NEWS STORIES

JUNE 2015

(Posted Tue. Jun 30th, 2015)

American farmers planted 1.7 million fewer acres of corn in 2015 than they did the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Acreage report released today. The report indicates a 300,000 acre net degrease from the prospective planting report released in March. Total corn planting in the United States total 88.9 million acres, for the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Notably, it still represents the sixth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.   “Corn farmers produced an abundance in 2014 that resulted in a large carry over into this year,” National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling said.  “While planted acreage has decreased as farmers in many parts of the country face unrelentingly wet conditions, U.S. farmers have steadily increased our ability to grow more corn on every acre. Americans can rest assured that we will be able to meet all needs, be they for food, fuel or fiber, for years to come.”   Given the projected harvested corn...

(Posted Tue. Jun 30th, 2015)

First in a series profiling candidates for the 2016 Corn Board.   A dynamic individual who embraces a spirit of cooperation and civic-mindedness, Keith Alverson volunteers long hours to the service of farmers across the country.  Now, he wishes to contribute his perspective, hard work and insight by continuing his service as a member of the 2016 National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   “As a leader, I have always tried to keep a positive approach to things and to keep an open mind,” said Alverson. “I am not afraid to challenge my own ways of thought or challenge others to do the same. I try and make lemonade out of lemons. NCGA gets hit with a lot of things and put into tough spots, but we have to look for common ground and ways to work together. Doing so, we can accomplish not only our goals for corn farmers, but for all of agriculture.”   A 2009 graduate of NCGA’s Leadership Academy, Alverson is now in his second term on the Corn Board.  Currently, he serves as the...

(Posted Mon. Jun 29th, 2015)

With U.S. corn just entering the silking stage, the crop condition declined slightly, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 68 percent of acres still rated in good or excellent condition, seven points behind this time last year, the 2015 corn crop enters the next growth state with solid potential.   “As wet conditions continue to plague farmers with June almost complete, the abundance of rain is beginning to take a toll on overall crop quality,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “Yet, with planting complete and tasseling still ahead, a more advantageous mixture of sun, heat and well-timed showers could help the crop recover. As is so often true, the conditions prevalent during tasseling will play a sizeable role in determining the size of the crop at harvest.”    Corn acres entering the silking stage fell behind the five-year average by four points, with four percent of all acres up by June 28. At the same...

(Posted Mon. Jun 29th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register today for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and enjoy big savings on entry fees. Until Tuesday, June 30, fees will be reduced to $75.   For more information and to enter today using the online form, click here.  The version of the online form released this year is suitable for use on mobile devices.   Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through August 3. All harvest forms will be due by November 20. Contest winners will be announced on December 18.   Rule changes have been announced for 2015, and detailed information is available on the website. Each NCGA membership used to register for the contest must have an individual’s name on it, and each individual may have only one membership number. Each membership number may have as many contest entries as desired but, as in previous years, each number will only be awarded official placement for one state and one national level...

Rural America to EPA: RFS Works

(Posted Fri. Jun 26th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

Rural America rallied around the Renewable Fuels Standard yesterday in a strong show of support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With 450 ethanol supporters following Captain Cornelius from the park side rally into the EPA hearing rooms, farmers and their friends raised their voices to roar “don’t mess with the RFS.”   EPA officials began a full day of listening at nine in the morning as more than 40 panels of approximately 280 farmers, ethanol and oil industry executives and an array of other interested citizens supplied a steady stream of testimony. State corn associations and the National Corn Growers Association together ensured U.S. corn farmers played a major role in the conversation with nine members of NCGA’s corn board and a multitude of grower leaders from 12 states shared their unique perspectives on the importance of ethanol and the RFS.   The sun heated up outside as quickly as the testimony did in the Reardon Civic Center. Refusing to wilt despite the...

(Posted Thu. Jun 25th, 2015)

The top leadership of the National Corn Growers Association was well represented at today’s field hearing regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce the volume of ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard.   NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland and Chairman Martin Barbre joined scores of farmers and others on-hand in Kansas City, Kan., to speak of the importance of domestic, renewable fuels to the nation. The EPA’s proposal would cut nearly 4 billion gallons of ethanol from the RFS through 2016, representing nearly a billion and a half bushels in lost corn demand.   “We simply cannot afford – and will not tolerate – efforts to cut the demand for corn, and that’s exactly what your proposal will do,” Bowling told the EPA. “We cannot let this stand. We’ve done our part, and our allies in the ethanol industry have done their part. It’s time the EPA sided with those of us supporting a domestic, renewable fuel that’s better for the...

