NEWS STORIES

DECEMBER 2014

(Posted Wed. Dec 31st, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is accepting applications for the 2016 Corn Board, but interested members need to act quickly to meet the January 9 deadline. 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 plays 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 Corn Board empowers farmers and allows them to play an active role in shaping their industry and our collective future.”   The NCGA...

(Posted Tue. Dec 30th, 2014)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

This December, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team met in St. Louis to review the organization’s policy in their area of expertise, discuss progress on several ongoing programs and hear from industry representatives about upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of respecting refuge requirements and facilitate successful communication across the value-chain on their issues, the team will use their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “During the winter months, it can begin to feel like farmer leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings for a variety of agricultural groups,” said Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “As my involvement has increased, I have come to even-more fully appreciate...

(Posted Mon. Dec 29th, 2014)

When members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Grower Services Action Team met in St. Louis recently, they focused on the three traditional key areas of focus for the team, three areas where a lot of progress has been seen over the past year: membership, leadership and communications. Going into 2015, the team also sees great potential in these areas.   “Looking at the role our grower members have played in shaping the national dialogue on agriculture, the importance of building and engaging our base cannot be understated,” said Tom Haag, a Minnesota corn grower who serves as the team’s chairman. “We’ve seen a lot of success with our programs in the past, and this next year will offer many opportunities to expand our work.”   In the area of membership, Haag noted that NCGA reached a milestone in 2014, reaching a membership of more than 42,000 as growers saw the importance of NCGA’s work on the new farm bill and in building and defending markets for corn, such as...

(Posted Wed. Dec 24th, 2014)

Keywords: Ethanol

The Ethanol Committee of the National Corn Growers Association met in St. Louis recently to review current programs and initiatives related to domestically produced biofuels, get updates from ethanol industry experts and discuss strategy aimed at continued growth for corn-based fuel.   “Ethanol has been a huge success story for agriculture and rural America because of the economic stimulus it has created through increased corn demand and new jobs. For the general public it provides reduced greenhouse gas emissions, better performance and fuel choice,” said Committee Chair Jeff Sandborn, a farmer from Michigan. “Despite all of our success educationally and legislatively, what we have created is a great start not final destination.  We have 10% ethanol in virtually every gallon of fuel sold today but it will take a multidimensional approach to continue to grow the market for ethanol.”   The Ethanol Committee is investigating options to grow the ethanol market on many fronts...

(Posted Tue. Dec 23rd, 2014)

With temperatures dropping and snow falling across parts of the Corn Belt, volatile winter weather 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 occurring this winter sets the stage for spring and summer growing conditions,” said Tom Haag, chair of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team.  “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 Outlook will help farmers understand how much rain to expect, days in advance. The AWO is a...

(Posted Mon. Dec 22nd, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the approval of the Agrisure Viptera® trait, Event MIR162 for exports to China.   “We see this as an encouraging step in what needs to be an ongoing process,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder.  “For years, NCGA has advocated for synchronizing international approval processes and thus opening markets for farmers. We hope that progress toward this goal continues.”   This approval, which concludes a lengthy process, hopefully represents a positive step towards a more timely, predictable regulatory framework that protects U.S.-China agricultural trade. At the same time, a variety of other traits remain in the regulatory system without clear indication of the timeframe necessary to gain approval. Given this situation, NCGA hopes further progress towards a synchronized, predictable approval system continues.

(Posted Mon. Dec 22nd, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association today announced the participants of the 2015 class of its NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, now entering its second year of helping farming couples and individuals become better communicators and leaders. Thirty-five participants representing 16 states will be involved in the program next year.   “We’re pleased to see this important program continue for a second year with DuPont’s generous support,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president and a corn grower from Maryland. “NCGA has always believed that farmers themselves are the best leaders and spokespersons for agriculture, and this program is designed in particular for those just getting started in visible roles in the ag industry.”   “There are many challenges in the agriculture industry today that may be overcome by growers getting involved and telling their stories in Washington D.C., their state governments and local communities,” said Doug Dollison, Senior Manager Industry Relations, DuPont...

(Posted Fri. Dec 19th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association applauded an announcement by the United States and Chinese governments of a successful 2014 U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. “We see this as an encouraging first step in what needs to be an ongoing process,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder.  “For years, NCGA has advocated for synchronizing international approval processes and thus opening markets for farmers. We hope that progress toward this goal continues.” This announcement included a commitment to improve biotech approval policies through the establishment of a vice-ministerial Strategic Agricultural Innovation Dialogue.  Through these actions, the parties have demonstrated their desire to foster agricultural innovation and work towards a timely, predictable regulatory framework that protect U.S.-China agricultural trade.

