NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2015

(Posted Wed. Sep 30th, 2015)

The Oct. 30 deadline for applications to the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program is fast approaching.  The program, designed for corn growers who are newly active or considering involvement in agriculture leadership helps them build their communications skills so they can better serve their peers.   Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from NCGA’s affiliated states, such as those considering a board position. Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, active in corn farming, NCGA members and not currently serving as an officer on their state affiliate board.    “The program has encouraged me to be more involved to make a difference,” said Michael Howlett, a 2015 participant from New York. “It was well worth the time and energy, and I will be more involved from this point forward, due to the New Leaders Program.”   One couple or up to two single persons per NCGA-affiliated state will be chosen to participate in this hands-on communications and...

(Posted Tue. Sep 29th, 2015)

The University of Illinois is asking farmers and landowners to participate in a survey about their decision-making for the 2014 farm programs and provide feedback on the tools and resources available during that process.   “Farmers had a variety of educational services and tools available to help them make decisions about farm bill risk management options,” said Sam Willett, NCGA Senior Director of Public Policy. “We encourage all farmers to provide feedback on those resources by participating in the University of Illinois survey. This kind of feedback is important to understanding what tools and resources were useful, and what could be improved.”   The survey is anonymous, and results are only reported in aggregate. Individual survey responses are confidential and will not be released. To participate in the study, please click here or copy and paste http://go.illinois.edu/2014farmbillsurvey  into your internet browser.

(Posted Mon. Sep 28th, 2015)

The 2015 corn harvest is now underway in all the top 18 corn states, with 18 percent of the corn crop harvested as of Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. The overall crop condition remained unchanged, with 68 percent rated good or excellent and 22 percent rated in fair condition.   As to be expected, the Southern corn states tracked – Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, all report more than half their crop harvested.  By contrast, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota have seen the fewest acres harvested. At this time last year, the corn harvest stood at 11 percent; the five-year average (2010 to 2014) is at 23 percent.   Other key harvests now underway include soybeans (21 percent harvested in 18 states), cotton (11 percent in 15 states), sorghum (36 percent in 11 states), peanuts (18 percent in eight states), sugarbeets (17 percent in four states) and rice (69 percent in six states).   Click here for the USDA’s complete crop progress...

(Posted Fri. Sep 25th, 2015)

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling today released the following statement regarding the retirement announcement of House Speaker John Boehner:   “We are grateful for Speaker Boehner’s leadership in so many areas, including service on the House Agriculture Committee, and his work for a more transparent and productive Congress. We note this announcement comes the day after Pope Francis addressed a Joint Session of Congress, at the speaker’s invitation, calling politics ‘an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.’ Speaker Boehner has always striven to live up to these words, and we hope Congress will also take this message to heart. We ask Congress to set aside partisan interests and work together to solve important issues such as the federal budget, tax reform,...

(Posted Fri. Sep 25th, 2015)

An updated slate of farmers will serve their industry as members of the National Corn Growers Association’s action teams and committees in the next fiscal year, which begins Thursday, October 1, actively shaping the future of their industry by guiding programs carrying out the policies and priorities that guide NCGA.   “The year ahead will certainly offer many challenges and opportunities, but I am certain that the teams we have assembled will be both capable and wise in their leadership,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a corn farmer from Maryland. “As we ramp up our focus on growing demand for corn, these men and women will provide excellent insight that will help guide us into a bright future for agriculture. As often happens, we had more outstanding candidates than we had positions for, and we encourage them to stay active in their state and national associations.”   Leadership for NCGA’s six major teams and committees are:   Ethanol Committee: Paul Jeschke, chairman;...

