NEWS STORIES

AUGUST 2014

(Posted Fri. Aug 29th, 2014)

Keywords: Research

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board today announced that Fargo, N.D., will be the site of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. The final decision follows careful deliberations by the site selection committee, who visited Illinois and North Dakota to assess the possibility of locating the center in either Decatur or Fargo, and NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team.   “This is a first-time-ever, huge step for a farmer-led association that gives growers more influence on research agendas,” said Dr. Richard Vierling, director of research at NCGA. “This can help growers increase production and lower costs. We’re really excited about Fargo and the commitment from the many forward-thinking people involved in this project. The commitment from...

(Posted Fri. Aug 29th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Jennie Schmidt, a CommonGround volunteer, registered dietitian, blogger and farmer in Maryland. Schmidt, who grows a variety of vegetables and grains in addition to corn, explained that corn has not matured at an average pace in her area.   “Right now, I would say that we are on the cusp of just starting to mature,” said Schmidt. “The majority of the crop is...

(Posted Fri. Aug 29th, 2014)

Keywords: Sustainability

Growers looking for insight in improving soil health are invited to the Soil Health Partnership’s first Demonstration Farm Field Day, to be held Wednesday, Sept. 10, near Lu Verne, Iowa.   Featured topics include cover crop integration in corn systems, the benefits of soil health and advanced nutrient management, and hands-on field demonstrations with new equipment for seeding cover crops.   The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with breakfast and lunch provided, and will be held regardless of weather conditions. The location is 1506 190th Ave., north of Lu Verne and southeast of Algona, Iowa.   The next field day events are scheduled for Sept. 15 and 16, in Forrest and Decatur, Illinois.   The mission of the Soil Health Partnership is to catalyze enhanced agricultural...

(Posted Thu. Aug 28th, 2014)

As farmers across the country preparing to hit the fields in their combines, the National Corn Growers Association urges all growers to remember the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. To help increase awareness of this important topic, NCGA offers a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures and reviewing helpful guidelines.   Click here to view the video.   First released in 2011 by NCGA and the National Grain and Feed Foundation, 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...

(Posted Wed. Aug 27th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Bill

Those who missed the webinar on risk management options created under the 2014 farm bill recently hosted by the National Corn Growers Association and DTN can now access the information presented online.   To view a recording of the webinar, click here. (Note: Registration is required to view the recording, but there is no cost to attend.) To download a PDF of the presentation, click here.    “ARC or PLC Choices: Which Farm Bill Contingency Plan Is Right for You?” featured insights from economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, who explained the new programs and fielded questions from attendees.   Farmers will need to update their base acres at the Farm Service Agency office in the coming months....

(Posted Tue. Aug 26th, 2014)

National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Chip Bowling took advantage of one of the nation’s largest farm shows to talk about the important actions that must be taken by the federal government to shore up markets for the record 15.2 billion bushel corn crop anticipated in 2014.   “Farmers like to grow good crops. We remember the years we struggled, as many of us did just back in 2012 with the drought. We also like to sell our crops at a good price so we can leave our farms to future generations in better shape,” said Bowling at the Farm Progress Show currently underway in Boone, Iowa. “As thrilled as we are with a record crop, we know it has its challenges, but there are a few simple actions Washington can take that will keep the situation from becoming much...

(Posted Mon. Aug 25th, 2014)

The corn crop condition improved by slight margins according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Report released today. With 73 percent of the crop rated good or excellent (as of August 24), corn maturation remains on-pace overall while quality continues to far surpass that seen in 2013, when only 59 percent remained in good-to-excellent condition at this time.   “As harvest draws closer, the crop quality reports remain impressively strong,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a farmer in Illinois. “Yet, corn farmers continue to see a decline in the price that will be paid for their potentially record crop. For some, current market conditions could result in prices possibly below that of production. We have done the work in the fields; we must now do work to build markets. We...

