NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2018

(Posted Fri. Sep 28th, 2018)

As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board prepares to seat new members and officers on October 1. When the 2018 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA President Kevin Skunes will move into the role of chairman, passing the role of president to current NCGA First Vice President Lynn Chrisp.   The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with Skunes, who paused from his work harvesting to share his thoughts. During the conversation, he discussed his perspective on his years in leadership, provided his insight into the future and explored how members can work together to make NCGA an even more effective advocate for farmers.     Reflecting upon his time as president, Skunes explained that he found the work rewarding and sees three main areas in which NCGA has focused on accomplishing important things for farmers.   “Some of the things that we have been working on are very important to the corn industry. We have our ethanol markets, trade...

(Posted Fri. Sep 28th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve as members of the organization’s action teams and committees for the next fiscal year, which begins Monday, October 1. As representatives of their 300,000 fellow American family corn farmers, these volunteers will guide NCGA programs to meet the organization’s short-term strategic goals in order to ultimately fulfill NCGA’s noble vision for U.S. corn: to sustainably feed and fuel a growing world.   “While the year ahead will offer many challenges and opportunities, I am certain that the teams and committees of family corn farmers we have assembled will be both capable and wise in their leadership,” said NCGA FY 2019 President Lynn Chrisp, a corn farmer from Nebraska. “The men and women who volunteer to lead will provide excellent insight that will guide us into a bright future for corn farmers and all of humankind. NCGA received applications from over 150 highly-qualified...

(Posted Thu. Sep 27th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes made the following statement on the announcement that the United States and Japan would begin formal trade negotiations.   “Japan is a top export market for U.S. corn and, for many years, U.S. corn farmers have valued this long-standing partnership. Since withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NCGA has urged the administration to re-engage Japan in negotiating a trade agreement. The announcement that talks will begin is welcome news to American corn farmers.”

(Posted Thu. Sep 27th, 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.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Jim Raben, who farms in southern Illinois. With harvest progress temporarily paused due to rain, he is grateful that at least flooding hasn’t impacted his farm as it has for many of those closer to the river.   “Any time you have rains in the fall, it delays the harvest,” said Raben. “We can work around a little rain but, yesterday, we got seven inches in some places. Prior to that, we had two inches of rain. So, we are very wet right now.   “We will probably go back to harvesting corn before we go back to harvesting beans.”   To listen to the full...

(Posted Wed. Sep 26th, 2018)

Michigan farmer and NCGA Ethanol Action team member Russell Braun testified on behalf of NCGA at a public hearing in Dearborn, Mich., September 25 to review the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule. This proposed regulation would set standards for vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Important for farmers, regulators also requested comments on the benefits and role of high-octane fuels when it comes to meeting vehicle standards.   Corn farmers have a vested interest in the future of transportation fuels, and NCGA wants to ensure automakers have the tools and technology to meet future emissions and efficiency standards, both cost-effectively and safely for drivers.  One of these tools is high-octane fuel, such as a mid-level ethanol blend.   Braun’s testimony urged regulators to consider fuels and vehicles as a system of high-octane fuel used with optimized engines.  While ethanol may not be the only source of fuel octane, it is the lowest cost - and lowest carbon -...

(Posted Tue. Sep 25th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade

President Trump on Monday signed the new United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). The National Corn Growers Association has advocated for continuing our trading relationship with Korea and appreciates President Trump and President Moon reaffirming the two countries’ important partnership. Korea is the third largest export market for U.S. corn farmers, and KORUS has been instrumental in solidifying this important market. Farmers voiced their support for KORUS loud and clear, and NCGA is pleased the agreement has been updated. The new KORUS also paves the way for U.S. trade negotiators to work on opening new export markets for agriculture.

NCGA Calls on Congress to Pass Farm Bill Before Heading Home

(Posted Mon. Sep 24th, 2018)

Keywords: farm policy

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today, called on leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to put partisan differences aside and find common ground on a farm bill that can be signed into law before the current bill expires September 30.   In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., NCGA President Kevin Skunes said a new farm bill would provide certainty to farmers during increasingly uncertain times for agriculture.   “Members of Congress have just a few days to come together and reach agreement on a bipartisan farm bill. There is no good reason this task can’t be completed,” Skunes said. “Farm income forecasts remain low and farmers have been negatively impacted by trade tariffs and retaliation. A new farm bill would go a long way in providing some certainty during...

