NEWS STORIES

JULY 2016

(Posted Fri. Jul 29th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association praised President Barack Obama today for signing into law an important agreement that protects America’s food supply from a harmful patchwork of state-level food labeling laws. The law will provide consumers with more information than ever before and ensure a transparent, national food labeling system.   “We are grateful to President Obama for swiftly signing into law a bill that is crucial for American farmers and consumers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling.  “His signature brings consistency to the marketplace and prevents the negative ramifications of conflicting state and national food labeling standards.”   America’s corn farmers, along with other family farmers across the country, rely on agricultural biotechnology to meet the demand of an ever-growing global population, while reducing their impact on the environment. The bill passed today ensures that mandatory, on-pack labels do not place an unwarranted...

(Posted Fri. Jul 29th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association is seeking applications from members interested in working on an NCGA action team in the 2017 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This service provides growers an opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their industry and to become a part of the national agricultural leadership community.   “As a grassroots organization, NCGA relies on its members to take an active role in shaping the course of our activities, programs and policies to unify and lead our industry forward,” said NCGA First Vice President Wesley Spurlock. “With the newly reorganized teams, we have more unique, specific opportunities to participate in all of the areas the organization touches. I urge all interested members to take their involvement to the next level while exploring in great depth the areas which interest them the most.”   The newly reorganized teams include: Corn Productivity and Quality; Consumer Engagement; Ethanol; Feed, Food and...

(Posted Wed. Jul 27th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

The National Corn Growers Association is working to vigorously promote trade policies that benefit U.S. farm families, First Vice President Wesley Spurlock told corn state stakeholders at the U.S. Grains Council’s Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this week in Louisville, Ky.    Spurlock, a farmer from Texas, provided his update during the General Session on Tuesday as part of a series of updates from various commodity group leaders.   He began by describing how NCGA and the Council work together for the benefit of corn farmers. Delving into this idea, he explained the many synergies between the organizations in terms of goals listed in NCGA’s new strategic plan.   Turning to focus more specifically on trade agreements, Spurlock looked at how NCGA’s policy work intersects with the Council’s market building activities to increase demand for U.S. corn.   "What is one of the largest keys to meeting our mutual goals? Trade agreements," Spurlock said. "Looking at our strategic...

(Posted Tue. Jul 26th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association calls on photographers to help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the third annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA hopes to capture high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. While the contest opened today, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2016.   Open to photographers of all ages and skill levels, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 19 cash prizes, including 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 the Soil Health Partnership’s new Conservation category. Additional first, second and third prizes will be awarded for the entries with the most...

(Posted Thu. Jul 21st, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register now for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest as only one week remains before the final entry deadline.   “We are very excited about the contest this year. The incredible trends in both yield growth and practice improvement that we have seen over the past few years are quite impressive,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Brent Hostetler. “NCGA gains valuable data from the contest that helps develop improved production practices. I personally urge those who have not entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2016.”   To enter today using the online form, click here.  The version of the online form released this year is suitable for use on mobile devices.   Entry will remain open only through July 29. All harvest forms will be due by November 21.   It is important to remember that, in 2016, entry forms must be submitted to NCGA through...

(Posted Thu. Jul 21st, 2016)

A busy week of meetings focused on our nation’s capital concluded the 2016 class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Twenty-six farmers from 15 states took part in the overall program, which was generously co-sponsored by DuPont and is aimed at preparing participants to be strong advocates and leaders for today’s agriculture.   “It was great to meet many of those participating in our events this week, like the action team meetings, our Corn Congress policy sessions, and visits to their members of Congress,” said NCGA Chairman Martin Barbre. “These new leaders are the future of our organization, and it was inspiring to see the passion and energy these men and women bring into everything they do. We're also very grateful for DuPont's support in this growing effort.”   For the participants, the week began with Monday spent in Wilmington, Del., learning about the history of DuPont and the important work the company is doing specifically in the area of crop protection. In...

