NEWS STORIES

FEBRUARY 2016

(Posted Mon. Feb 29th, 2016)

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s NASCAR Advisory Committee met last week in Orlando, Florida to attend the Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference and discuss the 2016 NASCAR season programming. The conference agenda contained two days of presentations and panel discussions on the state of the ethanol industry.    “Spending time at forums with representatives from all sectors of the ethanol industry, gives corn growers the opportunity to contribute to discussions that impact their profitability,” said committee chair Jon Holzfaster. “The ethanol industry continues to face significant regulatory and infrastructure challenges. However, ethanol producers, fuel retailers and E15 industry consumers such as NASCAR all agree that the demand for cleaner renewable energy will only increase. All that is needed is to give consumers the ability to choose E15 and higher ethanol-blended fuels.”   Several members of the committee attended the season-opener Daytona 500....

(Posted Mon. Feb 29th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association today expressed disappointment in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review a lower court ruling allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to micromanage local land use and development decisions under the guise of the Clean Water Act.   While this action relates to the EPA’s so-called “blueprint” for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, it has national implications related to the power and reach of the federal government. The TMDL, or total maximum daily load, is an unlawful overreach of federal regulatory power, NCGA notes.   “The EPA has consistently pushed the legal limits of the Clean Water Act, with the Chesapeake Bay blueprint and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule being two of the most recent examples,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, who farms on the Chesapeake Bay watershed in southern Maryland.   “When Congress passed the Clean Water Act, their intention was to create balanced, practical policies to protect America’s water...

(Posted Mon. Feb 29th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Jim Bauman, who joins the organization as Director of Market Analysis in the St. Louis office. Bauman brings an excellent combination of marketing experience, market analysis skills and a product development background to the team. In this new position, he will provide key support and leadership for market development work in the areas of corn ethanol and livestock, coordinating projects and analysis with the public policy team as well as supporting state organizations.   “Jim 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 Vice President of Market Development Amie Gianino.  “He has consistently demonstrated the ability to thrive in a wide variety of roles. We look forward to the new ideas and strategies he will bring to our demand creation activities.”   Bauman most recently worked for Anheuser-Bush, as its director of commercial planning and...

(Posted Fri. Feb 26th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

The National Corn Growers Association explored solutions to food security challenges with leaders from academia, business and government in Indonesia during a meeting this week made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and arranged by the Meridian International Center.   The group held discussions with NCGA as part of an overall agenda designed to expand knowledge of U.S. policies on food security, global hunger and sustainable economic development, with a focus on the important role of biotechnology in agricultural progress.   “One of the most often overlooked benefits of biotechnology in agriculture is its ability to significantly increase food security while improving production sustainability,” said NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Crop Inputs Nathan Fields. “The group’s questions showed their deep interest and willingness to explore the topic from a variety of angles. In particular, they demonstrated curiosity regarding...

(Posted Thu. Feb 25th, 2016)

The educational experience at Commodity Classic will be even bigger and better in 2016, thanks to the addition of a new presentation area located right on the trade show floor.   The AG CONNECT Main Stage, which will be located near Aisle 100 on the trade show floor, is presented by Commodity Classic and Successful Farming.   The stage will feature a series of seminars, panel discussions and demonstrations that are sure to attract large audiences.   The 2016 Commodity Classic will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 3-5.  Registrations for Commodity Classic are on pace for another record-breaking attendance.   This year’s event will also feature the largest trade show in the two-decade history of Commodity Classic, which should ensure large crowds at the AG CONNECT Main Stage.   The line-up for the AG CONNECT Main Stage is as follows:   THURSDAY, MARCH 3   •        “What’s New Session Previews” which will provide short 3-minute sneak peeks of the 40-minute “What’s...

(Posted Tue. Feb 23rd, 2016)

From microbes to honey bees, from unmanned aerial systems to measuring sustainability, from global weather patterns to a more efficient office space—the line-up of Learning Center Sessions at the 2016 Commodity Classic offers a wide range of topics designed to help farmers become even better in every aspect of their operations.   The 2016 Commodity Classic, held March 3-5 in New Orleans, Louisiana, promises to be the biggest ever, with the largest trade show in event history and record attendance.   Learning Center sessions are in-depth discussions of current issues and topics that have a direct impact on a farmer’s productivity and profitability.  Learning Center Sessions complement the other educational experiences at Commodity Classic including the Early Riser Marketing Sessions, What’s New Sessions. Mini What’s New Sessions and the new AG CONNECT Main Stage on the trade show floor.   This year’s Learning Center sessions include the following presentations:   “Will...