(Posted Wed. Jun 24th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today celebrated passage of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) in the Senate, following last week’s vote in the House of Representatives.   “Today is a huge victory for America’s corn farmers and the entire agricultural industry,” said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of NCGA. “Ag exports are a major driver of the U.S. economy, supporting more than one million jobs. With greater market access, American farmers and ranchers can do even more. Thank you to both the Senate and the House of Representatives for passing Trade Promotion Authority. We look forward to a quick signature by the President.”   “With major trade negotiations underway in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, today’s vote could not have come at a better time. The U.S. is back in the driver’s seat, negotiating the best possible deal for American farmers and livestock producers in these and other future trade...

(Posted Wed. Jun 24th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and enjoy big savings on entry fees. Until Tuesday, June 30, fees will be reduced to $75.   For more information and to enter today using the online form, click here.  The version of the online form released this year is suitable for use on mobile devices.   Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through August 3. All harvest forms will be due by November 20. Contest winners will be announced on December 18.   Rule changes have been announced for 2015, and detailed information is available on the website. Each NCGA membership used to register for the contest must have an individual’s name on it, and each individual may have only one membership number. Each membership number may have as many contest entries as desired but, as in previous years, each number will only be awarded official placement for one state and one national level...

(Posted Wed. Jun 24th, 2015)

Former NCGA President Pam Johnson is taking part this week in a Cargill-sponsored “Learning Journey” across South Africa and Zambia to forge new relationships and explore the diverse food systems and value chains of Africa.   Johnson and her fellow travelers are investigating Africa’s food system challenges and discussing potential solutions for increasing global food security. The travel is also supported by the AGree food and ag policy organization.   “NCGA and I came full circle in South Africa when the Cargill Learning Journey met with Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain S.A., a South African based trading house involved in the regional trade of grains,  oilseeds, oilcakes and animal feed raw materials,” said Johnson.  “In 2011, NCGA sponsored Jannie’s participation in the NCGA-Syngenta Leadership Academy. When Jannie returned to South Africa, he began a similar leadership program and has been a change agent in working with others on agricultural issues. It was great to hear...

(Posted Tue. Jun 23rd, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association shared insight into the U.S. seed and agricultural industries with a group of 27 Turkish seed association representatives arranged by the Consulate General of Turkey in Chicago’s Trade Commission. The group, which was arranged by an exploratory delegation NCGA hosted this spring, discussed how the U.S. seed industry functions, the role of biotechnology in U.S. agriculture, state seed certification procedures and the association’s interaction with all parts of the value chain.     “NCGA has worked with this group since the development-stage of the tour to ensure they gain a clear, accurate view of American agriculture,” said NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability Paul Bertels. “We hope these executives with a better understanding of the incredible benefits and proven safety of biotechnology as well as a clearer view of the incredible variety of planting choices U.S. farmers enjoy.”   In addition to Bertels, Director of...

(Posted Mon. Jun 22nd, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

Scores of corn growers from more than a dozen states will converge on Kansas City, Kan., Thursday for a public hearing and rally about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to slash nearly 4 billion gallons of corn ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard through 2016.   “Last time, we were very clear to EPA about what we wanted,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “It is simple: EPA should follow the statute. For farmers and others in rural America, this new EPA proposal means low corn prices and ethanol plant and industry cutbacks. And for everyone, it means higher gas prices and dirtier air.”   All farmers who can make the trip are encouraged to attend the hearing and public rally, with free bus transportation provided from several points across four states – Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. The buses are scheduled so growers can depart and return the same day, and free food and refreshments will be provided.   A rally in conjunction with the public...

(Posted Fri. Jun 19th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Leaders from the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains Council and the North Dakota Barley Council will travel to Cuba next week to continue the grain industry’s appraisal of the market potential for U.S. coarse grain exports and reengagement with key customers.    This mission will include a visit to a Cuban port, meetings with Cuban government officials and tours of the animal sectors in Cuba including dairy, poultry and beef.   The following U.S. ag commodity leaders are slated to take part in this mission: U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray; U.S. Grains Council Vice Chairman Alan Tiemann; National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Rob Elliott; North Dakota Barley Council Chairman Doyle Lentz; National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak; U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight; National Corn Growers Association Director of Public Policy Zach Kinne; U.S. Grains Council Regional Director of the Western Hemisphere Marri Carrow; and...

