NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2013

(Posted Mon. Sep 30th, 2013)

Sept. 30: Corn quality remains strong while harvest progress continues to lag according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. With 55 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition, 63 percent of the crop had reached full maturity and 12 percent of all corn acres had been harvested by September 29.   “As combines roll in many parts of the country, yield and quality reports continue to emerge,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “The anecdotal evidence suggests a more robust crop than some had predicted in rural America, but it is important to note that these instances may not be representative. A full, accurate view of the overall U.S. corn crop will not become evident until harvest progress accelerates.”   Harvest has finally begun in all of the top 18 corn-producing states but progress has been slow over the past week with only a five point increase in harvested acres. While harvest progress trails 40 points behind this week...

(Posted Mon. Sep 30th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 30: Only hours remain before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, leaving Congress little time to pass a Continuing Resolution to continue funding federal government activities in order to avoid a government shutdown. The legislation provides funding for export promotion programs, utilized by organizations like the U.S. Grains Council, which are subject to enactment of a new farm bill or an extension of current law.   "If the House and Senate cannot reach an agreement by midnight September 30, the federal government would shutdown leaving only essential services in place," said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology. "Depending on the length of the shutdown, it could have impacts on USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services program funding, which the Council relies on to develop global markets for U.S. agricultural products."   The immediate impact of a shutdown would be a delay in obtaining approval for Council 2013/2014 Foreign Market...

(Posted Mon. Sep 30th, 2013)

Sept. 30: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board prepares to seat new members and officers on October 1.  When the 2013 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA President Pam Johnson will complete her term and move on to the role of Chairwoman, passing the role of president to current First Vice President Martin Barbre.   The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Johnson to discuss her perspective on fiscal year 2013 insight into the future and to discuss how members can work together to make NCGA an even more effective advocate for farmers.    To listen to the full interview, please click here.   Reflecting upon her time as president of the Corn Board, Johnson explained that while the breadth of the issues faced by the Corn Board was wide, NCGA offered programs to support farmers as they advocated for every issue they face today.   “It was an incredible year being the president of NCGA and truly an honor and a privilege,” said...

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2013)

Sept. 27:  An updated slate of farmers will serve their industry as members of the National Corn Growers Association’s action teams and committees in the next fiscal year, which begins Tuesday, actively shaping the future of their industry by guiding programs carrying out the policies and priorities that guide NCGA.   “We’re going to be facing a lot of challenges and opportunities in the year ahead, and it’s great to have such smart and dedicated farmer-leaders helping this organization carry out its mission,” said Illinois corn grower Martin Barbre, who becomes NCGA president on Oct. 1. “We had so many terrific volunteers and are excited to be kicking the year off with this team of leaders. As often happens, we had more outstanding candidates than we had positions for, and we encourage them to stay active in their state and national associations.”   Leadership for NCGA’s six major teams and committees are:   Ethanol Committee: Jeff Sandborn, chairman; Mike Nichols, vice...

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2013)

Sept. 27: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board prepares to seat new members and officers on October 1.  When the 2013 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA Chairman Garry Niemeyer will complete his term on the Corn Board, passing the role of chairwoman to current President Pam Johnson.   The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Niemeyer to discuss his insight into the future, which he bases in what he learned over the past three years, and to discuss how members can work together to make NCGA an even more effective advocate for farmers.    To listen to the full interview, please click here.   Reflecting upon his time on the Corn Board, Niemeyer explained that, while NCGA works simultaneously on a multitude of issues, it is crucial that the organization pushes ahead on farm bill legislation.   “While NCGA has many issues out there we must address, one of our biggest priorities out there now is getting a five-year farm bill...

