NEWS STORIES

JULY 2017

CommonGround Program Celebrates Seven Years of Advancing Conversations about Food Among Consumers and Farmers

(Posted Mon. Jul 31st, 2017)

More than 200 women farmers across the country are advancing conversations about food and farming between consumers and farmers as part of the CommonGround program.   Many of these women farmers will gather to celebrate the program's success and discuss future plans during the 7th annual CommonGround National Conference today through Aug. 2.   "CommonGround provides a platform for women farmers to share their personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help consumers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming," said Cathryn Wojcicki, communications manager for the National Corn Growers Association.   "Over the last seven years, our farmer volunteers have made millions of positive impressions about farming through media interviews, local events and social media efforts," Wojcicki said.  "We're gathering this week to celebrate our achievements and talk about how we can reach even more...

(Posted Fri. Jul 28th, 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 checked in with Dan Erickson, who farms in Minnesota. Taking a moment to chat as he worked, Erickson reported that his corn crop has benefitted from favorable weather and remains in strong condition.   “Things are looking pretty good in my immediate area. We have corn that is fully tasseled,” he explained. “I have heard about the weather issues in many parts of the country but, in my town, we have been getting rain on and off that has moved crop progress along well.”   Since Field Notes last spoke with Erickson, he applied nitrogen directly before the corn hit the tasseling...

(Posted Fri. Jul 28th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

Pocono Raceway is the greenest venue in NASCAR, and maybe in professional sports. But the track will get even more “green” this weekend as Austin Dillon and the American Ethanol #3 car hit the track with an American Ethanol paint out.   You can catch Austin competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono’s Tricky Triangle this Sunday for the Overton's 400 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Although all cars will be racing on E15 American Ethanol, Austin’s car will drive the point home in this, the third, fully marked up car of the 2017 season.   “I love being the renewable fuels guy. The best part is the American part. It’s special to be kind of the leader in that category,” Dillon said.   As Monster Energy Series drivers are getting ready for Sunday’s race, American Ethanol will already be in the spotlight miles away at the NASCAR Xfinity Series in Iowa on Saturday, July 29, in the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol. You can tune in for that race at 3:30 p.m. ET...

(Posted Fri. Jul 28th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled today in favor of the National Corn Growers Association and other renewable fuels advocates, agreeing with the petitioners that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) erred in how it interpreted and used the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver in the Renewable Fuel Standard law in setting renewable fuel volumes for 2014-2016.     In Americans for Clean Energy et al v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court vacated EPA’s decision to reduce the total renewable fuel volume requirement in 2016 and remanded the rule to EPA for further consideration.   The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:   “Today’s court decision is a win for farmers, the biofuels industry, and consumers. This ruling affirms our view that the EPA did not follow the law when it reduced the 2014-2016 renewable fuel volumes below levels intended by Congress. The court held that EPA was wrong to interpret...

(Posted Thu. Jul 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Farmers attending last week’s National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits.  The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace.   “Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president.  “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.”   The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system.  By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting...

(Posted Thu. Jul 27th, 2017)

If you are taking some time to get out of the heat this summer, go online and check out USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s improved  online census questionnaire demonstration site.    “Responding to the census will be easier than ever before in December. It is our hope that producers will become familiar with the online census questionnaire demo this summer, like it, and return to report online when responding to the Census of Agriculture later this year,” said NASS Census and Survey Division Director Barbara Rater.    The updated online questionnaire, which will go live late fall, will be accessible on any electronic device. New features save time by calculating totals automatically and skipping questions that do not pertain to the respondent’s operation.  While on the Census of Agriculture website, explore the census introduction video, view a video of USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue talking about the 2017 Census of Agriculture,   see some examples of how census data...

(Posted Wed. Jul 26th, 2017)

When it comes to growing cover crops, some common advice from the more than 100 farmers enrolled in the Soil Health Partnership is “start small.” The SHP is encouraging farmers new to cover crops to start small, but start now.   A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to reduce soil erosion, improve soil health, and protect water quality, among other benefits. Typical varieties in the Midwest include cereal rye, oats and tillage radish.   David Moose, an Auburn, Ill. farmer enrolled in the SHP program, has grown cover crops on his farm for several years. Kneeling in his black soil at a November field day, Moose pulls up a tiny green plant. The cereal rye’s thin roots extend deeper into the soil than looks possible.   “This root is already nearly 12 inches long,” Moose says. “It will grow to be another one or two feet down in the soil, providing a nice environment for worms, and creating channels for water to go down deep. I don’t have to rip up the soil for this to...

