NEWS STORIES

FEBRUARY 2018

Consider Corn Challenge Shines a Light on Corn’s Growing Potential in Bio-Economy

(Posted Wed. Feb 28th, 2018)

Keywords: Research New Uses

Six new technologies, that are poised to change the way the public perceives our country’s most abundant crop, were highlighted today in Anaheim, Calif. as winners of the inaugural Consider Corn Challenge, an open innovation contest hosted by the National Corn Growers Association. The diverse range of science unveiled shows that corn is squarely situated on the cutting-edge of technology, ready to support a wave of growth sweeping through the renewable products industry.   More than thirty, scientists and start-up companies answered the global call to bring forth their best ideas focused on the conversion of corn into bio-renewable chemicals. Contest entries reinforced that corn can improve the environmental footprint of many products used by consumers, including plastic bottles, acrylics, solvents, fibers, packaging, and coolants.  Many of the submissions included bio-advantaged molecules, with the ability to deliver performance and value that exceeds petrochemicals.   The six...

NCGA and BASF Invest in the Future of the Corn Industry

(Posted Wed. Feb 28th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association and BASF awarded the William C. Berg Excellence in Agriculture scholarship to five aspiring college students pursuing degrees in an agriculture-related field today at the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif. The William C. Berg Excellence scholarship was created to honor William C. Berg, an Ohio farmer and retired postal worker who passed away in 2012.   “Agriculture is an exciting industry that is constantly changing, evolving and growing to meet society’s need for food, feed, fuel and a host of sustainable products. A new generation of leaders across multiple disciplines will be key to continued success,” said Kevin Skunes, NCGA President and corn grower from Arthur, N.D. “These scholarship winners show we can look forward to a bright future.”   Scholarships of $1,000 were awarded to the following students:   Nicole Gutzmann, from Raleigh, N.C.– a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University pursuing a degree in entomology...

NCGA Statement on Bill Northey’s Confirmation as Undersecretary at USDA

(Posted Tue. Feb 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the hold on Bill Northey being lifted. Skunes gave these remarks during a news conference at Commodity Classic.   “After a needless four-month delay, farmers across the country will be well-served with Bill Northey finally on the job at USDA,” Skunes said.   Skunes also addressed the Tuesday morning meeting at the White House in his remarks.   “Farmers are so grateful to Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley for representing farmers at the White House with integrity and steadfast support,” Skunes added. “We could not ask for better representatives.   “Today in Washington President Trump, officials from USDA and EPA, and Senators met to discuss issues affecting the RFS. There was no deal cut at this meeting. While no deal was made at this meeting, some participants tried to sell a deal. “Our farmers cannot afford any deal that...

(Posted Mon. Feb 26th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association, along with other agricultural organizations, sent a letter to President Trump on Monday, calling on the President to maintain the integrity of the RFS.   “We appreciate the President’s support of the RFS since the early days of his campaign,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “Rural America supported President Trump last year, now we need the President to support rural America.  Supporting policy changes that undermine the RFS will hurt farmers, renewable fuel plant workers, and rural America.”   The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects 2018 net farm income will decline an additional $4.3 billion this year, a 6.7 percent reduction from 2017 levels. This represents the lowest net farm income, in nominal dollars, since 2006 and is a 50-percent decline in net farm income since 2013.   The letter to the President disputes the recent claims made by an East Coast refinery that the RFS is to blame for their recent bankruptcy.  “Mismanagement...

(Posted Thu. Feb 22nd, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures. To help review both the importance of and procedures for grain bin safety, NCGA is again offering an informative video.   To view the video, click here.   First released in 2011, the video, shot on location in several states, provides a wide range of information from prevention tips and background data on grain bin accidents.  The project also involved interviews with professionals in the fields of grain bin safety research and rescue to provide as much information to viewers as possible.

(Posted Thu. Feb 22nd, 2018)

Keywords: sustainability conservation

As interest grows in soil health and its potential to optimize farming, the Soil Health Partnership has developed a new tool to immerse the inquisitive. Partnering with StoryUP, the nonprofit ag group has produced a “virtual reality” video that will allow viewers to visit a farm enrolled in SHP and experience a Virtual Field Day.   "One of our most powerful assets is our enrolled farmers sharing their stories and knowledge with others," said NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability, Nick Goeser. "This video format allows viewers to transport themselves to a farm and learn from the farmer as if they are standing right there with him at a field day. We are all about innovation, and that spirit extends to our communications program."   Virtual reality is 360-degree, 3D video or computer-generated environments viewed with special goggles where the user can see in all directions.   After giving some attendees of the Soil Health Summit a preview in January, the SHP...