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2013)

Sept. 27: American Ethanol will tackle the Monster Mile in Dover, Del., this weekend, both on track and with its 10th major activation of the NASCAR® season.   More than 100,000 fans are expected to visit the one-mile concrete track, dominated by Miles the Monster, during the three race events including: the K&N Pro East “Drive Sober 150” Sept. 27; the NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-Hour Energy 200 Sept. 28; and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 on Sept. 29.   American Ethanol spokesman Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 car finished in second place in last week’s race in Kentucky, bringing him within 15 points of moving into first place in the hunt for the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2013 Championship.   NCGA will join American Ethanol Partner Growth Energy in a fan outreach event at the track that will focus on encouraging fans to show their support for Sunoco Green E15 by flying American Ethanol flags throughout the campgrounds and the track infield. Information will be inserted into...

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2013)

Sept. 27: Yesterday in Washington, the National Corn Growers Association participated in important discussions aimed to develop a plan for dealing with herbicide resistance. The workshop, which included participants from academia, government and agribusiness, brought key stakeholders together to examine the economic and sociological dimensions of resistance management, the factors and actors necessary to implement successful plans and possible incentives and outreach efforts to facilitate a successful overall strategy.   NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields participated in the series of in-depth discussions, bringing the perspective of America’s corn farmers to the table.   “U.S. corn farmers realize the importance of herbicide resistance management because they see the impact of this problem in their fields every day,” said Fields. “They are highly motivated to find and implement strategies that will effectively manage this issue. In finding an...

(Posted Thu. Sep 26th, 2013)

Sept 26: Late last week a federal judge ruled in the Gulf Restoration Network vs. EPA lawsuit which sought to force the Environmental Protection Agency to establish strict water quality standards for nutrient runoff for all states in the Mississippi River Basin.  The National Corn Growers Association intervened in the suit with the American Farm Bureau Federation, The Fertilizer Institute, National Pork Producers Council and other farm groups in 2012.    In a win for the plaintiffs, the judge ruled that the EPA failed to answer the central question in the environmentalists’ 2008 petition about whether federal Numeric Nutrient Criteria are “necessary” under the Clean Water Act.  The agency must now craft a new response within six months.  However, in a win for agriculture, the judge also stated that nothing in the Clean Water Act prohibits EPA from allowing states to take the lead in responding to nutrient challenges.   “We were pleased that the court agreed with EPA’s rationale...

(Posted Thu. Sep 26th, 2013)

Sept. 26: NCGA joined researchers from universities and private business, equipment manufacturers and software companies this week in St. Louis, at The Plant Genomics Congress USA. The Plant Genomics Congress USA agenda contained a great line-up of speakers who addressed how Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies continue to transform plant science. The speakers also examined the latest NGS technology platforms as well as tools to aid data analysis.   “Understanding the latest in genomic technology helps NCGA select the best research to support and give informed advice to USDA,” said Rick Vierling, NCGA’s Director of Research and New Uses. “The publishing of the maize genome was just the beginning, like most discoveries, knowing more information leads to more questions.”   An area of science that is relying heavily on next generation sequencing is the understanding of the control of gene expression. This line of inquiry includes genetic control through epigenetics,...

(Posted Wed. Sep 25th, 2013)

Sept. 25: Yesterday, a team organized by the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program to examine agricultural trade and food safety visited the National Corn Growers Association for discussions about improving the economic outlook for farmers and enriching the quality of farm family life. The discussion, part of an effort to enhance international understanding of U.S. policies and systems that regulate and support agriculture, included participants from Argentina, Austria, Morocco, Portugal, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Venezuela.   The meeting, led by NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields, included an overview of NCGA, of U.S. corn supply and demand, and of how NCGA works to develop markets and improve efficiency of corn production.    “We focused on how the work we do keeps American agriculture viable and profitable,” said Fields. “It is a great opportunity to show the world how NCGA supports growers. It is also beneficial to...

(Posted Wed. Sep 25th, 2013)

Sept. 25: The U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, is working to recapture market share in Japan, the largest market for U.S. corn. As a part of these efforts, the Council recently brought a team of Japanese corn millers to Illinois and Iowa for a firsthand look at corn production that helped to rebuild their confidence in U.S. suppliers.   Over the past year, drought-related supply strains and the emergence of competitive suppliers have hit U.S. share of the Japanese market for corn imports. Traditionally, the United States has supplied more than 95 percent of the corn used by the Japanese milling industry but, in 2012, market share fell to only 80 percent.   "Last year's high U.S. corn prices caused by the drought lost market share for U.S. corn in Japan," said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. "Reminders of U.S. corn magnitude, reliability and resiliency are an important step to regaining Japanese corn end-users'...