(Posted Mon. Aug 25th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

A team of national news reporters and key opinion leaders from Japan visited the United States recently to learn about the latest developments in biotechnology, gaining accurate information and first-hand observations to share with interested audiences back home.   “Japan has a good record on managing biotechnology, including event approvals,” said Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan, who accompanied the group. “The Council wants to maintain that status, and transparency is important. The best way to build confidence is to let the public know that technology providers and growers have an open door, and to answer questions as they arise.”  Japan is among the world’s leaders in developing timely, science-based and transparent regulatory systems for biotechnology trait...

(Posted Fri. Aug 22nd, 2014)

National Corn Growers Association officers and senior staff gathered this week in Idaho for the biannual NCGA Agri-Industry Council meeting. Here, representatives of 12 leading agribusinesses discussed vital issues facing agriculture, shared information on their companies and sectors, heard from recognized speakers and learned about NCGA’s current initiatives. Established in 2007, the Agri-Industry Council facilitates dialogue between agribusinesses and NCGA to collectively address issues of mutual concern.   “NCGA’s AIC plays an important role in bringing key leaders from across the value chain together. Through open dialogue, we can all move forward with a better understanding of the big picture and coordinate to build a brighter future,” said NCGA Chairwoman Pam...

(Posted Fri. Aug 22nd, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Adam Bell, a member of the inaugural class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program and farmer in western Kentucky. In the Mississippi River Basin, Bell farms about 2,000 acres primarily using no-till methods because he desires to do his part in implementing conservation practices in his work.   With harvest approaching more quickly than he would prefer, Bell describes...

(Posted Thu. Aug 21st, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

On Thursday, the National Corn Growers Association and DTN hosted a webinar about new risk management options created under the 2014 farm bill, offering growers and landowners an early look into what the new programs will mean for them over the next five years.   Nearly 700 people signed up for the webinar. An archive of the audio, as well as printable materials, will be available on DTN’s website in the coming days. NCGA will send links to these materials when they become available.   “ARC or PLC choices: Which Farm Bill Contingency Plan Is Right for You?” featured insights from economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, who explained the new programs and fielded questions from attendees. DTN executive...

(Posted Thu. Aug 21st, 2014)

CommonGround launched an updated listing of volunteers and accompanying biographical information on findourcommonground.com this week. The improved Your Community section offers background on 75 female farmers from 16 states as well as ways to interact and share questions about food and farming through social media.   To find out more about the CommonGround volunteers in your community, click here.   CommonGround is a joint program of the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates. Through the work of farm women volunteers, CommonGround connects women on and off the farm for conversations about how food is grown and raised so that everyone can enjoy food without the fear.   Want to join the CommonGround conversation? Stay tuned...

(Posted Wed. Aug 20th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program.  The program is designed for corn growers who are newly active in agriculture and have expressed interest in building upon their skills so they can better serve local, state and national stakeholders.   “It’s important that farmers become strong leaders and spokespersons for American agriculture,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a corn grower from Illinois. “We’re grateful to DuPont for its support, and we’re proud of the men and women who joined this program for the first class, and we’ve already seen them doing some great things. Now, we’re actively looking for more couples and individuals to get involved in this dynamic new program.”   Ideal...

(Posted Wed. Aug 20th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association continues to accept applications from members interested in working on an NCGA action team or committee in the 2015 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 Chip Bowling. “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 Tue. Aug 19th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

This winter, farmers and landowners will need to make important, one-time decisions about risk coverage packages authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill.   To help growers and landowners understand their options and choose the right fit for their situation, DTN and the National Corn Growers Association are hosting a free webinar this Thursday, Aug. 21, at 9 a.m. CDT.   The webinar will be hosted by DTN executive editor Marcia Taylor and include presentations from economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois.   “It’s very important for farmers to understand the ramifications of one-time program decisions that will affect their farms for years to come,” said Jim Reed, an Illinois corn grower and chair of...

