NEWS STORIES

FEBRUARY 2015

(Posted Fri. Feb 27th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association released a video today offering tips from perennial high-yield entrants of the National Corn Yield Contest during a breakfast at Commodity Classic in Phoenix honoring the state winners of the 2014 contest.  The new video, which accompanies the traditional online NCYC Guide, offers farmers across the country a chance to apply the tips learned through the contest to their own operations to improve their yields and their bottom line.   To view the video, click here.   “The contest not only affords an opportunity for farmers to test their skill against their peers, it also provides NCGA with a significant amount of information about cutting-edge production practices that all farmers might find useful,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Chair Don Glenn. “NCGA has always looked for new and innovative ways to use this data, sharing the lessons learned with corn farmers. The video provides a quick, simple way for interested farmers to discover...

NCGA Past President: Diversity Makes Us a Better Industry

(Posted Fri. Feb 27th, 2015)

Speaking on a panel of female, minority, veteran, and young farmers at Commodity Classic, National Corn Growers Association Past President Pam Johnson on Thursday highlighted the importance of diversity to the agricultural industry.   "As an industry, we are better when we are diverse,” Johnson said. “We make better connections with the people we are trying to engage when we look like them. We are better today than when I started in this business, but we still need to improve.”   Johnson is an Iowa farmer who served as the first female president of the National Corn Growers Association. The panel discussion was organized by USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, and moderated by POLITICO's Jenny Hopkinson.   “Diversity is a strength, and our industry needs to reflect our population,” said Harden. “This isn't about being a farmer. This is about being a leader.”   Johnson encouraged women and minority farmers to step into leadership roles within their industry...

(Posted Thu. Feb 26th, 2015)

Today, the 20th Commodity Classic Trade Show opened, showcasing the latest farming products and innovations. With remarks by National Corn Growers Association Joint Venture Committee 2015 Co-Chair Bart Schott closing the ribbon cutting ceremony along with his American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and Association of Equipment Manufacturers counterparts and Al Luke, the Bayer CropScience Marketing Strategic Business Management for Broadacre Crops, the show flung open its doors and welcomed farm families, their friends and industry allies to agriculture’s premier showcase.   “The Commodity Classic Trade Show is always a popular event, and this year is no exception with a sold out event that offers attendees a chance to see the most cutting edge technology while interacting with industry leaders,” said Schott.  “Those searching for new ideas and a better picture of what is now and soon will be available to farmers will find...

(Posted Thu. Feb 26th, 2015)

Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll’s feature-length documentary, FARMLAND, will be available on DVD beginning Tuesday, March 3, at Walmart and Walmart.com. The availability of the documentary at retail locations across the country and online, provides another opportunity for viewers to experience the film, which offers a firsthand glimpse inside the world of farming by showcasing the lives of six young farmers and ranchers in their twenties.   FARMLAND premiered in theaters across the country in spring 2014, and now, beginning March 3rd, is available on hard disk for rent and purchase at Netflix, Amazon, select retail outlets and via On Demand platforms.   “Walmart is certainly the premier retail outlet for top-line DVD releases,” said Mark Borde, Freestyle Media. “We were thrilled they selected FARMLAND to be one of their new documentary titles this month.”   DVDs of FARMLAND will be for sale at select Walmart locations and on Walmart.com beginning March 3rd. The...

(Posted Wed. Feb 25th, 2015)

With Commodity Classic Grand Opening in Phoenix only one day away, the National Corn Growers Association invites attendees to dig a little deeper at three association-sponsored Learning Centers and one What’s New Session. Highlighting some of NCGA’s hottest programs and offering valuable advice for farmers, these opportunities offer a unique chance to get ahead of the curve and support the overall industry.   The first session, “Finding CommonGround,” kicks off Friday at 12:30 pm. CommonGround volunteers Sara Ross and Joan Ruskamp will show attendees how CommonGround, a grassroots movement of farm women who want to foster conversations between the women who grow and raise food and those who buy it. Using the power of their personal experiences, Ross and Ruskamp will explain how farm women across the country are sharing their experiences and helping consumers feel confident about American ag today. The session will also feature an interactive component that will allow all...

