Anticipated to be one of the most watched events of NASCAR’s 2013 season, the Mudsummer Classic will appear on the SPEED Channel courtesy of a special entitlement sponsorship by American Ethanol. Join in the all-American fun tomorrow as coverage of the 10:35 p.m. race begins at 8 p.m. Central Time on...

(Posted Tue. Jul 23rd, 2013)

July 23: The National Corn Growers Association is seeking applications from members interested in working on an NCGA action team or committee in the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This service provides growers an opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their industry and to become a part of the national agricultural leadership community.   “As a grassroots organization, NCGA relies on its members to step forward and take an active role in developing the policies that will lead our industry forward,” said NCGA First Vice President Martin Barbre. “This year, we have opportunities in all of the areas the organization touches, thus allowing members to take their involvement to the next level while exploring in great depth the areas which interest them the...

(Posted Mon. Jul 22nd, 2013)

Keywords: Crop Condition Corn Crop

July 22: The U.S. corn crop remains in good condition while making rapid progress toward maturity last week, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. The percentage of the corn crop silking increased by 27 points last week, slightly narrowing the lag behind the five-year average to a 13 point gap. At the same time, crop quality forecasts held strong – with reports indicating 63 percent of the crop to be in good-to-excellent condition. Last year at this time, only 26 percent of the crop still fared as well.   “Early in the season, farmers pushed ahead to plant a record number of acres despite cool, wet conditions across much of the Corn Belt,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Floyd, Iowa. “Week after week, we are...

(Posted Fri. Jul 19th, 2013)

July 19:  The National Corn Growers Association today congratulated Gina McCarthy on her confirmation as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  McCarthy will follow Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator after she stepped down at the beginning of the year.   “We are pleased to see the Senate confirm Gina McCarthy as the new Administrator of EPA,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “We have been without a new head of the agency for a long time and we know she has a lot of work ahead of her.  NCGA worked closely with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to help former Administrator Lisa Jackson understand how environmental issues would affect agriculture.  We hope to continue that commitment with the new Administrator.”   Previously, Secretary Vilsack and Administrator...

(Posted Thu. Jul 18th, 2013)

July 18: DuPont and the National Corn Growers Association announced a new program today to develop corn farmers for agricultural leadership opportunities. With more focus on food than ever, the NCGA DuPont New Leader Program will help to empower growers to share their story of their farms and the benefits of a robust agriculture system with key audiences, including consumers, media and decision-makers.   “We’re very excited to kick off this new program, sponsored by DuPont, at a time when farmers are critically needed for today’s growing conversation about farming and food,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “Our family farmers are a trusted voice and have a great story to tell, and communications support is especially important for those preparing to get more...

(Posted Wed. Jul 17th, 2013)

July 17: Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2014 fiscal year, are new board members Kevin Ross of Iowa and Paul Taylor of Illinios.  Current board members Rob Elliott of Illinois, Jon Holzfaster of Nebraska and Wesley Spurlock of Texas were re-elected.   “Each year, we have a terrific slate of candidates for the Corn Board, growers who have already had an impressive career of volunteer service for American agriculture,” NCGA Chairman Garry Neimeyer, who chairs the nominating committee, said. “It’s inspiring to see such an interest on the part of these growers, especially at a time when our industry faces so many challenges....

(Posted Wed. Jul 17th, 2013)

July 17: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson today presented NCGA’s President’s Award to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  The President’s Award is given annually at NCGA’s Corn Congress meeting in Washington to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture.   “Secretary Vilsack is a perfect recipient for the NCGA President’s Award,” Johnson said.  “He has been a steadfast supporter and advocate for American agriculture and I am proud to call him a friend of corn.  During his tenure we have seen him work tirelessly to promote agricultural exports, create a more vibrant rural economy and strengthen the role of farmers.”   Vilsack currently serves as the nation’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture.  As leader of the U.S....

(Posted Tue. Jul 16th, 2013)

July 16: Action teams and committees charged with in-depth analysis and consideration of the topics most relevant to corn farmers met in Washington as the initial phase of a full week of meetings held by the National Corn Growers Association.  These farmer-led teams discussed changing situations, and the possible ramifications of these changes, in areas including public policy, ethanol, biotechnology, government regulation, trade and grower services in anticipation of NCGA Corn Congress and visits to Capitol Hill scheduled later this week.   “NCGA’s action teams develop policies with a careful analysis of each situation while maintaining the grassroots approach vital to the association’s success,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “These small groups bring together grower-leaders from...