Jon Doggett Named NCGA Executive Vice President

(Posted Fri. Dec 19th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association today announced the promotion of Jon Doggett to Executive Vice President, effective January 1.   In his new role, Doggett will lead efforts to expand NCGA’s alliances and strategic partnerships, and elevate its national profile. Doggett will continue to manage the organization’s 10-person Washington, DC office and lead its public policy efforts.   “Now, more than ever, corn farmers need to be expanding our reach to strengthen our alliances beyond the Beltway,” said NCGA CEO Chris Novak. “Jon Doggett is one of Washington’s smartest political minds, and has a track record of building solid political alliances in Washington. With the issues facing corn farmers today, Jon is the perfect person to lead efforts to grow our strategic alliances and tell the story of America’s corn farmers to a wider audience.”   Doggett has served as Vice President of Public Policy since July 2002, where he directs all aspects of NCGA efforts involving the...

(Posted Fri. Dec 19th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Randy Dowdy on being the first National Corn Yield Contest entrant to achieve a verified yield of more than 500 bushels per acre. With the 400 bushel per acre threshold crossed by only six entrants over the previous years, his accomplishment sets a new bar for years to come.   “While the contest does not award a single, national prize or have an overall winner, Dowdy’s accomplishment certainly deserves recognition,” said National Corn Yield Contest Manager Rachel Jungermann-Orf. “We congratulate him on this accomplishment and look forward to seeing further innovation from contest participants over the years to come.”   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 50th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2014 with 8,129 entries received.

(Posted Fri. Dec 19th, 2014)

Advanced production techniques, informed growing practices and improved seed varieties helped corn growers achieve high yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2014 National Corn Yield Contest. Entrants continued to far surpass the national average corn yield, setting a contest record with a new all-time high yield of 503 bushels per acre. Additionally, a record six national entries surpassed the 400-plus bushel per acre mark.    The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 50th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2014 with 8,129 entries received.   “While this contest provides individual growers a chance for good-natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming as a whole,” said Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis for widely used advances that help farmers across the country excel...

(Posted Thu. Dec 18th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee reminds members that it is 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 plays 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 Corn Board empowers farmers and allows them to play an active role in shaping their industry and our collective future.”   The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization...

(Posted Wed. Dec 17th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed President Obama’s announcement today that the United States and Cuba will seek to normalize relations between the two countries.   “Today’s announcement is good news for American corn farmers,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “We have long supported normalized trade relations with Cuba, as we seek to open markets and feed the world. We applaud the Administration for removing regulatory and financial barriers to trade with Cuba and leveling the playing field with other countries.”   Although the United States has allowed agricultural exports to Cuba since 2001, financing restrictions and other hurdles have limited the ability of U.S. agriculture to compete with other nations. U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba were valued at nearly $350 million in 2013, according to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.   “Cuba’s market of 11 million consumers represents a great opportunity to expand trade and increase exports for corn and...

(Posted Wed. Dec 17th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association today asked President Barack Obama to sign the tax extenders bill passed by the Senate Tuesday, but also urged broader tax reform in 2015.   “HR 5771 is an important but temporary first step to tax laws that allow farmers to reinvest in their operations. We urge the President to sign this bill into law,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling.   If signed by President Obama, the bill will retroactively extend a package of more than 50 expired tax breaks through the end of 2014. Included among them is the Section 179 provision, which maintains the expensing limitation at $500,000 per year and a 50 percent bonus accelerated depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets.   These provisions are particularly important to farm operations, which require a significant investment in machinery and equipment.   “A new tractor, grain bin, or pivot will be nice to have under the Christmas tree,” said Bowling. “But farmers shouldn’t have to wait...

(Posted Tue. Dec 16th, 2014)

With entry closed for the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest, the National Corn Growers Association reminds everyone to help select the submissions which best tell the story of farming and harvesting field corn in America. Through this contest, NCGA captured more than 400 high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. During the month of December, log-on and help pick the pics that will receive prizes.   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 from the Farm.   For more information on prizes and on these categories, click here.   It is important to note that the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest is specifically geared toward...

