NEWS STORIES

OCTOBER 2017

(Posted Tue. Oct 31st, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The following piece originally ran as a news release created and distributed by Growth Energy at: https://growthenergy.org/2017/10/30/growth-energy-2-billion-miles-surpassed-e15/.   Growth Energy announced that in just five months, American drivers have surpassed another billion miles on E15, bringing the total miles driven across the U.S. to 2 billion. This comes  on the heels of Growth Energy’s recent announcement that more than 1,000 stations across the country are currently offering E15 to consumers.   “This latest milestone cements the fact that drivers have embraced the tremendous benefits E15 offers and highlights just how rapidly consumer demand is growing,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “E15 is a smart choice for consumers who care about their car’s engines, want a healthy environment, and seek better value at the pump. We’re thrilled to lead the charge with Prime the Pump to bring more and more drivers this option every day.”   More than 1,000 fuel stations...

(Posted Mon. Oct 30th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The following piece originally ran as a news release created and distributed by the Renewable Fuels Association at: http://www.ethanolrfa.org/2017/10/rfa-data-more-than-4000-u-s-stations-offering-e85/   Drivers of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can handle higher ethanol blends up to 85 percent, now have even more places to fuel up. According to E85prices.com, operated by the Renewable Fuels Association, there are now more than 4,000 stations throughout the U.S. offering E85.   There are more than 22 million FFVs on U.S. roads and now consumers have greater access to higher ethanol blends. Minnesota offers the most E85 stations, but states outside the Corn Belt have shown the greatest uptick in recent years. States like California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have demonstrated tremendous growth in offering higher ethanol blends.   Greater consumer access to E85 is due to a combination of factors, including RFA’s overall market development efforts, the...

NCGA Promotes Membership, Engagement to Young Farmers

(Posted Fri. Oct 27th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed attendees to booth 1755 at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis where they learned about scholarship opportunities and teachers picked up curriculum provided by our state corn associations. Students, chaperones, and advisors also had the opportunity to become a grassroots advocate by joining our Stand Up for Corn campaign and to grab a photo with Captain Cornelius. NCGA representatives had many in-depth discussions on how NCGA membership benefits U.S. corn farmers and youth in agriculture.   “The National FFA convention provides an opportunity for NCGA, and its state affiliates, to interact with the next generation of agricultural leaders and help them understand the importance of active participation in commodity associations,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association District Field Manager Carrie Dodds, who worked in the booth along with Indiana and National Corn Growers Associations’ staff members. “We are excited to help them...

(Posted Fri. Oct 27th, 2017)

Two decades ago today, the corn plant got a huge boost with the announcement of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). The historic research effort to map the corn genome - supported and shepherded by the National Corn Growers Association – has resulted in significant economic and environmental dividends for farmers and society at large.   The gene mapping effort, which ran parallel to the mapping of the human genome, opened up a new frontier for corn that is still being explored today, according to Pam Johnson, a Floyd, Iowa farmer who served as the Chairperson of NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team and later as NCGA president.   “The NPGI didn’t just build a bridge between scientific discovery and real-world solutions for corn, it laid the groundwork for a new interstate highway of discovery,” Johnson said “Corn continues to be one of the most important crops for our nation and this will likely continue given the vision of early NCGA leaders and the...

(Posted Thu. Oct 26th, 2017)

Keywords: NASS crop insurance

The National Corn Growers Association urges growers to respond 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,” explained NCGA Risk Management Action Team Chair Steve Ebke, who farms in Nebraska. “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. We urge everyone to complete their NASS surveys so that each county has a sufficient amount of data for FSA to calculate the payments based upon what actually happened in that county.”   Farmers...

(Posted Wed. Oct 25th, 2017)

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes regarding the introduction of a bill yesterday by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D – N.D.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) directing the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to use crop yield data from the Risk Management Agency for yield calculations.   “NCGA applauds Senators Heitkamp and Ernst for recognizing the importance of having a strong revenue-based program for farmers and taking this step to strengthen the Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Level (ARC-CO) Safety Net Program in the next Farm Bill,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “In this economy, having strong farm bill risk management programs are more important than ever.”   “NCGA believes ARC can be updated to improve its effectiveness in this extended low-price environment farmers are facing,” said Skunes. “NCGA supports a program that utilizes more accurate data to ensure farmers have access to fair and accurate risk management...

Harvest Photos to Capture the Story of Corn

(Posted Wed. Oct 25th, 2017)

As combines roll across golden fields, the National Corn Growers Association Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest asks interested farmers to snap shots that share their story of American agriculture.   Photographers can help tell that story of farming field corn in America through this fourth annual contest by capturing high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. Interested photographers wishing to help tell that story 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...

