NEWS STORIES

JANUARY 2014

(Posted Fri. Jan 31st, 2014)

Farm women volunteers involved in the CommonGround program, along with state and national staff, met in St. Louis to share their experiences with the program and welcome new members last week.  Over the course of three days, the participants worked intensively on the tools that they use to share their personal story and that of modern farming with urban and suburban moms through sessions on social media, public speaking and interview skills.    Through a series of presentations from representatives of affiliated agricultural groups and media industry experts, attendees explored a wide array of subjects including the most prevalent consumer attitudes toward agriculture and the most effective ways to contact the newsroom at local television stations.   “Spending this time with other volunteers inspires and motivates me,” said CommonGround volunteer LaVelle Winsor, who farms in Kansas.  “Seeing my fellow volunteers’ enthusiasm, sincerity and dedication is energizing. Each of us...

(Posted Thu. Jan 30th, 2014)

Corn farmers from across the country traveled to Washington this week to take part in the second phase of the annual leadership development programs co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. The Leadership At Its Best attendees were joined by participants in Advanced Leadership, also co-sponsored by Syngenta, for a separate program offering high-level training for a select group of Leadership At Its Best graduates. While in town, both groups visited numerous members of the Senate and House of Representatives and got an inside look at parliamentary procedure and how lobbying works on Capitol Hill.   “For more than a quarter of a century, Leadership At Its Best has been an invaluable tool for helping corn growers become leaders at the state and national level, and the newer Advanced Leadership program offers an exciting way to build upon this training ,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, himself a graduate of the program. Barbre and NCGA First Vice...

(Posted Wed. Jan 29th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Bill

The National Corn Growers Association thanked members of the House of Representatives for quick passage today of the 2014 farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014. The bill passed the lower chamber with a 251-166 vote.   “We’re thrilled to see today’s action on the part of the House and look forward to an equally fast consideration in the Senate,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, who observed the floor vote from the House gallery while visiting the Capitol. “This legislation provides an adequate and flexible farm safety net, as well as a strong federal crop insurance program. More importantly, farmers need the certainty of a new five-year law, and we are happy to see this legislation includes many reforms we’ve supported and stressed over the years, reforms that make sense both for farmers and taxpayers.”   Among other specific provisions, the bill:   Eliminates controversial direct payments while maintaining decoupled farm support programs that will minimize the...

(Posted Wed. Jan 29th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association this week kicked off the inaugural class of its NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, with farming couples and individuals from 17 states braving cold weather and travel snafus coming to Des Moines, Iowa, for an immersion in leadership, communications and social media training. The program is sponsored by DuPont, with representatives from DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Crop Protection on-hand to welcome the growers.   “There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture, and there’s never been a more challenging time to be in agriculture,” said NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson, who farms nearby in Floyd, Iowa. “A lot of changes have taken place since NCGA was founded in 1957, and fewer and fewer people know where their food comes from, or what farming is all about. We need to change that, and we’re excited about this program because we need more farmers who can step up and advocate and lead. Our job is to make sure they have the tools and...

(Posted Wed. Jan 29th, 2014)

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre on President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address:   “It was great to hear President Obama talk about the importance of an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy. And you can’t have such a policy without biofuels. So, we call on his Administration to back away from its irresponsible proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard, a program that has done much to promote energy independence, restore jobs in rural America, and clear the air.   “Likewise, we join the President in calling for a ‘year of action’ – starting with the immediate passage and signing of the 2014 farm bill that just came out of conference committee this week. It will help feed hungry Americans and provide needed stability to American agriculture. And then, Congress can rebuild our sorely outdated waterway infrastructure and move Trade Promotion Authority forward, as the President requested. There's plenty to do in a ‘year of...