(Posted Fri. Sep 21st, 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.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Lowell Neitzel, who farms near Lawrence, Kansas. With this year’s harvest already well underway, he characterizes the crop condition as “brutal,” with stalk brittleness necessitating extreme care in harvesting.   “We have about 650 acres of corn left to harvest, and we should be finished up some time next week,” said Neitzel. “Local elevators, given the decreased production projections that they have had due to the weather this summer, aren’t having storage issues as they have in the past few years.”   Despite early expectations of uniformly low yields due...

NCGA Statement on EPA RFS Website Updates

(Posted Thu. Sep 20th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol RFS

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) updated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) transparency website that will provide information on granted small refinery waivers and data on Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices.   “We appreciate the step EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has taken to update the RFS data website to bring some initial transparency to refinery exemptions.  This information is a good place to start.    “However, there are a lot of questions left unanswered. We will still not know EPA’s justification for granting a refinery waiver and, without a change in how EPA accounts for those exempted gallons, those waived gallons will still be lost from RFS obligations.  It’s helpful to know when the harm is being done, but EPA needs to go a step further and take steps to mitigate the damage.    “We...

(Posted Thu. Sep 20th, 2018)

Keywords: Ethanol

In a recent letter  to EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Biofuels Caucus provided comment on the Agency’s 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) proposal. Echoing comments from NCGA and other ethanol advocates, the Caucus members emphasized the growth potential for ethanol and advanced biofuels while also cautioning the EPA against further undermining the RFS through secret waivers for refineries.   “Corn farmers thank members of the bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus for advocating for a continued strong RFS, greater transparency from EPA and reallocation of waived gallons to keep RFS volumes whole,” said NCGA president Kevin Skunes. “We appreciate the Caucus’ efforts to promote the benefits of renewable fuels and stand up for farmers and rural communities.”   As the Caucus points out in the letter, the RFS volumes EPA sets this fall will be undermined if EPA continues issuing refinery exemptions.   “We urge the EPA to put an end...

(Posted Wed. Sep 19th, 2018)

With harvest already underway in many parts of the country, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that National Corn Yield Contest entrants must report within two weeks of their final yield check or by Nov. 16, whichever comes first.   The online harvest entry is available to both farmers and seed representatives using the same login process as the initial entry. Login does require submission of the entrant’s NCGA membership number.   To complete, entrants will upload weigh tickets and yield calculations worksheet that details the number of rows harvested and length of each pass. Prior to upload, both documents must be signed by the contest supervisor. A tutorial video is available online.   Two new rules will be implemented in 2018. First, a recheck of 1.2500 acres or more using the same harvest pattern in the rows next to the completed harvest plot is required if the first check yields 300.000 bushels per acre or higher. Secondly, all yields of 325.0000...

Caskey to Join NCGA as Vice President of Communications

(Posted Tue. Sep 18th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today announced that Neil Caskey has been selected to serve as NCGA Vice President of Communications, beginning Monday, October 15. Caskey will build upon the organization’s ongoing communications efforts to create and increase opportunities for corn growers.   “For more than 20 years, Neil has helped global agribusinesses, nonprofits, and government agencies connect with their audiences,” said NCGA CEO Jon Doggett. “We are looking forward to having his vast experience in building brands, along with his creativity and energy at NCGA.”   Caskey currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused agency in St. Louis. Prior to joining O+B, he held the titles of Special Assistant to the CEO and Director of Industry and Public Relations for the American Soybean Association.   Early in his career, Caskey managed a portfolio of policy issues for Ameren, a local public power company. He began his career...

Fields to Lead NCGA Market Development Department

(Posted Mon. Sep 17th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association is excited to announce that Nathan Fields, the current NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Crop Inputs, has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Market Development. Fields joined NCGA in 2004 as Manager of Research, working initially on research and development for new uses for corn. In the intervening years, he has led the organization’s work on many issues including biotechnology, crop inputs, trade and economic analysis.   “Nathan has excelled both in his work and in leading his fellow employees over his tenure and, with this new role, we are confident that he will excel in bringing his history of success to the critical work of market development,” said NCGA CEO Jon Doggett.   During his tenure, Fields has been serving NCGA and its state-affiliated organizations on many issues of critical importance to the bottom line of corn farmers nationwide. From helping to defend key crop protection chemicals to working diligently on...

