NEWS STORIES

MARCH 2016

(Posted Thu. Mar 31st, 2016)

American farmers expect to plant 5.6 million more acres of corn in 2016, a six percent increase from 2015, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings report released today.   If realized, total corn plantings in the United States would total 93.6 million acres for the highest planted acreage since 2013. Notably, it would also be the third-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.   “U.S. farmers produced an abundant crop in 2015. Given the strong carryover entering this growing season, we may see quite a large corn supply at harvest should weather prove favorable in 2016,” National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling said.  “While many factors may change the reality on the ground as planting progresses, American corn supplies should remain ample for the year to come. Given the impact this continues to have on prices, the work being done at NCGA to grow demand will prove even more important as we work to find markets for our product and...

(Posted Wed. Mar 30th, 2016)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association kicked off its sixth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   To begin a new season, Field Notes met Jim Raben, who farms in southeastern Illinois near the Ohio River.   While he is waiting for drier weather to plant, Jim has already made a number of decisions for his farm this planting season. “We farm mainly corn and soybeans, normally in about a fifty-fifty split,” he explained. “This year, it will be a little different. We plan on putting out about 3,400 acres of corn and, probably, 4,400 acres of soybeans.   “We plan on getting started as soon as weather dries up. We are in the line to get some heavy rains this afternoon again, and we are...

(Posted Tue. Mar 29th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed a group of French delegates interested in low carbon technology yesterday for a series of meetings designed to further understanding of U.S. corn farming practices and ethanol The delegation, organized under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program examined how U.S. agriculture reduces output of greenhouse gas emissions and examined U.S. perspectives on promoting a low-carbon economy.   The group in attendance included: World Wildlife Foundation France Department of Food and Agriculture Head Arnaud Gauffier; Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Project Officer Joseph Lunet de la Malene; and Dr. Ann Sophie Novel, an economist and freelance journalist. NCGA Vice President of Production and Stewardship Paul Bertels and Director of Biotechnology and Crop Inputs Nathan Fields met with the delegation.   Through a series of in-depth discussions, the group looked at how...

(Posted Mon. Mar 28th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association joined the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) as part of its strategic plan to increase research funding to expand demand and improve productivity and sustainability.   “As a partner of SoAR, NCGA will be able to further its efforts to achieve public polices in the research arena that will benefit all U.S. Corn farmers,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair Larry Hoffmann. “While we work to build demand, it is also imperative NCGA maintains important efforts to keep the research pipeline flowing. As members of this respected group, we will amplify our voice by working with like-minded groups and ensure that research funding remains a top priority for Congress.”   SoAR was established as a non-partisan coalition of scientific, consumer and producer groups in 2012 to seek sound research policies that focus more of our best minds on feeding America and the world and to advocate for increased funding for such...

(Posted Thu. Mar 24th, 2016)

Officers for the National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Grains Council spent the week in the Indianapolis area on a “look and listen” tour. The trip gave officers the chance to meet face-to-face with stakeholders in the grain, livestock, and ethanol industries, discuss challenges and opportunities, and ultimately drive demand for U.S. corn and corn co-products both domestically and around the world.   “To build profitable demand for U.S. corn, we need strong relationships with the customers who are using our products. An important part of that is being able to see their facilities and operations, and hear directly from them about what’s happening in their industry,” said NCGA First Vice President Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas. “This trip provided us a great opportunity to ask how we can be better partners with our customers, and what we need to do, working together as the corn industry, to help them succeed.”   Managers at The Anderson Ethanol Group’s...

(Posted Thu. Mar 24th, 2016)

On Wednesday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) along with 17 other senators sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them to follow the congressional intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by increasing blending targets under the RFS for 2017.   The biofuels community commended the senators for their unwavering support for a strong and robust RFS and for sending a clear message to the EPA.   “We want to thank all 19 senators for highlighting the biofuel industry’s concerns with EPA incorrectly citing distribution infrastructure as a factor in setting the 2014–2016 blending targets, and urging the agency to reverse course for the 2017 rule by simply following congressional intent. That is the very heart of why we and other biofuel groups filed a lawsuit in January against EPA.   “Getting the RFS back to the statutory levels congress intended is critical in moving our nation forward to energy independence by using cleaner...