(Posted Tue. Feb 24th, 2015)

Keywords: farm policy

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders this week, the National Corn Growers Association and a broad range of nearly 400 food and farming organizations urged Congress not to reopen and make cuts to the 2014 farm bill.   “The 2014 farm bill required over three years of debate in both chambers of Congress and ultimately ended with the consolidation of over 100 programs and cuts to mandatory spending across many titles, including the elimination of the direct payment program,” the letter states. “This bipartisan legislation was estimated to contribute $23 billion to deficit reduction over 10 years when including sequestration. These difficult cuts were made across the farm safety net, conservation programs, and nutrition programs.”   The letter also noted that the farm bill needs time before it can be fully judged. “The policy changes and reforms associated with these cuts are only now being fully implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture. As such, no additional...

(Posted Mon. Feb 23rd, 2015)

The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Steering Committee will meet at Commodity Classic tomorrow to hear updates on the nine research projects that received grants to focus 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. The committee will also discuss the current and future direction of AMCOE.   “The unified approach AMCOE, its affiliate states and the National Corn Growers Association bring to aflatoxin research brings us closer to getting real results that farmers want to see in their fields,” said AMCOE Chair Charles Ring, a corn grower in Texas. “While corn farmers in Southern states experience aflatoxin challenges every year, these challenges have the potential of cropping up in any corn region of the United States when the crop comes under stress.  For this reason, the benefits of the seven priority areas of AMCOE research are truly national...

(Posted Mon. Feb 23rd, 2015)

When corn farmers from around the country gather in Phoenix this week for the 20th annual Commodity Classic convention and trade show, it's not going to be just to enjoy much warmer weather than back on the farm - a series of important policy meetings are also taking place for members and leaders of the National Corn Growers Association.   "Commodity Classic gives us the opportunity not just to celebrate great work, meet with friends and learn about new products and services, it allows growers to get together in one place to shape policy for our organization," said NCGA President Chip Bowling. "This year, all eyes and ears will be focused on the importance of building profitable demand for our farmers when corn production is high and corn prices are low."   On Wednesday, growers will meet for an issues briefing and open forum, followed by caucuses at the state level, where they will discuss proposed resolutions and organizational priorities to come before NCGA at the two Corn...

(Posted Fri. Feb 20th, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol

You don’t have to be a palm reader or have ESP to project E15 American Ethanol will win the Daytona 500 this Sunday. Every car in the race will be powered by the corn-based fuel as the fifth season of the American Ethanol era gets underway.   American Ethanol spokesman Austin Dillon is back behind the wheel of the iconic No. 3 car in his sophomore season in Sprint Cup racing and will start in the 15th row of the Daytona 500 this Sunday. Dillon raced in the Duels in Daytona last night to earn his spot. Aptly, he will start alongside his 2014 nemesis, Kyle Larson, who battled Dillon for Rookie of the Year honors.    Fuel with 15 percent ethanol made its way into some south Florida gas stations just a few months ago. E15, as it is called, has been approved for sale by the EPA since late 2010 but not until now is it making its way to gas pumps across the country. Higher-ethanol blends are commonly found in the Midwest, and E15 is now becoming increasingly available at larger retail...

(Posted Thu. Feb 19th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

The ethanol industry added $52.7 billion to the national GDP in 2014 according to a study released today by the Renewable Fuels Association at this year’s National Ethanol Conference. “Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States in 2014,” prepared by ABF Economics on RFA’s behalf, quantifies the economic, national security and job creating benefits of domestic ethanol production in 2014.   “The ethanol industry has certainly fueled demand growth for corn for nearly a decade now, but it has also been an incredible engine for growth throughout the U.S. economy as well,” said National Corn Growers Association Ethanol Committee Chair Jeff Sandborn, a farmer from Portland, Michigan. “This study offers the quantifiable data to clearly demonstrate the importance of today’s ethanol industry for all Americans. At NCGA, we work constantly to defend policies important to farmers and ethanol producers alike, such as the RFS, and to find ways to further drive...

