NEWS STORIES

NOVEMBER 2014

(Posted Wed. Nov 26th, 2014)

Today, Off the Cob spoke with Dr. Gerry Neuffer, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, about his work on the mutants of maize and their importance for research.   Neuffer first explained how he his way to this sort of work.   “Every new mutant phenotype holds a key to understanding some important biological process,” Neuffer explained. “I discovered that the natural frequency of mutation in maize could be increased a thousand-fold by treating corn pollen with the chemical agent ethyl methylsulphonate in paraffin oil and, as a consequence, generated literally thousands of new mutants.  I saw in my mutant collection the potential for great advances in theoretical genetics, plant breeding, biology, medicine, and production agriculture. With the help of funding agencies, commercial...

(Posted Tue. Nov 25th, 2014)

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll’s feature length documentary, Farmland, is now available for rent and purchase via On Demand platforms – providing more people with the opportunity to view the film from their own homes and digital devices. The film’s move to digital platforms takes place this month, following a successful four-week run on Hulu.com and Hulu Plus.     Farmland is available for digital download via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand, Sony PlayStation, Vudu.com, Xbox and YouTube. The cost to download and own the film ranges from $14.99 to $19.99 for high definition and $12.99 to $14.99 for standard definition format. Online rental will cost approximately $4.99 to $7.99 for high definition and $3.99...

(Posted Tue. Nov 25th, 2014)

This holiday weekend, invest time applying for the opportunity to save money on next year’s college tuition. The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation are accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2015-16 school year.   “NCGA understands that to remain successful as an industry we must focus on education and keeping our best and brightest interested in ag,” said Tom Haag, chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “This program is an important component of NCGA’s commitment to fostering youth in agriculture and to the future of our rural communities.  It is an investment in not only their future but also our own.”   Applicants for the...

(Posted Mon. Nov 24th, 2014)

Keywords: Conservation

Four months into the creation of a presidential task force on pollinator health, the National Corn Growers Association has established itself as a leading voice for farmers in the discussion over how to ensure a healthy and robust population of honeybees and other pollinators.   Last week, Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team, spoke at the Pollinator Health Task Force’s public listening session outside Washington, DC.   “Although corn does not rely on bees or other pollinators, we recognize their importance to agriculture,” said Glenn. “It’s important for us to be at the table, as a voice for farmers, and engaging in a productive conservation about how to solve this challenge.”   The listening session was the latest in a series of activities from...

(Posted Fri. Nov 21st, 2014)

Keywords: Ethanol

The following is a statement from Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s EPA announcement related to the Renewable Fuel Standard:   “Today’s announcement by EPA shows the Administration recognizes the proposed rule was inherently flawed and based on an unworkable methodology.  We will continue to work with EPA to ensure that the 2014 and 2015 renewable fuel requirements are consistent with what Congress set forth in the Renewable Fuel Standard.   “Congress created the RFS to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers.  We will continue working to defend the interests of corn farmers and consumers by holding EPA accountable for implementing the law as enacted by...

(Posted Fri. Nov 21st, 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.   This week, Field Notes caught up with Brian Scott, an Indiana corn farmer who also authors the blog thefarmerslife.com. While harvest took longer than normal in 2014, the final outcome proved worth the wait.   “As far as corn goes, it was a record crop for our farm,” he said. “Prices have recovered here a little bit, so that helps. Now, we are just moving on to the next phase after...

(Posted Fri. Nov 21st, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association asks photographers and farmers to help tell the story of farming and harvesting 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. With only days remaining, interested participants are encouraged to log on and 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,...

(Posted Thu. Nov 20th, 2014)

There were more than snow flurries sprinkling the Midwest over the past few weeks. In Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana, the Soil Health Partnership was busy holding field days.   In Shelby, Nebraska, SHP demonstration farmer Greg Whitmore told farmers that he approaches soil health by asking himself, “What do I want to happen in specific field? Farmers should consider both the economics and environmental benefits of each soil management practice in their crop plan. One of the unique elements of this program is its emphasis on farmer-to-farmer gatherings that give us an opportunity to discuss what works and what doesn’t, what we can change and the time frame for changes.”   Whitmore also noted that water quantity looms high on a farmer’s list of challenges in Nebraska.   “The...

(Posted Wed. Nov 19th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association has extended the deadline for online harvest form submission for the 2014 National Corn Yield Contest. Due to the high volume of calls requesting  additional time in light of late harvest conditions in northern states, online submission will remain open until 5:00 p.m. Central time on December 5.  All harvest forms that will be submitted via the paper harvest form must be postmarked and mailed in November 21.  Paper forms postmarked after November 21 will not be accepted.   Please note, harvest forms and accompanying documentation for all plots harvested before November 21 must be submitted prior to the November 21 deadline.   “This extension has been granted as we understand that many growers have faced difficulties this harvest and value...