(Posted Mon. Dec 15th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board, Action Teams and Committees convened in St. Louis last week to delve into the issues and opportunities that will affect corn farmers across the country during the coming year.   Gaining information from presentations by leaders from industry, academia and government, the team members explored possible changes to team policies and activities that could help their respective programs improve efforts to create and maintain opportunities for growers.   Additionally, they reviewed NCGA’s strategic plan that governs the association’s policies and programs for the next several years.   “I was inspired by the dedication to agriculture that the farmer leaders showed as a whole and by the depth of subject area knowledge they brought to team discussions,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Maryland. “By dividing the variety of issues facing our industry into subject areas, we allow growers to delve more deeply into a...

(Posted Fri. Dec 12th, 2014)

The newest version of the Commodity Classic app for smartphones and tablets has been released, well in advance of the 20th Commodity Classic, to be held Feb. 26-28 in Phoenix, Ariz.  The new app, which can be downloaded via one's operating system’s app store, enables attendees to plan their entire schedule during Commodity Classic.   The app will be updated automatically and continually between now and the 2015 Commodity Classic, with fresh information on sponsors, trade show floor events, locations for sessions and exhibits, and other up-to-the-minute information.   The 20th edition of Commodity Classic—the nation's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show—opens in just 75 days in Phoenix, the site of the very first Commodity Classic in 1996.   Registration is now open for event.   "We expect to break a number of records in Phoenix in terms of both attendees and exhibitors as Commodity Classic returns to its roots," said soybean farmer Sam Butler of...

(Posted Thu. Dec 11th, 2014)

This holiday season, members of the National Corn Growers Association can save on travel expenses by using discounts available exclusively through NCGA. Through partnerships with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the exclusive NCGA Worldwide Hotel Discount Program, NCGA offers members valuable savings on car rentals and hotel bookings whether they travel across the country or even to many locations around the world.   “NCGA works hard to increase opportunities for farmers in the market place, but we also strive to offer a wide array of benefits to our members,” said NCGA Growers Service Action Team Chair Tom Haag. “Growers benefit from our work to grow the market for corn and maintain their freedom to operate, but we also want to provide special opportunities for our members that reward their support of our organization. Seeing friends and family makes the holidays a special time, and we want to provide discounts that make these magical moments more affordable.”   The exclusive NCGA...

(Posted Wed. Dec 10th, 2014)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture left corn production and demand estimates largely unchanged this month, only increasing demand for sweetener use by 10 million bushels. This slight increase brought the ending stocks estimate to just below 2 billion bushels in 2014.    “Corn farmers from across much of the country have shared accounts of bin-busting crops this year,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. “As they work to find storage for this record crop and deal with transportation issues in some areas, it is heartening to see demand rise. While this slight increase has not increased the prices farmers see yet, it is a step in the right direction. Working together through NCGA and our state associations, we can find innovative ways to grow markets and use this abundance to help our world meet a variety of challenges.”   USDA estimates record-setting total production at 14.4 billion bushels and a record national average yield of 173.4 bushels per acre....

(Posted Wed. Dec 10th, 2014)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health for holding a hearing today regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s role in regulating GMOs and the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The hearing serves to advance an ongoing open, transparent conversation about the importance of this technology both to farmers and consumers. Furthermore, it highlighted that a science-based federal solution to the labeling debate is necessary to provide all parties with the certainty that they need.   “With activist and special interest groups continually attempting to impose state-level measures that would lead to further confusion and increase grocery bills for American consumers, this hearing is an important step toward a real solution,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “Food labeling decisions should be left to scientific experts and not dictate by agenda-driven activists. We hope...

(Posted Tue. Dec 9th, 2014)

For the fourth year, the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program has awarded nine grants to researchers for projects focused on solving aflatoxin issues. These grants were designed by Southern corn checkoff boards to bring a unified approach to funding research projects across the region, and will thus favor research teams that include members from multiple states.   “For 2015, we received applications from a number of well-qualified parties, including many for ongoing research AMCOE funded in the past,” said AMCOE Chair Charles Ring, a corn grower in Texas. “The projects selected will certainly help provide real-world tools with which growers can combat aflatoxin issues. AMCOE and its affiliate states, working with the National Corn Growers Association, bring a unified approach to aflatoxin research that will yield results in a timely and more efficient manner. Working together, we can improve the tools available for aflatoxin control and get real results that...

