NEWS STORIES

DECEMBER 2015

(Posted Wed. Dec 30th, 2015)

Over the decades, state associations representing corn farmers have developed innovative solutions to address a variety of challenges.  To recognize these achievements, the National Corn Growers Association has created the Reaching for Excellence Award. This award will be given to spotlight new approaches and encourage implementation of such advances in other states facing similar challenges.   NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team announced this new award at their December meeting in St. Louis.    “Any state corn association or state checkoff board program, project, process, procedure, or strategy that has significantly advanced the mission of their association is eligible,” said GSAT Chairwoman Patty Mann, a farmer from Ohio. “The goal of the program is to not only recognize excellence across state’s programs and training but, also, to provide the details for other states that need help in those same areas.”     While there is not a formal application, state grower...

(Posted Tue. Dec 29th, 2015)

The overall quality of the United States’ 2015 corn crop was good, with 94 percent of corn samples samples rated at quality grade No. 2 or better in the U.S. Grains Council’s newly-released 2015/2016 Corn Harvest Quality Report. USGC, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, works collaboratively with NCGA to build demand for U.S. corn.   “This is the fifth year of releasing our corn quality reports,” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann. “Our objective in compiling and publishing this unique information is to arm our customers with the data they need to make good purchasing decisions – and take advantage of the excellent U.S. crops now available to them.” According to the corn quality report, the 2015 U.S. crop is entering marketing channels with the following key characteristics: Average test weight within the range for No. 1 grade corn, indicating good kernel filling and maturation. Low levels of broken corn and foreign material, with 98 percent...

(Posted Mon. Dec 28th, 2015)

This winter, the National Corn Growers Association will convene task force of state and national staff to examine ways in which the association can broaden membership and continually improve grassroots communications. The group, assembled at the behest of NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team with input from state corn organizations, will report back to GSAT during its annual spring meeting.   “At NCGA, we recognize the incredible importance of both deepening grassroots engagement and broadening the community of those involved in corn farming that we reach,” said GSAT Chairwoman Patty Mann, a farmer from Ohio. “We recognize that many modern farms need many people to pitch in, be it by running the combine or keeping the books, in order to be successful. By finding innovative ways to expand our reach and inspire members to action, NCGA is taking a proactive approach to building the strong base we will need for a bright future.”   The Membership Task Force, which came about as a...

(Posted Wed. Dec 23rd, 2015)

Keywords: Research

Relying on a weather scare as the best hope to fix the current weak prices for corn, as suggested by some market analysts, is not an acceptable business model. So, farmer leaders of the National Corn Growers Association have recommitted to boosting corn utilization as a key strategy in achieving a healthy and viable corn industry long term.   “To successfully address farmer’s income you have two paths, either decreasing input costs or growing demand,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chairman Larry Hoffmann, a farmer from Wheatland, North Dakota. “We will continue to work on both, but with a renewed focus on new uses for corn as a means of raising the price per bushel.”   NCGA’s Corn Board, action teams and committees convened in St. Louis earlier this month to delve into the issues and opportunities that will impact corn farmers across the country during the coming year.   The Research and Business Development Action Team explored possible changes to...

(Posted Tue. Dec 22nd, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers they are invited to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the Leadership at Its Best Program co-sponsored by Syngenta.  Growers must be nominated by their state corn association. Interested members should contact their state associations now for further information.  The deadline for state associations to submit their nominees to NCGA is March 25.   “For 30 years, Leadership at Its Best has helped train strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent work at the state and national level,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling.  “Just like in our business, we must always cultivate the next generation of leaders. NCGA depends upon grassroots leadership, and I can personally attest that the time and effort dedicated are repaid in full through the incredible relationships built with like-minded individuals.”   Open to all NCGA membership,...