(Posted Tue. Jan 28th, 2014)

Keywords: RFS RVO Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, formally opposing its proposal to slash the amount of corn ethanol required in the Renewable Fuel Standard and citing the severe economic and environmental ramifications potential action. With a midnight (Eastern Standard Time) deadline looming, NCGA calls upon all members, farmers and their allies to join them in support of the RFS by submitting personal comments.   To submit comments, click here.   For 2014, the EPA has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the RFS, the federal law that requires the blending of domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.    ”The RFS is an important tool in the nation’s effort to achieve cleaner fuels,” wrote NCGA President Martin Barbre in the opening letter of the comments. “Since the enactment of RFS2 in 2007, corn and corn ethanol production have...

(Posted Tue. Jan 28th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre on the Agricultural Act of 2014, released by the House-Senate conference committee:   “We appreciate the hard work of the committee, especially Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Thad Cochran and Reps. Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson, for crafting a balanced compromise that ensures market-oriented reforms and effective risk management tools.   Their work, and that of many of their colleagues, has resulted in policies and reforms that we believe will effectively meet the diverse needs of consumers and farmers around the country.   “We’re especially pleased the legislation provides an adequate and flexible farm safety net as well as  strong federal crop insurance program. The new bill also includes an option for farmers to participate in a modified Agriculture Risk Coverage program.     “We urge swift passage by both houses of Congress and look forward to seeing this new bill become law as soon as...

(Posted Mon. Jan 27th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association launched the newest version of www.ncga.com today. The redesigned version of the website will allow users to find desired information more easily on an attractive platform that will offer an improved overall experience. It also is optimized for the growing number of tablet and smartphone users.   The site, which continues to offer information on membership, policy, programs and activities, will also provide a unified platform from which farmers can respond to calls to action, investigate member benefits and even find a virtual library of NCGA’s award-winning publications. With links to popular resources like The World of Corn and Corn Commentary, visitors will find something new every day.   While visiting the site, take a moment to see how simple this tool makes contacting federal legislators and regulators by using the online platform to submit comments supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency....

(Posted Thu. Jan 23rd, 2014)

Keywords: Ethanol RFS

Jan. 23: Today, ethanol supporters gathered in Iowa to take part in “Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuels Standard,” hosted by Governor Terry Branstad in Des Moines.  This day-long event features testimony from both state and federal legislators, regulators and administrators from Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada and South Dakota, as well as leadership from agribusiness and from farmer-leaders active at the state and national levels.   The event was organized in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal for a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2014.     Branstad kicked off the event with an impassioned speech in support of ethanol, biodiesel and the RFS. Following Branstad, panels provided testimony throughout the day. National Corn Growers Association Chairwoman Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd, Iowa, spoke during a morning panel.   For a full listing of...

(Posted Thu. Jan 23rd, 2014)

Keywords: RFS Ethanol

Jan. 23: The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre on Senate and House letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stressing the importance of preserving the Renewable Fuel Standard:   “We thank the senators and representatives who have stood up for American agriculture and the importance of domestic, renewable ethanol. Slashing the amount of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply at this time is a big mistake, sure to drive up gas prices for all consumers and harm the rural economy by driving the price of corn below the cost of production. It’s great to see a bipartisan group of lawmakers stand up for legislation that was passed by members of both parties and that has helped support jobs and the rural economy while making our air cleaner.   “We especially appreciate the leadership of Sens. Richard Durbin, Charles Grassley, Al Franken and John Thune, and Reps. Kristi Noem and Cheri Bustos, for encouraging their colleagues...

(Posted Wed. Jan 22nd, 2014)

Jan. 22: In light of ongoing disruptions of corn shipments to China, the National Corn Growers Association urges members to examine the traits approved in export markets prior to planting. With current gaps in trait approvals abroad, farmers should make well-informed planting decisions to avoid potentially difficult situations should elevators again decide not to accept corn with these traits at harvest.   NCGA offers Know Before You Grow, an online resource with information on the approval status of all major corn traits in export markets, to help farmers searching tools to aid them in their decision-making process. Hosted on NCGA’s website, this frequently updated source provides a comprehensive look at this vital information in an easily accessible format.   NCGA reminds growers that corn used in ethanol production also often enters export streams as distillers dried grains, a valuable feed ingredient gaining popularity in China and other export markets. While planting...