(Posted Wed. Feb 21st, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to Senator Cruz’s remarks during the Philadelphia refinery (PES) town hall.   “While most refiners are reporting double-digit profit increases, Philadelphia Energy Solutions has filed for bankruptcy protection because its investors put their interests ahead of their workers’ interests. It’s disingenuous for Senator Cruz to claim he’s looking out for refinery workers, when he’s really looking out for Wall Street investors who made bad business decisions yet ensured they got their payout first, putting refinery jobs at risk.   “Senator Cruz is right about one thing – this is not about pitting corn farmers and refinery workers against each other. Corn farmers see refinery owners and investors failing to take responsibility for their poor business decisions. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) works for consumers, union workers, farmers and our...

NCGA Welcomes Back Palmer as Director of Renewable Fuels

(Posted Wed. Feb 21st, 2018)

After nearly a 15-year hiatus, Mark Palmer rejoined the National Corn Growers Association as the new Director of Renewable Fuels.  Palmer, who previously worked for NCGA in the Washington, DC office, returns to the St. Louis headquarters where he will be responsible for managing the renewable fuels portfolio and the Ethanol Action Team.   "We are thrilled to have Mark back with us at NCGA. Mark is an extremely talented individual who has worked on ethanol issues from many sides.  He is so excited to again be working on behalf of growers and state organizations to further develop a thriving renewable fuels industry," NCGA’s Vice President of Market Development Amie Gianino said.   Palmer hails from Quincy, Ill., but did a 20-year stint in Washington DC and worked most recently at Renewable Fuels Nebraska. Prior to his position with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, he served as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Assistant Democratic Leader, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.   Palmer also...

(Posted Wed. Feb 21st, 2018)

For the second year, Commodity Classic has selected Feeding America as its charity partner, providing farmers with an opportunity to help Set the Table™ for a hunger-free America.  Commodity Classic, the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, will be held February 27-March 1 in Anaheim, Calif.  Attendees as well as agricultural advocates across the nation are encouraged to donate to Feeding America during the event.   Feeding America works with U.S. food banks to distribute food to more than 60,000 food pantries. Secure donations can be made by visiting CommodityClassic.com and clicking on the Feeding America logo on the home page.  Donations can also be made through the free 2018 Commodity Classic mobile app, which can be downloaded using iTunes or GooglePlay app stores.   Donations will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Central/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, March 1.  You don’t have to attend Commodity Classic to contribute to the Feeding America...

(Posted Tue. Feb 20th, 2018)

There are only a few days left to pre-register for the 2018 Commodity Classic held Feb. 27-March 1 in Anaheim, Calif.   The deadline for pre-registration is Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.     Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show.  The 2018 event will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center.    Both full registrations and one-day registrations are available during pre-registration.  Walk-in registrations for one day or all three days will also be available on-site in Anaheim.   The trade show featuring more than 360 exhibitors commanding nearly 2,000 booth spaces is open all three days.  A wide range of educational sessions is offered throughout the three-day event covering topics such as soil health, fertility, marketing, farm policy, pollinators, cover crops and high-yield strategies.   Whether you spend one day or all three, the environment at Commodity Classic is educational, energizing and welcoming for all types of...

(Posted Fri. Feb 16th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

The following was first issued as a press release from the Renewable Fuels Association.   A new analysis from the University of Illinois shows that the conditions that caused high conventional biofuel (D6) RIN prices are changing rapidly and that “…it is not out of the realm of possibility for D6 RINs prices to fall back their pre-2013 level of just a few cents without making any changes to the RFS.”    The authors argue that high D6 RIN prices have been driven by the “gap” that exists between domestic ethanol consumption (estimated at 14.5 billion gallons in 2017) and the 15-billion-gallon statutory requirement for conventional renewable fuels. The size of that “gap” continues to shrink rapidly as E10, E15, and E85 blending has expanded. Thus, as that expansion continues at a rapid pace, the “gap” will be fully closed and RIN prices will fall dramatically. As the Renewable Fuels Association has pointed out, this is exactly how the RFS was intended to work. Establishing RVP...

