NEWS STORIES

AUGUST 2015

(Posted Mon. Aug 31st, 2015)

Corn acres doughing surpassed the five-year average last week while corn denting met it, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 92 percent of corn acres in the doughing stage, 60 percent denting and 9 percent mature, the overall corn crop condition held strong with 68 percent of acres now rated in good or excellent condition.    With doughing surpassing the average by two percentage points and denting exactly equal to the average at 60 percent of all acres overall, the percentage of corn acres having reached maturity trailed the five-year average by six points. While the percentage of acres mature this week fell behind the national average by six points, it was likely due in large part to cool conditions across the Corn...

(Posted Fri. Aug 28th, 2015)

Keywords: Production Conservation

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, postponing implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.   Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, issued the following statement:   “We support the judge’s decision in North Dakota, which should give the courts and the public more time to figure out how to proceed with WOTUS. The Army Corps of Engineers has stated this rule is not based on science or law and is unlikely to withstand a legal challenge. When even the federal agencies responsible for this rule can’t agree on its constitutionality, it’s time...

Farmer Attempts World Record Boat Run on American Ethanol

(Posted Fri. Aug 28th, 2015)

Top boat racers and boating fans have been congregating at the Lake of the Ozarks all week but the real action will take place tomorrow, Saturday, August 29, as a central Illinois farmer puts American Ethanol on center stage in the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.   Don Onken, and his team, will be taking a shot at the world record in a bright yellow Mystic boat, and it’s powered by homegrown American Ethanol. Don has been using ethanol in his race boat for a while and hopes the record attempt will dispel some of the myths surrounding ethanol use in boats and show other boaters it’s a superior product.   He will join 100 racers and 100,000 spectators for the Shootout which is billed as the largest unsanctioned boat race in the Midwest.  To take the record the boat will have to break the current 244 mile-per-hour mark.

(Posted Thu. Aug 27th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the third year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program.  The program is designed for corn growers who are newly active or considering involvement in agriculture leadership, and seek to build their communications skills so they can better serve their peers.   “American agriculture needs farmers who are strong spokespersons for our way of life,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a corn grower from Maryland. “We thank DuPont for its generous support, and we’re proud of the men and women who have participated in the first two years of this program. Now, we’re actively looking for more couples and individuals to get involved in this exciting program.”   Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from...

(Posted Wed. Aug 26th, 2015)

Monday is the deadline for the National Corn Growers Association’s Good Steward Recognition nominations. State affiliates, as well as industry and organizational partners, are urged to submit qualified growers dedicated to production standards that deliver high sustainable yields with extraordinary conservation and environmental benefits.     “Practical solutions are what drive the adoption of best practices on the farm,” said Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “Discovering new methods for improving soil health, preserving water quality and improving the profitability of farming makes everyone take notice. This is why we recognize individuals who excel at demonstrating leadership in sustainable corn production.”   NCGA is looking for a farmer who...

(Posted Tue. Aug 25th, 2015)

In an effort supported by the National Corn Growers Association, the Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program awarded Dr. Phillip Zamore, from University of Massachusetts Medical School, a grant for the proposal entitled “Why Does Western Corn Rootworm Sample Double Stranded RNAi in Its Environment?”     NCGA believes farmers should have as many options as possible to control pests. RNAi represents a new mode of action for corn rootworm control and potentially for other insects as well.   This project will explain why RNAi works in some insects and also what strategies can be employed to ensure long-term effectiveness of RNAi as a mode of action to control Western corn rootworm.   Understanding how insect resistance develops helps shape best management practices...

(Posted Mon. Aug 24th, 2015)

While the percent of corn acres having reached the dented stage appears to be near the five-year average, actual crop progress has already been and may be further delayed due to unseasonably cool weather. According to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 39 percent of corn acres had reached the dented stage as of August 23, only four points behind the five-year average for this time. While corn doughing surpassed the five-year average progress by four points, key states lag in denting progress and, with cool weather forecast for much of the Corn Belt this week, progress will likely slow further.    With Iowa trailing the five-year average for percentage of acres denting by ten points, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Tennessee have fallen nine points behind the five-year average...

(Posted Fri. Aug 21st, 2015)

National Corn Growers Association officers and senior staff gathered this week in Rhode Island for the biannual NCGA Agri-Industry Council meeting. Here, representatives of 16 leading agribusinesses discussed vital issues facing agriculture, shared information on their companies and sectors, heard from recognized speakers and learned about NCGA’s current initiatives. Established in 2007, the Agri-Industry Council facilitates dialogue between agribusinesses and NCGA to collectively address issues of mutual concern.   “NCGA’s AIC plays an important role in bringing key leaders from across the value chain together,” said NCGA Chairman Martin Barbre, who co-chairs the AIC. “Through open dialogue, we can all move forward with a better understanding of the big picture and coordinate to build...

(Posted Thu. Aug 20th, 2015)

As farmers across the country prepare for harvest, 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...

