NEWS STORIES

APRIL 2016

(Posted Fri. Apr 29th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association continues 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.   This week, Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, who farms in north central Iowa, to find out how corn planting has progressed. On her farm, the corn planting is complete and emergence is well underway. Looking around many farms in her area, she sees at least as many acres planted to corn as most forecasts project.   To listen to the full interview, click here.   Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.

(Posted Thu. Apr 28th, 2016)

This week, National Corn Growers Association staff took a deeper look into water quality issues during the Hypoxia Task Force Meeting in St. Louis. The HTF is a partnership of 12 states, five federal agencies and tribal representatives focused on collaborative efforts to reduce nutrient loading in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basin and subsequent hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Task Force heard presentations from several non-governmental groups and the Missouri Corn Growers Association, and its soy counterpart, discussions on how they approach finding solutions to ensure clean water for future generations.   NCGA staff looked at the ways a variety of stakeholders are addressing the hypoxia issue currently, while examining possible opportunities to find new partners and innovative approaches to further its sustainability programming.   The Missouri Corn Growers representatives, along with their counterparts from soy, discussed the collaboration developed among...

(Posted Tue. Apr 26th, 2016)

Off the Cob caught up with ITOCHU Chemicals America Sales and Marketing Manager Rick Muschi, a longtime exhibitor at the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference. During this audio interview, Muschi discusses what his company gains from CUTC participation, how this biennial conference presents a unique opportunity and why he would suggest others exhibit as well.   “What is nice about CUTC is that it brings everyone together,” he explains. “From different companies to major players in the industry all attending one show at one time in the same location, it is a great opportunity to network. For me, CUTC has been a great experience as a whole.”   To listen to the full interview, click here.   Held in St. Louis, Missouri this June 6 through 8, CUTC features scientists, researchers, farmers and industry leaders on the cutting edge of technology in the corn industry. In addition to riveting sessions, CUTC features exciting exhibits and the...

(Posted Mon. Apr 25th, 2016)

Corn planting surged even further ahead of the five-year average last week according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 30 percent of total corn acres planted by April 24, progress surpassed the five-year average for this point by 14 percentage points, ten percentage points further ahead of the average than this time one week ago.    Progress surpassed the five-year average by 50 percentage points in Missouri, with Iowa and Minnesota both more than 30 percentage points planted over the five-year average as well. Only Texas lagged behind the five-year average by more than five points.   The USDA also released its first forecast of the percentage of corn emerged this week. While planting ran far ahead of the five-year average, the percentage of the corn crop emerged surpassed the five-year average by only one percentage point. Again, Missouri saw progress the furthest ahead of the average, with 24 percent of corn acres emerged. The state...

(Posted Fri. Apr 22nd, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association continues 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.   This week, Field Notes catches up with Illinois farmer Jim Raben, who notes that many farmers in his area have changed their planting intentions to favor soybeans instead of corn. Looking at the potential profitability of the switch, he sees market changes as the greatest motivating factor.   With nearly a third of his corn acres planted, Raben discusses how the favorable weather and technology move his operation along. To listen to the full interview, click here.   Field Notes also meets Dan Erickson, a farmer from Alden, Minnesota. With half of his corn crop already planted, Erickson is optimistic...

(Posted Fri. Apr 22nd, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association hosted a delegation of Cuban importers and officials yesterday visiting as part of a U.S. Grains Council trade team.  The group met with officials in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Missouri and Louisiana to learn about the U.S. grain production and exporting systems and see the advantages of purchasing U.S. coarse grains and co-products.   Back in Washington, NCGA continues to call on Congress to pass legislation that will reduce trade barriers, normalize relations, and help build a two-way trade relationship with Cuba.   Cuba’s proximity makes it a logical buyer of U.S. farm products, but the longtime embargo has meant lost sales both there and in the region. If the United States captured all of Cuba’s corn demand, it would be the 12th largest market for U.S. corn farmers worldwide. Cuba is also likely to become the regional hub for trade and economic activity, thanks to its new deep-water port – making it an important part of building global...

(Posted Fri. Apr 22nd, 2016)

By Chip Bowling   Each April 22, thousands of Americans celebrate Earth Day. It’s a moment-in-time for us to think about the changes we each can make to improve the environment, whether that’s volunteering in our local community or implementing small steps in our own households. As a farmer who grows 1,400 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and sorghum on land adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, my focus on water, soil, air and habitat is fundamental to the work I do each day. Unfortunately, because I run a large conventional farm and also use GMO seeds, the broader public does not believe my farm is sustainable.   Keep in mind, the land I farm has been in my family for three generations. I live and farm in one of the most beautiful corners of the United States, and I want to make sure the environment is better for my children who plan to raise food and their families on this same land.   I’m sure my sentiment and focus on sustainability may be met with skepticism...