(Posted Mon. Oct 23rd, 2017)

  Farmers interested in using dicamba as part of their crop strategy in the 2018 growing season need to be aware only certified applicators, or those under their direct supervision, will be allowed to apply the product.   The label change reflects an agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency, Monsanto, BASF and DuPont on measures to further minimize the potential for drift to damage neighboring crops from the use of dicamba formulations to control weeds in genetically modified cotton and soybeans.   EPA worked cooperatively with states, land-grant universities, and the pesticide manufacturers to examine the underlying causes of recent crop damage in the farm belt and Southeast.    Manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to label changes that impose additional requirements for "over the top" use of these products next year...

(Posted Fri. Oct 20th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

In a letter to seven senators sent late Thursday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took significant strides toward strengthening the foundation for ethanol and renewable fuels.  The Administrator emphasized his commitment to implementing renewable fuel volumes at or above levels proposed, as well as to examining the Agency’s authority to fix regulations that currently limit the year-round sale of E15 and higher ethanol blends.  Administrator Pruitt also said the Agency would not pursue regulations to change the treatment of RINs relative to ethanol exports, a proposal that would have undermined the integrity of the RFS and our exports.   “NCGA greatly appreciates the leadership of these seven senators to make renewable fuels a priority,” said Kevin Skunes, NCGA president. “Their advocacy for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels, as well as the advocacy of other Members of Congress who joined recent Senate and House letters to EPA, helped ensure EPA understood our concerns...

(Posted Fri. Oct 20th, 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 north central Iowa. Despite slow progress due to wet conditions, she has a more optimistic outlook for what will eventually reach her bins at the end of corn harvest.   “Everyone I have spoken with is very happy with their yields this year,” she explained. “We had a lot of dry weather in Iowa in July, even parts of August. But the reports that I have been hearing, even from people in the parts of the state most impacted by the drought, are that parts of their farm, even just a few miles apart, have places that got just three or four more...

(Posted Thu. Oct 19th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today urged EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to pull back on the further reductions to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contemplates in the October 4, 2017 Notice of Data Availability (NODA).   In the NODA, EPA requested additional comments on potential reductions in volume requirements under the RFS. While EPA proposed no direct changes to the implied 15 billion gallon volume for conventional ethanol, NCGA believes the volume reductions EPA is exploring are inconsistent with the law and with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s July 28, 2017 decision in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA.   “As one of the petitioners comprising Americans for Clean Energy, NCGA is concerned with EPA’s attempt to incorrectly apply the Agency’s waiver authority in order to justify further reductions in volumes,” NCGA President Kevin Skunes wrote in comments submitted...

(Posted Wed. Oct 18th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association thanks Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for continuing to stand up for farmers, rural communities and biofuels. Senator Grassley, along with Senators Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) met yesterday with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to discuss concerns regarding EPA's administration of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), including proposals to reduce RFS volumes.   “We would like to thank Senator Grassley for organizing the meeting and to all senators who participated for making sure EPA understands how important the RFS is for agriculture," said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “NCGA appreciates the senators' commitment to a strong RFS and their leadership in ensuring our voices are heard in EPA's decision-making process."   After the meeting, Senator Ernst released a statement saying “Our meeting today was another clear...

(Posted Wed. Oct 18th, 2017)

Six Wisconsin farms have joined the Soil Health Partnership, a move that expands an innovative long-term research project to the upper Midwest. The results could convince more farmers to engage in agriculture practices that do everything from making farms more resilient to extreme weather to improving state water quality.   Reduced tillage, the use of cover crops in winter, and advanced nutrient management are key practices used to improve soil health. The implementation of these practices has been called the next frontier of agriculture. Early research suggests that the benefits of nurturing soil health include improved crop yield, enhanced water quality, increased drought resilience, better flood resistance, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.   “Will these practices improve the soil and diminish erosion, and will they be economically beneficial? That’s what our farmers want to know,” said Nicole Wagner, executive director of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.“ Farm...

(Posted Tue. Oct 17th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

When planning a family vacation, you probably don’t put a lot of thought into which gas stations you are going to stop at, when you are going to stop and the type of gasoline you are going to fill-up with. Well, Renewable Fuels Association’s Vice President of Industry Relations, Robert White, did just that and recently shared his journey.   The following piece originally ran as a blog post created and distributed by the Renewable Fuels Association at: http://www.ethanolrfa.org/2017/09/vacation-powered-by-e85/.   The average U.S. worker leaves nearly half of his or her vacation days on the table each year. I am usually guilty of this too, but this year I wanted to make the most of time off and find a fun trip for myself, my wife and our 13-month-old daughter. We decided on visiting some national parks and monuments in Colorado and Utah. Naturally, this adventure had to be done in a Flex Fuel vehicle, and we chose our 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee as our mode of transportation. The...