Senator Joe Donnelly Receives NCGA President's Award

(Posted Wed. Jul 20th, 2016)

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling today presented the NCGA President’s Award to U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. This award is given annually to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn farmers and agriculture.   “Senator Donnelly is a true advocate for farmers in Indiana and throughout the country,” said Bowling. “He is one of ethanol’s biggest champions in Congress. He understands the importance of ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has made America more energy independent, strengthened the rural economy, and given consumers more choices, lower prices, and cleaner air. He has consistently defended the RFS and has spearheaded meetings with the Administration in support of this policy. He is also a lead sponsor of a bill that would give consumers access to higher blends of ethanol year-round.”   “Indiana and America’s corn farmers are providing the feed, food, and fuel that help to feed our families and power our...

(Posted Wed. Jul 20th, 2016)

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2017 fiscal year, are new board members Chris Edgington of Iowa, Don Glenn of Alabama, Tom Haag of Minnesota and John Linder of Ohio. Current board member Kevin Ross of Iowa was re-elected.   “Again this year, we had an impressive slate of candidates for the Corn Board, growers who already have an extensive history of service to American agriculture,” NCGA Chairman Martin Barbre, who chairs the nominating committee, said. “It inspires me to see such an interest on the part of these growers, particularly at this time when our industry faces so many challenges. I am certain they will be a valuable addition to the board and look forward to see what they do for corn farmers I the years to come.”   Edgington currently serves on NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action in...

(Posted Mon. Jul 18th, 2016)

Action teams and committees charged with in-depth analysis and consideration of the topics most relevant to corn farmers met in Washington as the initial phase of a full week of meetings held by the National Corn Growers Association.  These farmer-led teams discussed changing situations, and the possible ramifications of these changes, in areas including public policy, ethanol, biotechnology, government regulation, trade and grower services in anticipation of NCGA Corn Congress and visits to Capitol Hill scheduled later this week.   “Through a careful analysis of each issue, NCGA’s action teams develop policies while maintaining the grassroots approach vital to the association’s success,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “These six smaller groups bring together grower-leaders from our member states to cultivate a deep knowledge of specialized areas and collaborate on solutions that help NCGA create opportunities and grow market demand for our members.”   Click here for...

(Posted Fri. Jul 15th, 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 Maryland farmer Jennie Schmidt, who blogs as The Foodie Farmer.   “The corn is looking really good for us this year,” she explained. “We have had regular rains with rainfall almost every week now. The corn is almost in tassel. It is probably one of the best corn crops that we have had in a number of years.”   To listen to the full interview, including how Schmidt makes sure to apply the right nutrients in the right place at the exact right time, click here.   Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms,...

(Posted Thu. Jul 14th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association praised the U.S. House of Representatives for its vote today passing s. 764. Particularly, the association praised Chairmen Conaway and Roberts, Ranking Members Peterson and Stabenow, Congressmen Pompeo and Butterfield, and all of the members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, who worked together to pass this bill.   Now, NCGA calls upon President Obama to quickly sign this bill into law, thus avoiding the negative impacts of Vermont’s law.   “Today, our representatives in the House built upon last week’s work in the Senate, taking another important step toward bringing consistency to the marketplace,’ said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland. “This achievement was made possible as members of the food and agricultural value chain came together as never before to advance a solution that works for farmers, food companies and, most importantly, consumers.   “S. 764 ensures consumers have the access to product...

(Posted Thu. Jul 14th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

With only days remaining, the deadline for the National Corn Growers Association’s Good Steward Recognition nominations is quickly approaching. State affiliates, as well as industry and organizational partners, are urged to submit qualified growers dedicated to production standards that deliver high sustainable yields with extraordinary conservation and environmental benefits.     “Practical solutions are what drive the adoption of best practices on the farm,” said Brent Hostetler, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “Discovering new methods for improving soil health, preserving water quality and improving the profitability of farming benefits all farmers. To highlight these important advances, we recognize individuals who excel at demonstrating leadership in sustainable corn production through this program.”   NCGA is looking for a farmer who implements best management practices validating environmental stewardship, efficiency and productivity. One award...