As CommonGround Continues to Grow, Website Evolves

(Posted Fri. Sep 25th, 2015)

As consumer questions and attitudes about food and farming evolve, so does the CommonGround website. Re-launched this week, the redesigned site features information in a more personal, video-based format while also adding new information about sustainability in agriculture.   The site now highlights the female farmer volunteers who make up this grassroots program in a more prominent manner. Leading with personal stories in a video format that introduce consumers to the actual women, the site also offers a broad range of facts and information on topics including: animal welfare; antibiotics and animal health; farm ownership; food prices; food safety; GMO foods; hormones in meat and milk; organic and local foods; and sustainability. Each section, which features a lead video with a volunteer, also offers factual, science-based information as well as a shareable infographic.   In addition to the food facts section, the website features information on the volunteers active in your...

(Posted Thu. Sep 24th, 2015)

As the National Corn Growers Association has placed a renewed emphasis on demand, the organization announced a staff realignment today that will ensure adequate support for the initiatives of the newly created Market Development Department.  The shift in responsibilities will create new opportunities to maximize the expertise of current staff while opening up time to be devoted to projects that may come forth under NCGA’s new strategic plan.   The Market Development team adds two new members from current staff as Max Starbuck and Susan Powers join that department. In his new role, Starbuck will serve as Director of Market Development and focus on working with the livestock industry and identifying and promoting new uses of corn. Susan Powers will retain the title of Communications Manager, but will drive new efforts to reach customers and consumers with messages about corn’s sustainability and versatility.   The Production and Sustainability Department will also undergo shifts...

Open House Opens Many Eyes to Possibilities of Genotyping Center

(Posted Wed. Sep 23rd, 2015)

Keywords: Research

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center held its first open house yesterday with representatives from government and industry on hand to tour the new facility and discuss the possibilities it will offer. With the board of directors in attendance, they established priorities and assigned responsibilities for the coming year.   “This facility is the first of its kind for a farmer-led association, giving growers more influence on research agendas,” said Dr. Richard Vierling, director of research at NCGA. “NAGC will help growers increase production and lower costs. With so many stakeholders on hand and actively expressing interest, it was apparent to all present that the exciting potential for innovation is enormous and will lead to concrete results that can strengthen the bottom line for U.S. farmers.”   The National Agricultural Genotyping Center will translate scientific discoveries, such as the information from the maize genome project, into solutions for production...

(Posted Tue. Sep 22nd, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol

A lot of eyes were on the Sprint Cup Race last weekend in Chicago as the race for the Chase began its 10 race showdown. But even though Denny Hamlin won that race there wasn’t a bigger smile on any face than that of John Hunter Nemechek who won the American Ethanol E15 225 Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday.   Stretching his E15 fuel mileage beyond the capabilities of most of his of competitors,  Nemechek rolled across the finish line 12.014 seconds ahead of Tyler Reddick, who was also saving fuel, to score his first victory in the series in the American Ethanol e15 225.   At 18 years, 3 months and 8 days, Nemechek is the fourth-youngest winner in the series, and he accomplished the victory with a skeleton crew working on a team owned by his father, Joe Nemechek.   It was a big weekend for E15 American Ethanol in the Windy City because of the media and fan exposure generated by American Ethanol naming rights on the Truck race, compliments of Illinois Corn Marketing...

(Posted Tue. Sep 22nd, 2015)

As combines roll through fields across the country, 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.   For more information on prizes and on these categories, click...

(Posted Mon. Sep 21st, 2015)

Harvest progress continued as the nation’s field corn crop condition remained unchanged with 68 percent rated good-or-excellent according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today. Ten percent of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, ranging from 70 percent of the North Carolina crop to 1 percent of Colorado’s and Wisconsin’s. While the five-year national average of acres harvested at this point is 15 percent, only 7 percent had been harvested at this point last year.    “Every week, the information we gain from combines actually in the fields provides an increasingly accurate vision of what we will find in our bins after harvest,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Maryland. “I find it heartening to know that the crop condition report remains strong even though many had issues with flooding earlier in the season. While U.S. farmers work to bring in another abundant, sustainable crop, NCGA continues its work to create demand and grow opportunities for corn...