(Posted Tue. Jul 25th, 2017)

Crop insurance and commodity title programs have been critical for helping farmers survive sustained low commodity prices, and they should be maintained in the next farm bill, National Corn Growers Association Board member Bruce Rohwer testified today at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on risk management tools and the 2018 Farm Bill.   “Crop insurance and commodity title programs are particularly important to family farmers who earn a majority of their household income from the farm. Without crop insurance and commodity title payments, the financial wherewithal of these farms would likely face serious erosion in the current environment,” said Rohwer, who raises corn and soybeans and runs a sow farrow-to-finish operation in Paullina, Iowa.   Rohwer noted that corn prices have averaged below $4.00 per bushel since 2013, and are projected to average $3.35 this marketing year. The annual crop value of corn fell from nearly $77 billion in 2011 to just over $51 billion in...

(Posted Mon. Jul 24th, 2017)

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 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 2017.”   To enter today using the online form, click here.    Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through July 31. All harvest forms will be due by November 17. Contest winners will be announced on December 18.   As a reminder, entry forms must be submitted to NCGA through the online entry form two weeks prior to the date that plot is...

(Posted Fri. Jul 21st, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association regarding the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517):   “Corn farmers appreciate the work of Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and the bipartisan Senate sponsors of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act to advance this legislation.  While this legislation will not move to a committee markup at this time, we will continue to back efforts to remove this unnecessary roadblock to consumer choice that saves drivers money and is better for the environment.   “It is unfortunate that some have turned a focused effort to remove an outdated regulatory barrier into a referendum on a wide range of other issues unrelated to a simple question, which is whether a consumer choice barrier for three months of the year is still justified. As experts testified to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, this barrier has no environmental or economic justification. On the narrow question of whether retailers...

(Posted Thu. Jul 20th, 2017)

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association on Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney’s nomination for Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a new post created under the 2014 Farm Bill.   “Congratulations to Ted McKinney on being named Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. NCGA has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing global demand for U.S. agriculture, and pushed for this in the last farm bill. We thank the Trump Administration for listening, and continuing to move that process forward. Trade is more important than ever for farmers to overcome this challenging farm economy.   “Mr. McKinney is an excellent choice to fill this new role. He has a longstanding record of service to the agriculture industry, and will be a strong advocate for U.S. agriculture on the global stage. We urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him, so that our...

(Posted Wed. Jul 19th, 2017)

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association in response to Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-Oklahoma) floor speech today in opposition to S. 517, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act.   “Senator Inhofe’s remarks, while unfortunate, are no surprise given his longtime opposition to ethanol. The nation’s corn farmers would like to assure Senator Inhofe that, despite his claims to the contrary, corn productivity has increased significantly over the past 10 years, going from an average of 150 bushels per acre in 2007 to 174.6 bushels per acre in 2016. Today’s efficient farmers produce more than enough corn to meet feed, food, and fuel needs, in an increasingly sustainable manner. Corn farmers are also proud that, based on actual corn and ethanol production experience over the past 10 years, ethanol currently results in 43 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.   “We appreciate the efforts of Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and her Senate colleagues...

(Posted Wed. Jul 19th, 2017)

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has benefited both the American and Mexican agriculture industries, and Mexico is optimistic about the prospects of modernizing the trade agreement, Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez told more than 200 corn farmers gathered today in Washington at the National Corn Growers Association’s semiannual meeting.   “Our agricultural trade through NAFTA has been a success for all parties,” said Ambassador Gutiérrez. “The challenge is that none of us should stay in our comfort zone. If we want to achieve a win-win trade modernization, we must keep active. There is no guaranteed outcome.”   Ambassador Gutiérrez expressed a strong desire to continue strengthening agricultural trade between the U.S. and Mexico, but he also acknowledged that Mexico must keep its options open and is looking to other markets to secure his nation’s grain supply.   NCGA President Wesley Spurlock thanked the Ambassador for his remarks and echoed the importance...