(Posted Mon. Dec 21st, 2015)

In meetings this December in St. Louis, members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Grower Services Action Team focused on ways to diversify our membership, expand and better target communications to members, create stronger leaders and coordinate programs to communicate the association’s successes and the importance of corn and corn products to consumers and the general public.   “Our action team covers an important range of responsibilities,” said team Chairwoman Patty Mann, an Ohio corn grower. “As a grassroots organization, NCGA cannot be successful without a broad, diverse, informed and engaged base of members. And that’s what Grower Services is all about – building that base that makes our state and national organizations so successful.”   In the area of membership, the team looked at how NCGA could bring increased diversity to its membership and extend the value of membership to interested parties in each farming operation. After a productive discussion, the team...

(Posted Fri. Dec 18th, 2015)

On Friday, Congress passed Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH), a bill that includes two important provisions affecting farmers. The bill will permanently cap small business deductions for capital expenses at $500,000, up from the previous limit of $25,000.   The PATH Bill also extends the existing bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets for another five years at 50 percent for 2015-2017, 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019. NCGA has advocated for these two tax provisions for years and applauds Congress for these important changes to the tax code and support for America’s farmers.   “These tax provisions allow farmers to reinvest in their operations – and that has a ripple effect across the entire agriculture industry and rural communities,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling.   Bowling urged Congress to continue pressing ahead in 2016.   “When Congress returns to Washington next January, we hope they will roll up their sleeves and tackle...

(Posted Fri. Dec 18th, 2015)

Improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques and innovative growing practices helped corn growers achieve ever-higher yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2015 National Corn Yield Contest. Entrants continued to far surpass the national average corn yield, setting a contest record with a new all-time high yield of just over 532 bushels per acre. Additionally, a record five national entries surpassed the 400-plus bushel per acre mark.   The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 51st year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2015, with 7,729 entries received.   “The contest does more than just provide farmers an opportunity for friendly competition; it generates information that shapes future production practices across the industry,” said Brent Hostetler, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques contest winners first develop grow into broad advances that...

(Posted Thu. Dec 17th, 2015)

Everything you need to know about the 2016 Commodity Classic can now be held in the palm of your hand.  The mobile app for the 2016 Commodity Classic, March 3-5, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana, is now available for download for iOS iPhone and iPad devices, Android phone and tablets and other mobile devices.    To download the 2016 Commodity Classic app at no charge, visit the app store for your device.  Type Commodity Classic in the search bar of the iTunes Store or Google Play.  Download links are also available at commodityclassic.com/app.     “This tool is a great feature and will certainly come in handy for those attending Commodity Classic,” said event Co-Chair Sam Butler, a soybean grower from Alabama. “With so many sessions and things to experience in so many locations over several days, this app can help attendees stay organized and get the most out of our convention and trade show.”    With the mobile app, you can access the entire Commodity Classic schedule, get...

(Posted Wed. Dec 16th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today expressed concern over some key provisions left out of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill as posted last night. While the association applauds Congress in moving forward with a bill that would fund government through the end of this fiscal year and bring the U.S. into compliance with the World Trade Organization on Country of Origin Labeling, it is disappointed that important issues were left unaddressed.   Regarding the Act, NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland, issued the following statement:   “The FY16 Omnibus Appropriations Bill certainly serves Americans by providing stable funding for the government but, in some respects, it falls short for America’s farmers.   “Notably, corn farmers are pleased the Congress included language bringing the United States back into compliance with our WTO obligation by repealing COOL for beef and pork. U.S. livestock accounted for more than 38 percent of demand for our corn...

(Posted Tue. Dec 15th, 2015)

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

(Posted Mon. Dec 14th, 2015)

The Federal Aviation Administration today announced that recreational users of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, must register their systems with the federal government via a new website, which goes live Monday, Dec. 21.   “Unmanned aerial systems can make farms safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly – and that helps everyone,” said Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of National Corn Growers Association. “If you’re stuffing a stocking with a hobby drone this holiday, take advantage of the free registration window and get it registered.”   Anyone using a hobby UAS that weighs from 0.55 pounds up to 55 pounds is required to register as a UAS operator. Operators who purchased a UAS prior to Dec. 21 must register by Feb. 19. Anyone who purchase a UAS after Dec. 21 must register before they first fly outdoors. Drone registration will cost $5 per operator; however, the registration fee will be waived for the first 30 days.   “My message to unmanned...