(Posted Fri. Sep 18th, 2015)

Keywords: Ethanol

A cross section of thought leaders in environmental sustainability, business and sport gathered this week in Chicago for the 2015 NASCAR Green Summit presented by American Ethanol. The event, held in advance of the first race for the Chase at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, is an offshoot of the NASCAR Green program, which introduced clean-burning E15 to the sport five years ago. Since that time, Sunoco Green E15 has cut harmful emissions at races from coast to coast by more than 20 percent.    Convening in Chicago for the second time in the last three years, a distinguished roster of participants examined the future of environmental sustainability and its impact on American consumers. American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon represented the brand during a panel discussion on the importance of sports in climate change, how sports are helping protect the planet and how sports leaders are advancing green behavior.   Dillon has utilized his relationship with Growth Energy, Dow, Bass Pro...

(Posted Thu. Sep 17th, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

If engagement in field days this summer is any measure, farmer interest in protecting the well-being of their land through the use of cover crops and other practices is strong and growing.   The Soil Health Partnership wrapped up its summer field days promoting cropping systems that improve soil health. More than 20 events took place in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Nebraska. Farmers, conservation leaders, equipment companies and others demonstrated to attendees how changing conservation practices, such as adding cover crops, conservation tillage and improving nutrient use efficiency, can create lasting environmental benefits while potentially increasing farm productivity and income.   A field day in Lake Wilson, Minn., one of four events scheduled this week, had 55 participants. Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership, says average participation in the events has at least doubled from what the organization saw last year.   “Grower engagement at...

(Posted Wed. Sep 16th, 2015)

As farmers begin harvesting across the country, a select group of growers are ramping up their efforts to become the most effective leaders possible through a National Corn Growers Association training program. NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, sponsored by Syngenta, launched its sixth class this week in Greensboro, N.C. The session helps qualified and motivated candidates fine-tune their leadership skills and prepare them to lead the industry forward.    "The Advanced Leadership program offers our experienced leaders an opportunity to further enhance their skills for national leadership,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Newburg, Md.  “I had the chance to participate in the program five years ago and can personally confirm the program helps leaders truly elevate their skillset, preparing them to lead our organization into 2016 and beyond."    During the course, the class of four grower leaders will look at issue management strategies, explore trends...

Country Music Band Sawyer Brown to Headline Commodity Classic Evening of Entertainment

(Posted Tue. Sep 15th, 2015)

When the record-breaking Commodity Classic convention and trade show wraps up next March in New Orleans, it’s going out in style – with an Evening of Entertainment, sponsored by Monsanto, spotlighting the multiple-award-winning country band Sawyer Brown.   “We always like to end Commodity Classic with a great night to top off a busy week for our growers,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas corn farmer and Commodity Classic co-chair.  “Sawyer Brown will be the perfect band to help us enjoy one last night together and celebrate our friendships and successes, before we head home for a hectic planting season.”   Since the band was founded in Florida the early 1980s, Sawyer Brown lead vocalist Mark Miller and crew have put in more than 4,500 shows and counting, spotlighting a stunning discography of 23 albums and more than 50 chart singles – including “Some Girls Do,” “Thank God for You,” “This Time,” “I Don't Believe in Goodbye” and “Drive Me Wild,” not to mention the new tune “We Got...

(Posted Mon. Sep 14th, 2015)

The nation’s field corn crop condition held steady at 68 percent good-or-excellent as harvest began in earnest this past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today. Five percent of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, ranging from 57 percent of the North Carolina crop to 1 percent of Nebraska’s and Indiana’s. This compares to 4 percent at this time last year, nationally, and an average of 9 percent harvested over the past five years.   “Combines are rolling in many states and we will soon get a much more accurate idea of the size of the corn crop,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Maryland who is currently harvesting his own acres. “It’s good that overall crop condition has held steady, despite challenges in some areas due to flooding, as we work to once again sustainably meet all needs for food and fuel.”   Other states with measurable harvest include Illinois (6 percent), Kansas (11 percent), Kentucky (20 percent), Missouri (14 percent),...