NCGA Names Jon Doggett CEO

(Posted Fri. Sep 14th, 2018)

Today, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board has named Jon Doggett as the organization’s new chief executive officer. Doggett is the fifth CEO in the organization’s 61-year history. The change is effective immediately.   Doggett has served in the capacity of NCGA interim CEO since August 1st and as NCGA executive vice president since late 2014. Prior to that, he served as vice president of public policy, and has continuously managed the organization’s 11-person Washington, DC office and led its public policy efforts since joining NCGA in July of 2002.   “The Corn Board is thrilled to have Jon Doggett at the helm to lead the charge for Corn Growers and guide the organization forward,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “We have a lot of serious issues impacting America’s corn farmers and rural communities right now. As such, Jon’s experience and leadership in the broader American agricultural industry, as well as the epicenter of national and international...

NCGA to Drivers: Fuel Up with E15 Beginning Sunday

(Posted Fri. Sep 14th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol RVP

The National Corn Growers Association is urging drivers to fuel up with E15 as the fuel again becomes available Sunday following its limited summer availability. NCGA also renewed its call for President Trump to follow through on his commitment to allow for year-round sales of E15 and ethanol blends greater than 10 percent.   “Starting September 16, consumers will once again have the option to choose E15 at the pump,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “E15 typically costs 3 to 10 cents less than regular E10 gasoline and offers more environmental benefits, making it a common-sense choice for many drivers. When consumers benefit from choice, it makes no sense than an outdated regulation prevents E15 from being sold in many areas for three and a half months of the year.”   “Just this week, USDA said it is anticipating near-record level corn production. Approving year-round E15 would go a long way toward growing the market for this year’s crop,” Skunes added.   NCGA recently...

(Posted Thu. Sep 13th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association kicked off its second year of a partnership with Farm Journal Foundation’s HungerU program during a training session for this year’s Ambassadors. The team, which is comprised of five young adults, will bring their unique perspectives and talents to the joint efforts this year with the support of the organization’s exceptional full-time staff.   During the training, Ambassadors explored NCGA’s mission and activities to foster consumer engagement in agricultural issues and support farmers’ freedom to operate. Delving into topics such as the importance of biotechnologies, crop inputs and innovative breeding techniques, the team expressed great interest in how modern farming practices and tools play a critical role in growing the crops that will feed and fuel a growing population.   HungerU, a program platform of the Farm Journal Foundation, is an educational and advocacy platform designed to engage universities’ student populations. A central...

Corn Price Projections Fall on Forecast of Near-Record Production

(Posted Wed. Sep 12th, 2018)

Keywords: production

The already record national average yield projections were raised even further this month to 181.3 bushels per acre from 178.4 the month prior which, if realized, would surpass the previous record by 4.7 bushels per acre according to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Given record yield projections, U.S. total corn production is now projected to reach 14.8 billion bushels for 2018/19, nearing the record of 15.1 billion bushels set in 2016. Given increased demand projections, corn price projections were lowered 10 cents at the midpoint to reflect the anticipated size of the supply.   Yield projections are also forecast to set records in many states including: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. The overall increase to projected yield, if realized, led to the 241 million bushel per acre increase to production estimates.    Feed and residual use and export demand projections were raised by...

Farm, Ethanol Groups Urge President Trump to Restore Integrity to RFS, Allow Year-Round E15 Sales

(Posted Wed. Sep 12th, 2018)

Keywords: ethanol policy

In a letter to President Trump today, the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and Renewable Fuels Association urged the administration to act immediately to restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and allow year-round sales of E15 and other mid-level ethanol blends. The groups also expressed concern that any benefit from year-round E15 sales and proper implementation of the RFS could be nullified if refiners are given further regulatory bailouts that undercut the spirit and intent of the law.   The letter follows comments made by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Aug. 29 that an announcement on the RFS and E15 would be coming soon. “With ethanol prices hitting a 13-year low and net farm income plummeting to half of the record $123 billion achieved in 2013, such an announcement could not come at a more critical juncture for...