CommonGround Shares a Farm Perspective on Thanksgiving with Millions Nationwide

(Posted Wed. Nov 19th, 2014)

Keywords: CommonGround

While Americans are busy gobbling up 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, many don’t stop to think about where the food on their tables comes from. For the average American, Thanksgiving probably includes traveling, relaxing, indulging, football watching and spending time with family. However for farm families, the day probably starts and ends with chores, with a little bit of turkey in between.   The ingredients we use in our meals come from family farmers throughout the nation. These dedicated farm families make our safe, nutritious, not to mention, delicious Thanksgiving meals, and every other meal throughout the year possible.  In the United States 93 percent of the 2.1 million farms are family owned and operated.  And while only one percent of...

(Posted Tue. Nov 18th, 2014)

In a letter sent Monday, the National Corn Growers Association joined more than 40 agricultural groups asking Senate and House leaders to renew important tax provisions during the lame-duck session.   The letter (available at this link) specifically focuses on Section 179, an expired tax provision relating to capital expenditures and bonus depreciation.   “Farmers and ranchers place great value on tax code provisions such as Section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation. Section 179 allows them to write off capital expenditures in the year that purchases are made rather than depreciate them over time,” the letter states. “The ability to immediately expense substantial capital purchases also provides an incentive for farmers and ranchers to invest in their...

Hodes Takes Helm as NCGA Director of Development

(Posted Mon. Nov 17th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association announces that Joe Hodes is the new director of development for the organization, stepping up from his role as marketing manager, where he has served for seven years. In this new role, he will oversee the organization’s development, industry relations, grassroots advocacy and membership service functions, including serving as staff lead for the Grower Services Action Team and the NCGA Agri-Industry Council.   “Joe has an outstanding track record during his seven years at NCGA,” said Fred Stemme, vice president, marketing. “We’re excited to see what the next chapter in his NCGA career will bring.”   In his career at NCGA, Hodes managed Leadership Academy, developed the Advanced Leadership training and the Corn Farmers Action Network grassroots programs...

(Posted Mon. Nov 17th, 2014)

Commodity Classic registration and housing reservations open online at 9 a.m. CST on Tuesday morning, November 18, 2014. Rooms are expected to book quickly, so those interested should register as soon as possible.   The 20th annual farmer-focused, farmer-led event is scheduled for Feb. 26-28, 2015, at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Ariz. The convention center will house all Commodity Classic events, including the Opening Reception, General Session, Evening of Entertainment, Trade Show, Learning Center Sessions and What’s New Sessions.   “We’re looking forward to a great show as we celebrate the 20th Commodity Classic in the city where it all started,” said NCGA Commodity Classic Co-Chair Bart Schott. “This is going to be a terrific event where growers can blaze a...

(Posted Fri. Nov 14th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in response to the proposed rule by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to define "Waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act.   "We appreciate efforts to bring greater clarity and certainty to the understanding of what are waters of the U.S. Unfortunately, this proposed rule provides neither," said NCGA President Chip Bowling.   "This rule will adversely impact more than 300,000 corn farmers. As it is currently written, the financial and practical consequences for farmers are unacceptable," said Bowling.   Bowling emphasized that NCGA has and will continue to work with the EPA to create a fair and workable rule. In October, Bowling hosted nearly a dozen EPA staffers at...

(Posted Fri. Nov 14th, 2014)

The Soil Health Partnership will hold two free field days next week in Illinois showcasing how healthy soils sustain higher yields. Topics of discussion will include Illinois Corn Growers Association research and programs of interest to each field day location, updates on local conservation programs, the benefits of soil health and advanced nutrient management, cover crop integration in corn systems and new equipment for seeding cover crops.   In Auburn, Illinois, on Monday, Nov. 17, Tim Seifert and Dave Moose will host a field day that begins at 9 a.m. on the Seifert farm, 6600 Auburn Road and continue until 1:45 p.m. at Dave Moose’s farm, 14650 Bab Road.   Leon and Craig Corzine will host a field day Tuesday, Nov. 18, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall, 201 Saint Peter Street in...

(Posted Fri. Nov 14th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds entrants to submit harvest forms for the 2014 National Corn Yield Contest as only one week remains until the final deadline. Please note, entrants are asked to report within seven days of their final yield check or by Nov. 21, whichever comes first.   “We ask that contest entrants remember the importance of submitting harvest forms within one week of their final yield check to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Don Glenn, a farmer from Alabama. “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...

