NEWS STORIES

JUNE 2018

It’s National Pollinator Week; Take a Bee to Lunch

(Posted Mon. Jun 18th, 2018)

Keywords: conservation

  No seriously, if you care about pollinators like honey bees and Monarch Butterflies a great way to help them prosper, and help our food production system in the process, is to plant things they like to eat or use for habitat. As owners and managers of large amounts of land, farmers are stepping up to do their part.   More than a decade ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.   Today kicks off the official 2018 Pollinator week which has been designated as June 18-24, and farmers interests in helping pollinators continue to grow. It’s estimated that pollinators provide us with one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our...

(Posted Mon. Jun 18th, 2018)

Keywords: trade

If you have been following the roller coaster ride that is trade policy these days and are trying to decide how you feel about it, remember two things: Most of our customers live outside the U.S. and it’s impossible to find historic examples of tariffs or related trade wars that accomplished the intended goal.   NCGA Executive Vice President Jon Doggett told 50 corn farmer leaders attending a Trade School in St. Louis it is critical farmers engage in the ongoing trade issues and while they do, they should reference their history books. A good example of failed trade policy is President Carter’s Russian grain embargo in the 1980’s. The embargo removed them as a customer and ultimately caused Russia to increase their own grain production.   One positive development in the current trade arena is tariffs and ongoing trade rhetoric have raised the profile of trade as a key issue farmers care about. Maintaining and growing exports of U.S. agricultural goods has migrated to the top of...

(Posted Fri. Jun 15th, 2018)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its eighth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   This week, Field Notes spoke with Iowa farmer April Hemmes, who resides in the north-central region of the state. Discussing the crop condition, she explains that this is the most variable year that she has ever seen in her area.   “There are problem spots showing up. I have one field that has yellow streaks in it. I have had four professionals, including one Ph.D., come out to look at it, and they all scratched their heads. They gave me four different reasons,” Hemmes said. “A lot of the problem has to do with the wet spring. When we were able, we tried to rush into the field too early in...

Agriculture Associations Appeal to Congress: We Need #TradeNotTariffs

(Posted Thu. Jun 14th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

After weeks of engaging with the Trump Administration to gain insight into the future of trade tariffs, agriculture producers and related industries dependent on exports to China are turning to Congress for help.   The White House has declared that by June 15 it would announce its final list of $50 billion in Chinese products that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. In response, China’s Commerce Department announced several months ago that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on 106 U.S. goods amounting to roughly $50 billion in imports.   In the announcement, China specifically stated that it will impose a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans, a tax that could be devastating to growers of the number one U.S. agricultural export, with sales to China last year totaling $14 billion.   Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower and vice president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), is among growers distraught over the...

Midwest Farmers to Pruitt: It’s Time to Take Action

(Posted Thu. Jun 14th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol public policy

(Photo courtesy of the American Coalition for Ethanol)   This week, farmers across the Midwest made their voices heard and shared their frustrations with EPA Administer Scott Pruitt for not moving forward with the president’s request to make higher blends of ethanol, like E15, available year-round and for granting RFS waivers to refineries at the expense of farmers.    Pruitt made his way through farm country, making stops in Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska.    “Corn growers came out in force this week to reinforce the importance of allowing higher blends of ethanol in the marketplace and shine a spotlight on EPA’s actions that are destroying demand for corn,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “We have to continue to beat-the-drum and be vocal about these issues. Farmers have been very clear – It’s time for Administrator Pruitt to uphold the president’s statements on granting E15 year-round and time to stop granting waivers to refiners.”   Pruitt started his visit in...

(Posted Tue. Jun 12th, 2018)

Lowered supply projections and increased yield forecasts may bump the price farmers receive for a bushel of corn upward by ten cents according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. Given the shift was, in large part, due to strong exports, the information reinforces the incredible economic importance of U.S. trade policies that allow for further demand growth.   This report indicated no change to projected production since the month prior. If realized, the yield, projected to 174 bushels per acre, would be the third-highest yield on record.   Beginning stocks projections were lowered to reflect a 75-million-bushel increase in 2017/2018 projected exports to 2.3 billion bushels. If realized, this would be the highest export level since 2007/2008. Notably, April exports hit a record high, surpassing November 1989 which was the best prior month to that point. May exports are expected to remain strong given export inspection data.   The report also indicates...