(Posted Wed. Jan 22nd, 2014)

Keywords: RFS Ethanol

Jan. 22: Last night, thousands of farmers from across the country were dialed in for a town hall via telephone, hosted by the National Corn Growers Association. The teleconference highlighted the need to reverse the EPA’s proposed reduction in corn ethanol volumes for 2014 under the Renewable Fuel Standard.   The event, which lasted about 30 minutes, included remarks from NCGA President Martin Barbre, a farmer from Carmi, Ill.; U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley from Iowa; and Richard Childress, owner of NASCAR’s Richard Childress Racing, who works closely with NCGA through the American Ethanol partnership. In addition to providing a diverse array of opinions and information on the subject, the event highlighted what farmers can do to speak out against the reductions proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in November.   Kicking off the event, Barbre explained in grave detail the impact that this proposal could have not only upon NCGA members, but upon all farmers and anyone...

(Posted Tue. Jan 21st, 2014)

Jan. 21:  Register for the National Corn Growers Association’s 2014 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference today to take advantage of exclusive savings.  The biennial event, which will be held June 2-4 in Louisville, Ky., will feature the cutting-edge technologies and new uses that continually improve and dynamically change the corn industry.   “While June may seem a ways away, registering now for CUTC provides an opportunity to save with valuable early registration discounts available until March 30,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair Tom Mueller. “The 2014 conference remains a must-attend event on calendars of many throughout the industry, fostering innovative ideas and the important networking connections necessary to move the industry forward.”   Sessions will address genetics, biotechnology and grain quality. Additional offerings will explore new technologies and products from wet and dry processing, enzyme technology and products from...

(Posted Fri. Jan 17th, 2014)

Jan. 17: The National Corn Growers Association’s annual Priority and Policy Conference wrapped up yesterday in St. Louis, concluding a series of discussions on state and national priorities for 2015, NCGA policies and a keynote panel presentation on the future of the ethanol industry. This in-depth discussion, which was moderated by NCGA CEO Rick Tolman, began with presentations from American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis and Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen.   “This meeting consistently provides a chance for NCGA leadership to gain valuable insight from our state affiliates while fostering deep discussions that help all of us examine the issues more fully,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a grower from Carmi, Ill. “The insight and ideas our attendees brought to discussions will provide us with sound guidance upon which to base effective, impactful plans for the upcoming years.”   The...

(Posted Fri. Jan 17th, 2014)

Keywords: Commodity Classic

Jan. 17: With less than two months until Commodity Classic convenes in San Antonio, Texas, growers are encouraged to take advantage of the lowest rate by registering before the early discount deadline of midnight Monday, Jan. 20. Registering early will save attendees up to $50. Hotels are currently available, but are booking up fast. For complete details and to take advantage of the early registration discount, register now and reserve rooms at www.CommodityClassic.com.   “We’ve once again broken all previous records in exhibitor attendance,” said Commodity Classic Co-chair Rob Elliott. “Grower registrations continue to increase, which proves farmers are truly on board for profits in 2014.”   Soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers attending Commodity Classic Feb. 27 - March 1 will benefit from a wide variety of educational sessions, networking opportunities and a sold out trade show with 1,278 booths representing 297 companies displaying the newest technology, equipment,...

(Posted Thu. Jan 16th, 2014)

Keywords: Ethanol

Jan. 16:  The National Corn Growers Association today thanked the thousands of corn farmers and their allies around the country who have submitted comments urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to retract its proposed 10 percent cut in the amount of corn ethanol in the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard.   “We’ve seen a terrific grassroots response on behalf of our growers and our state affiliates, who have pulled out all the stops to make sure the farmer voice is heard loud and clear,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, an Illinois corn grower. As the deadline approaches, we urge those who have not yet spoken out, to do so immediately.”   Barbre cited, in particular, a deceptive new “robocall” campaign by the American Petroleum Institute that left pre-recorded messages on voicemails across the country, even on farmers’ phones.   “Seeing how great our response has been, it’s not surprising Big Oil is feeling the heat,” he said. “But if they think that harassing farming...

