NEWS STORIES

AUGUST 2016

(Posted Wed. Aug 31st, 2016)

A revolutionary effort to support on-farm conservation has added a new partner representing major agricultural companies, food companies and environmental groups. The new collaboration will accelerate the Soil Health Partnership’s leadership in helping farmers adopt practices that protect natural resources while potentially increasing profits.   At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, the industry-leading companies and environmental organizations today announced the launch of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative. Its goal is to support, enhance and accelerate the use of environmentally preferable agricultural practices.   The Midwest Row Crop Collaborative’s founding members include Cargill, the Environmental Defense Fund, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Monsanto, PepsiCo, The Nature Conservancy, Walmart and the World Wildlife Fund.  The overall shared goal is to help achieve a 45 percent nutrient loss reduction by 2035 across the Upper Mississippi River Basin — chiefly...

(Posted Tue. Aug 30th, 2016)

National Corn Growers Association leaders and staff are at the Farm Progress Show this week sharing our critical messages and organizational priorities with farmers, ag media, academic and industry partners.   “The clear intent of our effort is to communicate the economic challenges farmers are facing and leverage NCGA’s position as a thought leader to raise awareness and drive solutions,” said Wesley Spurlock, NCGA’s incoming president. “We are working on everything from developing new fuel infrastructure for greater consumer access to ethanol, to trade issues, to combatting regulatory barriers, and virtually all of our issues come back to the same thing…demand. The quickest and best way to address the looming economic crisis is increasing demand and grinding corn.”   Tens of thousands of farmers, representatives in related industries and dozens of ag media outlets attend the Farm Progress Show each year. So, it provides a unique opportunity to discuss issues and potential...

(Posted Mon. Aug 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.   At the end of last week, Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, who farms in north central Iowa.   “I was out in the field yesterday and surprised to see that the field I had planted on April 12 was already dented,” she explained. “Our corn, just driving by, looks to be in really good condition from the road.   “Farmers that I am talking to around the state have seen some issues though. I have heard reports of tip backed ears and pollination problems, both of which could impact yields.”   Hemmes, in addition to speaking about her own crop, spoke to the findings thus far from recent efforts to...

(Posted Mon. Aug 29th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

A group of grain buyers from Taiwan visited Indiana and Michigan last week to become familiar with production, application, grading and quality standards for U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The trip gave stakeholders the chance to gain technical skills and knowledge in handling, procurement and storage and offered critical insight into the advantages of purchasing U.S. corn and DDGS.   Taiwan is the seventh largest U.S. agricultural export market and the sixth largest for U.S. corn. In 2015, Taiwan imported 1.84 million metric tons of corn with 95 percent of the total used for animal feed in the swine and poultry sectors. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, continues to foster promotion of corn and DDGS in Taiwan through trade teams and ongoing relationship building.   "DDGS use is growing in Taiwan. Currently, the inclusion rate is low, and we're trying to encourage producers to...

(Posted Fri. Aug 26th, 2016)

This summer, CommonGround Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas held Field to Fork-style dinners in each of their respective states. Between the four events, these states were able to reach nearly 300 people with in-person conversations. These events highlighted the crops grown in their regions and served a dinner of locally-grown ingredients.   The CommonGround Kansas dinner, hosted by Bismarck Gardens and Nunemaker-Ross Farms, brought more than 75 people from urban and suburban areas together with their farming and ranching counterparts just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. Over a delicious farm-grown dinner, attendees enjoyed conversations about how food is grown and raised in the state of Kansas.   “Part of my discussions with people was helping them understand that the corn we grow on the farm is different than the sweet corn families buy at the market. When we are feeding cattle or making ethanol, we’re not using up corn on the cob or canned corn,” said Lowell Neitzel who...

(Posted Thu. Aug 25th, 2016)

Keywords: Ethanol

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling this week congratulated Green Plains Inc. on the grand opening of their Hopewell, Virginia ethanol production facility, and called for further expansion of renewable fuels on the East Coast.   “We are excited to see ethanol production back up and running in Virginia,” said Bowling, who farms corn, soybeans, and sorghum just 100 miles away in Newburg, Maryland. “The Hopewell plant will give Mid-Atlantic farmers another market for their crop. It’s good for the ag economy, and for consumers, who will now have access to renewable fuels grown and produced even closer to home. This is win-win.”   The Hopewell ethanol facility, which opened in April 2014, was the first ethanol operation on the East Coast, producing ethanol from corn, barley, and other small grains. The facility stopped production in August 2015.   Green Plains Inc., an Omaha, Nebraska-based ethanol company, bought the facility last fall. The total production...

(Posted Wed. Aug 24th, 2016)

Keywords: Trade

Following a five-year hiatus from Malaysian shores, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), of which the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is a founding member, was recently on hand to welcome back the first vessel of corn from the United States since the historic drought in 2012/2013. The vessel, which was loaded from the Pacific Northwest, was sold from one USGC member to another, destined for a consortium of several key USGC allies.   “This is an exciting opportunity,” said Kevin Roepke, USGC South and Southeast Asia regional director. “We're able to build partnerships that help this bit of trade happen, which is a big win for Malaysia and U.S. producers.”  The geared handimax, the Yasa Gulten, berthed over the weekend in Port Kelang after initially unloading in Southern Malaysia’s Pasir Gudang, immediately across from Singapore. It will ultimately venture east to Vietnam.  The vessel was seen by the industry as a “trial run” to retest U.S. quality following significant...