(Posted Wed. Apr 20th, 2016)

What better arena to showcase the environmental benefits of American Ethanol than during NASCAR Green Week? Since 2008, NASCAR Green has been collaborating with key stakeholders that care deeply about sustainability. Today, NASCAR Green puts the spotlight on American Ethanol with a video and feature story on the partnership.   Through strategic partnerships, NASCAR and its stakeholders are reducing the sport’s environmental impact, validating green technologies and educating fans. NASCAR Green was launched because it is the right thing to do for our country and the environment. The partners of American Ethanol couldn’t agree more.   The American Ethanol brand represents a shared commitment to sustainability on the part of NCGA, its corn state affiliates and Growth Energy. Collaborative efforts and joint communications among these partners offers a unique opportunity to expand this commitment by bringing awareness of E15’s contribution to cleaner air and its expanded...

(Posted Wed. Apr 20th, 2016)

In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful. While the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association took home the award during Commodity Classic in March, NCGA received six excellent submissions which all offer innovative new solutions.   The Texas Corn Producers built the Leadership, Activism, Networking and Development Program on those very principles. LAND is a weekend-long commitment for young farm couples in Texas. Participants include those who have recently returned to the farm, or have begun a new farm business, and are looking to expand their roles on and off the farm.   Many of the program’s participants were previously active in high school or collegiate programs focused on engaging youth in the industry such...

(Posted Tue. Apr 19th, 2016)

In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful. While the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association took home the award during Commodity Classic in March, NCGA received six excellent submissions which all offer innovative new solutions.   The Nebraska Corn Growers Association held its third Grassroots Advocacy Workshop in 2015. The two-day event, which was open to all members, focused on strengthening the attendee’s advocacy skills. With updates from industry, state and national perspectives, the workshop provided farmers with insight into issues beyond the farm gate to aid in advocacy. The program also helped attendees build the skillset needed to be an effective advocate with training in social media strategies,...

U.S. Corn Farmers Surge Beyond Average Planting Progress

(Posted Mon. Apr 18th, 2016)

Corn planting surged ahead of the five-year average last week according to a a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With thirteen percent of total corn acres planted by April 17, progress surpassed the five-year average for this point by four percentage points. Notably, it had remained inline with the average as recently as a week prior.    Progress surpassed the five-year average by 37 percentage points in Missouri, with Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota all ten or more percentage points planted over the five-year average as well. Only Indiana and Texas lagged behind the five-year average by more than five points.   To view the full report released today, click here.

(Posted Mon. Apr 18th, 2016)

In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful. While the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association took home the award during Commodity Classic in March, NCGA received six excellent submissions which all offer innovative new solutions.   The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan put on the inaugural Between the Rows Tour in August of 2015.  The tour, which was created to provide more face-to-face contact with corn growers in Michigan, brought participants to eight stops over the month in larger production counties in multiple regions of the state. At each stop, the tour met with growers in the area.   During the stops, farmers got a chance to listen to a market report by local elevator representative and a yield update...

(Posted Fri. Apr 15th, 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.   This week, Field Notes catches up with Indiana farmer Brian Scott, who blogs at www.thefarmerslife.com. From discussing watching his 89-year old grandfather harvest through his phone in the maternity ward to sharing the sustainability practices his farm has put into place for his children, Scott paints a vivid picture of how the idea of a farm family is daily reality.   To listen to the full interview, click here.   Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern...

(Posted Fri. Apr 15th, 2016)

In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful. While the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association took home the award during Commodity Classic in March, NCGA received six excellent submissions which all offer innovative new solutions.   The Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team was created to assist the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board in developing programs that target and enhance Iowa Corn’s relationship with those individuals who are pursuing careers in agricultural production and allied industries. The team, which is made up of students seeking degrees related to agriculture at Iowa colleges and universities, helps Iowa Corn offer relevant programming, increase advocacy and provide services...

(Posted Thu. Apr 14th, 2016)

Keywords: Production

The National Corn Growers Association and other agriculture organizations on Wednesday called on the Environmental Protection Agency to postpone a meeting scheduled for next week related to the pesticide chlorpyrifos.   In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, NCGA and 41 other organizations argue that the Science Advisory Panel meeting, scheduled for April 19-21, was “hastily called” and is an attempt by EPA to “fundamentally alter its process for evaluating potential risk and regulation of pesticides.”   For the full letter, click here.   NCGA supports transparent, science-based oversight of pesticides. NCGA and other groups argue that the EPA is not basing its decisions on science, while also trying to change its longtime review processes. In January, NCGA submitted comments to the EPA reiterating support for chlorpyrifos.   Notably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also expressed deep concerns over this process and EPA’s departure from decades of...