(Posted Wed. Jul 19th, 2017)

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected four farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2018 fiscal year, are new board members Brandon Hunnicutt of Nebraska, Gary Porter of Missouri and Kenneth Hartman Jr. of Illinois. Current board member Don Glenn of Alabama was re-elected. All four were elected to three-year terms.   “NCGA had an impressive slate of candidates for the Corn Board, with many growers who already have an extensive history of service to American agriculture,” NCGA Chairman Chip Bowling, who chairs the nominating committee, said. “It encourages 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 in the years to come.”    The NCGA Corn Board represents the...

(Posted Fri. Jul 14th, 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 April Hemmes, who farms in Iowa.   “I hate to jinx it, but my corn crop looks beautiful,” she explained. “I have some early corn that is just about to tassel. I planted it on April 1, which is pretty early for here. It is really coming along nicely.   “We have had some horrible hailstorms. I know someone who has been hit three times in one of his fields. When you get that type of shredding on the corn, it doesn’t help it. But, corn is pretty resilient. My cornfield that was hit came out of it well, and it is coming along nicely now.   “Luckily, we have...

(Posted Thu. Jul 13th, 2017)

National Corn Growers Association President and Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock today welcomed the announcement that American Soybean Association Chief Executive Officer Stephen L. Censky has been nominated as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   “The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Steve Censky on his nomination to be Deputy Secretary at USDA. With experience leading a large commodity organization, and as a senior leader at USDA and Capitol Hill staffer, Steve is the perfect person to serve as second in command at USDA. We urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him.   “Steve knows firsthand the importance of increasing global demand for U.S. agricultural products, growing the renewable fuels industry, and protecting risk management programs. His background and experience are especially welcome as we begin to shape the next farm bill.   “Two weeks ago, we called on President Trump to move quickly to fill out the entire leadership team...

(Posted Wed. Jul 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 Chad Wetzel, who farms near Sherman, Texas.   “The corn crop is looking pretty good. For the most part, most of our corn has almost reached full maturity,” he explained. “We did get a little bit dry in the middle of June but, overall, we expect an above average harvest here in just a few weeks.”   To find out more about Wetzel’s farm and how corn matures, 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 Tue. Jul 11th, 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 Lowell Neitzel, who farms near Lawrence, Kansas.   “We have gotten some timely rains. We were getting dry for a while, but Mother Nature came through,” he explained. “We have been really appreciative of the weather that has come with those rains. The temperatures have stayed somewhat cool, which is good for pollination.   “Our corn is probably about 90 percent tasseled and starting to pollinate. So, we would really like cool temperatures that would help progress pollination and grow nice ears.”   To find out more, including what Neitzel expects from his crop...

(Posted Fri. Jul 7th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Dr. Jeffery Mullen who joins the organization as the director of research.  Mullen brings diverse and extensive research expertise from both crop production and genetics in biotechnology to the position. Additionally, he offers a proven history of extensive research and development collaborations and relationship building that will benefit the association’s efforts in this area going forward.   “Jeff has a deep background, both academically and professionally, that will help NCGA expand its breadth in the research arena while also looking at projects from a customer’s perspective,” said Vice President of Production and Sustainability Paul Bertels.  “Having grown up on a farm in Iowa, he deeply understands what will benefit farm families. This formative experience provides a strong structure which, along with his work throughout the industry and academia, will help us as we further evolve our work in this incredibly important...

Tell Your Corn Story in Pictures with Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest

(Posted Thu. Jul 6th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds photographers that they can help tell the story of farming field corn in America through the fourth 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. While the contest opened recently, interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2017.   Open to all, the Fields-of-Corn photo contest offers a free opportunity for photographers to share their work while competing for 25 cash prizes, including a $500 grand prize. Prizes include cash awards for the top three entries in eight categories including:  Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farm Family Lifestyle, Scenery/Landscape, Farming Challenges, SHP Conservation, Little Farmers and one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes.”   For more information on prizes and on these categories, click here.   It is important to note that the...

(Posted Wed. Jul 5th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the proposed 2018 renewable volume obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   “We are pleased to see EPA pick up where last year’s RFS rulemaking left off and propose a rule that keeps the RFS on track for conventional ethanol production. EPA’s proposal is good for farmers who are facing tough economic times and good for consumers who want affordable fuel choices that give us a cleaner environment.   “The Renewable Fuel Standard has been a resounding success: cleaner air, greater energy independence, and stronger rural communities. We call on the EPA to keep the RFS moving forward in line with the law and in a timely manner. Doing so will bring greater stability and certainty to the marketplace and spur increased investment in renewable fuels.   “NCGA will...