NEWS STORIES

OCTOBER 2016

(Posted Mon. Oct 31st, 2016)

Last week, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance held a news conference on Food Industry Sustainability that included members of the agricultural trade and consumer media. During the event, USFRA Chairwoman Nancy Kavazanjian, National Milk Producers Federation Chairman Randy Mooney, University of Arkansas Professor of Ecological Engineering Dr. Marty Matlock and USFRA CEO Randy Krotz unveiled plans for a "Straight Talk" campaign to engage the food industry in a dialogue on sustainable agriculture production, the marketing practices used to reach consumers, and the intersection of both trends.    Highlights GMOs have allowed us to decrease chemical input, carbon emissions and farm more sustainably. -Nancy Kavazanjian The only two differences between Dannon yogurt with or without GMOs will be what is claimed on the label, and the price consumers pay. -Randy Mooney Sustainability is not a destination, it's a journey. But biotech, which allows for low- and no-till farming,...

(Posted Fri. Oct 28th, 2016)

As the National Corn Growers Association prepares to issue applications for the FY 2018 Corn Board, interested members are invited to find out more about NCGA’s FY 2017 Nominating Committee. This group, which reviews applications and shapes the election process, welcomes questions, conversations and inquiries from association members.   In FY 2017, NCGA Chairman Chip Bowling chairs the committee, which includes Doug Albin, Jeff Jarboe, Chad Kemp and Joe Reed.   Bowling, a third-generation farmer, grows corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and grain sorghum an hour outside of Washington, D.C. A graduate of NCGA’s first Advanced Leadership Academy class, Bowling currently chairs the Nominating Committee, the National Corn Growers Association Foundation and co-chairs the Allied Industry Council Executive Committee. Additionally, he serves on NCGA’s Governance Committee, Resolutions Task Force and as its representative on Monsanto’s Grower Advisory Committee, the USDA Environmental and...

(Posted Fri. Oct 28th, 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 at The Farmers Life, to see how corn harvest is coming along.   “Today, we are getting back to harvesting corn for the first time in a couple of weeks,” he explained. “I have been harvesting popcorn and beans instead for quite a while. I have about 500 more acres of corn to go before I will be done.” 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...

(Posted Thu. Oct 27th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Policy

National Corn Growers Association’s Risk Management Action Team Chair Steve Ebke, who farms in Daykin, Neb., sat down with Michael Clements of the National Farm Broadcasters to discuss the importance of responding to surveys distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Statistics Service. Responses to recent surveys from USDA have reached historical lows, and this can impact farmers’ bottom lines.    “There seem to be county-to-county differences that are unaccounted for and, when you look at it, some counties did not have enough information from responses to the National Agricultural Statistics Service for them to publish data. Farm Service Agency uses that data to calculate ARC payments. So, if NASS does not have the data, they will have to look elsewhere for it.   “This has resulted in a great deal of concern in the countryside. What we are doing at this time is urging everyone to complete their NASS surveys so that each county has a sufficient amount of data...

(Posted Thu. Oct 27th, 2016)

This past weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Talladega Superspeedway was more than just another race.  American Ethanol Sweepstakes winners were on hand to receive their ultimate NASCAR experience.  Alabama Soybean and Corn Association and Alabama Wheat and Feed Grains Producers educated fans at the Biofuels Mobile Education Center. On the track midway, American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon was on the bubble to advance to the final round of eight in the Chase, and the American Ethanol #3 Chevrolet was pinked out to promote breast cancer awareness.      Pictured from left to right: Joe Lomenzo, fan sweepstakes winner Joey Lomenzo, Austin Dillon, engine professional sweepstakes winner Allen Huggins and Tim Huggins.     The American Ethanol Sweepstakes began last May as a year-long promotion to mark NASCAR surpassing 10 million successful miles racing on fuel blended with American Ethanol E15. It concluded with the random selection of one lucky NASCAR fan and one engine...