(Posted Tue. Sep 24th, 2013)

Sept. 24:  The National Corn Growers Association is now in 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 checked in with Maryland farmer Jennie Schmidt to see how the 2013 corn harvest is coming along. Schmidt explained that she began harvesting corn about three days ago.   “We are really pleased with our yields so far,” said Schmidt. “The moisture content is running around 16 to 17 percent, which is really good. It took us a while to get started, but we are glad that it is underway.”   Notably, the moisture content is not the only factor Schmidt sees as positive as she harvests the 2013 crop.   “This is one of the best dryland corn crops that we have ever had,” she...

(Posted Tue. Sep 24th, 2013)

Sept. 24: The National Corn Growers Association’s National Corn Yield Contest set a new entry record in 2013 with 8,827. This surpasses the previous record of 8,431 entries, set in 2011, and far outstrips the 8,263 entries received in 2012.   “The contest continues to grow in popularity undeterred by challenging planting weather like that which many saw this year,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “By nature, farmers are optimists who act humbly while taking great personal pride in their work. NCGA is proud to offer the contest to our members and, in doing so, recognize the excellence that abounds in American agriculture today.”   News of the record shortly follows NCGA’s achievement of a major milestone, growing rolls beyond 40,000 members for the first time in July. Now in its 49th year, the program remains one of NCGA’s most popular. Notably, NCYC rules require entrants be current members of the association.   Winners will receive national recognition in publications such...

(Posted Mon. Sep 23rd, 2013)

Sept. 23: Today, National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson joined world leaders from business and government and America's top faith, military, agriculture and health representatives at the Opening Ceremony for Climate Week NYC 2013. In its fifth year, Climate Week NYC provides a global summit for government, business and thought leaders to drive innovation, build coalitions and deliver practical solutions.    "Modern agriculture isn't the problem; it's the solution,” Johnson explained. “We are producing more grain on limited arable acres."     Johnson, who spoke alongside international notables including former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, President of World Bank Jim Kim, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and many others, brought the story of American corn farmers to the panel. In her remarks, she stressed the scientific and technological advances agriculture uses to increasing demands and an ever-changing environment.   “Perhaps...

(Posted Mon. Sep 23rd, 2013)

Keywords: Harvest

Sept. 23: With harvest now underway across the country, the condition of the corn crop remains strong, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. With 55 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition, 40 percent of the crop had reached full maturity and 7 percent of all corn acres had been harvested by September 22.   “With harvest now underway, we grow closer by the week to having an accurate assessment of the 2013 corn crop,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “The reports of a quality crop bolster our hopes for our nation’s supply, but it is imperative that we keep in mind how much can change should the weather shift before harvest is complete.”   Harvest has now begun in all of the top 18 corn-producing states with only the exception of Minnesota and Wisconsin. While harvest progress trails 30 points behind this week in 2012, crop quality remains far superior with a full 31 points more listed in good or excellent...

(Posted Thu. Sep 19th, 2013)

Sept 19: This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report that merged more than 1,000 peer-reviewed, scientific studies examining how smaller, isolated bodies of water are connected to larger ones.  Using conclusions set by the draft report, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers submitted a draft rule on Clean Water Act jurisdiction to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review.  The National Corn Growers Association has previously discussed concerns over expanding EPA’s authority over isolated waters such as ditches and farm ponds.    “NCGA is currently reviewing the draft report to ensure it would not adversely affect production agriculture,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Our members want to ensure that longstanding agricultural exemptions will be included in the final version and NCGA is working with the USDA and EPA on this issue.”   Over the years, NCGA has opposed removing the term navigable from the Clean Water Act through the...