(Posted Mon. Dec 14th, 2015)

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

(Posted Fri. Dec 11th, 2015)

Commodity Classic has partnered with Successful Farming to provide programming for the AG CONNECT Main Stage, located inside the trade show hall. This partnership will bring together the nation’s largest farmer-led convention and trade show and Successful Farming’s resources and proven track record of innovation and information in the agricultural industry.   “We are excited to partner with Successful Farming to deliver best in class programing to the Commodity Classic attendees,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Wesley Spurlock.  “Their experience in presenting leading-edge information made them the perfect partner for the AG CONNECT Main Stage.”   This year’s AG CONNECT Main Stage will offer a variety of programs, such as executive and farmer panel discussions that will include leading farmers and executives from seed, chemical and machinery companies.  Industry experts will lead discussions on today’s most important topics facing farmers through stage presentations.  In...

(Posted Fri. Dec 11th, 2015)

The following is a statement from Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement of a merger agreement between Dow and DuPont.   “The National Corn Growers Association is committed to protecting the best interests of our members and our nation's corn farmers.  With respect to the proposed merger, we anticipate that we will have an opportunity to submit comments regarding the effect this merger may have on agricultural research, innovation, grain marketing, and the competitive pricing of farm inputs. We will do all we can to protect farmer interests and preserve an open and competitive marketplace.”

(Posted Thu. Dec 10th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee will be accepting applications from members for the 2017 Corn Board for only a few more weeks.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization’s leadership.  Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.   “Through my years on the Corn Board, I have enjoyed working with the talented, dedicated volunteers who step forward to lead this organization,” said NCGA Chairman and Nominating Committee Chair Martin Barbre. “The willingness of farmers to step forward as volunteer leaders is crucial to NCGA’s continued success. A true grassroots organization, NCGA relies upon farmers to volunteer for leadership, helping to shape policy and drive efforts. Serving on the Corn Board empowers farmers and allows them to play an active role in shaping their industry and our collective future.”   The NCGA Corn Board represents the...

(Posted Wed. Dec 9th, 2015)

With corn production estimates stable at 13.6 billion bushels in the 2015/16 season, farmers can still expect an average price of only $3.65 per bushel according U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. While all production data remained stable, demand estimates were revised to reflect newer information showing increases in the ethanol sector and decreased exports.   “We produce an abundant crop in a sustainable manner and, rightfully, are proud of doing so,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.  “It is time that our regulators and representatives in Washington, as well as their constituents back home, hear the truth. Corn provides an affordable, clean way to fuel and feed our nation. At NCGA, we will continue to tirelessly work to both have this message heard and build the demand needed to sustain our rural economies.”   Yield projections continue to show a national average of 169.3 bushels per acre, which, if...

(Posted Tue. Dec 8th, 2015)

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

(Posted Mon. Dec 7th, 2015)

The National Corn Growers Association today renewed its call for Congress to repeal the noncompliant provisions of the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law to honor our international trade obligations. NCGA’s appeal comes on the heels of a World Trade Organization (WTO) decision that Canada and Mexico can move forward with more than $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs for U.S. noncompliance on COOL labeling for meat.   “Congress must act to fix COOL now,” said Ohio farmer John Linder, chair of NCGA’s Trade and Biotechnology Action Team. “Canada and Mexico represent two of our largest trading partners. Noncompliance threatens our market share and has serious ramifications for the entire food supply chain and the rural economy. America’s farmers and ranchers cannot afford to wait any longer. We urge Congress to bring the U.S. into compliance.”   NCGA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition, an organization representing more than 140 U.S. food, agriculture, and manufacturing...