(Posted Mon. Oct 16th, 2017)

With harvest continuing across the country, the National Corn Growers Association will accept online harvest forms for the 2017 National Corn Yield Contest until Friday, December 1 at 4:30 pm CST. These forms are available online for those who entered the contest. Please do remember though, entrants are asked to report within two weeks of their final yield check or by Dec. 1 now, whichever comes first.   “While NCGA certainly understands the unique nature of each harvest, it is important to keep contest rules regarding harvest form submissions in mind. We ask contest applicants to submit harvest forms within two weeks of their final yield check to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said 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...

(Posted Fri. Oct 13th, 2017)

Consuming more than 5 billion bushels annually, the animal feed industry is the #1 customer of U.S. corn. Within animal feed, poultry and egg farms use the most corn, followed by beef and pork. The largest growth opportunity for U.S. poultry and egg products exists in foreign markets, where consumer demand for safe, reliable protein continues to outpace supply. Last year, NCGA became a member of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), supporting USAPEEC’s efforts to increase export demand.  Since 1990, USAPEEC has been led by their President, Jim Sumner. Recently, NCGA caught up with Jim to learn a little bit more about him, USAPEEC’s structure, the importance of MAP & FMD funding, and the high value they place on allied commodity partnerships. Here’s what he told us:   NCGA: What is USAPEEC’s number one strategic priority?   Jim: Maintaining and developing new export markets for our chicken, turkey and egg industries is our top priority. An important key to our ability...

(Posted Thu. Oct 12th, 2017)

Keywords: production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s WASDE report released today has corn production forecasted at 14.280 billion bushels, up 96 million from last month. Corn supply remains unchanged despite yield again being raised by almost a bushel to 171.8. The yield increase was offset by an adjustment in acreage planted and lower stocks. Lower planted acres likely reflects more accurate accounting of spring weather difficulties.  Corn price projections also remain unchanged from last month’s report, with the average projected range at $2.80 to $3.60 per bushel.   From a global perspective, corn stocks are down 1.5 million from last month, with foreign corn ending stocks for 2017/18 down, due to declines from China and Mexico.     Ethanol use rebounded from its projected drop last month, with numbers back at August levels of 5.5 billion bushels. Price remains unchanged, thus reflecting the need for new markets and new uses to be developed.   On the soybean side of the ledger, it looks...

American Ethanol and NCGA to Roll Out Big Promotion at Talladega Race

(Posted Wed. Oct 11th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

Talladega Motor Speedway will once again be the home of “the big one” on Oct. 13-15, only this time it will be the National Corn Growers Association conducting their largest American Ethanol NASCAR promotion to date, not the seemingly inevitable fast racing and wrecks that make the track famous.   NCGA will be partnering with corn farmers from across the U.S. - including Alabama, Kansas, Iowa and Michigan - to promote E15 American Ethanol all weekend in the popular Fan Zone exhibit area, nearby campgrounds, on-track signage, the pavement in pit road and the in-house video system.   “Corn Growers partnered with Growth Energy under the American Ethanol banner to spread the positive benefits of E15 and higher ethanol blends. Since 2011 drivers on all three of NASCAR’s racing series have completed more than 10-million miles on E15,” said Don Glenn, NCGA board member and farmer from Hillsboro, Alabama. “And E15 has worked seamlessly in these high performance engines. Today, a...

CommonGround Launches Video Highlighting Farmer’s Sustainability Story, Opens Dialogue Based in Shared Values

(Posted Tue. Oct 10th, 2017)

CommonGround launched a new video highlighting how farmers care for the environment and why they take more and more steps to increase sustainability on their farms. The short piece and accompanying blog posts, which feature Nebraska CommonGround volunteer Diane Karr, help consumers looking for the story behind their food.   Showcasing the many practices farmers use to improve air, water and soil on their own unique farms, the video addresses the environmental issues of interest to consumers. It highlights their deep passion for agriculture, as well as the wide array of technologies and practices America’s farmers choose from when tailoring the precise plan that works for their farm. Karr opens her farm and her front door to allow consumers in to see the farm and family she loves while she shares the values and future aspirations that guide everything she does.   To watch the video on YouTube, click here.   Along with the video, Karr shared more detailed information on some of...