(Posted Thu. Sep 19th, 2013)

Keywords: Transportation Waterways

Sept 19: Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013.  The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the bi-partisan effort put forth by members of the committee to clear this legislation of its first major hurdle in the House.    “A modern inland waterways system is critical to American agriculture and to the nation’s economy,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “Every year more than a billion tons of domestic commerce, valued at more than $300 billion, travels through our lock and dam system.   In addition, more than one billion bushels of grain which equates to roughly 60 percent of all grain exports, move to markets via the inland waterways each year.  We can’t afford to allow such an integral part of our value chain continue to deteriorate.”    The bill, which passed by a voice vote, authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue its work on developing, maintaining and...

(Posted Thu. Sep 19th, 2013)

Keywords: USFRA

Sept. 19:  Following the success of the Food Dialogues event series, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers and some of its affiliates have kicked off a series of regional events to bring communities together to talk about food and farm issues. Today, two events took place in Columbia, Mo., and Raleigh, N.C.   The first event, in North Carolina, was held in conjunction with the North Carolina Animal Agriculture Coalition.  The first panel discussed the importance of consumer choice in the marketplace, including organic and conventionally grown foods, and the use of science and biotechnology in food production. The second panel focused on farming in North Carolina, why many farms look and operate much differently than they did just 30 years ago, and the complexity of the food production process.   The Food Dialogues: Missouri, hosted by Missouri Farmers Care, was held later in the afternoon and featured a panel on livestock handling and issues related that have arisen in recent years....

(Posted Thu. Sep 19th, 2013)

Sept. 19: Fuels America, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, released a new poll today highlighting that a strong majority of Americans support E15 availability at the gas station. Additionally, it showed that nearly four in five Americans believe the oil industry’s ongoing efforts to block the availability of E15 is bad for consumers.   Fuels America conducted the poll of more than 1,200 U.S. adults to gauge consumer opinions of E15, fuel made of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. This information comes on the heels of E15’s reentrance into the American fuel market this past Sunday. Forty stations in nine states now offer the fuel, approximately 14 months after it was approved by EPA for commercial sale. E15 currently sells for between 10 and 20 cents less per gallon than regular gasoline.   The results also revealed that:   82 percent of Americans support E15 availability at their local gas stations. 76 percent of Americans want...

(Posted Wed. Sep 18th, 2013)

Keywords: Fuels America Ethanol

Sept. 18: Fuels America, of which the National Corn Growers Association is one of the founding members, launched an educational program in Washington this week highlighting the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The program, which highlights the benefits of the RFS, includes messaging that carpets Metro stations most traveled by policymakers and their staff.   “The RFS is important not only for corn farmers but also for our nation as we move toward a more energy secure, environmentally sound future,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “When people understand the incredible alternative ethanol offers, they embrace it as a way to keep out-of-control gas prices in check while cleaning our air and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Now, whether commuting to work or just heading across town, the precise people who influence our nation’s energy policy will be confronted with the critical importance of preserving the RFS and our nation’s energy future.”   Fuels America is a...

(Posted Wed. Sep 18th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 18: A new report released from researchers in the Netherlands shows that current models assessing the impact of crops grown for biofuel production on land use do not accurately reflect current production and land use realities. Given the impact of these models on bioenergy policy, “Biomass Research” makes a strong case for updating the way in which the true benefits of biofuels are assessed in order to insure policy decisions fully value the environmental benefits of ethanol.   “Ethanol advocates have long understood the major impact that relying upon outdated data or inaccurate models can have on our nation’s biofuels policy and, at NCGA we work to correct the information and models,” said National Corn Growers Association Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis. “This study provides an academically rigorous examination of the specific areas in which ethanol modeling and data are currently lacking on a large scope. Farmers have made amazing strides to increase efficiency and...

(Posted Tue. Sep 17th, 2013)

National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the district court’s ruling upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load for the Chesapeake Bay:   “The National Corn Growers Association is disappointed to hear the court’s decision to uphold the TMDL in the Chesapeake Bay.  We continue to believe the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority and has a negative impact on agricultural production and innovation.   “America’s farmers are the original environmentalists.  They care deeply about the land and water quality from which they make their livelihood and raise their families.  However, the policies and science behind the Chesapeake Bay TMDL are wrong.   “NCGA and our agriculture partners are reviewing our options and next steps.”   