(Posted Thu. Apr 14th, 2016)

This week, CommonGround was recognized for excellence at the National Agri-Marketing Association’s National Awards Ceremony. The group’s “Ask a Farmer” video, which was created to promote the refreshed website, won First Place for its category, Social Tactic, as well as Best of Show – Digital and the first-ever NAMA Grand Champion award. The redesigned CommonGround website also won First Place for its category, Website Directed to Consumers.   CommonGround is a joint program of the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates. Through the work of farm women volunteers, CommonGround connects women on and off the farm for conversations about how food is grown and raised so that everyone can enjoy food without the fear.   Since it launched in November of 2010, CommonGround has made more than 670 million consumer conversations. With 184 volunteers, CommonGround state affiliates host an activity somewhere in the country almost every other...

(Posted Thu. Apr 14th, 2016)

In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful. While the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association took home the award during Commodity Classic in March, NCGA received six excellent submissions which all offer innovative new solutions.   The Indiana Corn Growers Association submitted the Ag Policy Summit, a program designed to deepen growers’ involvement in state politics. Through a partnership with the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the two groups hosted the joint Indiana Ag Policy Summit in July of 2015. Featuring a robust program including speakers, a discussion with U.S. Senate candidates and a town hall with members, the Summit generated discussion of policies and priorities while showcasing the importance of state-level...

(Posted Wed. Apr 13th, 2016)

In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful.   The first award, which was presented in March at Commodity Classic, went to the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association for its The New Crop program.   The New Crop, created by Ohio and through the sponsorship of Beck’s Hybrids, is a recruitment campaign targeted toward high school and college students, as well as young farmers. Through The New Crop, OCWGA collaborates with academic institutions with agricultural programming staff across the state at various high schools, colleges and at the Ohio Department of Education. This collaboration strengthens the association’s outreach to those already in or interested in agriculture between the ages of 18 and 35.   By...

Remembering Brenda

(Posted Tue. Apr 12th, 2016)

Visitors to the National Corn Growers Association’s offices in Washington would have had a chance to meet Brenda Perkins, the receptionist who has warmly greeted all who came through the doors since we started sharing office space with the U.S. Grains Council in 2012.    Sadly this weekend, Brenda passed away unexpectedly after a short illness, and she will be terribly missed by all those who have known her. For more information, or to share a remembrance, please visit the U.S. Grains Council website at this link. 

(Posted Tue. Apr 12th, 2016)

With corn overall demand estimates lowered by 24 million bushels and U.S. corn ending stocks raised by 25 million bushels, farmers can expect about slightly less per bushel according U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. While production estimates were unchanged from March and the report indicates increased demand for ethanol, those gains are more than offset by a major increase in feed and residual demand.   “U.S. corn farmers have indicated their intention to grow another bountiful crop in 2016 and, if the weather proves favorable, we may see a large corn supply after harvest,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.  “At NCGA, we work to apply the same expertise and dedication shown by our members to our efforts to create and grow demand for our crop. America’s farmers sustainably produce a corn crop that can feed and fuel the world. Working together, we can create the opportunities necessary to maximize the...

(Posted Mon. Apr 11th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Policy

Growers enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage program and whose farms cross county boundaries, or are located in a county other than their Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, have until April 15 to request a recalculation of their 2014 and 2015 benefits based on the farm’s physical location. Eligible farmers must contact their local FSA office to make this change.   FSA approved this one-time exception due to the late passage of the 2014 farm bill and resulting reforms to USDA risk management programs. This provision only applies to a small fraction of farm operators, and those who are affected were contacted by FSA earlier this year.   For 2016 and future years, farmers will continue to have the flexibility to request farm record changes, including moving records to another servicing county office or dividing their farm, through their county FSA office no later than August 1 of each year.

(Posted Mon. Apr 11th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association today joined more than 220 national and state food and agriculture organizations in expressing support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and urging Congress to pass the agreement in 2016.   In a letter to Senate and House leaders, the organizations write, “Delaying the launch of TPP by even a year would represent a $94 billion permanent loss… to the U.S. economy. With net farm income at its lowest level since 2002, the costs of inaction are too high to ignore. We must act now.”   Last year, the United States agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with 11 Asia-Pacific countries representing 40 percent of the world’s economy. TPP countries currently account for 42 percent of U.S. ag exports, at a value of $63 billion annually.   “The TPP presents a valuable opportunity for U.S. agriculture; one that we cannot afford to miss. TPP Is important for the future of rural America, and we urge passage of TPP during this session...

(Posted Fri. Apr 8th, 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.   This week, Field Notes caught up with farmers from Maryland and Iowa to get opinions on the outlook for the 2016 corn crop. The initial USDA Prospective Plantings report issued last week projected corn acres to increase by six percent this year. With planting still a few weeks out for both farmers, each discusses their planting plans along with providing perspective on environmental and market issues.   To listen to an interview with Jennie Schmidt, the Foodie Farmer, from Maryland, click here.   Share a laugh with April Hemmes as she discusses her planting plans in northern Iowa and...