(Posted Tue. Aug 23rd, 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 south central Minnesota.   “The corn crop is moving along quite well here,” he explained. “Obviously, we have had plenty of moisture, and we had good heat early in the season.   “In my immediate area, I think the acres of corn at the dent stage may even be at 50 percent. At least in my part of the state, I think that the corn may even be further along than what some reports indicate.”   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,...

(Posted Fri. Aug 19th, 2016)

National Corn Growers Association officers and senior staff gathered last week in Seattle, Washington for the biannual NCGA Agri-Industry Council meeting. Here, representatives of 12 leading agribusinesses discussed vital issues facing agriculture, shared information on their companies and sectors, heard from recognized speakers and learned about NCGA’s current initiatives.  Established in 2007, the Agri-Industry Council facilitates dialogue between agribusinesses and NCGA to collectively address issues of mutual concern.   “U.S. agri-business improves farming by providing growers with inventive technology and new seed varieties to better address ever-changing challenges,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “NCGA’s AIC plays an important role in bringing key leaders from across the value chain together. Through open dialogue, we can all move forward with a better understanding of the big picture and coordinate to build a brighter future.”   Over the course of the meeting,...

(Posted Fri. Aug 19th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association invites photographers of all skill levels to help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the third annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. Through this contest, NCGA captures high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. Even those who have already submitted can enter additional photos as participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2016.   Please make sure to submit the highest resolution version of each entry possible. The best submissions are featured in NCGA’s major publications such as the Annual Report.   To see the most recent edition, click here.   The Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest offers both amateur and professional photographers a free opportunity 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:...

(Posted Fri. Aug 19th, 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 Indiana farmer Brian Scott, who blogs as The Farmer’s Life.   “We’re a few weeks past pollination now, and the corn hasn’t experienced much stress,” he explained. “Our corn crop is probably in the milk stage, and it is looking pretty good.   “It has been about three weeks since we had rain. It has been about the longest stretch this year. I don’t know if it took some of the highest yields down, but I haven’t seen any stress. I am kind of surprised. There must be more moisture out there than I thought, but it looks really good.”   To listen to the full interview,...

(Posted Wed. Aug 17th, 2016)

Keywords: Atrazine EPA

Losing access to the herbicide atrazine would be detrimental to both the farm economy and the environment, while setting a dangerous precedent for the future of crop management tools, National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors member Jim Zimmerman told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today at a field hearing on the impact of federal regulation on agriculture.   In June, the Environmental Protection Agency released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine, including recommendations that would result in a de facto ban on the popular herbicide.   “Atrazine is the most widely used herbicide in conservation tillage systems. Without atrazine, farmers would have to use higher quantities of other herbicides that are less effective while increasing tillage and threatening soil health and nutrients,” said Zimmerman, who farms corn, soybeans, and wheat in Rosendale, Wisconsin.   Conservation tillage is a farming method that leaves...

(Posted Tue. Aug 16th, 2016)

Keywords: Atrazine EPA

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on atrazine could cost the industry $2.5 billion in yield losses and increased input costs, at a time when net farm incomes are already in steep decline.   “Farmers cannot afford to lose access to atrazine,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas, and First Vice President of the National Corn Growers Association. “The farm economy has been struggling the past few years, and this could mean the difference between a profit and a loss for many farmers.”   EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016, as part of the re-registration process for the herbicide. If the recommendations included within the assessment stand, it would effectively ban atrazine. EPA is accepting public comments on the assessment through October 4.   A 2012 economic analysis by the University of Chicago found that farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre. That’s a staggering...

(Posted Mon. Aug 15th, 2016)

With harvest underway in some areas and soon to begin in others, the National Corn Growers Association announces that online harvest forms for the 2016 National Corn Yield Contest are now available. While the harvest information form deadline may seem distant, entrants are asked to report within seven business days of their final yield check or by Nov. 21, whichever comes first.   “While harvest has only begun in a few areas, we ask contest applicants to submit harvest forms within one week of their final yield check to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Brent Hostetler. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more productive techniques. We hope that growers continue to support the contest by seeing their entry through and submitting their completed harvest data forms.”   The online harvest form is available to both farmers and seed...

(Posted Fri. Aug 12th, 2016)

Statement on Today’s USDA WASDE Report   Chip Bowling, President National Corn Growers Association   “Within recent days, we’ve heard a lot from both Presidential campaigns regarding issues that are important to rural America.  We’ve heard opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and attacks on our trade agreements—at the very time that agriculture needs to open new markets.  We’ve heard support for expanding the use of renewable fuels—while American farmers are still battling decisions made by the U.S. EPA that undermine biofuels use.   Today’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates Report should be a wake-up call for both Presidential campaigns regarding the economic challenges facing farmers and rural America.    Rural America needs help.  With prices for a number of crop and livestock commodities already below the cost of production, the potential losses in rural America will result in fewer family farms, fewer jobs, and economic hardship.  We need real...

