NEWS STORIES

SUSTAINABILITY

(Posted Fri. Apr 20th, 2018)

Keywords: Sustainability

If the farming profession had a job description somewhere it would say good problem-solving skills and adaptable to change. New products, new technology, new policies, changing markets, changing weather and now on an even broader stage…climate change.   Nick Goeser, National Corn Growers Association’s vice president of production and sustainability, notes there is significant data indicating some key weather and climate factors have indeed changed in many corn growing states across the United States, and with the shift comes new challenges as well as real opportunities.   Identifying and assessing these challenges and opportunities and crafting appropriate next steps is the driving force behind the Climate Task Force formed by NCGA a year ago. The multidisciplinary group – made up of farmers and...

Soil Health Partnership Begins Search for New Director as Organization Continues to Grow

(Posted Mon. Mar 26th, 2018)

Keywords: sustainability

Goeser to remain engaged in new role with National Corn Growers Association   As the Soil Health Partnership heads into its fourth year of long-term data collection on working farms, some changes are afoot among the staff due to promotions, and several positions are open. An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the program’s goal is to quantify the benefits of soil health-promoting practices from an economic as well as environmental standpoint, showing farmers how healthy soil benefits their bottom line.   NCGA has promoted Nick Goeser, who has served as the project’s director since its launch in 2014, to the position of NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability.   Goeser said while the promotion offers a great new...

Soil Health Partnership Builds One of Largest U.S. Databases of Soil Health Sample Info from Working Farms

(Posted Mon. Mar 12th, 2018)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

The seeds of good data have been planted—and the Soil Health Partnership is eager to harvest early results.   The organization’s team is currently preparing for another round of robust soil sampling, a critical part of identifying, testing and measuring farm management practices that improve sustainability through soil health. An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the program’s goal is to quantify the benefits of these practices–like growing cover crops in the off-season and reducing tillage—from an economic standpoint, showing farmers how healthy soil benefits their bottom line.   “We have spent the first few years carefully constructing the infrastructure within our program to make sure that we have scientifically...

Kansas Farm Family Showcases New Sustainability Ethic on the Farm

(Posted Thu. Mar 1st, 2018)

Keywords: conservation sustainability

A Kansas farm family’s soil-friendly, progressive farming practices and contributions to sustainable crop production earned them national notoriety as they were presented with the National Corn Growers Association’s 2018 Good Steward Recognition. Randy and Nicole Small of Neodesha, Kansas received the Good Steward designation at the Commodity Classic convention and trade show in Anaheim, CA. The program and recognition funding is provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of their Harvesting the Potential campaign to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture. “NCGA is known for taking the lead on many issues in the policy arena that effect our members, but we also work constantly to promote positive change and improvements in...

(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...

(Posted Tue. Jan 23rd, 2018)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

Innovators. Educators. Communicators. Those are just some of the words used to describe the four recipients of the newly inaugurated “Seeds of Change Awards” at the 2018 Soil Health Partnership Summit, Jan. 18-19 in Chicago. These awards were developed to highlight those members of the Soil Health Partnership who go above and beyond to advocate for the partnership and for soil health throughout the year.     “The Soil Health Partnership could not exist without the willingness and enthusiasm of our partners—especially the farmers and agronomists on the front lines of our research,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership. “These four individuals exemplify the very best of our dedicated partners, and we look forward to honoring others as the research...

(Posted Thu. Sep 22nd, 2016)

Keywords: Soil Health Partnership; SHP Sustainability

Top 5 Things Farmers Need to Know About Roots and Tiles   As cover crop acres increase throughout the Midwest, some farmers have questions about possible unintended consequences. Last spring, a few growers in Central Indiana reported tile blockages due to roots (See article).   Some assumed that cover crop roots were the culprit. Yet cover crop acres have increased the past five years, and almost no issues were reported in prior years. Cover crops significantly help reduce soil erosion, keep nutrients from leaching, and increase soil organic matter.   Here are the top 5 things farmers should know about potential roots in tile drains, according to the Soil Health Partnership:   Weather can be a major factor. The warm fall of 2015 and mild winter of 2016, followed by the very warm March...

Project to develop model for large-scale greenhouse gas reduction incentives

(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability SHP Soil Health Partnership

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help spur a groundbreaking effort to optimize farm enterprise profitability, reduce Greenhouse Gases and improve agronomic productivity. The National Corn Growers Association received the grant to develop a system for scalable carbon accounting in agriculture, to be developed through its Soil Health Partnership initiative.   Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this year's Conservation Innovation Grant recipients on September 8. The competitive grant "stimulates the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural land."   Under the NCGA project, the SHP and other project partners will develop a "greenhouse gas insetting framework." The...

(Posted Tue. Aug 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

The National Corn Growers Association welcomed two regulators from the Ministry of Agriculture in China today for discussions on the need to better synchronize regulatory systems and the importance U.S. farmers place upon the availability of new technologies. The meeting was only one stop in a three-month long program designed by Dr. Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, director of the Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center at the University of Missouri – Columbia, through which the officials will delve into how the U.S. regulatory testing system functions.   In addition to NCGA, the team has already met with farmers, the U.S. Soybean Export Council and various private companies. Next, they will travel to Washington for discussions with the U.S. Department of...

(Posted Thu. Jul 14th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

With only days remaining, the deadline for the National Corn Growers Association’s Good Steward Recognition nominations is quickly approaching. State affiliates, as well as industry and organizational partners, are urged to submit qualified growers dedicated to production standards that deliver high sustainable yields with extraordinary conservation and environmental benefits.     “Practical solutions are what drive the adoption of best practices on the farm,” said Brent Hostetler, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “Discovering new methods for improving soil health, preserving water quality and improving the profitability of farming benefits all farmers. To highlight these important advances, we recognize individuals who excel at demonstrating leadership in...