(Posted Thu. Jun 18th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling regarding the vote in the House of Representatives to advance Trade Promotion Authority legislation.   “We must break down trade barriers and give America’s farmers, livestock producers, and businesses greater access to the world’s consumers. We are one step closer to that goal today. Trade Promotion Authority is essential to negotiating the kinds of global trade agreements that will increase demand for American agricultural products. Thank you to the House for passing this critically important legislation. We look forward to a swift resolution in the Senate.”

(Posted Thu. Jun 18th, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Today, the National Corn Growers Association applauded the House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee for holding an important hearing on the bipartisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act and demonstrating the urgent need for legislation that would establish uniform, science-based food labeling standards. Introduced by Congressmen Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield, the bill has already attracted 60 cosponsors, including 12 Democrats.    Entitled “A National Framework for the Review and Labeling of Biotechnology in Food,” the hearing provided members with an opportunity to learn about the role genetic engineering plays in our nation’s food supply. Additionally, the hearing delved into state-specific labeling regulations and their potential impact on interstate commerce and consumers.   To read the updated legislative language circulating at the time of the hearing, click here.   “America’s corn farmers are pleased that the bill is receiving support from both political...

(Posted Wed. Jun 17th, 2015)

As the corn crop continues to grow, the National Corn Growers Association reminds 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 hopes to capture high-resolution photos of corn growth at every stage from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. Interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2015, so don’t miss an opportunity to share the full range of your 2015 corn crop experience.   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.   Has flooding affected your farm? We are looking for photos of that too. Share...

NASCAR Fans Reach Out to EPA on RFS

(Posted Tue. Jun 16th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

Over the last five years since NASCAR made a switch to E15 American Ethanol, fans have developed a special appreciation for the horsepower of ethanol as well as its social and economic benefits. That new knowledge translated into action last weekend as hundreds of fans attending races in St. Louis and Michigan took time to send post comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking it to reverse their decision to reduce the use of corn ethanol.   “We make ethanol here, so it has many benefits, such as lower fuel costs for consumers, job creation, and of course cleaner air -- which is why NASCAR changed to E15 American Ethanol,” said Jon Holzfaster, a farmer from Paxton, Neb. “So, it is very encouraging to see the fans engage and try to make sure the current Renewable Fuel Standard remains in place.”   Several hundred fans sent post cards messages to expressing their concern should the country drift away from its commitment to renewable, environmentally superior...

(Posted Tue. Jun 16th, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's announcement that the vast majority of corn and soybean growers selected the Agriculture Risk Coverage program under the 2014 farm bill was hailed by the National Corn Growers Association as an endorsement of the organization's hard work to secure the program.   "NCGA was proud to be a leading advocate of the Ag Risk Coverage program," said NCGA President Chip Bowling. "Our grassroots leaders understand the value of a program to better protect growers against losses where revenue crop insurance falls short and that provides assistance when most needed."   Nationwide, USDA announced on Monday, 96 percent of soybean farms, 91 percent of corn farms, and 66 percent of wheat farms elected ARC. 99 percent of long grain rice farms, 99 percent of peanut farms, and 94 percent of medium grain rice farms elected the Price Loss Coverage Program. The announcement came as the USDA noted that eligible producers may now formally enroll in the ARC and PLC...

(Posted Mon. Jun 15th, 2015)

Keywords: Sustainability

The sustainability organization Field to Market experienced record-breaking attendance for its spring meeting last week. In addition to participating in discussions to help the White House learn more about U.S. agriculture’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, the National Corn Growers Association took part in Thursday’s General Session program.   Jim Burg, a fifth-generation corn farmer from Wessington Springs, S.D., joined a panel of farmers to talk about sustainable practices in production agriculture.   “Farmers have been investing in conservation for years,” said Burg. “We have fenced creeks, maintained wildlife habitat, utilized biotechnology to help us reduce herbicides and insecticides, employed precision tools to optimize production, and worked with crop consultants to utilize our farm’s data. As a result, we have a cleaner environment, faster and more efficient ways to farm and more profitable operations. What is different today than in the past is that our...