(Posted Mon. Aug 18th, 2014)

The corn crop remains in strong condition according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Report released today. With 72 percent of the crop rated good or excellent (as of August 17), corn maturation remains on-pace overall while quality continues to far surpass that seen in 2013, when only 61 percent remained in good to excellent condition at this time.   “Overall, the vast majority of corn growers see a corn crop in their fields that is well above average,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a farmer in Illinois. “Because corn farmers are expected to excel this year, producing quality crops in abundance, we have seen a decline in the price paid back to us. In some instances, the price now has fallen below that of production. This is a critical moment for farmers. We must...

(Posted Mon. Aug 18th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

The United States is on track to capture more than 95 percent of Colombia’s 141 million bushel corn market this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31. This is a dramatic turn-around from 2013 exports of just 25 million bushels to that country. “The trend that we are seeing clearly illustrates both why the National Corn Growers Association’s work in promoting trade agreements benefits U.S. corn farmers and the effectiveness of its work in collaboration with the U.S. Grains Council,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Wisconsin. “Together, NCGA and USGC can affect real change by promoting policies that open markets and building the relationships that capitalize on said policies. While this work may seem ephemeral, the impact on corn demand has very...

(Posted Fri. Aug 15th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Texas farmer Jay Beckhusen, who farms an hour outside of Austin. Already more than a week into harvest, Beckhusen gives first look at what the 2014 corn crop looks like in his fields.   “Yields have been varying from 100 to 150 bushels per acre. I understand that some places near here are hitting 170 to 180 bushels per acre,” said Beckhusen. “These are very good yields for...

Up-and-Coming Grower Leaders Get Taste of Leadership at Its Best

(Posted Thu. Aug 14th, 2014)

Growers are gathered today in Greensboro, N.C. for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 16 aspiring leaders from 10 states and covers a broad swath of the nation with participants from as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 28 years.   At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from President Martin Barbre, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Barbre also provided an insightful examination of the main issues facing the association, and the nation’s corn farmers, today.   The farmers attending took part in media training and public speaking...

(Posted Thu. Aug 14th, 2014)

Keywords: Farm Policy

One week from today, farmers and landowners are invited to attend a free DTN webinar, co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association, that will help them choose the right farm bill risk coverage package in the months ahead.   “It’s very important for farmers to understand the ramifications of one-time program decisions that will affect their farms for years to come,” said Jim Reed, an Illinois corn grower and chair of NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team. “We’re proud of NCGA’s work on federal legislation with a program like Ag Risk Coverage to provide a smart and cost-efficient, market-based approach to managing risk.”   Later this winter, farmers will make a one-time choice of which farm program safety net they favor when prices and/or yields hit adversity. Price Loss...

(Posted Thu. Aug 14th, 2014)

Keywords: Conservation

Tomorrow is the deadline for the National Corn Growers Association’s Good Steward Recognition nominations. State affiliates are urged to submit qualified growers dedicated to production standards that deliver high sustainable yields with extraordinary conservation and environmental benefits.     NCGA will again recognize and present a $10,000 cash award to an individual corn grower who demonstrates the economic and conservation value of soil management at our awards banquet during Commodity Classic, February 27, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona. Selection of the Good Steward Recognition will be made by experts in the field of agricultural conservation, environment and sustainability.   Click here for the nomination form, and to review recognition qualifications and submission directions. Entries are due 5 p.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 15.

(Posted Wed. Aug 13th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds all farmers that they are urged to contact EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy advocating for a revision of the proposed Waters of the U.S. rulemaking.   As proposed, this rule would significantly expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and would only further muddy the waters for farmers seeking clarity as to what is and what is not subject to federal regulation. NCGA has many serious concerns regarding the impact the proposed rule could have on U.S. farmers.  NCGA's concerns fall into four main areas:    Farmers will face tremendous uncertainty because of the way the rule defines what is a tributary and what is an adjacent water subject to the Clean Water Act.  The proposed rule represents a significant expansion of federal Clean Water...