(Posted Tue. Jan 14th, 2014)

Jan. 14: The National Corn Growers Association’s annual Priority and Policy Conference takes place this week in St. Louis, bringing farmer leaders from many corn states to begin the discussion of state and national priorities for the remainder of the 2014 fiscal year and to begin the 2015 fiscal year planning process. Together, these grower leaders will carefully assess NCGA’s policies on such subjects as biotechnology, ethanol, public policy and trade.   “This meeting is an important opportunity for us to learn from leaders in our state organizations about their concerns and work together on a consensus for moving forward in the months ahead,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a grower from Carmi, Ill. “It comes at an important time for our industry, with ethanol and the farm bill being just a few big priorities in Washington. There’s much to discuss and much to take action on this week.”   Participants include the chairs, presidents and executive directors of NCGA’s state...

(Posted Mon. Jan 13th, 2014)

Keywords: Annual Report

Jan. 13:  The National Corn Growers Association’s annual report for the 2013 fiscal year is now available online.  A printed copy of the report, which highlights the association’s achievements over the previous year and features current financial information, will also be sent to all active members and made available at upcoming meetings.   Click here to view the full report.   “While we accomplished so much in 2013, it is imperative that each and every farmer takes the initiative again over the coming months,” said NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson, a grower from Floyd, Iowa, who served as president last year.  “We face an ongoing barrage of issues that could threaten our markets, our agricultural safety net and our very ability to farm the best way we know how. We must act to defend these things that ultimately help produce a crop for those who rely upon us and to do so while sensibly and sustainably managing resources. NCGA continually leads efforts to tackle these issues head-on,...

(Posted Mon. Jan 13th, 2014)

Keywords: CommonGround

Jan. 13: Popular morning show The Balancing Act, airing on Lifetime TV, once again welcomes CommonGround, the grassroots organization designed to get women talking about farming, to the show at 6 a.m. CST Tuesday, Jan. 14. Make sure to tune in as CommonGround Nebraska volunteer Dawn Caldwell explains why consumers can feel confident about how their food is grown and raised.   This is the final segment in a four-part series where The Balancing Act features conversations with volunteers from CommonGround, an effort designed to get women talking about farming and food. CommonGround provides a way for moms looking for answers about food to connect with moms who grow and raise it and get real, credible information.    “Lately, there has been a significant amount of media attention paid to the practices ranchers like myself use in caring for our livestock. Through this show, I hope to provide a window into the true story of animal agriculture and open an ongoing conversation with...

(Posted Fri. Jan 10th, 2014)

Jan. 10: While average yield forecasts fell, U.S. farmers remain on course to produce a record corn crop according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates released today. Harvest projections were revised lower to 13.92 billion bushels as yield forecasts fell to 158.8 bushels per acre. Total production remained high as the projected acreage harvest rose by half of a million acres as farmers continued bringing in this year’s crop well past normal completion dates.   “It is important to keep in mind that the current USDA projections do not take into account the proposed reduction to the required volume obligation for ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2014,” said National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Md. “As this proposed reduction is still under review, reports released today will not show the market impact of this disastrous proposal.  I urge all farmers, allies and those who depend upon the economic activity...

(Posted Thu. Jan 9th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

Jan. 9:  The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction of bipartisan updated Trade Promotion Authority legislation today that will establish strong rules for trade negotiations and Congressional approval of trade pacts, to deliver trade agreements that boost U.S. exports and create American jobs. NCGA now urges Congress and the Administration to act swiftly to move the legislation forward.   “We applaud the legislation introduced today as it would improve our nation’s ability to advance trade agreements that open markets for U.S. farmers,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. “The legislation provides rules against trade barriers to U.S. agricultural products that are both tough and enforceable. We urge quick progress toward passing this important legislation.”   Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.)...