(Posted Mon. Feb 22nd, 2016)

With Grain Bin Safety Week taking place this week, and many bins still full from the fall, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures – and is pleased to offer a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures.   To view the video, click here. While supplies last, a free DVD of the video can be requested by sending an email with your name and mailing address to corninfo@ncga.com. The video was co-produced with the National Grain and Feed Foundation, the research and education arm of the National Grain and Feed Association.   First released in 2011, this video remains relevant and illustrates the significant threat bin entrapment can pose.  Shot on location in several states, it provides a wide range of information, from prevention tips and background data on grain bin accidents.  The project also involved interviews with professionals in the fields of grain bin safety research and rescue to provide...

(Posted Fri. Feb 19th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded Sen. Pat Roberts for his introduction of a bill to address the growing threat of a patchwork of state labeling laws and called for the urgent passage of this important legislation.   “The introduction of Roberts’s proposal is an important first step to restoring sanity to America’s food labeling laws,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.  “GMOs are perfectly safe and America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect our crops from insects, weeds and drought. Important food safety and labeling decisions should be made by the scientists and qualified policymakers at the FDA, not political activists and campaigns. Yet, despite the scientific evidence, states such as Vermont are quickly moving toward costly, confusing mandatory labeling legislation. It is imperative that the Senate takes up this issue quickly to avoid a situation in which all American consumers pay a...

(Posted Fri. Feb 19th, 2016)

The NASCAR 2016 season begins this weekend with the Daytona 500. For the sixth consecutive year, E15 American Ethanol will be fueling the sport.    Thanks to the National Corn Growers Association’s partnership with Growth Energy and NASCAR, fans will once again see the Green American Ethanol flag waving proudly for every race start and re-start during the season and in the national NASCAR Green television commercials running later this year until the season ends in November. Fans can also look forward once again to every car in NASCAR’s top three racing series wearing the green American Ethanol fuel port sticker.  American Ethanol is the only company other than Goodyear to be represented on every race car, and this is a big part of why American Ethanol is one of the most recognized brands in the sport today.   Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon will once again be the American Ethanol driver behind the wheel of the No. 3 car.   “At RCR, we are proud to partner with this...

(Posted Thu. Feb 18th, 2016)

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will make his seventh visit to Commodity Classic, the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show. Secretary Vilsack will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event’s General Session, to be held Friday, March 4, in New Orleans, Louisiana.   “Secretary Vilsack continues to be a strong voice for farmers and ranchers, and we are jazzed to welcome him back to Commodity Classic,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “Secretary Vilsack brings a thoughtful perspective on the top policy issues affecting the ag industry. We are especially eager to hear from him about the new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and how that will impact farmers, ranchers, and the rural economy.”   “Commodity Classic is a wonderful opportunity for Secretary Vilsack to get his message out directly to thousands of farmers, but also to hear from them directly during the...

(Posted Thu. Feb 18th, 2016)

Keywords: Research

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center signed a license agreement with Tuskegee University this week that will provide the center with access to cutting edge food safety testing technology. Using the technology developed at Tuskegee, NAGC will be able to shorten the time necessary to perform food safety tests. This partnership will provide students opportunities to gain valuable research experience and foster their career development.   “This agreement both improves NAGC’s technical capabilities and helps it move forward in its mission of providing educational opportunities and work experience to the researchers of tomorrow,” said National Corn Growers Association Director of Research Dr. Richard Vierling. “Yet, this is only one step in our ongoing efforts to create concrete pathways that help bring diversity and excellence to our field. Today, we have improved the center’s ability to efficiently, accurately assess food safety. In the long run, we hope to improve the field...

(Posted Wed. Feb 17th, 2016)

The importance of trade to corn growers was emphasized by National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling in remarks made at the U.S. Grains Council’s 13th International Marketing Conference and 56th Annual Membership Meeting, taking place this week in Florida.   “We have set an ambitious goal of building demand in the years ahead, and it’s a goal we cannot meet without looking outside our nation’s borders,” Bowling said. “Exports or corn and corn products will play a critical role in increasing competitive market demand, and we’re working with the U.S. Grains Council and other partners – as one team – to sustainably meet growing needs for food and fuel worldwide.”   In his presentation, Bowling focused on the recent growth in ethanol exports, noting the work of the Grains Council and its partners, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Bowling noted that NCGA’s new strategic plan has an objective of working with the...