(Posted Thu. Mar 24th, 2016)

Corn farmers from across the country traveled to Washington this week to take part in the second phase of the annual leadership development programs co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. While in town, the group will visit numerous Congressional leaders and get an inside look at parliamentary procedure and how lobbying works on Capitol Hill.   “For more than a quarter of a century, Leadership At Its Best has been an invaluable tool for helping corn growers become leaders at the state and national level,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA’s current president and a LAIB graduate himself. “In Washington, our farmers can see first-hand how decisions made here impact us back on the farm. Having a strong voice here in the capital is very important for NCGA and its farmer members.”   The Leadership At Its Best class will receive briefings from NCGA staffers on the issues facing America’s farmers in the coming year followed by presentations from lobbyist and Hill...

(Posted Wed. Mar 23rd, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed Edwin Uche, director of the Nigerian Corn Growers Association, yesterday for a series of meetings designed to further understand NCGA’s structure and benefit to U.S. corn farmers. Uche, who reached out for a meeting during the Maize Genetics Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, expressed his excitement for NCGA’s work and enthusiasm for doing similar for farmers in Nigeria.   Dr. Richard Vierling, who Uche initially contacted, arranged the meeting at the St. Louis headquarters. Vice President of Production and Stewardship Paul Bertels, Director of Communications Ken Colombini and Director of Development Joe Hodes also participated.   Through a series of in-depth discussions, Uche explored ways in which he could increase corn demand in Nigeria while fostering acceptance of biotechnology and growing the country’s ethanol industry. A proponent of biotechnology in agriculture, Uche also hopes to move more farmers toward this productive...

(Posted Tue. Mar 22nd, 2016)

Before you step in the field this spring, why not invest an hour in learning more about ways you can protect the soil beneath your feet? Practices catching on among today’s top corn farmers include cover crops, nutrient and soil management, and precision business planning.   The Soil Health Partnership, a farmer-led initiative from the National Corn Growers Association, will soon embark on its third summer of field days to help farmers learn from their peers about how changing certain practices can improve the environment, and maybe even the bottom line. But first, with the help of United Supplier’s SUSTAIN platform, we’re bringing this VIRTUAL field day webinar to Iowa farmers. Framed under the umbrella of Iowa’s progressive water quality leadership, speakers include an Iowa farmer enrolled in the program about his experience with cover crops and reduced tillage machinery.   The webinar will take place from noon to 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday, March 30. Click here to register....

(Posted Mon. Mar 21st, 2016)

At the recent Commodity Classic in New Orleans, the National Corn Growers Association finalized a new strategic plan that will focus NCGA’s work on a vision of sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world.   The new plan sets four major strategic priorities that reflect the concerns heard through listening to farmers and key stakeholders:   Increase Demand Strengthen Customer and Consumer Trust Enhance Productivity & Environmental Sustainability Strive for Organizational Excellence   Increasing demand is vital, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling at a news conference held earlier this month.   “Most corn farmers are well past the point of prices being below the cost of production, and prices have been there for some time now,” Bowling said. “Facing this dramatic income drop, farmers have begun tightening their belts. We are already seeing the ripple effects of this on rural communities. Implement dealers are selling less equipment. Manufacturers are scaling back...

(Posted Fri. Mar 18th, 2016)

The American Ethanol partnership of the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy and others to promote an E15 ethanol blend via NASCAR, debuts its first full paint-out this weekend in at the Auto Club 400 race in Fontana, Calif.   Fans and ethanol supporters can look for the AE design on the famous No. 3 car and driver Austin Dillon’s fire suit during the race, on Sunday, March 20. Follow the excitement at #AmericanEthanol and #NASCARGoesWest.   “As the world's third largest petroleum market, California is an important market for American Ethanol,” said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the NCGA NASCAR Advisory Committee. “Due to the benefits E85 has delivered to flex-fuel vehicle owners in terms of greater power, cleaner air and engine safety, retail fuel customers in California are asking for E15. Because E15 is allowed in 2001 and newer cars, 80 percent of all the gasoline vehicles on the road today could be experiencing those same benefits.”   This season, NASCAR will...

(Posted Thu. Mar 17th, 2016)

Irrigation systems managed from iPads, animal nutrition tracked by computer chips, and tractors that drive using GPS are only a few examples of the ways farmers and ranchers use technology to produce food in a sustainable manner. With each generation becoming further removed from agriculture, Discovering FARMLAND, a comprehensive education program created by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in conjunction with Discovery Education, is providing high school students nationwide with a firsthand glimpse into contemporary agriculture through The Smart Farm: Where Technology and Innovation Meet, a live virtual field trip that kicks off at noon CDT Tuesday, April 5.   The National Corn Growers Association is a proud founding affiliate of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.   Available at no cost, this live virtual event hosted from Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline, Ill., will transport classrooms across the country to a hog, corn and soybean farm to see today's...