(Posted Thu. Aug 20th, 2015)

Keywords: Research

In an effort supported by the National Corn Growers Association, the Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program awarded Dr. Felicia Wu, from Michigan State University, a grant for the proposal entitled “An Agent Based Model of Insect Adaptation to Transgenic Insecticidal Corn”.      NCGA believes farmers should have as many options as possible to control pests. This project will develop a model to factors impacting the effectiveness of Bt corn that includes many factors that affect insect adaptation to the Bt proteins in corn, such as farmer behaviors, refuge strategy, insecticide usage, combination of traits used, crop rotation and others. Researchers hope to identify strategies that will achieve the greatest long-term effectiveness of Bt...

(Posted Wed. Aug 19th, 2015)

A Food Dialogues event held last week in Minneapolis by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance focused on the need to bridge the gap between consumer concerns and food production and sourcing decisions.   From environmental sustainability to GMO safety and animal welfare, consumers increasingly want to know if the methods used to grow and raise food are impacting their long-term health or that of the planet.   At the panel event, it became clear how steps are being taken by food company executives, registered dietitians and chefs to address these questions and better meet consumers’ needs, including sharing more information about the farms and ranches where the food comes from. At the same time, farmers and ranchers are connecting to consumers, using blogs, websites and social media to share...

(Posted Tue. Aug 18th, 2015)

Field days to promote practices that improve soil health are underway in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, with at least a dozen more events planned in those states as well as Ohio and Nebraska. Hosted by the Soil Health Partnership, the field days demonstrate how changing certain practices, such as adding cover crops, can create lasting environmental benefits while potentially increasing farm productivity and income.   On Aug. 4, Don Elsbernd hosted local growers to a tour of his farm near Postville, Iowa to see what management practices he had implemented to improve the health of his soil. "Healthy soils help reduce soil erosion and allow us to more efficiently use our water and applied nutrients," said Elsbernd.   A field day in Harlan, Ind. on Aug. 12 drew more than 100 farmers and others...

Bennett Joins NCGA as Director of Market Development

(Posted Mon. Aug 17th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Jessica Johnson Bennett, who rejoins the organization as Director of Market Development.  Bennett, who served NCGA as Director of Public Policy from 2009 to 2011, brings a wealth of experience and background to this new position.   “Jessica is an incredibly valuable addition to our team, and we are excited to utilize her deep understanding and insight as we increase our focus on building demand,” said NCGA CEO Chris Novak.  “She has a grasp on the issues facing corn growers as well as perspective from other parts of the value chain that will serve her well as she works to build demand.”   Bennett most recently worked for Bunge North America, serving its Oilseed Processing, Oils and Biofuels business units. Previously, she held positions...

(Posted Fri. Aug 14th, 2015)

Growers gathered in Minneapolis, Minn. this week for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 14 aspiring leaders from 9 states. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 29 years.   At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from President Chip Bowling, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Bowling also provided an insightful examination of the main issues facing the association, and the nation’s corn farmers, today.   The farmers attending took part in media training and public speaking exercises as well as association management skill building. In addition, the class enjoyed a look at the future...

(Posted Wed. Aug 12th, 2015)

As the Aug. 28 implementation date approaches for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule on the “Waters of the U.S.,” the National Corn Growers Association has demanded the EPA postpone implementing its controversial rule and strongly supports congressional efforts to rescind the rule.   The need for this action became all the more clear with the release of highly critical internal memos from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to the rule.   “In July, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to our meeting in Washington and made certain assurances that no new risks are created by the rule,” NCGA President Chip Bowling said. “We have since become convinced that these assurances are based on an inaccurate reading of the rule, the preamble, and the recent...

(Posted Wed. Aug 12th, 2015)

U.S corn production estimates issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today were raised by 156 million bushels from last month’s estimate, reflecting an increased yield forecast resulting from the first survey-based yield estimate. With 2015/16 corn supplies forecast to reach a record 15.5 billion bushels, the projected average corn price was lowered by roughly 10 cents per bushel.   “U.S. corn farmers are proving, yet again, their superiority in producing an abundant crop, one which can meet all needs, despite somewhat unfavorable weather conditions during planting,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “At NCGA, we certainly see how this ability to excel can impact us negatively in terms of lower...

(Posted Wed. Aug 12th, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol

The federal government and the mainstream media missed a huge opportunity last weekend by ignoring the 10th anniversary of the Renewable Fuels Standard, which has proven to be one of the most successful government energy initiatives ever.   “It is very curious that some vocal audiences known for touting job creation, a stronger domestic economy, and reduced air and water pollution were largely mute on this significant occasion,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president and a farmer from Maryland. “It is pretty hard to miss the irony of this anniversary-related RFS assessment hitting while the Environmental Protection Agency is weakening the successful legislation.”   The performance of the RFS has been nothing short of spectacular. It has changed the national energy landscape. Last year...