(Posted Tue. Dec 9th, 2014)

This week, National Corn Growers Association CEO shared insights on the importance of balancing grower access to technology and export markets with the National Grain and Feed Association’s 43rd Annual Country Elevator Conference in Indianapolis, Ind. Novak’s presentation was part of the panel titled “Biotech Innovation and Protecting Market Access — Can They Be Compatible?”   Novak focused on the important role access to technology, particularly biotechnology, played in increased production by American corn farmers. Noting the anticipated record corn crop grown in 2014, he stressed the importance of both access to the tools needed create this abundance and to markets for the final product.   “Biotechnology has brought tremendous gains to farmers, consumers and the environment yet, at the same time, has been used to create market access barriers,” said Novak. “Farmers, grain companies and seed companies are working together today to find solutions to these market access...

(Posted Mon. Dec 8th, 2014)

With only days remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds interested students applications for ag college scholarships must be postmarked on or before Friday, December 12. NCGA and BASF Corporation offer these five $1,000 scholarships 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 NCGA William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or any year of graduate study, and they or a parent or...

(Posted Fri. Dec 5th, 2014)

In celebration of World Soil Day 2014, the Environmental Defense Fund ran a guest post authored by National Corn Growers Association Soil Health and Sustainability Manager Dr. Nick Goeser on its blog. The post discusses how healthy soil is the key ingredient in a resilient food supply.   “In order to ensure a resilient food supply, we need to protect productive soils and improve impaired soils by adopting best soil management practices,” Goeser wrote. “In addition, we need to keep in mind the time required to see improvements in soil health.”   To read the full post, click here.   World Soil Health Day, which was created by the United Nations General Assembly, creates awareness of the critical role healthy soil plays in the daily life of every person.   EDF selected Goeser to author this post due to both parties’ involvement in the Soil Health Partnership. SHP works to catalyze enhanced agricultural sustainability and productivity by demonstrating and communicating the...

(Posted Fri. Dec 5th, 2014)

This year’s predicted high-quality, record corn harvest is featured in the third segment of the U.S. Grains Council’s series chronicling the 2014 U.S. growing season, released this week.    The segment will be presented to international audiences in conjunction with the Council’s 2014/2015 Corn Harvest Quality Report, set to be released later this month.   To view the segment now, click here.   The video series examines the crop quality and growing conditions of U.S. corn growers in Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas and Ohio. The first video in the series focused on planting, and the second segment highlighted the outstanding weather in June and July for most farmers, which helped the crop progress quickly and created a good situation for pollination. This final segment reviews how harvest went for the same four farmers.   “The crop is very large and high quality in this area,” Nebraska farmer Dave Nielsen said. “We had really good growing conditions, which set us up for harvest....

(Posted Thu. Dec 4th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee reminds members that it is 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 plays 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 Corn Board empowers farmers and allows them to play an active role in shaping their industry and our collective future.”   The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization...

Appleton Joins NCGA Public Policy Department

(Posted Wed. Dec 3rd, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Brooke Appleton as director of public policy and political strategy. Appleton brings an excellent combination of experience on the Hill, strong analytical skills and a production agriculture background. In this new position, she will handle transportation issues, Title II of the farm bill and other lobbying duties. Additionally, she will coordinate the efforts of the NCGA lobbying staff, St. Louis-based grassroots program, state associations and the NCGA CornPAC while building and maintaining strategic alliances in Washington.   “Brooke is an incredibly valuable addition to our team, and we are excited utilizing her unique skillset in an innovative manner,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “She already has a wealth of experience interacting with the many stakeholders necessary to ensure the organization’s continued success. She will play a central role in shaping a forward-facing, cohesive strategy to address...

(Posted Tue. Dec 2nd, 2014)

Since its commercialization in 2003, Bt corn has—and still is—proving to be an important technology for the control of insect pests, higher yield production, and higher quality grain. In recent years, however, the western corn rootworm’s increasing resistance to Bt corn has caused some alarm.   Bt resistance has been confirmed to one or more Bt rootworm toxins in Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois, and scientists in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New York, South Dakota and Wisconsin also are reporting significant damage in fields planted to corn hybrids containing Bt rootworm toxins.   To help U.S. corn growers and consultants tackle this growing issue, Dr. Robert Wright, Research & Extension Entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, organized a seminar comprising five webcast presentations that focus on the many new and changing aspects of western corn rootworm management in the transgenic era.   This seminar, titled “Corn Rootworm in the Transgenic Era” is...

(Posted Mon. Dec 1st, 2014)

With entries now closed for the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest, the National Corn Growers Association invites everyone to help select the submissions which best tell the story of farming and harvesting field corn in America. Through this contest, NCGA captured more than 400 high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. During the month of December, log-on and help pick the pics that will receive prizes.   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 from the Farm.   For more information on prizes and on these categories, click here.   It is important to note that the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest is specifically geared...