(Posted Wed. Feb 18th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association is co-sponsoring a free webinar March 12 to help farmers understand their risk management options under the new farm bill, ahead of critical one-time decisions that will affect their operations through at least 2018.   “ARC or PLC: Which Safety Net Fits You?” will include presentations from University of Illinois Economist Gary Schnitkey and Assistant Professor of Law and Policy Jonathan Coppess, and Mississippi State Economist Keith Coble. DTN Executive Editor Marcia Taylor will moderate. These experts will share examples of corn and soybeans from multiple geographies, and help farmers analyze options between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC).   The webinar takes place Thursday, March 12, from 10 to 11 a.m. CDT. Click here to register.   Farmers have until Feb. 27 to reallocate their base acres or update yields with their local FSA office. Farmers have until March 31 to sign up for either ARC or PLC for the...

USDA Secretary to Keynote Commodity Classic

(Posted Tue. Feb 17th, 2015)

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will make his sixth visit to Commodity Classic, the annual convention and trade show for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers. The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event’s General Session, to be held Friday, Feb. 27, in Phoenix, Arizona.   “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Secretary Vilsack back to Commodity Classic,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “With so much going on in our nation’s capital that impact their lives, the audience will be eager to get his report on the top issues facing our growers, such as trade and the farm bill. He always provides an experienced, deep-inside-Washington perspective.”   “Secretary Vilsack has been a strong voice and advocate for agriculture, and we’re looking forward to his joining us once again at Commodity Classic, where he can not only speak to growers but hear from them as he visits our trade show,” said...

(Posted Fri. Feb 13th, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol

If you love the smell of ethanol in the morning or just like fast cars, you won’t be disappointed for much longer. NASCAR racing is back and E15 American Ethanol will be powering the sport for the fifth consecutive year as Speed Weeks kicks off this weekend in Daytona, Florida.   Thanks to the National Corn Growers Association’s partnership with Growth Energy and NASCAR, you will once again see the Green American Ethanol flag waving proudly for every race start and re-start during the season; and national NASCAR Green television commercials starting in April and running until the season ends in November.    “Our exposure in NASCAR has resulted in more than $60 million in earned (non-purchased) media value, since the program began,” said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the NCGA NASCAR Advisory Committee. “Everywhere fans look at a race they get exposed to American Ethanol in a positive way, and it shows. Today, fans are 80 percent more likely to support the use of ethanol blended...

(Posted Thu. Feb 12th, 2015)

Keywords: trade

U.S. Grains Council delegates provided powerful feedback into the Council’s decision-making process and priorities for 2015 and beyond at meetings this week in Heredia, Costa Rica. The meeting included many corn growers and top leadership from the National Corn Growers Association.   Bringing together the Council’s producer and agribusiness members with its global staff and consultants, the purpose of the meeting was program evaluation, assessment of changing market opportunities and review of the annual Unified Export Strategy (UES), the Council’s official work plan for the upcoming year.    This week’s sessions during the 12th International Marketing Conference and 55th Annual Membership Meeting were uniquely formatted to generate discussions between USGC membership and staff. New additions to the meeting were broad commodity breakout sessions designed to bring the entire corn, sorghum and barley value chains into a robust discussion of shared opportunities. Members from...

(Posted Thu. Feb 12th, 2015)

CommonGround volunteers hit the studios for popular morning show The Balancing Act to tape a two-segment series discussing food topics most important to today’s farmer. The segments, which will air later this spring on Lifetime TV, will acquaint women across the country with the farm women who grow and raise the food for all of America’s families.   “We are thrilled to work with The Balancing Act to create television that will address topics that concern the families who buy food that ours grow,” said Julie Kenney, a CommonGround volunteer who farms in Iowa. “All of us have so many common bonds; we all have a particular interest in food, in sharing our story, and in doing what is best for our families. There is such a strong desire here to really delve into every aspect of American food and, as farmers, we bring a unique perspective on issues like GMOs, organics and the local food movement to an audience that is hungry to hear from women who share their experience and concerns...