(Posted Fri. Jun 8th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

Monday, June 11, at 9 p.m. central time, the Renewable Fuels Association custom motorcycle will be unveiled on Discovery Channel’s American Chopper. RFA teamed up with Paul Junior Designs on the project. The custom bike runs on ethanol.   “We are looking forward to the episode airing and can’t wait for the public to see the bike,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “We hope corn farmers will tune in and follow along on social media using the #fuelyourknowledge hashtag.”   The “Fuel Your Knowledge” campaign was launched by RFA to educate consumers about the proper use of ethanol-blended fuels in motorcycles and other small engines.   E10 is endorsed for use by all motorcycle manufacturers. Ethanol blends of gasoline provide consumers with a lower-cost, high performance fuel. It’s homegrown and burns cleaner and cooler than gasoline.   For more information on RFA’s partnership with American Chopper, click here.   To learn more about the Fuel Your...

Student Research Efforts Recognized at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

(Posted Thu. Jun 7th, 2018)

Keywords: new uses

A graduate student from Iowa State University took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2018 Poster contest held in St. Louis, Mo. this week. Joseph P. Polin, from Iowa State University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for his work on improving the process economics of making bio-renewable fuels and chemicals from corn stover.   “Encouraging young researchers to consider a career in agriculture is a major focus for the National Corn Growers and their State Partners. Those recognized in the poster contest show our efforts are paying off and they provide another reason for optimism,” said Dennis Maple, chair of CUTC and the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “I think all of the conference attendees were very impressed with the quality of research and...

Share Your Corn Pics for Chance to Win

(Posted Thu. Jun 7th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association invites photographers, both amateur and professional, to help share our story of farming field corn in America through the fifth 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. Interested participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2018.   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. 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, one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes” and, new this year, True Grit.   The new True Grit category was borne out of the Farm Family Lifestyle category. This new category focuses on the people getting work done with...

NCGA Commends Efforts to Protect the RFS

(Posted Wed. Jun 6th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol public policy

Following White House postponement of potential damaging changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes thanked those who stood up for America’s corn farmers.   “The nation’s corn growers thank Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for their advocacy and steadfast support for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels. We greatly appreciate their efforts,” Skunes said. “With the expectation that the Administration was preparing to take drastic actions to unravel the RFS, farmers are very pleased those actions have been set aside and strongly encourage the Administration to keep the President’s commitment to America’s farmers and leave the RFS intact.”

Science Community Recognizing the Need to Enter a National Public Relations Dialogue

(Posted Wed. Jun 6th, 2018)

Keywords: new uses

When a group of scientists, academics, and processing engineers get together for a technical conference to discuss the latest in corn uses and corn processing you don’t expect a big discussion on communications and public relations to break out.  But that’s exactly what happened during the opening session of the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in St. Louis.   It seems the growing communication challenge between the public and farmers is also being felt in the scientific and technical communities.  Those attending CUTC’s general session concurred that there is a compelling need to develop techniques and messages that help bridge between how consumers “feel” and what they need to “know.”   Since 1987, CUTC has brought together leading innovators in the corn industry. The biennial conference provides a venue that allows scientific exchange and engaging discussions for researchers, farmers and other industry leaders.   “CUTC provides a great opportunity for...

Fuels Institute Case Competition: Winners Include Higher Ethanol Blends in Long-Term Strategy

(Posted Tue. Jun 5th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association acted as the signature sponsor in this year’s Fuels Institute University Case Competition. Students from universities across the nation submitted abstracts addressing this challenge: “Through the lens of a fuel retailer, establish a timeline of the evolution of the light-duty vehicle fueling infrastructure in the United States through 2040.” The case competition gave students a unique opportunity to consider all fueling strategies to maintain economic viability — including corn-based ethanol — while also addressing current policy, energy trends, emerging technology, and other factors.   The winner of this year’s competition was the team from Johns Hopkins University. The team was made up of Yuanlei Chen, Siwei Ye, Xiaoxue Hou and Shuang Yu. Their abstract was titled "How Gas Stations Will Cope with Future Transportation and Fuels Market.” Their business case employed strategies to remain adaptable to market drivers, including leveraging the...