(Posted Tue. Feb 16th, 2016)

CommonGround launched a new video today highlighting how ranchers care for their animals. The short piece, which features Colorado CommonGround volunteer and rancher Kelsey Pope and her mother, Cindy Frasier, helps consumers looking for the story behind their food.   Showing the family out together working in a pristine snowscape on their ranch, the video addresses topics of importance to consumers such as animal welfare and animal care. Together, Frasier and Pope share a multigenerational perspective on the importance of animals to their family, particularly animal health, and how it impacts them as American ranchers on a family farm.   “The animals make our family what it is,” Pope says. “We love being able to work with the animals every day, being out there with them and getting to know their personalities. They are the reason we are able to do what they do and, in turn, our animals take care of us.”   To watch the video on YouTube, click here.   With about 39 percent of...

(Posted Fri. Feb 12th, 2016)

The 2016 class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, now entering its third year of helping farming couples and individuals become better communicators, leaders and advocates for agriculture, kicked off this week in Des Moines, Iowa.   “We’re pleased to see this important program continue for a third year with DuPont’s generous support,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president and a corn grower from Maryland. “NCGA has always believed that farmers themselves are the best leaders and spokespersons for agriculture, and this program is designed in particular for those just getting started in visible roles in the ag industry.”   “It was a privilege to meet this year’s distinguished class of DuPont New Leaders.  There are many challenges and opportunities facing American agriculture, so I am pleased that we are investing in the next generation of leaders,” said Jeff Nawn, DuPont Pioneer Global Grain Trade Lead.  “We look forward to watching them continue to develop their leadership...

(Posted Thu. Feb 11th, 2016)

Keywords: Ethanol

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee gathered last week in Sacramento to meet with California regulators and ethanol industry representatives in this important market. Meeting discussions and presentations focused on existing market conditions, modeling to calculate greenhouse gas emissions and efforts being made to expand higher blends of ethanol at the retail level.   Anil Prabhu of the California Air Resources Board’s Transportation Fuel Branch in Sacramento discussed the history behind CARB’s carbon emissions scoring and the criteria contained in the current Low Carbon Fuel Standard. According to Prabhu, there is potential for improving the methodologies for the models CARB uses. The Ethanol Committee will continue to serve as a resource for CARB as they seek to improve their scoring methodologies.   “California’s low carbon fuels standard presents an excellent opportunity for higher ethanol fuel blends to perform well in this market,” said...

(Posted Wed. Feb 10th, 2016)

Last week, the National Corn Growers Association’s Research and Business Development Action Team met in Phoenix, Arizona to review recommendations coming out of NCGA’s Priority and Policy Conference and explore potential economic opportunities for farmers while growing new markets for corn products.    Meetings included a tour of the U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, Arizona. While there, the team explored phenotyping technology, including discussions of where phenotyping efforts are now and where they will need to be in the future. Notably, this facility holds the largest field-based phenotyping facility in the world.   During these meetings, the team renewed its focus on efforts that will help get new technology into the hands of farmers to meet changing needs in their fields. Additionally, they put a plan into place to foster new uses research and development.   The members of RBDAT also looked at how goals set out in NCGA’s strategic plan can be...

(Posted Wed. Feb 10th, 2016)

Which do you love most about New Orleans: The food?  Or the music? When you attend the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans March 3-5, you can vote for your personal favorite by contributing to the charity of your choice.   Commodity Classic has partnered with two New Orleans-based charities—Second Harvest and The Roots of Music—to give America’s farmers the opportunity to demonstrate their well-known generosity.     Second Harvest is working to end hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education and disaster response.  Second Harvest provides 24 million meals to 210,000 people each year across South Louisiana. Every one dollar donated to Second Harvest provides three meals to a hungry family.   The Roots of Music believes music has the power to transform lives. The Roots of Music empowers the youth of New Orleans through music education, academic support, and mentorship while preserving and promoting the unique musical and cultural heritage of the...

(Posted Tue. Feb 9th, 2016)

CornPAC, the political action committee of the National Corn Growers Association, has launched a new website in advance of its annual auction fundraiser at Commodity Classic.   Through the new website, cornpac.ncga.com, members can donate to the PAC, purchase auction tickets, donate auction items, and view featured auction items. New auction items are being added daily. On the website, members can also learn more about the PAC and its role in our advocacy efforts.   “Corn farmers are directly affected by the makeup of Congress. CornPAC is one tool we use to support candidates and elected officials who are willing to learn more about our industry, and who have a track record of supporting the policy priorities of corn farmers,” said Gene Baumgardner, President of the CornPAC Committee and a farmer from Ohio. “Becoming a CornPAC member is an easy way for corn farmers to be more involved in the political process, and pool together their resources for greatest impact.”   The...