(Posted Fri. Sep 11th, 2015)

A decrease in production estimates resulted in increased forecasts for corn prices paid to farmers according U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. Lower estimates of the projected national average yield and higher projected demand from the food, seed and industrial market also impacted price projections.   “What is important to note in the yield projections is that, at this time, the reports are reflecting the reality farmers are seeing as harvest begins,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Md. “With the October and November reports, I expect we will see further revision to these important yield numbers as additional harvest information will be available. The good news is that production remains strong, but the price paid farmers is moving in a more equitable direction. As farmers work hard at harvest, they can know NCGA is working hard to grow demand for their growing crop.”   While usage was lowered by 20...

(Posted Fri. Sep 11th, 2015)

Keywords: ethanol

NASCAR is set to hit 8 million miles of tough, competition racing on E15 American Ethanol at the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Speedway this weekend. To celebrate, Austin Dillon is going to take over the American Ethanol Twitter account for a Twitter chat on race day, September 12, from 3 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Tweet at American Ethanol with the hashtag #AskAustin to ask him anything!   “When National Corn Growers joined the American Ethanol partnership five years ago we wanted to show the tens of millions of NASCAR fans the performance and environmental benefits of higher ethanol blends like E15,” said Jon Holzfaster, Nebraska farmer and Chairman of NCGA’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “Eight million miles is a big accomplishment and sends a strong message to consumers that E15 works and works well. NASCAR has not had one fuel related issue since switching to E15.”   The upcoming race at Richmond will be televised live on NBC Sports Network beginning at...

(Posted Fri. Sep 11th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country preparing to hit the fields in their combines, NCGA offers both a list of safety reminders and a video on the important topic of grain bin safety.   Safety Tips   1.  Road Safety   Reduce vehicle width as much as possible and ensure adequate warning lighting.   Use “Slow Moving Vehicle” signs on all slow moving equipment.   2.   Equipment Safety   Be incredibly careful when approaching harvesting equipment.  Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.   Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.   Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.   Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.   Watch for trucks...

(Posted Thu. Sep 10th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation announced today that it is now accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2016-17 school year.   “The future of agriculture as an industry depends upon keeping our best and brightest interested in ag careers,” said Tom Haag, chairman of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team. “As a part of our commitment to the industry’s future, NCGA partners with BASF to offer scholarships to help tomorrow’s leaders reach their educational goals. This program 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 legal guardian must be an NCGA member. Scholarship applications must be postmarked on or...

(Posted Wed. Sep 9th, 2015)

With harvest underway in some areas and soon to begin in others, the National Corn Growers Association announces that online harvest forms for the 2015 National Corn Yield Contest are now available. While the harvest information form deadline may seem distant, entrants are asked to report within seven business days of their final yield check or by Nov. 20, whichever comes first.   “While harvest has only begun in a few areas, we ask contest applicants to submit harvest forms within one week of their final yield check to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Don Glenn, a farmer from Alabama. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more productive techniques. We hope that growers continue to support the contest by seeing their entry through and submitting their completed harvest data forms.”   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its...

(Posted Tue. Sep 8th, 2015)

After five years of service on the Board of the National Corn Growers Association, and many years of other leadership roles prior to the board position, First Vice President Rob Elliott has decided to step down from the NCGA Corn Board, effective Sept. 30.   “My last 15 years as an active ‘corn guy’ have been very rewarding for me,” Elliott said. “I am proud to have been a part of my corn organizations in Illinois and on the national level and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together.  I've worn a lot of hats throughout my career, but I've come to realize that the current environment makes it difficult for me to balance all the increasing obligations and expectations. After thoughtful deliberation it seems to be in the best interest of the association if I step aside.  I’ve had lots of fun – while working hard, too – and will be tracking all the great progress taking place within NCGA.”   With Elliott leaving the Board, NCGA President Chip Bowling, of Maryland, and...

(Posted Tue. Sep 8th, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation Production

The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota ruled last Friday that the preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to postpone implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” rule applies only in the 13 states involved in this specific court case. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.    Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Md., issued the following statement:   “We are disappointed with the North Dakota court decision. WOTUS is a national rule with national ramifications, and the injunction should be applied nationwide. In the initial ruling, the judge stated the rule was likely to cause ‘irreparable harm.’ We believe this would be true in all 50 states, not just the 13 states that filed this request.   “Regardless of whether the injunction...