(Posted Mon. Jul 15th, 2013)

July 15: Corn farmers from across the country have gathered in Washington for a series of action team and committee meetings, Capitol Hill visits with lawmakers and the semi-annual Corn Congress, where grower-leaders from 28 states will elect five new members of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.    “Coming together in Washington right now provides us not only with an opportunity to work together in developing forward-facing, insightful policies for NCGA but also a chance to speak directly with our representation in the House and Senate at a critical moment,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “We are engaging in important conversations that will help guide the association at the same time we advocate for corn farmers on the Hill. Whether we are debating...

(Posted Fri. Jul 12th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol RFS

July 12: The National Corn Growers Association submitted comments in the form of a letter from President Pam Johnson today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the “Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Renewable Fuel Standard Pathways II and Technical Amendments to the RFS 2 Standards.” In these comments, NCGA addresses EPA’s requests for comments on sections of the Agency document addressing approving cellulosic volumes from cellulosic feedstocks, proposed regulatory amendments related to biogas, amendment to the definition of ‘‘crop residue’’ and definition of a pathway for corn kernel fiber, and consideration of an advanced butanol pathway.   The letter begins by detailing the important benefits that corn ethanol offers the nation in terms of its economic and energy...

(Posted Fri. Jul 12th, 2013)

July 12: The Conservation Technology Information Center completed another successful Conservation in Action Tour this week of the Indian Creek Watershed in Livingston County, Illinois. Area producers and regional experts in the fields of soil health, nutrient management and drainage water management shared success stories with participants from more than 20 states in an event co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association.   “Although NCGA has been a part of CTIC since its beginning over thirty years ago, this was the first time we’ve participated as a sponsor of the action tour,” said Dan Cole, NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team member. “When CTIC approached us with the opportunity to sponsor the tour’s stop highlighting soil health, we enthusiastically jumped on board. Farmers know how...

(Posted Fri. Jul 12th, 2013)

Keywords: Corn Board Candidates

July 12: Next week, delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress in Washington will elect five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2014 fiscal year, the leaders selected will help shape the policies that guide the organization and will best serve corn farmers across the United States.   Corn Board Candidates for 2014 are Ronnie Burleson, Richfield, N.C.; Rob Elliott, Cameron, Ill.; Jon Holzfaster, Paxton, Neb.; David Howell, Middletown, Ind.; Kevin Ross, Minden, Iowa; Gary Schmalshof, Adair, Ill.; Wesley Spurlock, Stratford, Texas; and Paul Taylor, Esmond, Ill. The four new members receiving the most votes will serve three-year terms, while the candidate elected to the board receiving the fewest...

(Posted Thu. Jul 11th, 2013)

Keywords: Farm Policy

July 11: National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives voting on the split version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (2013 farm bill):   “The farm bill affects every American; those who eat and those who produce. We view the proposed actions to be taken on the floor of the House today with disappointment.  Legislation that for decades has been a bright spot for how our Congress should work – in a bipartisan, bicameral manner – is now stuck in a morass of petty bickering and political gamesmanship.  We do not believe that the link between farm programs and nutrition programs should be severed.  We see benefits beyond the political in keeping the ties between...

(Posted Wed. Jul 10th, 2013)

July 10: The National Corn Growers Association reminds those interested in the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest that only days 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 many of us planted later than usual, the National Corn Yield Contest is proceeding right along schedule,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “This means that the window to participate in the contest is quickly closing. I strongly encourage anyone interested in being a part of 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...

(Posted Tue. Jul 9th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

July 9: Last week, a large Colombian importer, with the guidance of the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, networked with U.S. grains exporters in Texas, Alabama and Louisiana resulting in the purchase of more than 787,000 bushels of U.S. corn. This was the importer’s first purchase of U.S. corn in more than two years. With seven plants in Colombia, this importer is the largest animal feed manufacturer in Colombia and, thus, the relationship could lead to an important increase in U.S. corn exports to the country.   In 2008, U.S. corn imports accounted for 80 percent of the Colombian corn market. The delay in ratification of the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement contributed to a decline in U.S. market share. By 2011,...