(Posted Tue. Sep 17th, 2013)

Sept. 17: With the harvest beginning across the Corn Belt, the National Corn Growers Association reminds entrants that online harvest forms for the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest are available.  While the harvest information form deadline may seem distant, entrants are asked to report within seven days of their final yield check or by Nov. 22, whichever comes first.   “As more farmers begin harvesting their corn crop, we ask contest applicants to submit harvest forms within one week of their final yield check to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said Dean Taylor, chairman of the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more productive techniques. We hope that growers continue to support the contest by seeing their entry through and submitting their completed harvest data forms.”   The National Corn Yield Contest is in its 49th year and remains...

(Posted Mon. Sep 16th, 2013)

Sept. 16: The U.S. corn crop marched toward maturity without further drought damage according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today. With 53 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition, 22 percent of the crop had reached full maturity and 81 percent reached the dent stage by September 15.   “While many growers have noticed the impact of late-season drought on their crops, official reports continue to forecast a crop that, while lagging in progress, is not declining in quality at this point,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “The drought monitors show conditions have reached the severe stage in several key corn-growing areas of the upper Midwest, thus we realize that the impact of weather conditions throughout the season cannot yet be fully assessed.”   Corn maturity continues to lag following a late, cool planting season with corn at full maturity currently 19 points behind the five-year average of 41 percent at this time....

(Posted Fri. Sep 13th, 2013)

Sept. 13:  The National Corn Growers Association is now in 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 took a look back at his 2013 corn crop with Texas farmer Jay Beckhusen. Already two weeks past completion, harvest brought a series of challenges.   “Harvest was kind of tough this year as we got rain when we were trying to get the crop in,” said Beckhusen. “Normally, we don’t get rain here in July and August. It didn’t impact the crop, but it did slow down the progress. Now, everything is complete, and we are looking at a bit better than average yields.”   Overall, he found that the crop in 2013 had actually suffered more greatly from the early season frost than he had...

(Posted Thu. Sep 12th, 2013)

Sept. 12:  While harvest begins, a select group of growers are ramping up their efforts to become the most effective leaders possible through a National Corn Growers Association training program.   NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, sponsored by Syngenta, launched its fourth class this week in Greensboro, N.C.  The session helps qualified and motivated candidates fine tune their leadership skills and prepare them to lead the industry forward.    "Advanced Leadership training provides an excellent opportunity to hone skills with media and interpersonal communications,” said NCGA First Vice President Martin Barbre, a grower from Carmi, Ill.  “Last year, I had the chance to participate and can attest the program helps leaders climb to the top of their game and prepare to lead our organization into 2014 and beyond."    During the course, a small group of active grower leaders looked at the concepts of transformational leadership, and crisis and advocacy communications. ...

(Posted Thu. Sep 12th, 2013)

Sept. 12: U.S. farmers remain on track to produce a record corn crop if forecasts hold, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates released today. The projected harvest raised to 13.8 billion bushels as the second survey-based yield forecast rose to 155.3 bushels per acre. If realized, U.S. corn farmers would exceed the production record set in 2009 of 13.09 billion bushels.   “Despite a variety of less-than-optimal growing conditions across the Corn Belt, farmers worked doggedly to grow the best crop possible,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd, Iowa. “Using cutting-edge technology and consistently improving practices, American farmers today operate at a level unimaginable only a few decades prior. As harvest quickly approaches, we continue to hope that conditions hold strong and eagerly prepare to get the crop out of the field and into the bins.”   Total production projections were raised from last month by 80 million...

(Posted Thu. Sep 12th, 2013)

Sept. 12: The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country preparing to hit the fields in their combines, NCGA is again offering a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures and reviewing helpful guidelines.   To view the video, click here.   First released in 2011, this video remains relevant and illustrates the significant threat bin entrapment can pose.   “In 2010 we saw a record number of farmers becoming engulfed in grain bins and we decided it was time to have a proactive role in creating awareness about the serious nature of this issue,” said Bart Schott, who served as NCGA President at that time.  “We hope that this video makes farmers stop and think twice before the next time they put themselves in danger.”   The video, shot on location in several states, provides a wide range of information from prevention tips and background data on grain...