(Posted Tue. Aug 12th, 2014)

With the U.S. Department of Agriculture today estimating a record corn supply of 15.2 billion bushels this coming year, the National Corn Growers Association is keeping a close eye on prices and pushing back against efforts that will reduce demand for the bountiful supply.   “Now is not the time for our federal policymakers to be cutting into the ethanol standard, imposing undue regulations or going slow on trade agreements,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “Our farmers are doing their part, working hard and smart on their farms to bring in a good crop. It’s time Washington removed obstacles and cleared a path so we can sell America’s biggest and most versatile crop at a good and fair price.”   In its crop production and supply-and-demand reports released today, USDA estimated a...

(Posted Tue. Aug 12th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Sara Neagu, who joins the organization as the legislative assistant for the Washington office. Neagu brings experience in public policy and government relations to the position.   “We are excited to welcome Sara to NCGA,” said Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “Her background in government relations and public policy will bring valuable insight to the team.”   Neagu joins NCGA after previously serving as district representative for a member of Congress. She has also worked as a government relations assistant for Del Monte Foods, has worked on political campaigns and as an intern for various federal and state government offices.   Neagu graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco, receiving a bachelor’s degree in politics.  

(Posted Mon. Aug 11th, 2014)

With the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s important crop production and supply-and-demand reports due to come out Tuesday, the weekly crop progress report released today shows that corn is holding steady, with 73 percent of the crop rated good or excellent (as of August 10), 20 percent fair and 7 percent poor or very poor. Last year at this time, 64 percent of the corn crop was rated good or excellent.   “Except for a few areas, corn growers are seeing a good crop come in,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a corn grower in Illinois. “This perceived abundance can drive corn prices down even further, below the cost of production in some cases. And this is why it’s critically important that we not take any action that negatively impacts the markets for corn any further, such as cutting...

(Posted Fri. Aug 8th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Iowa farmer April Hemmes, who farms in the north central part of the state.   “Yesterday, we got a nice soft half-inch rain over the course of the day,” said Hemmes. “It was just what the doctor ordered, because we were getting desperately dry. The corn was even turning a bit yellow in some areas. I have heard that southern Iowa got four or five inches of rain in some parts,...

(Posted Fri. Aug 8th, 2014)

Keywords: Research

This week, the National Corn Growers Association National Agricultural Genotyping Center site selection committee visited Illinois and North Dakota to assess the possibility of locating the center in either the DeKalb or Fargo area.   The visits were arranged following a July vote taken by NCGA’s Research and Business Development Team narrowing the final list of site location proposals under consideration. Carefully scrutinizing a number of factors, team members will now issue reports back to the Research and Business Development Action Team, which will chose the winning proposal and submit their recommendation to the Corn Board.   The team, which includes Richard Vierling, Pete Snyder, Bob Bowman, Bob Timmons, Phil Gordon and Chad Willis, was chosen to conduct these visits by the greater...

(Posted Thu. Aug 7th, 2014)

Helping farmers and landowners choose the right farm bill risk coverage package in the months ahead will be the topic of a free DTN webinar Aug. 21, co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association.   “It’s very important for farmers to understand the ramifications of one-time program decisions that will affect their farms for years to come,” said Jim Reed, an Illinois corn grower and chair of NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team. “We’re proud of NCGA’s work on federal legislation with a program like Ag Risk Coverage to provide a smart and cost-efficient, market-based approach to managing risk.”   Later this winter, farmers will make a one-time choice of which farm program safety net they favor when prices and/or yields hit adversity. Production Loss Coverage is a...

(Posted Wed. Aug 6th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association asks photographers to help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the first annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest opened in June, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2014.   Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for a $500 grand prize. Entries will also be considered for prizes with cash awards for the top three entries in five categories including: Farm Family Lifestyle, Farming Challenges, Growing Field Corn, Scenery/Landscape, and Still Life...

(Posted Wed. Aug 6th, 2014)

In preparation for implementing commodity programs in the 2014 farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency recently announced that farmers should start receiving notices to update FSA on their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history.   “As farmers begin to make critical decisions about farm safety net programs, it’s important that they have the correct information. This is good due diligence on the part of FSA,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a farmer from Carmi, Ill. “We applaud USDA’s implementation of important risk management programs and encourage producers to take a few minutes to work with county FSA officials to verify their records at the FSA office.”   The 2014 farm bill created two new programs to help farmers manage their risks, the...