(Posted Mon. Jul 8th, 2013)

July 8: The U.S. corn crop remains in good condition despite slow progress toward maturity, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. While corn silking reports indicate progress to be 14 percentage points behind the five-year average of 20 percent at this point in the season, crop quality forecasts held strong – with reports indicating 68 percent of the crop to be in good-to-excellent condition. Last year at this time, only 40 percent of the crop still fared as well.   “Corn farmers planted a record number of acres this year despite facing difficult weather in many parts of the country,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Floyd, Iowa. “While we look forward to seeing more extensive estimates of the crop which will be released...

(Posted Fri. Jul 5th, 2013)

July 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 checks in with farmers in Maryland and Texas to find out how about the condition of the corn crop in their respective areas. With the growing season well underway, the crop is progressing well in these very different climates.   For Jennie Schmidt, who farms in Maryland, a few days of sunshine have made all of the difference. “Now that we have had a few days of...

(Posted Fri. Jul 5th, 2013)

Keywords: NCYC

July 5: The National Corn Growers Association reminds those interested in the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest that only one week remains 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 many of us planted later than usual, the National Corn Yield Contest is proceeding right along schedule,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “This means that the window to participate in the contest is quickly closing. I strongly encourage anyone interested in being a part of 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. ...

(Posted Wed. Jul 3rd, 2013)

July 3: 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. The full delegate body will vote to confirm his appointment during Corn Congress in Washington later this month.   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 outside of Washington, D.C.   Off the Cob caught up with Bowling to discuss his experience, leadership style and perspective on the issues facing corn farmers today. While speaking of his experience, Bowling provides a detailed look at his prior service while maintaining a humble...

(Posted Tue. Jul 2nd, 2013)

July 2: Today, the National Corn Growers Association joined 531 other agricultural organizations and companies on a letter to Speaker John Boehner urging consideration of the 2013 farm bill again by the House of Representatives.  The letter follows the surprising failure of the House to pass the legislation at the end of June.   “Farm bills represent a delicate balance between America’s farm, nutrition, conservation, and other priorities, and accordingly require strong bipartisan support,” the letter stated.  “It is vital for the House to try once again to bring together a broad coalition of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to provide certainty for farmers, rural America, the environment and our economy in general and pass a five-year farm bill upon returning in...

(Posted Tue. Jul 2nd, 2013)

Keywords: Membership

July 2: Membership at the National Corn Growers Association reached a new all-time high with 39,042 on the rolls as June closed. This membership record replaces the former of 38,810 members at the close of April in 2013, and it marks the first time membership has surpassed the 39,000 member threshold.   “While many have theorized that the United States has reached a post-membership society and that enrollment and active participation in civic groups will continue to decline, farmers across the country increasingly see the valuable service NCGA provides to all corn growers and act in support of our mission,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “Whether working to promote innovations that increase opportunity or voicing the support of America’s farmers for the Renewable Fuels...

(Posted Mon. Jul 1st, 2013)

July 1: The U.S. corn crop is remains in good condition according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. While corn silking reports indicate progress to be six percentage points behind the five-year average of nine percent at this point in the season, crop quality forecasts held strong with reports indicating 67 percent of the crop to be in good to excellent condition. Last year at this time, only 48 percent of the crop still fared as well.   “Despite difficult planting conditions, farmers worked hard to get a record number of corn acres planted this year,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Floyd, Iowa. “Taken together, reports of a strong crop condition and record planted acreage inspire hope that, should favorable weather...

(Posted Mon. Jul 1st, 2013)

July 1: The National Corn Growers Association submitted comments today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the 938-page Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards Proposed Rule. In these comments, NCGA commended the agency on the proposed Tier 3 motor vehicle emission standard and fuel rule, which will reduce pollutants from the on-road light-duty motor vehicle fleet for many years to come.   The association also commended the agency on its recognition of the benefits of ethanol in transportation fuel, and its continued support for the Renewable Fuel Standard regulation, which is significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security in the United States through the use of domestically produced ethanol.   To read...