(Posted Mon. Dec 7th, 2015)

Only days remain to apply for five $1,000 scholarships being offered by the National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corp. These scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2016-17 school year, but applications are due this Friday.   “The future of agriculture as an industry depends upon keeping our best and brightest interested in ag careers,” said Patty Mann, 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...

(Posted Fri. Dec 4th, 2015)

Thursday night, Congress passed the FAST Act, a bill that extends federal highway funding for the next 5 years and repeals a $3 billion cut to the federal crop insurance program enacted earlier this year. The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland.   “Last month, Congress cut $3 billion from the federal crop insurance program, a devastating blow to a vital risk management tool for farmers. The farm community was right to speak out against these cuts, which would have ultimately hurt farmers by reducing their access to crop insurance. Thanks to the many farmers who contacted their elected officials and made their voices heard, funding to this important federal program has been restored.   “We especially want to thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Ranking...

(Posted Fri. Dec 4th, 2015)

With entry closed for the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest, the National Corn Growers Association reminds everyone to help select the submissions which best tell the story of farming and harvesting field corn in America. Through this contest, NCGA captured more than 250 high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. During the month of December, log-on and help pick the pics that will receive prizes.   Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for a $500 grand prize. Entries will also be considered for prizes with cash awards for the top three entries in five categories including: Farm Family Lifestyle, Farming Challenges, Growing Field Corn, Scenery/Landscape, and Still Life from the Farm.   For more information on prizes and on these categories, click here.    Photos will be ranked by members of the public, who will be asked to select their favorites...

NCGA Spotlights Sustainability of U.S. Ag during International Climate Change Talks

(Posted Thu. Dec 3rd, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation

A delegation representing America’s corn farmers brought their perspective to meetings held in conjunction with the COP21 United Nations climate talks in Paris this week. Through presentations and panel discussions, the National Corn Growers Association shared U.S. corn farmers’ perspectives on a wide array of sustainability and environmental issues.   The event, hosted by Field to Market, Business for Social Responsibility and Pepsico, brought together notable dignitaries, including French Foreign Minister and COP21 President Laurent Fabius and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, included discussions on the value of public-private partnerships, reducing greenhouse gas emissions while increasing productivity and collaboration to achieve large scale change.   The international event brought corn farmers interests to the climate change talks on many levels. NCGA is a founding member of meeting organizer, Field to Market, which was represented by CEO Rod Snyder. NCGA...

(Posted Wed. Dec 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation

The Soil Health Partnership helps lead a soil health symposium this week, providing researchers, farmers and conservation professionals a forum to discuss successful innovations in agricultural sustainability. Hosted by the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the “Nutrient Management and Edge of Field Monitoring Conference” is underway Dec. 1 through 3 in Memphis, Tenn.   Speaking at the conference, agronomist and soil scientist Nick Goeser, SHP director, emphasized the importance of helping farmers adopt more precise nutrient management through standardized on-farm nitrogen trials.   “Farmers need to know and understand what they can do to improve nutrient use efficiency in their systems and the associated costs to change,” Goeser said. “We want them to consider on-farm testing of fertilizer rate, timing, source and location to make sure nutrients end up in the crop rather than the water supply.”   Goeser also emphasized that University and industry plot scale research has...

(Posted Tue. Dec 1st, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation

The Soil Health Partnership is commemorating World Soil Day by encouraging farmers to consider new ways to make their land healthier. World Soil Day, Dec. 5, celebrates the importance of soil as one of our most crucial natural resources.   “Soil health is critical to the future sustainability of our agricultural industry,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director. “We want to acknowledge this worldwide day by encouraging farmers at a local level to consider what steps they can take right now to improve their land. Small steps can go a long way toward big change.”   The Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, has a list of 10 things you can do to improve your soil health:   Learn more about soil health and practical options to improve it in your area– like tillage, cover crops and efficient nutrient management. Get your soil tested annually and watch for trends. Check with your agronomist and soil testing laboratories for recommendations. Try...