(Posted Wed. Feb 11th, 2015)

National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels highlighted the association’s work to increase demand and communicate with consumers during the St. Louis AgriBusiness Club’s monthly luncheon.   In addition to providing an analysis of current corn supply and demand, Bertels delved into programs to grow markets for corn ethanol and communicate with consumers about food-related topics, such as the CommonGround program run through a collaboration among NCGA, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates.   “With such a strong presence of ag-focused associations, businesses and other non-profits, St. Louis acts as a vibrant hub for innovation across the industry, and NCGA plays a major part in that,” said Bertels. “By sharing our insights and discussing areas of mutual concern, groups like this foster growth and push each individual organization to continually strive to achieve greater goals.”   NCGA works though groups such as the...

(Posted Tue. Feb 10th, 2015)

Keywords: Livestock trade

Export value for both U.S. beef and pork reached new heights in 2014, posting double-digit gains over the previous year’s totals, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.   Supporting meat exports is an important part of the National Corn Growers Association’s commitment to building profitable demand for corn, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. Several of NCGA’s affiliated state checkoff programs support the work of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.   “Providing quality corn-fed meat to consumers around the world, many of whom are looking for new and healthy sources of protein, helps support corn growers here at home – especially when you consider how livestock feed is our largest corn use,” Bowling said. “We value our ties to livestock and would like to work closely with them as partners in building demand for beef and pork products worldwide.”   According to the federation, beef export value was $7.13...

(Posted Mon. Feb 9th, 2015)

Seven corn grower volunteers will compete for one of five seats on the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board in Fiscal Year 2016, the organization’s nominating committee announced.  New board members will be elected by state delegates at the Corn Congress this July in Washington, and take office on Oct. 1.   “We’ve once again got a terrific slate of candidates for the Corn Board, seven growers who have distinguished themselves in leadership at the national and state level,” said NCGA Chairman Martin Barbre, who chairs the nominating committee. “Seeking leadership at this level requires a lot of commitment and time, and we know each of these candidates brings deep passion and extensive experience. They will lead NCGA with excellence.”   The seven candidates, in alphabetical order, are Keith Alverson, of Chester, South Dakota; Anthony Bush, of Mt. Gilead, Ohio; Gary Hudson, of Hindsboro, Illinois; Jim Reed, of Monticello, Illinois; Bruce Rohwer, of Paulina, Iowa; Jeff...

Team Meeting Highlights Cooperation in Ag to Improve Genetics, Sustainability

(Posted Fri. Feb 6th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association’s Research and Business Development Action Team met in North Carolina this week to discuss research program topics that deal with genomics, genotyping, phenotyping and sustainability. In addition to program updates and discussions focused on the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, the team toured Cotton Incorporated.   “It is important to work together as an industry, particularly with projects such as NAGC, to find real world solutions for the benefit of all of agriculture,” said Tom Mueller, Research and Development Action Team chairman.  “Together, we can improve technology, production practices and the sustainability of the industry as a whole.”   The team visited Cotton Inc. for discussion on NAGC and a tour of their facilities.   While together, the team was updated on the Maize Genome Database, phenotyping work and on conferences recently attended by team members. The group also heard from representatives of Kaiima, which...

(Posted Thu. Feb 5th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association’s Production and Stewardship Action Team met in New Orleans, La. to review progress on a number of current programs and learn about issues associated with transportation on the lower Mississippi River.   “The team covers a wide range of topics,” said team Chairman Don Glenn. “It’s impossible for us to do justice to each issue that falls under production and stewardship at every meeting, so we hit the hot topics hard and cover information on other matters with updates.”   This meeting’s agenda included updates on the Honey Bee Health Coalition and issues associated with pollinators, railroad commodity shipments, EPA clean water and air issues and the Water Environment Research Foundation Project. Presentations were made by the Americas Wetland Foundation regarding wetland restoration, the U.S. Grains Council on corn marketing and quality transportation, the Surface Transportation Board, Rail Customer and Public Assistance Program on current...