(Posted Fri. Jun 12th, 2015)

Keywords: Trade

Today, the House of Representatives passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation, but failed to pass the Trade Adjustment Assistance package that was required for the bill to move forward to the President’s desk. National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling issued the following statement.   “We are disappointed by the House of Representatives’ inability to move forward with the full package of trade legislation. This is a blow to American farmers, livestock producers, businesses, and workers. We hope that both houses of Congress and the White House can quickly resolve their differences and find a path forward. This legislation would bring us one step closer to open markets and greater access to millions of consumers living beyond our borders. It’s time for Congress to put aside petty politics, and stand up for American agriculture.”

NCGA Board Elects Wesley Spurlock as Next Farmer to Help Lead Organization

(Posted Fri. Jun 12th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected Wesley Spurlock of Texas to become the organization's first vice president for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.   “I feel honored that my colleagues on the board chose to place their trust in my ability and dedication to leading our association forward as we work to create greater opportunities for corn growers across the country,” said Spurlock. “Farmers face a multitude of challenges right now, but it is of the utmost importance that we work proactively to build demand at the same time. From a proliferation of regulations to threats to the Renewable Fuel Standard to misinformation about our industry that permeates public perception, we have much work to do. I look forward to working with our grower leadership over the coming years to find innovative, impactful ways to grow the demand for our growing crop.”   Spurlock farms 9,600 acres of irrigated corn, cotton, wheat and grain sorghum in the upper Texas...

(Posted Fri. Jun 12th, 2015)

Keywords: Research

The Prospective Resistance Management: Empowering Growers to Understand and Exploit Refugia, a joint research program of the University of Arizona, University of California at Riverside and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded by Monsanto, will soon offer maps featuring pesticide reporting data that farmers can use when planning their integrated pest management program. By basing plans on real-world data, farmers will gain a powerful tool in their ongoing fight against insect resistance to management products.  By adapting chemical applications to the specific circumstances prevalent in their area, farmers will be able to proactively reduce selection pressures, and thus the possibility of resistance, in their fields.   Understanding how insect resistance develops helps shape best management practices and mitigation actions that prevent the weakening of the technology's effectiveness, thus the National Corn Growers Association continues to work with industry and government on...

(Posted Thu. Jun 11th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association thanked the House of Representatives for its passage earlier this week of a bill to reauthorize the U.S. Grain Standards Act and called on the U.S. Senate to move quickly to do the same, to ensure that important concerns are addressed in a timely manner.   "We appreciate the hard work in the House to make this a reality," said NCGA President Chip Bowling. We urge Senators to move quickly also so we can get a bill in conference that improves the act and reauthorizes it before the deadline."   NCGA has worked with others in the ag industry to ensure that reauthorization would include measures to prevent another disruption in export inspection services.  As a result of a labor dispute at the Port of Vancouver in 2013 and 2014, first the Washington State Department of Agriculture and then FGIS declined to provide services at one point, citing concerns over inspector safety.  This raised major questions about the reliability and transparency of...

Race Activations to Rally Fans for RFS

(Posted Thu. Jun 11th, 2015)

This weekend will be a big one for American Ethanol, with NASCAR activity taking place at Michigan International Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis. The highlight in Michigan will be Austin Dillon hitting the track in his second American Ethanol paintout of the season in his No. 3 Chevy. At Gateway American Ethanol will a sponsor the American Ethanol Presents Drivin’ for Linemen 200.    In both Michigan and St. Louis, fans will be asked to show their support for American Ethanol by sending postcards to the Environmental Protection Agency telling them to reverse their decision to cut the amount of ethanol currently in the Renewable Fuels Standard.   Michigan   The Michigan Corn Growers Association and the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan join forces with American Ethanol this weekend to bring the Biofuels Mobile Education Center to the Midway to interact with fans and learn how they can save money at the pump using higher ethanol blends.   American...

(Posted Thu. Jun 11th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

With the opening of the public comment period regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut corn ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard by nearly 4 billion gallons, the National Corn Growers Association urges farmers and their family and friends to email their opposition to this proposal as soon as possible, before the July 27 deadline.   For details on the proposal and a link to send a quick email, visit ncga.com/rfs. Various draft comments are available to enable both farmers and their non-farmer friends to easily send personalized notes to the EPA.   “Last time, we were very clear to EPA about what we wanted,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “It is simple: EPA should follow the statute. For farmers and others in rural America, this new EPA proposal means low corn prices and ethanol plant and industry cutbacks. And for everyone, it means higher gas prices and dirtier air.”