(Posted Thu. Jul 14th, 2016)

Please join the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Grains Council in welcoming Larry Byrd to their Washington, D.C. staffs.   Byrd will join NCGA and the Council in Washington as the receptionist and administrative assistant. In this capacity, Byrd will serve as the first point of contact for visitors and callers, as well as greet and direct guests to the appropriate staff members and assist them with office projects.   Prior to NCGA and the Council, Byrd worked for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company as an agribusiness underwriting intern. In this position, he helped the organization identify various industry opportunities for growth and research.   Byrd earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in consumer affairs. Through his studies and internships, he was exposed to policy issues in the farm bill and other agriculture priorities.   His first day was July 11. Welcome aboard, Larry!

(Posted Wed. Jul 13th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechology

The National Corn Growers Association urges all farmers to contact their representative and urge support of S.764, the Senate-passed legislation on biotech disclosure. This important legislation passed the Senate last week with strong bipartisan support. It is critically urgent that the House passes this bill before the end of the week.   This legislation brings continuity to the marketplace, ensuring that consumers have the access to product information they deserve without stigmatizing this safe, proven technology valued by American farmers.   The need for Congressional action is real and urgent. State labeling mandates threaten to confuse consumers, drive up costs and significantly complicate the jobs of American farmers.   A patchwork of differing state labeling laws, each with their own requirements and exemptions, will increase consumer uncertainty, not resolve it, and be unworkable for America’s food producers.   Some food companies fearful of having to navigate...

(Posted Wed. Jul 13th, 2016)

Corn farmers from across the country traveled to Washington this week to take part in the second phase of the Advanced Leadership program co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. This program, now in its sixth year, offers high-level training for a select group of Leadership At Its Best alumni. While in town, participants visited numerous members of the Senate and House of Representatives, met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and received an insider’s view of how lobbyists work on Capitol Hill.   “The Advanced Leadership program offers an exciting way to build upon the training offered by Leadership at Its Best,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, himself a graduate of the program. “These farmers have stepped up as leaders, volunteering their time and talent on behalf of corn farmers and the entire agricultural community. They are passionate about farming. Our goal is to give them the knowledge and tools to harness that passion and drive...

(Posted Tue. Jul 12th, 2016)

Increases to U.S. corn acres, both planted and harvested, led to higher production and thus lower price forecasts in the Department of Agriculture reports released today. Despite a 30-million-bushel overall increase in demand, corn price forecasts for the 2016/2017 crop year fell ten cents to $3.40 per bushel.   “While NCGA is pleased with increased demand from the export sector, it is evident that far greater gains must be made in generating additional demand from all sectors if we are to ensure the continued profitability of U.S. family farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.  “To grow these markets, farmers need the help of our federal legislators and regulators. Farmers need the EPA to step up and comply with its statutory obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. We need Congress to help us push export demand even further by opening new markets by passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and lifting the Cuban Trade...

(Posted Mon. Jul 11th, 2016)

Keywords: Ethanol

In comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, the National Corn Growers Association called on the Agency to raise the amount of renewable fuel blended into the nation’s gas supply in 2017.   In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, NCGA President Chip Bowling writes, “The RFS is doing exactly what it was intended to do. It is successfully driving the adoption of renewable fuel alternatives to petroleum, supporting jobs across the country, and ensuring the United States remains a global leader in developing new renewable energy sources while decreasing GHG emissions here at home.”   In its Proposed Rule for the 2017 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program, the EPA proposed cutting ethanol volumes below the level set by Congress. This is the fourth consecutive year EPA has proposed volumes below statute, a decision that has stalled investment in the renewable fuels industry.   Bowling urged EPA to return to statute and...