(Posted Thu. Jan 9th, 2014)

Keywords: Commodity Classic

Jan. 9: Agriculture’s newest, most innovative products and services will be showcased at the What’s New sessions at the 2014 Commodity Classic.   “If you’re coming to Commodity Classic hoping to learn and gain some new ideas to take back to your farm, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the What’s New sessions,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chairman Wyatt Whitford. “These sessions offer a sneak peek at the new technology and products out on the trade show floor and an opportunity to ask the experts questions.”   Topics for the What’s New sessions include: the latest tractor and combine header technologies, soil fertility trends, new developments in seeds to help manage pests, the latest technology tools for the farm and tools to optimize seed selection for each field.   The sessions—scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1—provide the ideal opportunity for attendees to hear about what is new from the presenting companies so they can stop by the trade show booth to...

(Posted Wed. Jan 8th, 2014)

Keywords: Ethanol RFS

A detailed statistical analysis released yesterday by the Renewable Fuel Association shows that erratic surge in prices for Renewable Identification Number credits in 2013 did not impact retail gasoline prices. This study, which was conducted by Informa Economics, demonstrates clearly how yet another argument used by those who oppose the Renewable Fuel Standard proves inaccurate when fully examined.   “Changes in prices of renewable identification numbers did not cause changes in retail gasoline prices in 2013,” according to a 7-page report summarizing the analysis. “Retail gasoline prices were driven primarily by movements in crude oil prices and secondarily by changes in the spread between domestic and international crude oil prices and the level of vehicle miles driven in the U.S., which varies seasonally.”   “We fully support the findings of this study and urge federal regulators to take this information into their deliberations when considering reductions to the RFS...

(Posted Tue. Jan 7th, 2014)

Keywords: Membership

Jan. 7:  With temperatures dropping well below freezing and snow seen in unusual places, the “polar vortex” affecting much of the nation means farmers have to work extra hard to stay updated on what to expect while they prepare for planting. The NCGA-FMC Ag Weather Advisor, prepared by Blue Water Outlook, is a special free member benefit that can help growers stay a step ahead.   “The weather that is occurring this winter—the extreme cold and frequent snow fall over parts of the Corn Belt—are setting the stage for spring and summer growing conditions,” said John Feldt of Blue  Water Outlook.  “The NCGA-FMC Ag Weather Advisor provides valuable insight, analysis and information not easily found elsewhere on the key factors shaping the weather right now and well into the future.  This information can help growers make critical weather-related decisions throughout the entire year.”   Among the offerings subscribers to the free service receive each week, the BWO Agriculture Weather...

(Posted Fri. Jan 3rd, 2014)

Jan. 3: The National Corn Growers Association expressed its support for today’s announcement issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service that it will move forward with the process to deregulate a specific set of genetically engineered corn and soybean plants resistant to specific herbicides, including one known as 2,4-D. The agency stated that it would move to the next step in its regulatory process on January 10, when it will post the draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Federal Register for public comment.   “NCGA is pleased that the USDA is moving forward with the process necessary to deregulate these important products and anticipates the release of the draft EIS next week,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. “Furthermore, we urge APHIS to continue making progress toward the eventual deregulation of the three products under consideration. It is important that farmers have access to the...

(Posted Thu. Jan 2nd, 2014)

Jan. 2: The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Janelle Muehleisen, who joins the organization as a marketing administrative assistant in the St. Louis, Mo. office.  Muehleisen, who recently served as the Public Relations and Communications Specialist for non-profit Paraquad, a Center for Independent Living, will support staff in projects related to membership, NASCAR and grassroots activism.   “We are pleased that Janelle is joining our team, and we have already seen the depth of skill and enthusiasm she brings to her work over the past few weeks,” said NCGA Marketing Manager Joe Hodes.  “Janelle has extensive experience in the non-profit sector and well-honed organizational and communications skills that have allowed her to hit the ground running, already adding to the team in a positive, productive way that will benefit our efforts to maintain and create opportunities for U.S. corn farmers.”   Muehleisen is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in organizational...