(Posted Wed. Feb 4th, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol

Today, Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Jim Costa, Steve Womack, and Peter Welch reintroduced the RFS Reform Act. Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, issued the following statement:   “Once again, Rep. Goodlatte and his colleagues have put Big Oil ahead of America’s corn farmers. The Renewable Fuel Standard is working: enabling competition from America’s renewable energy market, and breaking Big Oil’s monopoly. With the help of the RFS, we have reduced foreign oil imports by 25 percent. In 2013, 33 percent of petroleum consumed in the U.S. was imported – the lowest level since 1985. The renewable fuels industry drives an estimated $184.5 billion in economic output and supports more than 850,000 jobs.   “Farmers answered the call for energy that is clean, renewable, and American-grown. They have produced a second consecutive record crop, with more than enough corn to meet our needs for food, fuel, feed, and fiber. The price of corn today is lower than the cost...

(Posted Wed. Feb 4th, 2015)

Volunteer grower members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Grower Services Action Team are meeting this week in Charleston, S.C., to review association programs dealing with membership, leadership and communications – three areas critical to NCGA’s success as a farmer-led national organization.   A full agenda includes updates on the membership programs and benefits for members, the college scholarship program, NCGA’s grassroots advocacy program, the upcoming Commodity Classic convention and trade show and NCGA’s communications and leadership development programs. Members will also be briefed on the organization’s political action committee and efforts to help farmers grapple with data privacy concerns.   “We’ve got a great team and a great organization working on some key areas for our farmers,” said action team Chairman Tom Haag of Minnesota. “These meetings help our growers understand the work of NCGA and provide an important perspective from the field. They are...

(Posted Tue. Feb 3rd, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee is meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee this week to discuss the future of ethanol fuel and strategies for assuring continued demand growth for the corn-based fuel.   “Ethanol is at a critical time in history. Political decisions, emerging science and engineering considerations are all converging and what results will chart a course for how we use ethanol in the years ahead,” said Jeff Sandborn, who chairs the committee. “Ethanol makes more sense than ever, environmentally and for the nation’s economy, and NCGA is committed to ensuring this domestic fuel reaches its full potential.”   Sandborn, a corn farmer from Portland, Michigan, noted the increasing public demand to cut greenhouse gas emissions will play in big role in ethanol’s future. Identifying the right higher ethanol blend, the right automotive technology and then getting that information in the right hands are key to NCGA’s agenda.   The Ethanol Committee visited...

(Posted Tue. Feb 3rd, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to announce that the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program, which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey, and IRM education and awareness, is seeing strong success and an increase in both the overall number of growers planting their corn refuge and integrated refuge products.    The CAP is designed to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits.   Adoption of integrated refuge products result in automatic compliance in the Corn Belt   Highlights of the survey indicate a strong adoption of integrated refuge products, which include Bt and refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or container.   “We are pleased to see that the number of growers...

(Posted Mon. Feb 2nd, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the withdrawal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) interpretive rule and called for continued dialogue between the Environmental Protection Agency and the agricultural community.   The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers withdrew the interpretive rule on Jan. 29, citing a requirement by Congress included in last year’s “cromnibus” appropriations bill. The interpretive rule was intended to clarify normal farming activities exempt from the Clean Water Act.   “Farmers have a lot of concerns about WOTUS,” said Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of NCGA. “What we need is clarity. The interpretive rule actually made things less clear. We hope that the withdrawal of the interpretive rule will allow us to get to the true matter at hand: how the Clean Water Act is administered.”   NCGA had called for the withdrawal of the interpretive rule in its formal comments to the EPA and Corps last year. NCGA has also called for...

(Posted Mon. Feb 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Today, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team began its spring meeting in Houston, Texas, where team members reviewed recommendations coming out of the Priority and Policy meeting held earlier in January and met with representatives from academia and industry to explore 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...