(Posted Tue. Aug 5th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association hosted a team interested in U.S. agricultural trade and food safety today for discussions on the role of research and biotechnology in U.S. agriculture. In addition to the broader overall discussion, NCGA staff answered policy questions related to U.S. public policy in regards to food as well as inquiries about sustainability efforts.   “We are always glad to welcome international delegations seeking to better understand farming in the United States,” said NCGA Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels. “The open discussions and productive dialogue provided an accurate, honest portrayal of American agriculture that will certainly be amplified as the visitors share their perspective back home.”   The delegation...

(Posted Mon. Aug 4th, 2014)

Keywords: ethanol

American Ethanol spokesman Austin Dillon made a diversion on his way to racing for a slot in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Championship this weekend, and the shortcut in Pocono landed him another trophy for his collection. Dillon, who finds himself in a real tussle for rookie of the year honors in NASCAR’s top division, did a little warm-up race in the Camping World Truck Series Saturday where he smoked his tires right into Victory Lane. The feat accomplished three things: it reminded people how the rising race star got to be the truck champion in 2010; the win in a Chevy truck ended Toyota’s 12-race winning streak in the series; and it showcased American Ethanol, which was displayed on the side of his truck. Dillon scored his sixth career Truck Series win by surviving a green-white-checkered finish. Ethanol...

(Posted Mon. Aug 4th, 2014)

For the sixth time in seven months, the National Corn Growers Association set a membership record with 42,100 on the rolls at the close of July. The new record surpasses that set in June, with 41,185 active members at that month’s close.   “2014 has certainly been an incredible year for NCGA in terms of membership thus far,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “It is energizing to see our rolls grow as farmers take an active role in shaping their future together. With major issues surrounding the RFS, farm bill implementation and pending regulations on the horizon, we will need the strength of all of our members, the true grassroots, to continue pushing us to greater heights year after year.”    NCGA has members across the contiguous United States and works in cooperation with grower...

NCGA Welcomes New Communications Manager in Washington

(Posted Mon. Aug 4th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Jennifer Myers who joins the organization as the Communications Manager based in the Washington office.  Myers brings a decade of experience in both political and consumer-facing communications and media research to the position.   “We are excited to welcome Jennifer, who we know will be an incredible asset to our team,” said Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “A skilled communicator with a wealth of experience, she offers a fresh perspective on the way in which we approach talking about our issues. I am confident that, working together, we can continue to find new and innovative ways to create opportunities for U.S. corn farmers.”   Myers most recently worked for Edelman as a senior account supervisor based out of Washington....

(Posted Fri. Aug 1st, 2014)

By National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre   Sometimes, it is necessary to respond to inaccurate stories in the media. I submitted the following response to NPR’s The Salt Blog today in an attempt to correct misinformation in the recent post “When China Spurns GMO Corn, American Farmers Lose Billions”:   We would like to express serious concern over your recent story “When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions.” In its portrayal of the current situation involving corn exports to China, the piece misrepresented biotechnology, and Syngenta in particular, as the problem in this situation. This is clearly not the case.   For many years, when China had a need for U.S. corn imports, it did not take issue with biotechnology. While asynchronous and thus...

(Posted Fri. Aug 1st, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association urges state corn grower organizations to identify qualifying individuals within their ranks, and submit them as nominees for the Good Steward Recognition.   “U.S. production agriculture has a bounty of individual growers dedicated to production standards that deliver high, sustainable yields with extraordinary conservation and environmental benefits,” said Don Glenn, NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team chairman.  “It is important for us to spotlight the accomplishments of these folks so their successes can be adopted by others.”   NCGA will again recognize and present a $10,000 cash award to an individual corn grower who demonstrates the economic and conservation value of soil management at Commodity Classic in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 26-28,...