(Posted Thu. Feb 15th, 2018)

Earlier this month, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) held their 2018 Cattle Industry Convention. NCBA set their policy priorities for the year, discussed trends in the industry and provided additional details on their updated "Beef. It's What's for Dinner." campaign.   NCBA launched the updated campaign in the fall of 2017. At the convention, NCBA presented research conducted on the rebranded campaign with consumer focus groups.    NCGA Corn Board Member Kevin Ross and Market Development Manager Sarah McKay attended the convention to continue building partnerships with the beef industry. "Beef producers are an important end user of corn," Ross said. "It takes approximately 3.46 pounds of corn and 1.42 pounds of DDGs for every pound of beef produced."   In addition to meetings with NCBA, NCGA also met with leaders of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB). This roundtable was formed in 2015 and efforts to date have focused on finalizing...

We are Ethanol Strong!

(Posted Thu. Feb 15th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

This week, the Renewable Fuels Association held their annual National Ethanol Conference with a focus on growing markets in the U.S. and abroad. RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen opened the conference with the State of the Industry address, focusing on everything the ethanol industry has done to be "Ethanol Strong."   "I am more confident than I have ever been that the U.S. ethanol industry, led by the visionaries in this room, is poised for continued growth and unprecedented success," Dinneen said. "That is not just because the industry is strong today and getting stronger. It is because this industry knows what it takes to succeed, and remains resolute in the face of setback, determined in the face of adversity, and committed to the farmers who grow our feedstock, consumers who use our fuel, and a nation that rewards innovation. I am inspired by your strength. You are Ethanol Strong."   "The RFS has been a tremendous success," Dinneen added. "It does not need to be...

(Posted Wed. Feb 14th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

Agriculture leaders came together last week to discuss why biofuels are so important to the industry. At Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference, NCGA past President and Chairman Chip Bowling was part of a panel to discuss the current state of the farm economy and how biofuels can help.   "If the renewable fuels standard stays intact, we will get higher blends of ethanol in the fuel system and that creates higher demand for our corn,” Bowling said. “We also see exports of ethanol as a major way to grind corn immediately. We need to keep pressure on lawmakers in Washington D.C. to strengthen and preserve the RFS. That is the best way to increase profitability for corn farmers!”   Joining Bowling on stage were Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation; Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union; Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation; and panel moderator Jeff Broin, chairman and CEO of POET.   The...

NCGA Announces Dr. Goeser Promoted to Vice President of Production and Sustainability

(Posted Tue. Feb 13th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association proudly announces that Dr. Nick Goeser, currently NCGA’s Director of Soil Health, has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Production and Sustainability.   “While we had a number of outstanding candidates for this position, it is always nice to find the ideal candidate is already on the job working for you,” said NCGA CEO Chris Novak. “We are excited to see how he will grow our sustainability efforts and, given his proven record of excellence, confident that he will shape our organization to benefit farmers both in the near and long term.”   Since joining NCGA in April of 2014, Goeser has done an outstanding job developing and building NCGA’s Soil Health Partnership.  His leadership in working with farmers in the Soil Health Partnership, his engagement with state corn organizations on environmental programming, and his outreach to a wide range of stakeholders—including other ag organizations, food manufacturers and retailers,...

(Posted Tue. Feb 13th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

Ron Alverson, a farmer, founding member of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, and board member of Dakota Ethanol LLC, is the recipient of the RFA 2018 Industry Award.   The Industry Award is given annually to individuals that demonstrate great dedication and innovation within the industry. Alverson was presented the award this morning during the 23nd Annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC).   For more than 40 years, Alverson has grown corn and soybeans near Chester, S.D. He is a founding member and past president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, helped establish the corn checkoff program to create new markets and uses for corn and helped pass South Dakota’s first ethanol productive incentive. Alverson founded Dakota Ethanol LLC, which operates a 48 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Wentworth, S.D., and is a past chairman of the American Coalition for Ethanol.   Alverson has also been working to educate policymakers and industry partners about the...

(Posted Mon. Feb 12th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The White House today released its detailed proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The budget proposal includes the following:   Cutting the federal crop insurance program by $22.4 billion over the 2019-2028 period Targeting program subsidies to those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income of $500,000 or less for a savings of $3 billion over the 2019-2028 period Reducing underwriting subsidies to participating insurance companies by placing a cap on underwriting gains at 12 percent or $3 billion over the 2019-2028 period   The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:   “The time and place to debate farm bill programs is during the farm bill reauthorization, not the annual budget process. The farm bill represents a 5-year commitment to America’s farmers and ranchers, which Congress made in 2014, and is preparing to reauthorize again this year. We are counting on Congress to honor that commitment, and reject cuts that would be harmful...