(Posted Thu. Mar 17th, 2016)

This week, representatives from agribusinesses are gathered with National Corn Growers Association leadership in Washington for NCGA’s Agri-Industry Council’s biannual meeting.  Over the course of two days, attendees will receive updates on key NCGA programs, hear from several outside speakers and discuss topics of special importance to the entire agricultural community.   “The discussion in AIC meetings helps NCGA fulfill its mission of creating and maintaining opportunities for corn growers,” said NCGA Chairman and AIC Co-Chair Martin Barbre. “Only through sharing NCGA’s position throughout the industry will we make our voices loud enough to reach the best possible outcomes for growers as we face an ever-changing political landscape.”   Ann Compton, a former ABC News White House correspondent, will present a look inside the White House, current events and the 2016 presidential campaign. Through Compton’s talk and the discussion that will follow, participants will explore the...

(Posted Wed. Mar 16th, 2016)

Keywords: biotechnology

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling issued the following statement today in response to the Senate’s failure to pass Chairman Pat Roberts’ uniform, national food labeling standard:   “U.S. corn farmers are disappointed that, despite the clear demonstration of support from nearly 800 groups, the Senate failed to move this reasonable legislation forward. This legislation would have provided consumers with a greater amount of information in a consistent, clear manner. Farmers are committed to creating greater transparency in the food system, but we also need Congress to set clear, commonsense guidelines that are based in science and keep food affordable for American families.   “We still see the possibility for a bipartisan agreement on this in the near future, and will continue working with Chairman Roberts and Senator Stabenow to realize this possibility.   “The impending implementation of a patchwork of state labeling legislation will soon harm both the...

(Posted Wed. Mar 16th, 2016)

The newly updated NCGA Action app provides members and friends of the National Corn Growers Association with new tools to engage and influence elected officials on Capitol Hill and at home in their legislative districts.  Having our legislative issues, grassroots action alerts and social media channels at your fingertips makes staying engaged easier.   “Technology is changing rapidly,” said Grower Services Action Team Chair Patty Mann.  “Five years ago, we were talking about innovations such as auto-steer and GPS tracking.  Today, every farmer has a smart phone or tablet, and there are apps and tools designed especially for them to manage their operations, improve efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint.  If we want to get more people involved in our state and national advocacy efforts, we need to have our information in their hands, and our updated app does that.”   Legislative issues are getting more complicated. Gone are the days when you only had to follow the...

(Posted Mon. Mar 14th, 2016)

Twenty-five more farms have joined a groundbreaking research effort that could change the way farmers take care of their land. The Soil Health Partnership announced the addition of the new test sites at the 2016 Commodity Classic, March 3 – 5 in New Orleans.   This spring, the organization begins in its third year identifying, testing and measuring farm management practices that improve soil health. These include growing cover crops, practicing conservation tillage like no-till or strip-till, and using sophisticated nutrient management techniques.   The program’s goal is to quantify the benefits of these practices from an economic standpoint, showing farmers how healthy soil benefits their bottom line. They also have positive environmental benefits, like protecting water from nutrient runoff.   The new farm sites are located in eight Midwestern states.   “It’s exciting that so many farmers want to test and share the impact soil health can have on the environment and farm...

(Posted Fri. Mar 11th, 2016)

Drew Stabler didn’t learn the importance of conservation and sustainable farming so much as he absorbed it throughout a lifetime and six decades of farming. His journey to achieve sustainability earned Stabler recognition from the National Corn Growers Association for Good Stewardship during the recent 2016 Commodity Classic convention and trade show.   Stabler, of Laytonville, Md., is the third honoree in NCGA’s Good Steward Recognition Program which began in 2014. The program funding was provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of their Harvesting the Potential campaign to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture.   “This program is about expanding awareness of the best management practices in sustainable corn production. Our goal is to recognize the special efforts of those who demonstrate the economic and conservation value of soil management,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “Drew has shown a lifelong commitment to...