(Posted Wed. Jun 10th, 2015)

In its monthly report on world ag supply and demand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture held forecasts for production and use steady from last month while beginning and ending stock were raised. With prices also steady, the outlook for corn farmers remains largely unchanged from May.   USDA projects beginning stocks of 1.87 billion bushels, a 25-million-bushel increase. The revision, the result of a reduction of the forecast corn use in ethanol reduction for 2014/2015, is based on data reported in the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report through April. In turn, as demand for 2015 was not revised, the ending stocks and total supply forecasts increased by the same amount.   Forecasts continue to show farmers planting 89.2 million acres and harvesting 81.7 million acres, with an average yield of 166.8 bushels per acre and production of 13.6 billion bushels, down from 2014 corn production of 14.2 billion bushels.   Despite total supply and ending stocks revisions,...

(Posted Wed. Jun 10th, 2015)

Keywords: Sustainability

The National Corn Growers Association joined more than a dozen organizations and companies at the White House today to emphasize how the agricultural supply chain works together to advance sustainability and discuss how the federal government can help support this work.   As part of the White House Ag Sustainability Roundtable, Dr. Nick Goeser highlighted NCGA’s active participation in Field to Market and NCGA's administration of the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) – programs designed to document and demonstrate the value of best management systems for conservation and sustainability, and ultimately reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. As part of this commitment, the Soil Health Partnership will expand its SHP Demonstration Farm Network from 40 to 100 farms by 2018.   “Everyone across the ag supply chain has a role to play and a responsibility with conservation, but no one organization or company can do it alone,” said Goeser, who serves as director of SHP. “We all...

(Posted Wed. Jun 10th, 2015)

For the last seven years, many Washington-area residents have marked the arrival of summer by the reappearance of family farmers’ faces in the subway cars and stations of the city’s massive Metro complex. This year they are likely to be looking at fragrance ads and empty advertising real estate, given the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s rejection of the Corn Farmers Coalition’s well-known annual campaign.   The ads began to go up as scheduled, but installation was halted and the ads removed following a decision by the WMATA board of directors to reject all “issues and advocacy” advertising throughout the system. The move comes after a controversial political group sought to place ads in the Metro featuring a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, a drawing that was linked to deadly violence in Texas last month.   “This is a disappointing development to say the least,” said Dan Nerud, a farmer from Dorchester, Nebraska and director on the Nebraska Corn Growers...

(Posted Tue. Jun 9th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and enjoy big savings on entry fees. Until June 30, fees will be reduced to $75.   “A small time investment today can equal big savings on contest entry fees,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Don Glenn. “With the early bird discount and online entry, becoming a part of this innovative contest is easier than ever. I urge those who haven’t entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2015.”   To enter today using the online form, click here.  The version of the online form released this year is suitable for use on mobile devices.   Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through August 3. All harvest forms will be due by November 20. Contest winners will be announced on December 18.   In 2015, each NCGA membership used to register for the NCYC must have an individual’s name on it,...

(Posted Mon. Jun 8th, 2015)

With U.S. corn emergence 91 percent complete, the crop condition remained strong, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 74 percent of acres still rated in good or excellent condition, only one point behind this time last year, the 2015 corn crop enters the next growth state with solid potential.   “Using best management practices and hoping for favorable weather over the next few months, farmers hope to again produce a healthy, plentiful corn crop in 2015,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “Yet, while early indications seem positive, a record-setting crop is not guaranteed by any means. The summer months still lie ahead of us. As is so often true, the abundance or absence of propitiously timed rains in the middle of the summer will determine, in large part, what farmers put in the bins at harvest.”    Corn emerged exceeded the five-year average by one point, with 91 percent of all acres up by June 7. At...

Marketing Department Addition Brings Experience to New Role

(Posted Mon. Jun 8th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Steve Uram, who joins the organization as Marketing Manager in the St. Louis office. Uram brings an excellent combination of association experience, strong project management skills and a rural advocacy background to the team. In this new position, he will provide key support and leadership for the grassroots advocacy, leadership training, membership and fundraising activities of the association.   “Steve is an incredibly valuable addition to our team, and we are excited to be able to use his unique skillset in an innovative manner,” said NCGA Director of Development Joe Hodes.  “He already has a wealth of experience interacting with the many stakeholders necessary to ensure the organization’s continued success. We look forward to the new ideas and strategies he will bring to our grassroots and advocacy projects.”   Uram most recently worked for the Kansas Cooperative Council, as its director of member services. Previously, he also...