(Posted Mon. Feb 12th, 2018)

Keywords: Transportation

The National Corn Growers Association thanked President Trump following the announcement detailing his plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure and making it a national priority today. Noting the particular importance of improving rural infrastructure, and pledging $50 billion dollars to do so, this announcement clearly shows the value the Administration places on rural communities, and NCGA looks forward to working with them in their efforts to achieve this important goal.   While NCGA is pleased in the investment in rural infrastructure, plans outlined to address water transportation systems cause some concern in their current state.   Water transportation systems like the Upper Mississippi River corridor are critical corridors of commerce for many industries including agriculture and the nation’s farmers. We are currently depending on a dilapidated system of locks and dams that is more than half a century old, and on borrowed time.   Nearly three-quarters of U.S. grain...

(Posted Mon. Feb 12th, 2018)

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Action Teams met last week to review programs, budgets and policies associated with the association’s work and explore topics critical to the future of the corn industry. While there, the teams met with representatives from across the value chain to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including how goals set out in NCGA’s strategic plan can be achieved, the teams used their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “Over my years working with both NCGA and the states, I have come to truly appreciate the magnitude of the many issues facing farmers today,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes, a farmer from North Dakota. “By providing our Action Teams with specialization in major areas of opportunity and taking the time to analyze the issues in a critical, thorough manner, these...

(Posted Fri. Feb 9th, 2018)

Santana. Lynyrd Skynrd. Journey. Boston. Steppenwolf. The Evening of Entertainment at the 2018 Commodity Classic will be rocking with classic rock hits, performed by the artists that first made them famous as World Classic Rockers take the stage.    The Evening of Entertainment at the 2018 Commodity Classic on Thursday, March 1 puts the cherry on top of America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show. Commodity Classic will be held Feb. 27-March 1, in Anaheim, Calif.  Thursday night’s Evening of Entertainment is sponsored by Monsanto.   World Classic Rockers combines the talents of several of the most prominent musicians, singers and songwriters whose work represented a number of smash, chart-topping hits from the some of the most legendary bands in the world. Celebrating their 20th Anniversary together in 2017, they have created their own legacy of high energy, fan-friendly, live performances that feature hit-after-recognizable hit. They continue to make...

(Posted Thu. Feb 8th, 2018)

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to Wednesday’s debate on the Senate Floor.   “The Senate Agriculture Committee approved Bill Northey’s nomination unanimously, and the full Senate could have approved his nomination today. Farmers need Bill Northey on the job at USDA, and Senator Cruz’s hold is harmful to farmers.    "Senator Cruz claims he wants a “win-win” that benefits corn farmers. Corn farmers’ definition of a “win-win” is providing regulatory parity for E15 and higher blends of ethanol, which would increase the supply of RINs to lower RIN values, and improving transparency in the trading system. The only plan Senator Cruz has is to block the confirmation of a well-qualified and much-needed leader at the Department of Agriculture in order to undercut the successful and beneficial Renewable Fuel Standard.    "Whether it’s EPA, financial analysts or university experts,...

(Posted Thu. Feb 8th, 2018)

Increased export projections and decreased stock estimates caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to raise projected prices according to reports released today. Export forecasts for U.S. corn were raised due to lowered corn production projections for Argentina and Ukraine based on weather and official government reports respectively.   "Despite increases to price forecasts, America’s farmers have clearly supplied an abundance of affordable, sustainable corn," said National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes, a farmer from North Dakota. "The resource farmers provide is already essential and holds further potential. Public policies and farmer-led programs are critical to ensure corn is fully utilized and that America’s farm families can return to a more favorable economic condition.   “From supporting export markets through important trade agreements, such as NAFTA, to growing demand for ethanol at home and abroad, the National Corn Growers Association continues...

(Posted Tue. Feb 6th, 2018)

Keywords: Research

Being immersed in the latest ideas and technology related to machinery, crop inputs and agronomic practices is expected at the annual Commodity Classic, February 27-March 1, 2018 in Anaheim, Calif. But this year’s attendees are in for a treat as they get a sneak peek at the best emerging ideas in new uses for corn.   Attendees have an open invitation to see the announcement of the winning research and product concepts surfaced via the National Corn Growers Association’s inaugural Consider Corn Challenge. The Challenge is a global competition to identify new and innovative uses for field corn as a renewable feedstock in the production of sustainable chemicals with significant market demand.   This year’s six winning projects will be announced and previewed in room 210 ABC of the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday, February 28, from 1:45 – 2:45 p.m. Each winner will receive a US$25,000 cash prize.  NCGA will also explore additional opportunities to support contest entries...