(Posted Wed. Oct 26th, 2016)

Keywords: Transportation

New research by the University of Tennessee quantifies what many in agriculture have known for years; failure of our aging river locks and dams along the Mississippi River and its tributaries would be ruinous with billions of dollars in lost jobs and reduced economic activity.   Recently, USDA released estimates of the economic implications to the agriculture sector should a disruption occur at either Lock & Dam 25 on the Upper Mississippi or La Grange Lock & Dam on the Illinois River waterway. The locations were selected because they are representative of the lock system as a whole but also because they occupy key locations on the river system.   “These are both 600 foot locks even though modern tows are 1,200 feet-long. They are also at the lower reaches of the waterways,” said Ken Hartman, chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Market Access Action Team. “The southbound traffic here already contributes to long delays because of the lock size. But a disruption of...

(Posted Tue. Oct 25th, 2016)

An innovative workshop on climate-smart agriculture this week emphasized soil health as a key element in carbon sequestration efforts. Several powerhouse organizations and companies hosted the one-of-a-kind event in St. Louis, called “C-Quest: Charting a Course for Climate Research in Agriculture,” and featured the Soil Health Partnership as a leader in helping farmers adopt progressive practices.   The ILSI Research Foundation, together with Monsanto Company, Soil Health Partnership, Washington University in St. Louis, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture, organized the Oct. 24 – 25 event. It focused on developing research targets for agricultural goals that:   Support achievement of USDA’s “building blocks” for climate-smart agriculture; Integrate existing U.S. Midwest field research networks (like SHP) for climate adaptation; and Develop a research agenda to achieve a “carbon-neutral”...

(Posted Mon. Oct 24th, 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, The Foodie Farmer, who took a break from combining to discuss harvest in her area.   “We are wrapping up harvest right now. I only have about ten acres left in this field,” she explained. “Unfortunately, we experienced some side effects of Hurricane Matthew, which came through a couple of weeks ago. I do have one field with about 20 acres of pretty broken off corn. We didn’t get a lot of rain, but we did get some high winds.”   To listen to the full interview, including what she is seeing in terms of yields, click here.   Stay...

(Posted Fri. Oct 21st, 2016)

Keywords: Trade Ethanol

A study recently released by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, finds that a significant portion of U.S.-produced corn ethanol will likely meet Japan's 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction threshold over gasoline, supporting the case for that fuel's competitiveness and its sustainability compared to other fuel sources.   These results will help the Council and its industry partners dispel myths about U.S. ethanol and help make the case for opening the door for U.S. ethanol in the Japanese market. In particular, the study will help show key Japanese government officials and industry stakeholders that U.S. corn ethanol meets Japan's rigorous international sustainability requirements.   The ongoing efficiency improvements in corn ethanol production, an increased number of co-products from that production and improvements in U.S. corn cultivation practices have resulted in significant reductions in ethanol's greenhouse gas...

(Posted Thu. Oct 20th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from members for the 2018 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization’s leadership.  Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.   “I have had the privilege of working with so many talented, dedicated volunteers who step forward to lead this organization during my years on the Corn Board,” said NCGA Chairman and Nominating Committee Chair Chip Bowling. “Their willingness to step forward as volunteer leaders plays a crucial role in building NCGA’s future successes. As a true grassroots organization, we rely upon farmers to volunteer to lead, helping to shape policy and drive efforts. Serving on the Corn Board empowers farmers to play a proactive role in determining the collective future of our industry.”   The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters...

(Posted Wed. Oct 19th, 2016)

As the National FFA Convention begins in Indianapolis, the National Corn Growers Association invites attendees to visit them at booth 1755 to learn more about scholarship opportunities and take grassroots action on the important issues facing farmers. With opportunities to voice support for the Trans Pacific Partnership and to grab a photo with Captain Cornelius, NCGA representatives will be on hand to discuss how NCGA membership benefits U.S. corn farmers and youth in agriculture.   “The National FFA convention provides an opportunity for NCGA to interact with the next generation of agricultural leaders and help them understand the importance of active participation in commodity associations,” said NCGA Director of Public Policy Zach Kinne, who served as FFA National President in 2007-2008. “Having been actively involved in FFA myself for many years, I understand the optimism, energy and potential FFA members provide for the future of our industry. We are excited to help them...

(Posted Tue. Oct 18th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association invites amateur and professional photographers alike 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...

(Posted Mon. Oct 17th, 2016)

Put simply, the United States is falling behind in research related to its biggest industry, agriculture. To a large extent the kind of innovation and research that made the US a world Ag leader has been floundering for years due to a lack of funding, but the real pain is just beginning to surface.   Work related to sustainable production practices, genetic improvement and new uses is where the rubber meets the road -  and, it’s also exactly the kind of work we need more of. Tangible results from these kinds of investments can take up to 15 years to fully realize. Enter the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, a small but high tech facility with the single mission of translating scientific discoveries into solutions for farmers. The facility is the brainchild of the National Corn Growers Association in partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.   “The name ‘National Agricultural Genotyping Center,’ or NAGC, may sound...

(Posted Mon. Oct 17th, 2016)

As the NASCAR circuit journeys home to sweet Alabama this weekend, American Ethanol sweepstakes winners will be there to join in the excitement. This past May, American Ethanol launched two sweepstakes in celebration of NASCAR surpassing 10 million successful miles racing on fuel blended with American Ethanol E15. The contest to select one lucky NASCAR fan and one engine industry professional has ended with the winners randomly selected from a pool of eager participants.   The winner of the “We’ve Got the Power” fan sweepstakes is Joey Lomenzo of Long Valley, New Jersey. Joey is an avid NASCAR fan who shares his knowledge and support of American Ethanol and ethanol-blended fuels on social media.   The “Engine Insiders Talk Shop” engine industry professional sweepstakes winner is Allen Huggins. Allen graduates this week from the NASCAR Universal Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina as an engine technician, and can’t wait to see the classroom come alive on the track...

(Posted Wed. Oct 12th, 2016)

Keywords: Production

Corn production is forecast at 15.057 billion bushels, down 36 million from last month, according to the World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates Report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Corn supplies for 2016/17 are lowered from last month, but are still forecast at a record 16.845 billion bushels.   “We must pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year. The farm economy continues to struggle so anything we can do to encourage and grow exports is critical,” said Wesley Spurlock, President of National Corn Growers Association. “That’s why NCGA continues to encourage our elected officials to build trade access starting with TPP.”   USDA reduced the average U.S. corn yield by 1 bushel per acre to 173.4. If realized, these figures would still represent record yield and production numbers. The average price was increased by 5 cents to $3.25 per bushel.   “Although the production report remained largely unchanged, the export numbers offer some good news in...

(Posted Tue. Oct 11th, 2016)

Keywords: infrastructure transportation

Solid infrastructure is the backbone of American agriculture and especially critical to the continued growth in exports of feed grains.  That’s why the National Corn Growers Association, along with the U.S. Grains Council, signed on as a sponsor of a special seven-part Agri-Pulse editorial series that is taking a close-up look at America’s infrastructure and the improvements that are needed to help farmers and ranchers remain competitive at home and abroad.  The series, “Keeping Rural America Competitive,” was launched following the recent Rural Infrastructure Summit in Ames, Iowa, in an effort to continue the important conversations prompted by the Summit.  That event featured a diverse collection of agriculture companies and organizations as well as distinguished speakers emphasizing the importance of finding new ways to address global population growth, exports and market access while building stronger rural communities.  It also included two moderated panels featuring a...

(Posted Fri. Oct 7th, 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.   Wednesday, Field Notes discussed the corn crop condition and harvest progress with Jim Raben, who farms in southern Illinois.   “We are actually finished harvesting corn,” he explained. “It was a quick harvest, and corn yields were down in our area. Ours were down between 30 and 35 percent off of average for early corn and 50 to sixty percent off of average for the late corn.”   To listen to the full interview, click here.   In north central Iowa, April Hemmes reported that wet conditions were hampering harvest progress.   “We are trying to plow through the mud here,” she said. “I have a little...