(Posted Fri. Jun 5th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fifth 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 farmers from Maryland, Texas and Indiana, to get opinions on the outlook for the 2015 corn crop. Reports indicated interesting developments. Maryland finally received badly needed rain, while Texas benefits from necessary warmth which previously proved elusive. With the Indiana crop right on track, the overall perspective gained shows the optimism and resilience that characterize the spirit of America’s farmers.   To listen to an interview with Jennie Schmidt, the Foodie Farmer, from Maryland, click here.   Find out more about the crop in Texas with Jay Beckhusen...

(Posted Thu. Jun 4th, 2015)

The following is a statement from Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to the announcement by Canada that it will seek retaliation against the United States for country-of-origin labeling violations.   "Ag trade is a vital part of the U.S. economy. Retaliation by Canada will have a significant impact on American farmers and ranchers, threatening rural economies as well as our relationship with one of America's greatest allies and trading partners. We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to ensure the United States is in compliance with World Trade Organization obligations in regards to country-of-origin labeling."   For more information, visit the COOL Reform Coalition at www.coolreform.com.

(Posted Thu. Jun 4th, 2015)

As a beautiful green corn crop emerges, the National Corn Growers Association reminds photographers to help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the second annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA hopes to capture high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest opened today, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2015.   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.   Has flooding affected your farm? We are looking for photos of that too. Share your photos in the Farming Challenges category. For more...

(Posted Wed. Jun 3rd, 2015)

Keywords: Research

In today’s agricultural environment of uncertain commodity prices, input costs and research funding, market development is critical. Last week, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp visited the Fargo, N.D., site of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center to draw attention to the importance agricultural business development plays in maintaining a strong U.S. agricultural industry.   Sen. Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, has been working hard on behalf of agriculture to support crop production and genomics research programs. Deputy Secretary Harden views the center as a possible model for future public-private partnerships.   “New businesses drive innovation and offer choices to farmers,” said NCGA Director of Research and New Uses Rick Vierling, Ph.D. “The National Agricultural Genotyping Center was created to provide farmers, researchers and companies with cost effective, relevant, and breakthrough technologies. NCGA...

(Posted Tue. Jun 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology Production

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling and American Soybean Association Chairman Ray Gaesser issued the following statement in anticipation of a second finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that would classify another safe, important pesticide as a probable carcinogen:   “Like anyone who creates something, farmers need tools to produce a safe and healthy crop.  Today, many consumers have questions and concerns about how food is produced.  That’s why it is important to us to share information with consumers so they have a better understanding of why and how we use the different seeds and crop protection chemicals. We are concerned, however, that a pending announcement from the U.N. World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer will only lead to more confusion and concern about two widely-used herbicides that have been mainstays for farmers for decades. These two substances play an especially important role in corn...

(Posted Tue. Jun 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Policy

An internal review of the new Clean Water Rule released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows that there is much for farmers to be concerned about and that the rule must be revoked and rewritten, the National Corn Growers Association said.   “The scope, reach and effect of the final rule is far too broad as matter of law and good policy,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer. “While it is clear that there have been some changes made to improve the rule as it applies to farmers, these changes only partially work.  At the same time, other changes have been made that actually make the rule significantly worse than the previous proposal.”   Bowling especially noted concerns about prairie potholes and similar bodies of water that can now be regulated by the federal government under the broad reach of the rule; ambiguous standards related to defining tributaries that will be covered; erosional features that may or may not...

(Posted Mon. Jun 1st, 2015)

With U.S. corn planting 95 percent complete, the crop condition held strong, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 74 percent of acres still rated in good or excellent condition, only two points behind this time last year, 84 percent of the corn crop has already emerged.   “Right now, farmers are relying upon best management practices and the prospect of favorable weather to nurture the crop along,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “Despite the implications of a swift and successful planting season, a record-setting crop is not guaranteed by any means. A long summer still lies ahead and, as in many years, the fate of the crop will largely be decided by propitiously timed rains in the middle of the summer.”    Corn emerged exceeded the average with 84 percent of all acres up by May 31. The five-year average at this point is 79 percent. Wisconsin both and South Dakota exceeded the five-year average by the...