(Posted Thu. Aug 11th, 2016)

Growers gathered in Greensboro, N.C. this week for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 18 aspiring leaders from 11 states. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 30 years.   At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from First Vice President Wesley Spurlock, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Spurlock also provided an insightful examination of the main issues facing the association, and the nation’s corn farmers, today.   The farmers attending took part in media training and public speaking exercises as well as association management skill building. In addition, the class enjoyed a look at the future trends that will impact the industry and a comprehensive economic forecast given by futurist Bob Treadway. Including presentations focused on communicating in today’s ADD world and a deep dive into how...

(Posted Tue. Aug 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed two regulators from the Ministry of Agriculture in China today for discussions on the need to better synchronize regulatory systems and the importance U.S. farmers place upon the availability of new technologies. The meeting was only one stop in a three-month long program designed by Dr. Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, director of the Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center at the University of Missouri – Columbia, through which the officials will delve into how the U.S. regulatory testing system functions.   In addition to NCGA, the team has already met with farmers, the U.S. Soybean Export Council and various private companies. Next, they will travel to Washington for discussions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   NCGA Vice President of Production and Stewardship Paul Bertels and Director of Biotechnology and Crop Inputs Nathan Fields participated in today’s discussion. In addition to learning more about the...

(Posted Mon. Aug 8th, 2016)

Keywords: Ethanol

Eleven years ago this Monday, August 8, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was signed into law, ushering in a new era of rising energy security, cleaner air, and more affordable options at the pump. After more than a decade, the program continues to drive U.S. job creation and startling new innovations in renewable energy, a fact celebrated today by the nation’s leading biofuel advocates.    “Our government challenged the biofuels industry to produce the world’s cleanest, most affordable and sustainable fuel for cars and trucks. We delivered – and America continues to benefit,” said Adam Monroe, President, Americas, Novozymes North America Inc. “The RFS is a proven winner: it grows communities with hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs; saves American drivers money and keeps billions of their dollars in the US versus going to the Middle East; and fights climate change by preventing millions of tons of carbon emissions from getting into our air. Let’s not roll back a winner;...

(Posted Fri. Aug 5th, 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 southern Illinois. With almost 30 inches of rain this July, his crop is experiencing the effects of an unusually wet season.   “In our case, everything is running late, because we have had so much rain,” he explained. “It should start maturing, but it is going to stay green longer. This July, we broke a moisture record. It really hurt us in a lot of ways.”   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...

New Coordinator Will Help Grow Soil Health Partnership

(Posted Fri. Aug 5th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Anne Dietz, who joins the St. Louis office as program coordinator for the Soil Health Partnership (SHP). Dietz brings an excellent combination of program management skills and extensive knowledge of many aspects of agriculture. In this new position, she will provide support to share information and research across the full network of SHP partner organizations.   “Anne is an excellent addition to our team, and we are excited to have her unique skillset to help our already thriving program continue to grow,” said NCGA Director of Soil Health and Sustainability Dr. Nick Goeser.  “She has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to improve both the processes and efficiencies of the departments in which she has worked. We look forward to utilizing this skillset to help grow this innovative program.”   Dietz most recently worked for Cargill Incorporated in many roles including crop insurance and sales support. She earned a bachelor’s degree...

(Posted Tue. Aug 2nd, 2016)

Keywords: Production

A recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) draft report on atrazine ignores a large body of scientific evidence affirming the herbicide’s safety, setting a dangerous precedent for all crop protection tools, says Brent Hostetler, a farmer from Plain City, Ohio, and chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Production and Stewardship Action Team.   “Federal law requires the EPA to base its decisions on science. And the science on this is pretty clear,” said Hostetler. “Atrazine is one of the safest and most effective crop management tools farmers have. It’s also one of the most studied pesticides in history—and more than 50 years’ worth of data show it is safe.”   EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016. All pesticides sold or distributed in the U.S. must be registered by EPA and re-registered every 15 years. Ecological risk assessments are one step of that registration process. EPA is accepting public comments on the ecological...

(Posted Mon. Aug 1st, 2016)

From the novice to the experienced, Soil Health Partnership field days scheduled for this summer and fall offer education in advanced farming practices for Indiana farmers. They can learn from experts and peers about the economic and environmental benefits of improved soil health.   The events—currently slated for August through September—are hosted by area farmers enrolled in the Soil Health Partnership, as well as other local organizations. Confirmed events include:   Aug. 11: Harlan, Ind. Aug. 11: Stryker, Ohio Aug. 17: Frankfort, Ind. Aug. 23: Tippecanoe, Ind. Aug. 24: Stockwell, Ind. Aug. 25: Remington, Ind. Sept. 6: Auburn, Ind.   “Field days allow farmers and experts to share information and success stories and to troubleshoot issues with new farming techniques,” said Dan Towery, a Soil Health Partnership field manager in Indiana. “Working with peers is critical to successful implementation of new farming strategies like cover crops, advanced nutrient...