(Posted Fri. Jul 8th, 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 Dan Erickson, who farms in Minnesota, to discuss the condition of the corn crop in his area. “Right here, in my area, we are just short of tassel,” he explained. “In fact, I think we are going to have tasseling within a week here. It is coming along nicely.”   To listen to the full interview, click here.   Then, Field Notes spoke with April Hemmes, who farms in north central Iowa. While her crop is in the “Goldilocks” area of her state, she shares not just her take on corn but also her recent experiences as a farmer discussing sustainability in China.   “Right...

(Posted Fri. Jul 8th, 2016)

Keywords: Ethanol

Do you want cleaner air, a stronger economy, vibrant rural communities, and energy independence? The EPA needs to hear from you by Monday, July 11. That’s the deadline to submit comments related to the 2017 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO), or the amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels blended into our national fuel supply.   EPA has proposed cutting the volume of ethanol by 200 million gallons – that’s 71.4 million bushels of corn, or 425,000 acres, that will not be sold. If the cuts stand, it will total $271 million in lost revenue, and have a ripple effect throughout the rural economy. EPA needs to hear from all of us.   Take action today at www.ncga.com/rfs.

(Posted Fri. Jul 8th, 2016)

The deadline is fast approaching for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s “Faces of Farming and Ranching” to help put a real face on agriculture and show its true spirit. A proud affiliate and board member of USFRA, the National Corn Growers urges interested farmers to consider this opportunity.   “I’ve met a lot of corn growers with inspiring stories to share about what they do and the passion that helps make their stories more meaningful,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Maryland.  “This is a terrific opportunity to help them share their personal story with new, larger audiences while helping highlight agriculture’s continuous commitment to improvement. Now is the time to raise our voices and tell our real story.”   USFRA is looking for standout farmers and ranchers, farming-ranching couples and/or families to share how they grow and raise food on a national stage and inform consumers about today's sustainable farming and ranching practices, using tools...

(Posted Fri. Jul 8th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association praised the U.S. Senate for its vote today passing the Roberts-Stabenow agreement. Now NCGA urges the House to quickly take up and pass this important legislation.   “Today, our representatives in the Senate took an important step toward bringing consistency to the marketplace,’ said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland. “The Roberts-Stabenow agreement ensures consumers have the access to product information they deserve without stigmatizing this safe, proven technology that America’s farmers value. Now, we urge the House to build upon the Senate’s work today by quickly taking up and passing this legislation.”   NCGA, working with partners across the value chain, has pushed for a solution to this issue for more than two years now as a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food.   For more information on the need for a federal labeling standard, visit the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, at

(Posted Thu. Jul 7th, 2016)

This article and podcast are the seventh in a series profiling candidates for the 2017 Corn Board.   A diligent, thoughtful leader, Steve Ebke dedicates his time and energy to the service of his fellow farmer.  Now, he wishes to contribute at an even greater level as a member of the 2017 National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   “I believe that NCGA is a well-respected leader and innovator in the industry. Working collectively, it brings farmers together to truly create and increase opportunities for all corn growers,” he said. “I hope, as a member of the Corn Board, to contribute to continuing this tradition while developing a new path forward toward future success.”   Ebke currently chairs NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team. Previously, he chaired the Production and Stewardship Action Team and served as a member of the Grower Services Action Team and the NCGA CornPAC.    “I believe that a leader must have a high regard for the organization and the membership he is...

(Posted Wed. Jul 6th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling released the following statement in response to the Senate’s cloture vote on the Roberts-Stabenow agreement:   “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased the cloture vote on the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling agreement received 65 votes, more than the 60 votes necessary to move the legislation forward. However, there is still important work that needs to be done. We urge the Senate to quickly take action and pass this legislation.”   Vermont’s mandatory law requiring on-package labels of foods containing ingredients that have been genetically modified went into effect last week. Congress needs to act now to avoid the chaos in the marketplace that will result from having different labeling standards from one state to the next. Multiple studies have shown that the costs associated with Vermont’s GMO-labeling law, and a subsequent patchwork of state laws, will cost American families hundreds of dollars more in...