NCGA Welcomes Debby Wicks to St. Louis Office

(Posted Mon. Jun 4th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Debby Wicks to the St. Louis, Mo. office as Assistant to the Vice President, Marketing and Operations. In her position, Debby will support the Marketing and Operations Department, including the functions of grassroots, leadership, meetings, membership, state checkoff and industry relations, and more. Debby will also serve as administrative assistant to the Engaging Members Committee.   “We’re excited to have Debby join the team,” said Fred Stemme, NCGA Vice President of Marketing and Operations. “She brings strong experience and great talent to NCGA, having served in similar roles with other high-profile organizations.”   Debby comes to NCGA from HighTower Advisors, a private wealth management firm, where she served as executive assistant and office manager. Over the course of her career, she has held similar roles with Archer Wealth Management, the American Board of Orthodontics, HOK Architects, Caesars Entertainment, Dun &...

NCGA Announces Wojcicki Promotion to Senior Communications Manager

(Posted Mon. Jun 4th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to announce that Cathryn Wojcicki has been promoted to the position of Senior Communications Manager.   “Cathryn has demonstrated her skills and ability to manage high-impact programs for some time now, and we’re pleased to announce her well-deserved promotion,” said NCGA Vice President of Communications Mary Hagan.   Since joining NCGA in September 2009, Wojcicki has served in an ever-increasing capacity. In addition to managing our editorial calendar, she serves as lead staff for the Consumer Engagement Action Team, and as second staff on the Commodity Classic Joint Venture Committee.  In addition, she leads NCGA’s participation in the CommonGround program. Her work on CommonGround, the World of Corn and NCGA’s annual report has brought the association several recent awards.

Farm and Biofuel Coalition Demands that EPA Account for Lost Volumes Due to Secretive, Retroactive Small Refinery Exemptions
Coalition Petitions EPA to Revise the Way It Calculates Annual Renewable Fuel Obligations; EPA Is Failing to Comply with Statutory Mandate

(Posted Mon. Jun 4th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

Today a coalition of biofuel and agriculture groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change its regulations to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations recently granted by EPA. The parties on the petition are the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy (Growth), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and National Farmers Union (NFU).    This petition comes days after several ethanol and farm groups challenged three specific small refinery exemptions granted by EPA. While the lawsuit in the Tenth Circuit challenged those exemptions as wrongly decided, this petition to EPA seeks a broader, forward-looking remedy to account for the collective lost volumes caused by the unprecedented number of retroactive...

(Posted Fri. Jun 1st, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association yesterday, along with groups representing major agricultural commodities, called on President Trump to continue pursuing trade negotiations with China to resolve trade obstacles while avoiding tariffs.   In a letter to President Trump, the groups wrote, “We look forward to establishing normal commercial relations with China based on predictability, transparency, and market openness. There is no doubt that your administration has the attention of China and that you should seize this opportunity to achieve long-term benefits for U.S. farmers, while preventing China from moving the goalposts once again or imposing tariffs that result in more, rather than fewer, barriers to U.S. agricultural exports.”   The groups also cited Chinese mistreatment of U.S. agriculture products, including being outright blocked, receiving limited access or facing import bans despite production-enhancing technologies that are demonstrably safe.   To read the full...

(Posted Fri. Jun 1st, 2018)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association kicked off its eighth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   This week, Field Notes caught up with Andy Jobman, who grows both white and yellow food-grade corn in southwestern Nebraska. Also, an independent crop consultant, he has finished up planting on his farm and reports the farmers with whom he works have as well.   “Planting was a little bit difficult in our area this year. Winter took its time leaving, and we had several really late snow storms, including a blizzard in April,” he explained. “We had very few days to get field work done in April and prepare the fields for planting and apply fertilizers.   “Many of us were running well into the...

NCGA Calls for Year-Round E15

(Posted Fri. Jun 1st, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol

Consumers across the country will lose access to the option of E15 today, just as families plan to hit the road on summer vacation and gas prices are on the rise. Despite President Trump’s repeated commitment to year-round E15, an outdated regulatory barrier still limits the ability of fuel retailers to offer ethanol blends greater than 10 percent in most of the country from June 1 to September 15.   The National Corn Growers Association is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to expeditiously take steps to remove this barrier and allow for year-round sales of ethanol blends greater than 10 percent, such as E15.   “E15 is typically more affordable at the pump and is better for the environment,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “There is no good reason to limit access to E15 in the summer, which is an especially busy time for families making more stops to refuel.”   Federal law and regulations limit the amount of evaporative emissions from vehicle fuel, which is...