American Ethanol Car to Reflect Childress Racing Legacy

(Posted Fri. Sep 4th, 2015)

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prepares to compete at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend for the first time since 2003, drivers are appropriately swapping out their traditional paint schemes in favor of more retro looks. For the event, Austin’s Dillon’s paint scheme with feature a retro look highlighting American Ethanol, a partnership promoting E15 in which the National Corn Growers Association participates.   No design is a more fitting throwback – or strikes a more personal chord with its driver – than the mostly red, white and silver one being carried on the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet of Austin Dillon.   The same colors were campaigned on the No. 3 car driven by Dillon’s grandfather, legendary team owner Richard Childress, in the late 1970s and early ‘80s before Childress handed over the wheel to Dale Earnhardt. The more than five million fans watching on television will have the added benefit of an in-car camera riding alongside Dillon for the race that will...

(Posted Thu. Sep 3rd, 2015)

For students at three of our nation’s top universities, September’s not going to be just about back to school – but back to the farm. Screenings of the powerful FARMLAND documentary are on tap with panel discussions for Columbia University in New York, Tulane University in New Orleans and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Screenings without panel discussions are planned for four other locations.   FARMLAND premiered in theaters across the country in spring 2014, and is now available on DVD and streamed on Netflix. The film, which offers a firsthand glimpse inside the world of farming by showcasing the lives of six young farmers and ranchers, was produced with the generous support of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding affiliate.   “It’s great to see FARMLAND being screened at these universities not traditionally tied to agriculture,” said Missouri farmer and NCGA Corn Board member Mike Geske,...

(Posted Wed. Sep 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association today reminded farmers that they have until Sept. 30 to enroll in Farm Service Agency risk management programs for the 2014 and 2015 crop years.   Earlier this year, farmers elected either Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage, two new risk management programs created under the 2014 farm bill.   “The 2014 farm bill included major reforms to our risk management tools. Formal enrollment marks the final step farmers must take to enroll in the program,” said Jim Reed, a farmer from Monticello, Ill. and chair of the National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action Team.   “NCGA strongly encourages farmers to schedule an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency office as soon as possible before the Sept. 30 deadline.”   For more information about the 2014 farm bill, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmbill.

At Farm Show, NCGA Stresses Building Markets

(Posted Wed. Sep 2nd, 2015)

Taking part in a news conference and multiple media interviews this week at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., leaders of the National Corn Growers Association stressed the importance of protecting and building markets for corn.   “When it comes to growing corn, no one does it better than America’s family farmers,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn grower. “But our challenge today is two-fold: First, we must oppose with all our power any efforts that would cut demand for U.S. corn, and at the same time, we must find new ways to grow our markets and increase demand for corn and corn products. Our amazing productive capacity is a national asset. Growing markets and keeping farming profitable are keys to making continued contributions to the economy and society.”   Click here to listen to a Farm Progress Show interview with Bowling about environmental regulations, ethanol and building market demand.   Alternating each summer between Decatur and Boone, Iowa,...

(Posted Tue. Sep 1st, 2015)

From olive oil to sweet potato vodka, bison farming to an old-fashioned western cattle drive, America’s Heartland returns to public television for its 11th season celebrating U.S. agriculture from all across America with new stories, themed episodes, and delicious new recipes.   Distributed by American Public Television, the series is slated for release to PBS stations on Sept. 5. The new season will also begin airing on RFD-TV on Wednesday, Sept. 9.  The National Corn Growers Association is a longtime promotional partner for the program.   In Season 11, 20 new episodes will again focus on agriculture-related topics designed to address consumers’ questions and concerns about food safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.   “We're excited and grateful to once again share positive stories about America's farmers and ranchers for an unprecedented eleventh season," said America's Heartland series producer Jim Finnerty. "The series provides a direct connection...