(Posted Wed. Jul 6th, 2016)

This article and podcast are the sixth in a series profiling candidates for the 2017 Corn Board.   A committed and energetic leader, Chris Edgington does the homework necessary to contribute deeply to his service as a volunteer farmer leader. Having already served at many levels, he now wishes to help build a solid foundation for agriculture in the coming years as a member of the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board.   “I have always tried to give back to the community,” he said. “I really enjoy being involved with agriculture and agricultural commodity groups. NCGA is a fantastic organization, and they take on the tough challenges. That is the type of organization with which I want to be involved.”   As a member of the Corn Board, Edgington will be willing to step outside of his comfort zone to address the challenges facing agriculture. He prides himself on asking questions that provoke deep discussion, looking at every angle to find the best path forward.   “A...

(Posted Tue. Jul 5th, 2016)

This article and podcast are the fifth in a series profiling candidates for the 2017 Corn Board.   Having gained valuable knowledge and experience during his years of service to the National Corn Growers Association, Don Glenn hopes to put the lessons he has learned to use. This desire to give back to the association which has played an important role in his life inspired Glenn to run for election to the Corn Board.    “I have had many people encourage me to run, and I have gained a lot of experience serving on action teams and task forces for NCGA,” he said. “It would seem like a shame not to put that good experience to work.”   Glenn’s desire to serve at this level stems from his commitment to giving back to the industry. As agriculture faces new challenges and people grow further removed from the farm, he looks forward to being part of NCGA’s ongoing effort to find new ways to tell the positive story of farming in America.   As a member of the Corn Board, he would place...

(Posted Fri. Jul 1st, 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 Jim Raben, who farms in Ridgway, Illinois. While USDA reports indicate near-average crop progress and strong corn crop condition in his state, a variety of weather-related challenges have negatively impacted the corn in his county.   “The corn here doesn’t look as good as the 71 percent in good or excellent condition being reported across the state,” he explained. “Here, I would say that 50 percent is in good or excellent condition at the most. Due to the wet weather during planting, we have a lot of young corn and, at this point, it could still go either...

(Posted Fri. Jul 1st, 2016)

Commodity Classic staff took the spotlight this week at the Professional Convention Management Association Education Conference. Commodity Classic staffers Dave Buchholz and Peggy Findley took stage to discuss how the evolution of the Commodity Classic experience and messaging provide an example for others looking to improve the brand experience throughout all aspects of a trade show or convention.   With convention managers and meeting professionals from across the country in attendance, the presentation showcased the industry-leading growth and innovative strategies that make Commodity Classic an ever-greater success.   Discussions included adoption of a strategic plan focused on long-term growth; proactive engagement of various audiences to generate continual feedback; and changes and evolutions in messaging and marketing.   The ability of marketing and brand experience to positively impact show growth became apparent as they shared statistics on total attendance,...

(Posted Fri. Jul 1st, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association urges all farmers to contact their senators and ask for their support of the Roberts-Stabenow agreement on GMO labeling. An important vote on this legislation is scheduled for Wednesday of next week.  It is imperative that all those desiring a common-sense, federal solution to the growing threat of a patchwork of state labeling laws act now to ensure swift passage.   The Roberts-Stabenow agreement brings continuity to the marketplace, ensuring that consumers have the access to product information they deserve without stigmatizing this safe, proven technology valued by American farmers.   The need for Congressional action is real and urgent. State labeling mandates threaten to confuse consumers, drive up costs and significantly complicate the jobs of American farmers.   A patchwork of differing state labeling laws, each with their own requirements and exemptions, will increase consumer uncertainty, not resolve it, and be unworkable for...