(Posted Fri. Feb 5th, 2016)

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Grower Services Action Team met in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this week to review programs related to membership, leadership and communications.   At the meeting, they reviewed a proposal to get farm spouses engaged as members of the state and national corn associations and finalized the list of five students who will announced at the upcoming Commodity Classic as recipients of the 2016 William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship.   “Building and supporting a diverse membership of more than 40,000 corn growers is a key focus of our action team,” said Patty Mann, who serves as chairwoman of the team. “Our farm families have so many challenges right now, whether its farm economics or regulatory intrusion, so we want to all we can to help them – and to engage them in our programs as trusted advocates for agriculture.”   The team also reviewed NCGA’s membership programs and new strategic plan, and evaluated the...

(Posted Thu. Feb 4th, 2016)

Defining, developing, expanding and measuring sustainable production practices is at the center of discussions taking place as members of the National Corn Growers Association Production and Stewardship Action Team met in North Carolina this week. The group spent a significant part of its meeting learning more about the critical role of pollinators in agriculture.   The insect population in the U.S. is valued at $16 billion annually, and three-quarters of that is directly attributed to pollination services provided by honeybees. At the same time, the bee population is facing a host of issues, including extreme weather, disease, parasites, inadequate nutrition, reduction in forage areas, pesticide exposure and colony management practices.    “We learned a lot about the importance of honeybees to our industry during our visit to Bayer Crop Science,” said Brent Hostetler, chairman of the action team. “One big takeaway is that communication will be key to progress. If we’re...

(Posted Thu. Feb 4th, 2016)

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling regarding Wednesday's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.   “After five years of negotiations, we are pleased to see the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement take another step forward today. The National Corn Growers Association supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it would give America’s farmers and ranchers greater access to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. This agreement is good for both corn farmers and our friends and partners in the livestock industry. We all want to see more American grains, meat and dairy on dinner tables around the world.   “This agreement will strengthen America’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region and set the tone for future international trade agreements, such as with the European Union. By supporting TPP, Congress can send a powerful message: the United States will lead on trade. That’s why NCGA members will be going...

(Posted Wed. Feb 3rd, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Today, the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team wrapped up its spring meeting in Long Beach, Calif., where team members reviewed recommendations coming out of NCGA's Priority and Policy Conference held earlier in January and met with representatives from across the value chain to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including goals set out in NCGA’s strategic plan can be achieved, the team used their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “During the winter months, it can begin to feel like farmer leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings for a variety of agricultural groups,” said Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “As my involvement has increased, I have come to even more fully appreciate the breadth and scope of the myriad issues facing farmers...

(Posted Wed. Feb 3rd, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see continued increase in adoption of refuge- in-a-bag (integrated refuge) products, simplifying growers’ refuge requirements in the Corn Belt. According to the annual Compliance Assurance Program results, all growers surveyed in the Corn Belt planted at least one refuge in a bag product, and many growers planted exclusively refuge-in-a-bag products.   The CAP, implemented by Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, is designed to improve compliance with EPA-mandated Insect Resistance Management requirements and includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey, IRM education and awareness.   Adoption of refuge in a bag products results in automatic compliance in the Corn Belt Highlights of the survey indicate a strong adoption of refuge-in-a-bag products, which include Bt and refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or container. “We are pleased to see that growers have rapidly adopted refuge-in-a-bag...

(Posted Tue. Feb 2nd, 2016)

Every two years, staff from the National Corn Growers Association’s state affiliates and select grower volunteers come together to talk about the challenges and opportunities in growing and serving the organization’s membership.   This week in Santa Fe, participants from 15 states gathered for several days of presentations and dialogue on topics such as attracting new members, building member diversity, and engaging members through new technology. The group also looked at ways to ensure farming families are adequately represented in state and national membership rolls.   “This was a great opportunity to bring together people who are working day in and out to build and serve membership throughout the country,” said NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chairwoman Patty Mann, a grower from Ohio. “NCGA and its affiliates have always been forward-thinking and dedicated to increasing membership – and increasing member support and activity. These meetings help people from around the...

(Posted Mon. Feb 1st, 2016)

As registrations for the 2016 Commodity Classic held March 3-5 in New Orleans continue at a record pace, hotel accommodations are filling up quickly, while some important housing-related deadlines are on the horizon.   Group rates at all Commodity Classic hotels are guaranteed through Wednesday, Feb.3 (based on availability). Continue to check the Commodity Classic website for additional hotel availability and updates.  The hotel reservation process is managed through Experient, the Commodity Classic housing bureau.  Reservations cannot be accepted by phone or email and must be made through the website at www.commodityclassic.com in order to receive the group rate discount. For questions, email housing@commodityclassic.com or call (800) 967-8852 or (847) 996-5832.    Check the confirmation you received from the Classic housing bureau for specific hotel cut-off dates and deadlines.   Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused...