NEWS STORIES

JUNE 2017

(Posted Fri. Jun 30th, 2017)

American farmers planted 3.1 million less acres of corn in 2017 than they did the previous year, a three percent decrease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Acreage report released today. The report indicates an 890,000-acre net increase from the prospective planting report released in March. Total corn acres planted in the United States total 90.9 million.   “Farmers face challenges in 2017, from a wet planting season in some areas to prices near or below the cost of production across the country. This report reaffirms the importance of programs and policy that grow markets for U.S. corn and support the family farms where it is grown,” National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock said.  “First, U.S. farmers need robust ethanol policy and trade...

(Posted Fri. Jun 30th, 2017)

As of today only 30 days remain to nominate a farmer friend, neighbor or family member for the National Corn Growers Association’s Good Steward Recognition Program. We’re looking for a farmer who always does their job with a keen eye on improving the productivity and sustainability of their farm for future generations.   Every profession has its early adopters that point the way for others, and National Corn Growers Association thinks these good stewards of the land are special people who deserve to be recognized. If you agree and know of a good candidate, nominations are due 5:00 p.m. CDT July 31, 2017.    NCGA affiliate states and organizational partners may submit nomination(s). One recipient will be selected from a field of nominees submitted by NCGA state affiliates and...

Meet the FY18 Corn Board Candidates: Don Glenn

(Posted Thu. Jun 29th, 2017)

This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.   Having gained knowledge and experience as a leader at both the state and national level, Don Glenn brings years of experience and insight to his service of fellow farmers. Having already served one year, he hopes to continue his service through reelection to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board.   Glenn seeks reelection with a full understanding of the incredible commitment and dedication the role requires. His desire to give back to farmers across the country, utilizing his many leadership experiences, stems from a deep love for farming.   “I was elected last year to serve a one-year term and, to some extent, it feels like I am just getting started,” he said. “Most importantly, I...

Meet the FY18 Corn Board Candidates: Kenneth Hartman, Jr.

(Posted Thu. Jun 29th, 2017)

This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.   As the past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Kenneth Hartman’s passion for agriculture keeps him returning to grower leadership service. . A team player, Hartman hopes to put his dedication to grassroots activism and desire for collaboration to use for farmers across the country as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   Hartman finds inspiration to run for the Corn Board not only in his passion for farming but also in his belief in building a better future through “around-the-curve” thought.   “I have always seen NCGA as a well-respected organization that is also grassroots-oriented,” he said....

Meet the FY18 Corn Board Candidates: Brandon Hunnicutt

(Posted Wed. Jun 28th, 2017)

This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.   Dedicated to service since watching his parents’ example as a boy, Brandon Hunnicutt envisions a future where farmers communicate in a transparent, transformative way with the public. This combined dedication to giving back and forward-facing attitude have led him to find a new, national way to better service farmers as he runs for election to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board.   “Going all the way back to when I was a kid, I saw my grandpa, my dad and my uncles involved in different committees and boards. They were trying to make agriculture a better place,” he said. “The more involved I became with my state and national organization, the more I wanted to help steer NCGA in...

Meet the FY18 Corn Board Candidates: Dennis Maple

(Posted Wed. Jun 28th, 2017)

This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.   Having worked with many types of boards, Dennis Maple gives his time, energy and leadership to find solutions for the good of the whole. Seeing the Corn Board as a melting pot of corn grower leaders coming together to help improve productivity, policy and profitability, he hopes to continue his service as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   Maple found inspiration to run for the Corn Board both from the encouragement of his peers and from his desire to help his fellow growers.   “I want to help my fellow growers govern the policies of NCGA,” he said. “By giving input into the 2018 farm bill, I want to help all growers. From finding new uses for corn to helping tell...

(Posted Wed. Jun 28th, 2017)

As President Donald Trump approaches the 200-day mark of his administration, more than a dozen prominent agriculture organizations are urging him to move quickly to fill vacancies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).   “With a struggling rural economy—which has seen a 55 percent decrease in income over the last three years—we need leaders and decision makers in place to serve farmers, ranchers and consumers,” reads a letter sent to the White House today by the National Corn Growers Association and 16 other agricultural groups.   The organizations praised the selection of Sonny Perdue to lead USDA, but noted that the agency has more than 100,000 employees and needs a full leadership team.   “The absence of high-ranking officials at USDA puts our farmers and...

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement of the proposal to repeal the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule:   “The goal of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation’s waters. The 2015 rule moved us further away from that goal. Repealing it is an important first step toward providing farmers the certainty and clarity we have long desired.   “We are thankful this Administration is working to draw clear lines in terms of what is and what is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act. In doing so, they will enable farmers to implement best management practices such as grass waterways and buffer strips without the burden of bureaucratic red tape or fear of legal...

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is critical for corn farmers and agriculture at large, and continuing its long-term success is a top priority to our members, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Kevin Skunes testified Tuesday at a hearing of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to examine priorities for the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations.   “North America has become the most important export market for the U.S. corn industry,” Skunes testified. “Corn farmers export about 20 percent of our annual corn crop, and exports account for about one-third of our income. Today, the agriculture economy is experiencing its fourth year of a downturn marked by low commodity prices. I cannot stress enough how important export markets are to our ability to stay in...

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Conservation

When it comes to caring for farmland and adopting the next generation of farming practices, there cannot be enough sharing. That’s the philosophy of the Soil Health Partnership, hosting its fourth year of field days this summer and fall within its network of more than 100 farms.   At the field days, Midwestern farmers can learn how changing nutrient management and tillage strategies, along with cover crop adoption, can make farmland more productive, efficient and sustainable.   Some events are open for registration in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Nebraska. The organization plans about 70 field days throughout the summer and fall, with more events yet to be scheduled in those states, plus additional events in Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.   “Whether you...

Meet the FY18 Corn Board Candidates: Harold Wolle, Jr.

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.   Harold Wolle brings both academic knowledge of business administration and extensive leadership experience to his service of fellow farmers. Having already served as president of his state association and on the national level, he hopes to continue his work on the behalf of his industry as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   While Wolle sees the decision to run for the Corn Board as a process that should be taken seriously given the responsibilities involved, he chose to run as it is a natural next step.   “It is never a simple, easy decision; part of the process is being asked,” he said. “So, when some of the Minnesota members asked me to run for the Corn Board...

Meet the FY18 Corn Board Candidates: Gary Porter

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.   Having already served nine years with the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Gary Porter feels ready to take on a new challenge. Given the knowledge he has gained and, also, bringing a positive, “why not’ attitude, he hopes to further his work on behalf of corn growers as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.   A gas station owner/operator who has promoted ethanol and a past Missouri Farm Bureau president, he brings the experience of a state association president as well as the knowledge gained through U.S. Grains Council Action Team leadership.   “A good leader needs the ability to work well with others and, at the same time, to make good decisions,” he said. “At the...

NCGA Expands Ethanol Staff with Addition of Magner

(Posted Tue. Jun 27th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Peter Magner, who joins the organization this week as manager of renewable fuels in the St. Louis office. Magner brings an excellent combination of experience in research, public policy and energy management to the team. In this new position, he will provide key support to ethanol programs as a direct report to the director of renewable fuels.   “Peter’s impressive education, along with his work experience in conservation and policy, have provided him with a wide range of skills and an impressive base of knowledge” said Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of Market Development Amie Gianino.  “We look forward to seeing the successes his understanding of sustainability, life-cycle assessments, policy analysis, environmental impact...

New Leaders Program Launches Fourth Year with Great Success

(Posted Mon. Jun 26th, 2017)

The 2017 class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, now entering its fourth year of helping farming couples and individuals become better communicators, leaders and advocates for agriculture, held its first session last week in Johnston, Iowa.   “We’re pleased to see this important program continue for a fourth year with DuPont’s generous support,” said Pam Johnson, NCGA past president and a corn grower from Iowa. “NCGA has always believed that farmers themselves are the best leaders and spokespersons for agriculture, and this program is designed in particular for men and women just getting started in visible roles in the ag industry.”   Johnson, who was present for the first New Leaders Program class, again represented NCGA. This first step in NCGA’s leadership ladder...

NCGA Board Elects Lynn Chrisp as Next Farmer to Help Lead Organization

(Posted Fri. Jun 23rd, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected Lynn Chrisp of Nebraska to become the organization's first vice president for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.   “I am deeply honored that my Corn Board colleagues chose to place their trust in my capability and commitment to leading our association forward,” said Chrisp. “America’s corn farmers face a growing number of challenges. Working together as an industry and with regulators and legislators in Washington, we must grow markets through trade agreements and policies that support a robust ethanol market. I look forward to working with our grower leadership over the coming years to find innovative, impactful ways to grow the demand for our growing crop.”   Chrisp farms a highly productive...

(Posted Fri. Jun 23rd, 2017)

With only one week remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 30, fees will be reduced to $75. NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.   “While planting season seems to have flown by, the early entry deadline for the 2017 National Corn Yield Contest is fast approaching,” said Stewardship Action Team Chair Brent Hostetler. “Through the contest, we gain valuable data that helps develop the production practices of tomorrow. I urge those who haven’t entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2017.”   To enter today using the online form, click here.    Entry...

(Posted Thu. Jun 22nd, 2017)

Keywords: Conservation

Eight years ago, the U.S. Senate approved designating a week each June as Pollinator Week. June 19-25, is the official week in 2017. In the wake of that decision, many positive steps have been taken to help pollinators from Monarch butterflies to honey bees, and the National Corn Growers Association is proud to be part of these efforts.   Corn does not require pollination by honey bees, but NCGA recognizes the integral role they play in a productive agriculture system. Some of your favorite foods such as berries, apples, oranges and almonds, depend on pollinators. That’s why NCGA works collaboratively with the Honey Bee Health Coalition seeking a menu of solutions to the challenges bees face.   Honey bees and pollinators work throughout the year to support the food and products we count on...

NAGC Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

(Posted Wed. Jun 21st, 2017)

Keywords: Research

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center, championed by the National Corn Growers Association, marks its one-year anniversary today and it does so with a significant list of accomplishments of importance to corn farmers.   NAGC’s mission is to translate scientific discoveries, such as the information from the maize genome project, into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy and national security.   “We are extremely excited to see this state-of-the-art facility living up to its promise,” said Larry Hoffmann, chair of the NCGA’s Corn Quality and Productivity Action Team. “The Genotyping Center is already building a reputation for using its high-throughput genotyping technology to both inform and solve problems facing agriculture.”   In just a year’s time,...

(Posted Tue. Jun 20th, 2017)

Keywords: conservation water quality

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rainforest and coral reefs. Now, modern agriculture is trying to capture some of nature’s wetland magic as a means to manage nutrients on the farm.   State and national corn organizations’ staff that work on water quality issues recently toured the Franklin Research & Demonstration Farm near Lexington, Illinois, to learn more about how research into “constructed wetlands” might provide another serious tool to help farmers manage nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous.   The tour provided an educational opportunity for staff of the National Corn Growers Association and state corn staff representing Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio who met in...

(Posted Mon. Jun 19th, 2017)

Using ethanol personally, promoting the fuel to the public and supporting ethanol-friendly legislation have been bread-and-butter activities for corn farmers and their respective associations for more than two decades. Although this is not likely to change in the months and years ahead, challenges and pressures on the ethanol front make strategic thinking and demand-driving initiatives increasingly critical.   State and National Corn Grower staff just concluded two days of meetings to conduct an in-depth, state of the ethanol industry analysis in Bloomington, Illinois at the offices of Illinois Corn. The goal was to discuss and review the ethanol plan constructed by the group last November.  As market conditions and the political environment change, the plan...

(Posted Fri. Jun 16th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement on U.S. policy toward Cuba.   “Cuba should be an easy market for U.S. corn farmers. Instead, that market has gone to our competitors—costing us an estimated $125 million in lost opportunity each year. If trade with Cuba were normalized, it would represent our 11th largest market for corn. Instead, we have just 11 percent market share in a country only 90 miles from our border. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, we ask our leaders in Washington not to close doors on market opportunities for American agriculture.”

(Posted Thu. Jun 15th, 2017)

Keywords: Conservation

Farmers’ continuous commitment to adopting more sustainable agricultural practices is reaping significant benefits such as healthier soil and cleaner water. But, despite these successes, there is more work ahead to juggle the science and economic factors that must be blended and balanced as the speed of change increases.   Finding the best path and striking that balance is the central theme of a water quality and ag nutrient meeting being held in Bloomington, Illinois this week. The meeting brings together National Corn Growers Association staff and state corn staff representing Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.   The nuts and bolts portion of the meeting covered topics such as: assessing current...

(Posted Tue. Jun 13th, 2017)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association brought the voice of farmers into important conversations on U.S. biotechnology regulations during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service public comment meeting held at the University of California, Davis, earlier today. This session, which was the second of three, offered the opportunity to personally provide input on the part 340 proposed rule that would modify the science-based federal regulatory framework that regulates genetically engineered organisms use in agriculture.   NCGA Past president Leon Corzine and Freedom to Operate Action Team Vice Chair Brandon Hunnicutt both spoke during the meeting, providing insight into the impact such regulations have upon farmers. Drawing upon firsthand...

(Posted Mon. Jun 12th, 2017)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its seventh 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.   Field Notes caught up with Patty Mann, who farms in Ohio. Finally finishing a long, wet corn planting season on June 7, the weather ultimately impacted her planting decisions this year.   “We had to switch 1,200 acres over from corn to soybeans,” she explained. “In the area around here, especially farms to our north, everyone is still out working. This past weekend though, we had to pick and...

(Posted Mon. Jun 12th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Trade equals huge success for exports of U.S. feed grains in all forms, particularly to the 20 countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA).   Exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partner countries have increased by nearly 24 percent over the last 10 marketing years (2006/2007 to 2015/2016), according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade data and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).   Last marketing year (2015/2016), exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partners saw a record high of more than 49.6 million tons (1.95 billion bushels).   The preferential trade terms included in the 14 FTAs the United States has in place with 20 international markets have helped lead to these significant increases during their tenure.   FTA partners...

(Posted Fri. Jun 9th, 2017)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its seventh 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.   Earlier this week, Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, who farms in north central Iowa. The weather impacted her planting, but she has finally gotten her corn crop into the ground.   “I got all of my intended acres planted, but it just seems to have dragged on this year,” she explained. “I got in early this year on April 11, and then I had a rain delay. Then, I got some more...

(Posted Fri. Jun 9th, 2017)

U.S. corn production remains on track to produce an abundant, but not record-setting, crop according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. With projections to production, supply and demand unchanged from the May report, farmers now wait to see how the picture might change with the release of the Acreage report, which provides a survey-based estimate of the area planted and a forecast of harvest acres, on June 30.   “The farm economy continues to struggle, and that’s why it’s so important that we encourage and grow corn markets wherever possible,” said Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Stratford, Texas. “For many farmers, trade represents a critical revenue stream. Therefore, NCGA will continue...

(Posted Thu. Jun 8th, 2017)

This story was republished with the permission of the original author, the Renewable Fuels Association. To see its format at the time of release, click here.   More than a decade after the original renewable fuel standard (RFS) was signed into law, tremendous progress has been made toward its goals of energy security, clean air and boosting local economies, according to a new analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association, “RFS Impacts: By the Numbers.” The analysis comes as EPA is expected to soon issue its proposed 2018 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS.   Congress adopted the RFS in 2005 and expanded it in 2007. The program requires oil companies to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel, culminating with 36 billion...

(Posted Wed. Jun 7th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association applauded President Trump’s pledge today to make rebuilding America’s infrastructure a national priority and committed to work with his Administration on the issue.   “It's time to recapture our legacy as a nation of builders, and to create new lanes of travel, commerce, and discovery,” President Trump said at a speech in Cincinnati on the backdrop of the Ohio River.   Ken Hartman, chair of the NCGA Market Access Team, thanked the President for calling attention to infrastructure issues.   “Farmers rely on our national infrastructure every day to get our products to market quickly, safely, and efficiently. Waterways, roads, and bridges are central to farmers' efforts to feed and fuel the world, and we must invest in all of them,” said Hartman, a...

NCGA Launches Open Innovation Challenge to Find the Next Big Thing for Corn

(Posted Wed. Jun 7th, 2017)

Keywords: Research

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), along with innovation facilitator NineSigma, today announced the launch of a global competition to identify new and innovative uses for field corn as a renewable feedstock for making sustainable chemicals with significant market demand.   Growing interest in America’s emerging bio-economy and continued improvements in sustainable corn production underscore the versatility and potential of this crop.  The “Consider Corn Challenge” is a starting point to help industry realize corn’s full potential.   “Corn has a history of being an abundant, cost-effective, and sustainable feedstock for chemicals used in thousands of products. This challenge is geared to inspire new concepts, approaches and technologies that will help...

(Posted Mon. Jun 5th, 2017)

Identifying corn diseases and pursuing the best management plan available just got easier, faster and more cost effective due to new testing protocols announced today by the National Agricultural Genotyping Center located in Fargo, North Dakota.   “Farming is a complicated pursuit that involves many choices. Making the right choice at the right time can have a huge effect on profitability,” said Larry Hoffman, Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team. “This is especially true when it comes to identifying the dozens of diseases that can harm healthy corn plants, yields and grain quality.”   Corn has effective genetic resistance to many important diseases, according to Pete Snyder, President and CEO...

(Posted Thu. Jun 1st, 2017)

Consumer choice at the pump takes a step backward today as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) restriction on summertime E15 ethanol sales goes into effect, underscoring the need for Congress to pass the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act and restore consumer choice year-round.    An arcane regulatory barrier limits the ability of fuel retailers to offer 15 percent ethanol blends in most of the country from June 1 to September 15.   “This regulation handcuffs fuel retailers who want to offer E15 to customers year-round,” said Ethanol Action Team Chair Paul Jeschke, a farmer from Mazon, Illinois. “And, because E15 typically costs less per gallon than regular gas, consumers lose the opportunity to save money during the summer driving season when they make more...