(Posted Tue. Aug 11th, 2015)

Keywords: Research

In an effort supported by the National Corn Growers Association, the Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program awarded Dr. Jeffrey Gore, from Mississippi State University, a grant for the proposal entitled “Quantifying the Role of Helicoverpa zea Host Plants in Bt Resistance Management.”     NCGA believes farmers should have as many options as possible to control pests. As a major pest impacting corn, cotton and soybeans in the United States, corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea, research will benefit farmers across the country. This proposal addresses the role that cultivated and non-cultivated host plants play in the population dynamics of corn earworm.  By better understanding how corn earworm utilizes all hosts, scientists can identify best management practices that will ensure...

(Posted Mon. Aug 10th, 2015)

Corn acres doughing surpassed the five-year average last week according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 96 percent of corn acres having achieved the silking stage as of August 9 and 51 percent of corn acres in the doughing stage, the overall corn crop condition held strong with 70 percent of acres now rated in good or excellent condition.    After trailing the five-year average of acres having achieved the doughing stage trailing the five-year average for weeks, the acres having reached the doughing stage moved one point ahead of that number by August 9. In this first estimate of the acres in the dented stage, the progress trailed the five-year average by six points.   Crop condition estimates remained approximately the same with...

(Posted Thu. Aug 6th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today called on Congress to pass legislation withdrawing the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, in the wake of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s decision to advance a bill easing requirements for pesticide permit applications.   “This bill will cut some regulatory red tape out of the pesticide permitting process,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA President and a farmer from Maryland. “Anything we can do to cut Washington red tape will help farmers. This bill also underscores the problems with the EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. rule. The rule significantly expands the reach and power of the federal government over our farming operations. Every farm and ranch in America now has a WOTUS – and that means more paperwork, more permits, and...

(Posted Thu. Aug 6th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds growers that only one week remains to apply to serve on a NCGA action team or committee in the 2016 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This service provides growers an opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their industry and to become a part of the national agricultural leadership community.   “As a grassroots organization, NCGA relies on its members to step forward and take an active role in developing the policies that will lead our industry forward,” said NCGA First Vice President Rob Elliott. “We have opportunities this year in all of the areas the organization touches, thus allowing members to take their involvement to the next level while exploring in great depth the areas which interest them the...

(Posted Wed. Aug 5th, 2015)

Keywords: Research

The Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program awarded Dr. Tom Coudron, from the USDA-ARS in Columbia, Mo., a grant for the proposal entitled “Entomopathogenic Nematodes (ENP) as Part of Corn Rootworm Resistance Management.”    The National Corn Growers Association believes farmers should have as many options as possible to control pests. This research could develop additional management tools for corn rootworm control by incorporating parasitic nematodes that will specifically target rootworms causing damage to Bt corn as well as non-GMO corn. ENPs have proven valuable in mitigating western corn rootworm damage by reducing the number of surviving root worms. Success of this approach will be dependent on the proper combination of hybrid and ENP.   Understanding how...

American Ethanol Goes Old School in Darlington

(Posted Tue. Aug 4th, 2015)

Austin Dillon and American Ethanol are going old school on September 6, at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500. The American Ethanol team will shed its traditional green and black design for one that harkens back to the day when Dillon’s grandfather, Richard Childress, circled NASCAR’s tracks in a classic No. 3 red-and-white Chevrolet.   In what is shaping up to be one of the biggest events of the NASCAR racing season, the throwback race will feature historic paint that many fans will remember. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Childress, the famed race-team owner, raced the No. 3 before his sidekick Dale Earnhardt Sr., made it eternally famous and infamous. More than 30 years later, the Chevrolet his grandson, Austin Dillon, drives will honor the historic paint scheme during the 2015...

(Posted Mon. Aug 3rd, 2015)

Corn acres doughing moved within two points of the five-year average last week according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 90 percent of corn acres in the silking stage as of August 2 and 29 percent of corn acres in the doughing stage, the overall corn crop condition held strong with 70 percent of acres now rated in good or excellent condition.    Despite progress that led silking to surpass the five-year average cross the country two weeks ago, the percentage of acres in the doughing stage trailed the five-year average with Kansas lagging a full 16 points behind that state’s five-year average for this point in the season.   Crop condition estimates remained approximately the same with one point added to the percentage of the crop rated excellent this week. At this point last year, 73 percent of corn acres were in good or excellent condition.   To view the full report released today, click here.

(Posted Mon. Aug 3rd, 2015)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Last week, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance’s Domestic Working Group held a technology meeting in Montreal to recommit to address any worldwide asynchrony regulatory risks associated with the commercial possibilities for biotechnology during the next three years. During the meeting, representatives from all parts of the value chain worked together, creating an understanding of both the biotechnology derived products which have or may gain U.S. regulatory approval, their international approval status and possible market risks in an attempt to help farmers understand the status of new products in world markets before they plant these varieties.   Held in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council’s Annual Board of Delegates Meeting, USBCA laid the groundwork...