(Posted Thu. Oct 6th, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation are currently accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2017-18 school year. While these scholarships are open to any NCGA members and their children or legal guardians, all submissions must be postmarked on or before December 2, 2016 for consideration.   "Building the leaders of tomorrow is essential to NCGA’s work to a build a productive, sustainable and profitable corn industry," said Paul Taylor, chair of the Engaging Members Committee. "Our partnership with BASF helps ease the financial pressures these students face in pursuing their degree and, in doing so, helps ensure the brightest minds remain engaged in agriculture."   Applicants for the NCGA William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or any year of...

(Posted Wed. Oct 5th, 2016)

Keywords: Farm Bill

In the face of a struggling farm economy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will make $7 billion in risk management program payments to many of the 1.7 million farms enrolled in either Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs from the 2015 crop year. National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock said that these programs are more important than ever to help farmers manage risk and weather difficult economic times.   “Farmers are struggling. This is a shot in the arm when they need it most,” said Spurlock. “We advocated for a shift to a market-based program that kicks in only when needed. Now is that time.”   According to USDA calculations, these payments will account for 10 percent of 2016 projected net farm income. Net farm incomes have declined 55 percent over the last two years, and most farms will be operating at a loss in 2016.   “These payments will help provide reassurance to America’s farm families,...

(Posted Tue. Oct 4th, 2016)

When the National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year Saturday, North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes assumed the role of first vice president.  Off the Cob spoke with the new officer to explore the challenges he sees as most important to corn farmers in the next year and discuss his thoughts on leadership.   To listen to the full interview, click here.   Skunes gave an overview of his priorities this year, which are demand, demand and the ability to meet demand.   “The first demand that I referenced is the Renewable Fuel Standard,” he explained. “This program, which the United States has in place, facilitates the mixing of ethanol into the fuel supply. We know that ethanol is a high priority for NCGA, because it generates demand for corn. I don’t want to make it too simple, but it is very important that we have this. The RFS puts forth a mandate that we have 15 billion gallons of corn in the fuel supply. The EPA has set the Renewable Volume Obligation below that...

(Posted Tue. Oct 4th, 2016)

With public attention increasingly turning to environmental and sustainability issues, the National Corn Growers Association promoted Rachel Orf to director of stewardship and sustainability.  Focusing on areas of public prominence such as water quality and conservation, Orf will lead efforts to bring farmers together for conversations and action to improve the health of air and water in the United States.   “Rachel has served U.S. corn farmers effectively for years, and her promotion demonstrates a recognition of the quality of work she has become known for over that time,” said NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability Paul Bertels.  “Coming from a farm family, she understands the grassroots because she truly is the grassroots. At the same time, her education and experience have elevated her leadership on some of the most important consumer-facing issues in ag today. We are excited to see how her work in this new role will further American ag.”   In this role, Orf...

(Posted Mon. Oct 3rd, 2016)

The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year on Saturday and seated the 2017 Corn Board with Wesley Spurlock of Stratford, Texas, who assumed the presidency.  Off the Cob spoke with the new president to explore his views on what lies ahead for corn farmers in 2017 and his goals for his term.   “This year is much like the one we just finished,” he said. “We are looking at a massive corn crop. It is still being harvested but, even with some rain problems in the Midwest, the yields may be there. So, growing demand remains awfully important to finding a use for the crop that we have.”   To listen to the full interview, please click here.   Looking at how NCGA will meet this challenge, he notes the importance of the new action team structure that aligns team goals with the strategic plan.   “Our new action teams work well with our strategic plan,” said Spurlock. “We have three new teams focused on demand: the Ethanol Action Team; the Feed, Food and Industrial...