(Posted Tue. Sep 11th, 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.   Today, Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, who farms in northern Iowa. Like many in her state, corn has just begun hitting the range in which it will be dry enough to harvest.   With her combine still in the shed, moisture checks of her fields have provided Hemmes with some initial insight into the condition of her corn crop this year.   “The corn conditions in my area are fairly good,” she said. “At some meetings last week, I heard concerns from producers in southern Iowa who were in an area that had experienced drought conditions. A big wind came there as well. So, they had fields...

(Posted Mon. Sep 10th, 2018)

The Animal Agriculture Alliance College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship program turns ten this year and provides college students an opportunity to become advocates for the industry while potentially winning money for college.   The National Corn Growers Association is a sponsor of the scholarship initiative. According to the Alliance, “last year, students reached 4.4 million people on social media and more than 16,000 people at club events.” The CAO competition can be done individually or as a club. Individuals are tasked with weekly challenges, focusing on creating social media content. The club portion of the competition includes hosting events aimed at having conversations with their peers about agriculture.   “Social media gives people from all backgrounds the opportunity to have a platform to talk about issues that are important to them,” says Feed, Food and Industrial Action Team Chair Bruce Peterson. “NCGA is excited to sponsor the College Aggies Online program which...

(Posted Fri. Sep 7th, 2018)

Keywords: Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association commended Reps. David Young, R-Iowa, and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., today on the introduction of the Restoring Our Commitment to Renewable Fuels Act to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. Their legislation specifically requires that, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants exemptions to small refineries, each exempted gallon be reallocated to other refineries and blenders. The bill also stipulates that small refinery exemption petitions be subject to public disclosure.   Although the RFS provides EPA with the tools to ensure exemptions are accounted for when setting RFS volumes, EPA is not using them. EPA has retroactively waived 2.25 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons and failed to reallocate those gallons to others, effectively reducing RFS requirements. This legislation specifically requires EPA to make up waived gallons and ensures EPA is no longer able to reduce the RFS through retroactive refinery waivers. It also...

(Posted Fri. Sep 7th, 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.   Today, Field Notes caught up with Jim Raben, who farms in southern Illinois. Having already brought in half of his corn acres, he has switched over to harvesting soybeans now.   Much as he anticipated, the corn crop appears to be far less bountiful than in recent years.   “It will be the weakest year that we have had since 2012,” Raben said. “I have heard other farmers comment about their crops similarly.   “There will be some good yields in the county. There will be some 200 bushel per acre corn in the county in spots, but there will also be spots with 49 bushel per acre corn. That will...

(Posted Thu. Sep 6th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country preparing to hit the fields in their combines, NCGA offers both a list of safety reminders and a video on the important topic of grain bin safety.   Safety Tips   1.  Road Safety   Reduce vehicle width as much as possible and ensure adequate warning lighting.   Use “Slow Moving Vehicle” signs on all slow-moving equipment.   2.   Equipment Safety   Be incredibly careful when approaching harvesting equipment.  Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.   Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.   Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.   Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.   Watch for trucks...

(Posted Thu. Sep 6th, 2018)

The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation announced today that it is now accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree during the 2019-20 school year.   For the first time, NCGA will accept applications from students pursuing degrees in all subject areas. Previously, only those pursuing those in agriculture-related fields were considered.   “The future of agriculture as an industry depends upon keeping our best and brightest interested, and the Engaging Members Committee decided to acknowledge the breadth of areas impacting agriculture by opening the scholarship to non-ag majors in recognition of that fact,” said John Linder, who chairs the committee. “All applicants will submit an explanation of how their future work will benefit agriculture. In doing so, we will foster those who will help our industry while inspiring young people to consider how their future impacts farmers in ways...

(Posted Wed. Sep 5th, 2018)

Keywords: Farm Policy

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on today’s public meeting of the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee.   “With the House and Senate back in session, it is encouraging to see farm bill conferees come together and work toward a new farm bill that can be signed into law by the end of the month.   “With declining farm incomes, trade uncertainty, and ethanol market disruptions, the corn industry is struggling amid continued uncertainty. Delivering a 2018 Farm Bill on time would be welcome news for rural America. NCGA looks forward to continuing our conversations with Conferees to reach this goal.”

(Posted Tue. Sep 4th, 2018)

As harvest has either begun or looms on the horizon, the National Corn Growers Association reminds photographers, both amateur and professional, they are invited 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...