(Posted Fri. Oct 6th, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of 38 senators, led by Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging him to implement a strong final 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule as intended by Congress.   “We urge you to continue to implement the RFS as intended by Congress and release a strong final rule that would give consumers more choices at the pump, strengthen our economy and make our country more secure,” the Senators wrote.   EPA has proposed an implied volume of 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol in 2018, consistent with the level set by Congress. However, the Agency also proposed reducing cellulosic and total renewable fuel volumes by 73 million gallons and 40 million gallons, respectively. Most recently, EPA proposed additional volume reductions as the Agency prepares to finalize 2018 volumes. In comments to the EPA earlier this year, emphasized in a letter to President Trump this week, NCGA called...

Spurlock Sees Great Progress, Anticipates Further Success in FY18 Through Grassroots Action

(Posted Wed. Oct 4th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year on Sunday and seated the 2018 Corn Board with Wesley Spurlock of Stratford, Texas, who moved into the role of chairman.  Off the Cob spoke with the chairman to explore his views on NCGA’s work over the previous years, what lies ahead for corn farmers in 2018 and his thoughts on the importance of grassroots advocacy.   “What we have done as NCGA, with me being just a small part of that, is gone through our strategic plan, and demand has become a very important part of it,” he said. “As an organization, with our state affiliates and our leadership, we have tried to assess how important the different sides of demand are.   “Ethanol has been our top priority for a number of years, and we have worked very hard on it. But, while we were focused on ethanol, we let some other markets fall to the side. Now, we have returned to strongly pushing all demand work by working closely with the livestock industry at all levels, and...

(Posted Wed. Oct 4th, 2017)

Keywords: New Uses

The National Corn Growers Association’s innovative search for new corn uses, called the Consider Corn Challenge, wrapped up last week, and reports just in show the effort to be a complete success. Initial results show that the group’s first-ever Open Innovation Contest attracted strong interest from the United States and six other countries.   Entrants shared their lab bench-vetted ideas on new ways to convert corn or corn-based products into sustainable chemicals.    “With the productive capacity of the nation’s corn growers continuing to grow, we need to be working hard to find new uses for corn so it can continue to be a positive national resource that makes major contributions to the economy,” said Larry Hoffmann, chair of NCGA’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “A whopping 35 entries were submitted, surpassing the original success metric set by NCGA, which was 20 entries. We are very happy with the result.”   The contest now moves into the judging phase, and up...

(Posted Tue. Oct 3rd, 2017)

Keywords: Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association and other biofuel advocates sent a letter to President Donald Trump today, urging the White House to “act quickly to prevent actions” at the Environmental Protection Agency that could undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   “The proposed changes are inconsistent with the law and threaten the growth and prosperity of the U.S. biofuels industry,” wrote the National Corn Growers Association, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth Energy, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Advanced Biofuels Business Council and other industry leaders.   “EPA’s changes are also inconsistent with Administrator Pruitt’s assurances to uphold the law and your long-standing support of ethanol and the RFS. If the proposed changes are finalized, EPA’s actions would cause severe harm to our industry, undermining your efforts to drive economic growth and secure America’s status as the global leader in biofuel production.”   “Actions speak...

Chrisp Focuses on the Future, Provides Insight as FY18 NCGA First Vice President

(Posted Tue. Oct 3rd, 2017)

When the National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year Sunday, Nebraska farmer Lynn Chrisp 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.   Chrisp began by giving an overview of his priorities this year.   “NCGA Is focusing on three primary areas: ethanol, farm bill and regulation, particularly as it pertains to the EPA,” he explained. “For me, I know these three areas only represent a small start into looking at everything we are working on.   “Under the farm bill alone, we are working on the commodity title, conservation programs, crop insurance, trade and research. All of these areas are very important. I am hoping that the work we try to accomplish over the next year will show some fruit in each of these areas.”   Chrisp enjoys his work in NCGA...

Skunes Enters 2018 Hopeful for the Future, Passionate About Grassroots Action

(Posted Mon. Oct 2nd, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year on Sunday and seated the 2018 Corn Board with Kevin Skunes of Arthur, North Dakota, who assumed the presidency.  Off the Cob spoke with the new president to discuss his thoughts on the previous year, explore his views on what lies ahead for corn farmers in 2018 and his goals for his term.   “Over the last year, we have been able to reach out to the administration in several ways,” he said. “We have met personally with Secretary Perdue, Secretary Ross and Administrator Pruitt on several issues very important to the corn industry.   “Over the last year, we have gotten very serious about discussions on the next farm bill that will roll into fiscal year 2018. We have also been working very hard on trade agreements, including NAFTA and the Korean free trade agreement. There are many things we have done, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us.”   To listen to the full interview, please click here.   Looking at...