(Posted Mon. Feb 5th, 2018)

Conversations in the hallways and over lunch are an integral part of the educational experience at Commodity Classic as farmers share their knowledge, passion and insight with their colleagues from across the nation.   The 2018 Commodity Classic will be held February 27-March 1 in Anaheim, Calif.  Attendees can register for all three days or register for one day only.    Attendee surveys indicate that networking with other farmers is a highly rated experience at Commodity Classic.  “Commodity Classic attracts thousands of America’s best farmers from across the nation—and they all share a passion for agriculture and a thirst for knowledge,” said Gerry Hayden, a Kentucky farmer and co-chair of the 2018 Commodity Classic.  “We share with each other how we can make our farms more profitable; and, if I can tweak anything that comes from Texas or North Dakota to make my farm even better, that really adds to the value of attending Commodity Classic.”   Paul Taylor, an Illinois farmer...

(Posted Mon. Feb 5th, 2018)

A group of veteran farmer leaders from across the country met in Washington this week to take part in the NCGA Policy and Media Training program co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. This program, which replaces Advanced Leadership, offers high-level training for a select group of Leadership At Its Best alumni. During the program, participants received an insider’s view of how lobbyists work on Capitol Hill and talked through some tough issues facing the association and American agriculture.   “The program provides an impactful way to sharpen the skills gained through Leadership At Its Best in a short time,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes, himself a graduate of the program. “These farmers have stepped up as leaders, volunteering their time and talent on behalf of corn farmers and the entire agricultural community. They are passionate about farming. We aim to give them the knowledge and tools to harness that passion and effectively drive positive...

NCGA Past President Inducted into State’s Ag Hall of Fame

(Posted Fri. Feb 2nd, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association congratulated past president Chip Bowling and his family who were inducted into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame last night. Gov. Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder presented the award at the “Taste of Maryland” dinner hosted by the Maryland Agriculture Council. Bowling and his wife, Lynn, accepted the honor on behalf of the family, which is the 49th recipient of the prestigious honor.   Founded in 1991, Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame pays tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to the state's leading industry and have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the communities in which they live and work. Recipients are chosen for their high standards of conduct; personal values; contributions to their community; and performance, leadership, innovation and achievement in agriculture. The winner was chosen by a Governor’s Selection Committee.   The Bowling Family of Charles County has lived and farmed...

(Posted Thu. Feb 1st, 2018)

Corn farmers from across the country traveled to Washington this week to take part in the second phase of the annual leadership development programs co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. While in town, the group visited numerous Congressional leaders and got an inside look at parliamentary procedure and how lobbying works on Capitol Hill.   “For more than a quarter century, Leadership At Its Best has been a fundamental tool for helping corn growers become leaders at the state and national level,” said Kevin Skunes, NCGA’s current president and a LAIB graduate himself. “Farmer leaders see firsthand how decisions made in our nation’s capital impact us all back on our farms through the Washington portion of this program. Having an impactful, compelling voice here directly benefits NCGA and all its farmer members.”   The Leadership At Its Best class received briefings from NCGA staffers on the issues facing America’s farmers in the coming year followed...

(Posted Thu. Feb 1st, 2018)

Attendees at the 2018 Commodity Classic February 27-March 1, in Anaheim, California will have the opportunity to hear from a wide range of well-known speakers on the Main Stage, presented by Commodity Classic and Successful Farming®.  The Main Stage is located right on the trade show floor and offers a robust schedule of educational programs, demonstrations and panel discussions.   The Tuesday line-up on the Main Stage includes:    Al Kluis, editor of Successful Farming®, on the future of commodity prices in 2018 Ag PhD’s Hefty brothers discussing soybean weed control A panel featuring high-yield farmers discussing their agronomic practices A panel of agribusiness executives discussing their views on agricultural technology and the reliance on high-speed broadband access   Wednesday’s Main Stage programming includes:    A Learning Center regarding the benefits of data-driven agriculture in terms of sustainability, productivity and profitability Ag PhD’s Hefty...