(Posted Wed. Sep 11th, 2013)

Sept. 11: The popular television series America’s Heartland features new themed episodes and the return of popular features and hosts as it premieres the ninth season of its public television series celebrating U.S. agriculture starting this week. The series is produced by KVIE Public Television and receives promotional support from the National Corn Growers Association, among others.   This season, the 22 episodes will focus on agriculture-related topics designed to address consumers’ questions and concerns about food safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Other themed episodes will celebrate a particular crop, commodity, or farm animal.     “We’re delighted to provide our viewers new episodes that really address their questions about the origins of their food, fuel and fiber,” said series producer Jim Finnerty. “We want to help each of them become savvy, better informed consumers, and we think we do that by focusing on a specific agriculture topic in each...

(Posted Tue. Sep 10th, 2013)

Keywords: NASCAR American Ethanol

Sept. 10: NASCAR legend Kenny Wallace will be making his 900th NASCAR start at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday in the Dollar General 300. Joining the "900 Club", Wallace will be amongst an elite group of drivers that includes Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett.   Wallace will be behind the wheel of the RAB Racing No. 29 ToyotaCare, American Ethanol Toyota Camry, in a special paint scheme to commemorate the NASCAR milestone. Keith Hinkein will serve as crew chief for the No. 29, making his fourth start with Wallace and RAB Racing. Hinkein spent last season as a crew chief in the ARCA Racing Series securing one win with Kevin Swindell and has prior experience in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, winning 10 races with drivers Trevor Bayne and Joey Logano. Wallace currently sits at 898 NASCAR starts, but will also compete in the Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in the...

(Posted Tue. Sep 10th, 2013)

Sept. 10:  A report released last week by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, chaired by former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi Annan, details the great potential for agricultural growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and the ability of more widespread use of seed biotechnology to help drive this growth.   The report states that the yield gap for most crops could be reduced by the appropriate use of improved crop varieties; recommended application levels of appropriate fertilizers; and adequate management of nutrients, water, pests, and diseases. Further, Sub-Saharan Africa displays the greatest gaps between potential yields and realized yields for a number of crops, particularly corn and rice.   “As of 2012, GM [genetically modified] crops were being grown in 20 developing countries and 8 industrial countries, conferring beneficial traits such as herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, and nutritional enhancement,” the report states....

(Posted Mon. Sep 9th, 2013)

Sept. 9:  Warm, dry weather though much of the Corn Belt, with drought conditions in several areas, has reduced the condition of the 2013 U.S. corn crop as harvest approaches, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today.   “Many of our growers are noticing the impact of the late-summer weather on their crops,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “We also see that drought monitors show conditions reaching the severe stage in several key corn-growing areas of the upper Midwest.”   As of Sept. 8, 54 percent of the crop is rated good or excellent, down two percentage points from last week, with 29 percent rated fair and 17 percent rated poor or very poor. Only 9 percent of the crop has reached the mature stage, markedly lower than the five-year average of 28 percent.   Johnson noted that the USDA will release its next monthly supply-and-demand report on Thursday, and it could show a change in harvest expectations.   “While we have been relatively...

(Posted Mon. Sep 9th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 9:  In 2012 Korea was the third largest corn importer in the world and the fourth largest market for U.S. corn. Yet because of the drought of 2012, U.S. imports have dropped to less than 1 percent so far in the 2013 calendar year, according to Korean import statistics. This has propelled the U.S. Grains Council to engage in aggressive programming to reinvigorate Korean buyers for U.S. corn.   The Council has been active in Korea since opening an office there in 1972, and Korea remains an important market. Korea produces very little coarse grains and imports more than 98 percent of total consumption. Corn has dominated in Korean grains import market, ranging from 65-85 percent of the total market.   A delegation of U.S. corn producers was escorted by the Council in Korea last week and has continued to Japan to reassure long-time customers of the United States' ability to produce to satisfy its customers' needs. The group, consisting of farmers and representatives from...