(Posted Thu. Apr 7th, 2016)

The next time you hear about carbon neutrality, think of food security and sustainable agriculture solutions.  With 795 million people in the world who do not get enough food to lead healthy, active lives, you will hear about this issue more often.   NCGA Director of Soil Health and Sustainability Dr. Nick Goeser, who also directs the Soil Health Partnership, recently participated in a highly innovative, hands-on design lab for university students to create solutions to the emerging challenge of a carbon neutral food supply. Berkeley Nourishing 9 Billion SolutionLab is at the center of hosting events on college campuses to focus on food security and sustainable agricultural solutions.  The event took place at Washington University in St. Louis.   Worldwide, 17 million children suffer from severe malnutrition and deadly conditions left untreated.   With the world population growing from 7 billion to 9 billion people by 2050, the importance of surfacing solutions becomes...

(Posted Thu. Apr 7th, 2016)

Next week, USDA’s Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network will be hosting the second in a series of engagement conference calls, with the theme of “Women as New and Beginning Farmers, Ranchers, and Producers.” National Corn Growers Association Past President Pam Johnson will take part in the panel.   Women looking to start a career on the farm or ranch, or who have just begun a career and are looking for guidance, are invited to join and hear from experts on tools available, what to expect, and how women can help each other succeed. The call will feature a panel and time for discussion following the speakers.   In addition to Johnson, featured speakers are Lilia McFarland, new farmer coordinator for the USDA, and A-dae Romero, director of community development for Pulama Lana’i, HI, contributor to the First Nations Development Institute, co-founder and former executive director of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M.   The call will be from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 13. Those...

(Posted Wed. Apr 6th, 2016)

Students from around the country had the opportunity Tuesday to take a farm field trip from the comfort and convenience of their classrooms as part of a special program created by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in conjunction with Discovery Education. Titled “The Smart Farm: Where Technology and Innovation Meet,” the live virtual field trip reached more than 1,200 schools.   The National Corn Growers Association is a proud founding affiliate of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. “Before today, I couldn't imagine taking more than 35,000 students on a field trip to a farm – but that's exactly what USFRA did today with its Virtual Field Trip,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, who represents the organization on the USFRA board of directors. “Today's virtual field trip was a great way to share what takes place on farms like mine with audiences that can't visit rural communities.”   Available at no cost, the event was hosted from Deere & Company World Headquarters in...

(Posted Tue. Apr 5th, 2016)

For those who attended the blockbuster 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans, and even for those did not have the opportunity, a video library is now available online that offers complete recordings of more than two dozen educational sessions and the popular General Session.   Commodity Classic attendees will find the video library a great way to refresh their memory regarding the sessions they attended, and they also can experience sessions they may have missed. This library can help growers all year long to brush up on best practices, continue professional development, or share industry-leading information with others.   2016 Commodity Classic registration includes free online access to the recorded educational sessions from the days registered. Videos from days in which people were not registered are available for purchase, and all streaming videos are available to the general public for purchase as well.   The General Session video, featuring U.S. Agriculture Secretary...

(Posted Tue. Apr 5th, 2016)

By National Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak   The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), which represents the small engine industry, just released their annual survey results concerning consumer knowledge of small engine fuel options.  Based upon the results of the survey, corn farmers and small engine manufacturers can agree that consumers need and deserve more information about today’s fuel options.  We know from our own consumer research that consumers are hungry for information about the positive effects of ethanol blended fuels.    Further, we agree with the OPEI on two other points: 1. The OPEI acknowledges that E10 is safe for use in small engines like motorcycles, lawn mowers, trimmers, boats and snowmobiles; and 2. The OPEI notes that federal law prohibits the use of higher ethanol fuel blends in outdoor power equipment.  Beyond these points of agreement, however, lays a significantly different view of the future.   Our farmers believe...

(Posted Fri. Apr 1st, 2016)

As many farmers return to the fields to prepare for spring planting, it marks the perfect time for soil sampling. Doing so can improve nutrient management for a successful corn crop, according to soil scientist Nick Goeser.   “Spring soil sampling is a great way to evaluate soil fertility levels in the preparation process,” said Goeser, director of soil health and sustainability for the National Corn Growers Association. “Many factors affect the nutrient content available to plants, including soil moisture, temperature, residues and organic matter content. Spring soil sampling helps account for many soil factors to provide an up-to-date baseline for tracking plant-available nutrient content ahead of planting.”   Better baseline nutrient information allows improved planning of nutrient application rates, timing, sources and placement throughout the year, Goeser said. Goeser also runs the Soil Health Partnership, an NCGA initiative with the support of other funders and partners....