(Posted Thu. Mar 10th, 2016)

U.S. corn farmers proved their production advances are the trend and not an aberration in 2015, growing the third-largest crop on record, at 13.6 billion bushels, with a near-record national average yield of 168.4 bushels per acre.   To highlight this achievement, the National Corn Growers Association delves into the facts about corn production, uses and offers a historical comparison in its newest edition of the World of Corn. This statistical look at the corn industry, both domestic and worldwide, features a wide array of information on corn production and usage. In addition to the traditional statistics guide, this year’s distribution included an activity book that introduces children to the a-maize-ing world of corn.   “In 2015, America’s corn farmers showed exactly how amazing the world of maize can be,” NCGA President Chip Bowling and Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak note in the introduction. “Their ability to consistently deliver an abundant, sustainable crop offers...

(Posted Wed. Mar 9th, 2016)

With nearly a quarter more attendees compared to last year, the 2016 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in New Orleans, shattered many previous records for the landmark event.   “We had a great show in New Orleans, with terrific weather and a fantastic location,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Wesley Spurlock. “As it was the first time in that venue, and with a new affiliate – the Association of Equipment Manufacturers – we were expecting a great event and got what we expected. A lot of smiling faces and growers who left town more informed, engaged and energized as we head into planting season.”   Total attendance was 9,770, compared to 7,936 in 2015. Another record set was in the number of growers attending, at 4,596.  Additionally, the trade show featured an all-time high of 433 participating companies, including 128 first-time exhibitors. These exhibitors filled a record 253,300 net square feet of booth space, 49 percent more space...

(Posted Tue. Mar 8th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association released a video last week offering tips from perennial high-yield entrants of the National Corn Yield Contest during a breakfast at Commodity Classic in New Orleans honoring the state winners of the 2015 contest. The new video, which accompanies the traditional online NCYC Guide, offers farmers across the country a chance to apply the tips learned through the contest to their own operations to improve their yields and their bottom line.   To view the video, click here.   “The contest not only affords an opportunity for farmers to test their skill against their peers, it also provides NCGA with a significant amount of information about cutting-edge production practices that all farmers might find useful,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Chair Brent Hostetler. “NCGA has always looked for new and innovative ways to use this data, sharing the lessons learned with corn farmers. The video provides a quick, simple way for interested farmers...

(Posted Fri. Mar 4th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association, in conjunction with cosponsor BASF, honored five college students with scholarships today at Commodity Classic 2016 in New Orleans.  This year, the William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture scholarships, created to foster promising agricultural leaders for the future, again provided five winners with $1,000 for use in pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field.   “NCGA is pleased to partner with BASF to offer this scholarship opportunity to another crop of outstanding students,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “Our legacy depends on encouraging the next generation to embark on careers in agriculture.”   The program awarded scholarships of $1,000 each to the following students:   Andrew Lauver of Rockwell City, Iowa – a graduate student studying agribusiness at Kansas State University.   Bethany Mordhorst of Ute, Iowa – a graduate student studying animal science at the University of Missouri.   Breanne Brammer of...

(Posted Tue. Mar 1st, 2016)

Keywords: biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association today thanked members of the Senate Agriculture Committee who voted to stand with farmers and move forward Sen. Pat Roberts’s bill to address the growing threat of a patchwork of state labeling laws and called for the full Senate to urgently take up this important legislation.   “We find the forward momentum building behind this bill encouraging, and we urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill for the good of America’s farmers and consumers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.  “U.S. farmers rely on GMOs, a safe, proven technology, to protect our crops from insects, weeds and drought. The FDA should remain the party responsible for important food safety and labeling decisions based in science. Despite the scientific evidence, states such as Vermont are quickly moving toward costly, confusing mandatory labeling legislation pushed forth by agenda-driven activists. We ask the Senate to quickly...

(Posted Tue. Mar 1st, 2016)

When corn farmers from around the country gather in New Orleans this week for the 21st annual Commodity Classic convention and trade show, it's not going to be just to enjoy much warmer weather than back on the farm - a series of important policy meetings are also taking place for members and leaders of the National Corn Growers Association.   "Commodity Classic gives us the opportunity not just to celebrate great work, meet with friends and learn about new products and services, it allows growers to get together in one place to shape policy for our organization," said NCGA President Chip Bowling. "This year, all eyes and ears will be focused on the importance of protecting the farm safety net and building profitable demand for our farmers when corn production is high and corn prices are low."   On Wednesday, growers will meet for an issues briefing and open forum, followed by caucuses at the state level, where they will discuss proposed resolutions and organizational...