(Posted Fri. Sep 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol

Sept. 6: American Ethanol spokesman Kenny Wallace will be making his 898th career NASCAR ® start tonight from the Richmond International Raceway. He will race into the spotlight in the No. 29 American Ethanol Toyota Camry, on the track where he boasts three wins, 18 top-ten finishes and 432 laps lead.   This race leads up to a major milestone as Wallace nears 900 career starts, with only a handful of drivers crossing that plateau. Wallace, who has raced the better part of four decades, has had an impressive career across all NASCAR® circuits. In the midst of the expanding media attention as he approaches the magic 900, he continues to promote the use and benefits of E15 and American Ethanol.   His start tonight will also mark the 1,000th Nationwide Series™ race in its 32 year history. Wallace already holds the record of 541 Nationwide Series™ starts.   "I am so excited to be making my 898th NASCAR start at one of my favorite race tracks, Richmond International Raceway, with a...

(Posted Fri. Sep 6th, 2013)

 Sept. 6:  The National Corn Growers Association is now in 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 Nebraska farmer Andy Jobman to see how major temperature swings in the region have impacted the corn crop.   “For much of the growing season, we had days where there was no direct sunlight until the late afternoon,” said Jobman. “Then, it would disappear in the evening as the clouds gathered and rains came overnight. Many days were just cloudy and cool. The weather concerned us because we worried that the kernels were not building weight and filling with starches and sugars. So, at that critical time, our corn crop didn’t really mature.”   When the cool...

(Posted Thu. Sep 5th, 2013)

Keywords: Trade

Sept. 5: After two years of discussions, MAIZALL will begin actively working on behalf of corn farmers in North and South America soon, commencing activities in Korea and China. Earlier this year, the U.S. Grains Council joined the National Corn Growers Association, and MAIZAR and ABRAMHILO, the leading corn producer's organizations in Argentina and Brazil, formally announced the creation of MAIZALL as a strategic alliance focused on food security, market access and biotechnology. Since then, the organizations’ efforts have focused on governance issues, bylaws, articles of incorporation and funding. The efforts currently in the final phase of planning will mark the organization’s first efforts in pursuit of its mission.   Currently, NCGA President Pam Johnson, USGC Chairman and MAIZALL President Julius Schaaf and USGC Vice Chairman Ron Gray are leading the U.S. team in Panama as the MAIZALL board of directors formalizes articles of incorporation and plan the organization's first...

(Posted Wed. Sep 4th, 2013)

Sept. 4: Membership at the National Corn Growers Association reached a new all-time high with 40,244 on the rolls as August closed. This further builds upon the membership milestone achieved in July, when rolls surpassed 40,000 members for the first time.   “The record set last month confirms  the move past the 40,000 member mark last month was not a fluke but, instead, was indicative of a trend upon which we will keep actively building,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “Whether working to promote research that increases opportunities or voicing the support of America’s farmers for the Renewable Fuels Standard and farm bill in Washington, NCGA draws upon the strength of its more than 40,000 members so that, together, we can accomplish much more than we ever could acting alone.”   Throughout NCGA’s history, grassroots efforts have been the strength and driving force behind the organization. “Farmers are at the heart of everything that NCGA does,...

(Posted Tue. Sep 3rd, 2013)

Keywords: Production

Sept. 3: The U.S. corn crop made steady progress toward 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 denting increased by 19 points last week, while the percentage of corn doughing further narrowed its lag behind the five year-average to only five points.  Reports also indicate that the crop condition remains almost unchanged from the previous week with 56 percent of the crop forecast to be in good-to-excellent condition. Last year at this time, only 22 percent of the crop still fared as well.   “While the crop condition remains strong, farmers understand how weather can play an important role at any point during season,” said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Auburn, Ill. “Planters across the country persevered a late, wet season. Now, some face dry conditions that may also impact corn growth. It is important to remember though that,...