(Posted Thu. Nov 13th, 2014)

Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association took part in the annual meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting this week, engaging in numerous interviews with farm radio and other reporters that centered along a common theme – the challenges growers are facing with 2014’s record corn crop.   “With two record crops in a row, corn farmers are seeing prices below the cost of production,” NCGA President Chip Bowling said. “This is exactly the reason NCGA pushed reforms in the last farm bill: So we would have a market-based safety net when needed. And in the face of these record crops, we’re committed to building profitable corn demand in three key areas: Ethanol, exports and livestock. At the same time, we will continue to seek to remove roadblocks to farming...

(Posted Thu. Nov 13th, 2014)

A coalition of major farm organizations and agriculture technology providers today announced an agreement on data privacy and security principles that will encourage the use and development of a full range of innovative, technology-driven tools and services to boost the productivity, efficiency and profitability of American agriculture.   “NCGA strongly believes that farmers are the sole owners of data gathered through precision farming practices,” said NCGA First Vice President Rob Elliott. “This information should not be used, released, or sold without the farmer’s consent, and this coalition is an important first step in addressing how farmers and ag tech providers will handle farm-generated data. NCGA will continue to be an active participant in industry-wide discussions about data protocols...

(Posted Wed. Nov 12th, 2014)

The Soil Health Partnership holds its first Indiana field day on Tuesday, November 18.  Corn farmers Brent Bible and Brandon Mosely will host area growers, soil health experts and neighbors at the Darlington Conservation Club, 6342 North 700 East in Darlington, Indiana.   The morning agenda includes an update of Indiana Corn Growers Association and Marketing Board research and programs pertaining to soil health. In addition to getting information about what techniques work for Brent Bible and Brandon Mosely on their farms, participants will hear about new technologies and management practices for improved soil health from farmer Mike Shuter and consultants Dave Swaim and Brad Brubaker. Brock Farrrell of Crop Protection Services will also present information on advanced nutrient management...

(Posted Wed. Nov 12th, 2014)

Last week, National Corn Growers Association Soil Health and Sustainability Manager Dr. Nick Goeser introduced the Joint International Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America to the work and mission of the Soil Health Partnership. Over the course of two main presentations and through an exhibition booth, Goeser explained this exciting project, the demonstration farm network and its research value to an engaged audience of scientist from around the globe.   Titled “Grand Challenges, Great Solutions,” the conference brought together more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators, and students to share ideas across a wide number of topics to improve farmer...

(Posted Mon. Nov 10th, 2014)

Keywords: Transportation

In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday, the National Corn Growers Association urged the Army Corps to delay its planned mat-laying work along the Mississippi River and reopen the river to traffic.   On Friday morning, the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division closed the Mississippi River to daylight traffic for a three-mile stretch near Memphis. The closure is expected to last 14 days. According to the Corps, the resulting delays of barge traffic were running about 10 hours over the weekend.   “This comes at a terrible time for U.S. corn farmers,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “We produced a record crop in 2014, much of which will be transported along the Mississippi River. It is imperative that barge traffic not be impeded, and as much grain as possible is transported...

(Posted Mon. Nov 10th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the inclusion of biotechnology on the agenda at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit this week in China.   During the summit, President Obama is expected to press Chinese President Xi Jinpig on delays in approving biotechnology traits for corn and other commodities.   “Biotechnology is important to U.S. corn farmers, allowing them to increase yields and reduce their environmental impact,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder. “China could be an important market for U.S. corn, but without timely approval of new biotechnology products, trade becomes unpredictable.”   NCGA joined 12 other farming and agribusiness organizations in signing a Sept. 30 letter to Obama requesting biotech approval to be a central focus of the summit agenda. Click here for the letter.      

(Posted Mon. Nov 10th, 2014)

With harvest underway at a slower pace amid a set of weather challenges, The U.S. Department of Agriculture slightly lowered expected corn production this year, to 14.4 billion bushels. While this is slightly lower than last month’s report, it still represents a 3 percent increase over 2013. Yield was reduced to 173.4 bushels per acre.   Both yield and production remain at record levels, the National Corn Growers Association said.   “We’ve had many reports of bin-busting harvests throughout the heartland,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. “As farmers are working to find storage for record crops and dealing in some areas with transportation issues, we’re delighted to see a slight increase in demand and reduction in forecast ending stocks. Along with this, we’re seeing...

(Posted Mon. Nov 10th, 2014)

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance will bring the voices of farmers and ranchers to the New York Times Food for Tomorrow conference, hosting a breakfast and panel discussion on Wednesday, Nov. 12, titled “Big Ag, Big Food: How Being Good for the Environment Is Not about Size.”   “USFRA is excited to have the opportunity to add the perspectives of farmers and ranchers on our panels to this important gathering of food minds,” said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer of USFRA. “During the discussion, panelists will have the opportunity to share their point of view on the role sustainability plays in today’s production practices. Our organization was created to give the trusted voice of modern agriculturalists the opportunity to lead the discussion about how food is grown...

(Posted Fri. Nov 7th, 2014)

In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today, the National Corn Growers Association urged the Army Corps to delay its planned mat-laying work along the Mississippi River.   “This comes at a terrible time for U.S. corn farmers,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “We produced a record crop in 2014, much of which will be transported along the Mississippi River. It is imperative that barge traffic not be impeded, and as much grain as possible is transported before winter.”   In the letter, NCGA notes that the closure is being done with little notice, and it will result in significant delays of grain shipments.   Read the full letter here.

(Posted Fri. Nov 7th, 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 April Hemmes, a farmer from north central Iowa. While USDA reports indicated earlier this week that Iowa was running behind the five-year average in acres harvested, Hemmes noted that things are moving along there.   “We had a good run this week,” said Hemmes. “I know that a lot of farmers are still out there working. Actually, I just saw a guy near me out getting started for...

(Posted Fri. Nov 7th, 2014)

Keywords: Ethanol

In a letter sent to President Obama this week, the National Corn Growers Association and several agricultural allies asked him to intervene with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding its proposed cuts in the 2014 volume obligations for the Renewable Fuel Standard.   “The blending targets and the methodology in your administration’s proposed rule are already causing significant harm to the biofuel sector,” the letter states. “These impacts are reverberating throughout the U.S. agriculture economy, and we expect this trend to continue if the targets and the methodology in the rule are not corrected.”   The letter discusses how the ag sector has met its responsibility in growing sufficient feedstock for biofuels, but is also working with the ethanol industry on...

(Posted Fri. Nov 7th, 2014)

Keywords: Conservation Production

The National Corn Growers Association urges all farmers to contact EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy advocating for a revision of the proposed Waters of the U.S. rulemaking by the deadline of Friday, November 14.   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...

(Posted Thu. Nov 6th, 2014)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

The Soil Health Partnership holds its first Nebraska field day on Wednesday, November 12.  Corn farmer Greg Whitmore will host area growers, soil health experts and neighbors at the Central Valley Ag in Shelby, Nebraska.   The morning agenda includes an update of Nebraska Corn Growers Association research and programs pertaining to soil health. Participants will also hear from Dr. Nicholas Goeser, NCGA manager for Soil Health and Sustainability, on productivity, profitability and environmental outcomes related to soil health on your farm. Quentin Cooksley of Hagie Manufacturing Company will present on seeding technologies for cover crops, followed by Mike Zwingmen, Central Valley Ag’s Lead Analyst of Agronomy Research, speaking on their programming and research efforts in soil...

(Posted Wed. Nov 5th, 2014)

The following is a statement from Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association:   "Washington may look different come January, but fundamentally, things have not really changed. There is no sign that the gridlock of the past few years will diminish. Like many Americans, corn farmers are frustrated that their voices go unheard and so little gets done. We welcome both new and returning Members of Congress back to Washington, and we urge them to set aside partisan politics and meet their obligation to conduct the nation's business."

(Posted Tue. Nov 4th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from members for the 2016 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization’s leadership.  Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.   “Through my years on the Corn Board, I have enjoyed working the talented, dedicated volunteers who step forward to lead this organization,” said NCGA Chairman and Nominating Committee Chair Martin Barbre. “The willingness of farmers to step forward as volunteer leaders is crucial to NCGA’s continued success. A true grassroots organization, NCGA relies upon farmers to volunteer for leadership, helping to shape policy and drive efforts. Serving on the...

(Posted Mon. Nov 3rd, 2014)

NCGA president Chip Bowling hosted nearly a dozen Environmental Protection Agency staffers including several senior officials from the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds for a tour and informative session Friday at his farm in southern Maryland.   The visit was part of a series of meetings between NCGA and the EPA connected to the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. Bowling was joined by NCGA CEO Chris Novak and Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett.   “We wanted to give them a view of what actually happens on the farm,” said Bowling. “Our members have a lot of uncertainty and concerns with the proposed rules. We are working with the EPA to ensure that the final proposal provides clarity and addresses those concerns.”   During the tour, EPA staff were shown areas that could be...

(Posted Mon. Nov 3rd, 2014)

With a slower-than-average harvest this year that is keeping many farmers in their combines, the National Corn Growers Association urges growers to take time on Tuesday to go to their polling places and think about the many ways decisions made by elected officials impact them on the farm.   “Whether they are based in Washington or your local city hall, those in office or those seeking office need to be held accountable and need to hear from voters,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. “Especially with this being a mid-term election, we have the chance to elect many fine men and women into Congress who understand our concerns and the importance of supporting farmers with sound policy and regulations that protect or build markets for our products here and abroad.”   Bowling mentioned the...