(Posted Thu. Jun 30th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

This summer, Midwestern farmers interested in adopting innovative practices to improve the health of their soil can get their hands dirty at a series of field days. The  Soil Health Partnership will showcase how changing nutrient management and tillage strategies, along with cover crop adoption, can create lasting environmental and even economic benefits.   The organization plans about 35 field days beginning in June and running through September, with the majority concentrated in Iowa and Illinois. Events will also be scheduled in Indiana and other states.   “We ask a lot of our nation’s farmers:  To safely feed a growing world, grow more with less, and perform these tasks with continuous improvement,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership. “Time and...

(Posted Mon. Jun 20th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

June 20-27, 2016 is Pollinator Week.  The Honey Bee Health Coalition hopes to draw attention to the importance of honey bees to many agricultural crops and the increased stresses that have been reducing populations in overwintering bees over the last decade.   The National Corn Growers Association is one of nearly 40 organizations involved in the Honey Bee Health Coalition trying to achieve a healthy population of honey bees and other pollinators.   “Corn does not require pollination by honey bees, but NCGA recognizes the integral role they play in a productive agriculture system. We are committed to improving the health and viability of pollinators as part of our overall sustainability efforts,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president and Newburg, Maryland farmer. “We...

(Posted Wed. Jun 15th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

By NCGA Director of Soil Health and Sustainability Nick Goeser, Ph.D.   We just celebrated World Oceans Day which carries the two-year theme of “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” This is a reminder that we live together on one planet, with one global system that interacts across our society: Water, soil, air, plants and animals.    Farmers have a keen interest in understanding the diverse roles our oceans play and the links across this global system. In agriculture, the links between society, water soil, air, plants and animals are paramount and something that deserves to be top-of-mind every day.   Farmers wear many hats. They act as biologists, ecologists, soil scientists, agronomists, accountants, market analysts and more. As a result, farmers understand complex...

(Posted Tue. Jun 14th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability

Farmers, environmentalists and consumers alike have expressed a growing interest in sustainability and soil health recently. Yet, many wonder what precisely is being done to actively advance this important cause?   To answer that question, Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture released the paper Exploring Opportunities to Advance Soil Health: The Role of Commodity Crop Supply Chains in Maintaining and Improving the Health of Our Nation's Soil, which discusses the importance of soil health in the sustainability conversation and explores the current knowledge and status of testing and tools. Additionally, this paper provides information and guidance as to how Field to Market's Metrics and the Fieldprint© Calculator can be used to advance...

(Posted Fri. Oct 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: sustainability

The National Corn Growers Association took part in an important conversation on resistance management, at the Global Weed Symposium held in Paris, France. During the four-day meeting, which was hosted by Bayer CropScience and brought together leading academics, government officials, industry leaders and representation from grower-led associations, NCGA President Chip Bowling highlighted the growing weed resistance issues as personally witnessed on his Maryland farm as part of a panel discussion with researchers from the United States and Brazil.   Through discussions, it became clear that farmers face similar challenges across the globe in this area. With diverse participation inclusive of areas where biotechnology is and is not available, the participants found common...

(Posted Thu. Sep 17th, 2015)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

If engagement in field days this summer is any measure, farmer interest in protecting the well-being of their land through the use of cover crops and other practices is strong and growing.   The Soil Health Partnership wrapped up its summer field days promoting cropping systems that improve soil health. More than 20 events took place in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Nebraska. Farmers, conservation leaders, equipment companies and others demonstrated to attendees how changing conservation practices, such as adding cover crops, conservation tillage and improving nutrient use efficiency, can create lasting environmental benefits while potentially increasing farm productivity and income.   A field day in Lake Wilson, Minn., one of four events scheduled this week, had 55...

(Posted Mon. Jun 15th, 2015)

Keywords: Sustainability

The sustainability organization Field to Market experienced record-breaking attendance for its spring meeting last week. In addition to participating in discussions to help the White House learn more about U.S. agriculture’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, the National Corn Growers Association took part in Thursday’s General Session program.   Jim Burg, a fifth-generation corn farmer from Wessington Springs, S.D., joined a panel of farmers to talk about sustainable practices in production agriculture.   “Farmers have been investing in conservation for years,” said Burg. “We have fenced creeks, maintained wildlife habitat, utilized biotechnology to help us reduce herbicides and insecticides, employed precision tools to optimize production, and worked with crop consultants...

(Posted Wed. Jun 10th, 2015)

Keywords: Sustainability

The National Corn Growers Association joined more than a dozen organizations and companies at the White House today to emphasize how the agricultural supply chain works together to advance sustainability and discuss how the federal government can help support this work.   As part of the White House Ag Sustainability Roundtable, Dr. Nick Goeser highlighted NCGA’s active participation in Field to Market and NCGA's administration of the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) – programs designed to document and demonstrate the value of best management systems for conservation and sustainability, and ultimately reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. As part of this commitment, the Soil Health Partnership will expand its SHP Demonstration Farm Network from 40 to 100 farms by...

(Posted Mon. Mar 2nd, 2015)

Keywords: Sustainability

  The National Corn Growers Association named Mike Shuter from Frankton, Indiana, as this year’s honoree for the NCGA’s Good Steward Recognition Program during last week’s 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show. The award recognizes one U.S. farmer annually who is demonstrating leadership in sustainable corn production.   The program and award funding was provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of its Harvesting the Potential campaign to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture.   “When it comes to finding practical solutions to conserve and better natural resources on the farm, Mike Shuter has a mind you want to make sure you tap,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “His tireless enthusiasm for...

(Posted Thu. Nov 6th, 2014)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

The Soil Health Partnership holds its first Nebraska field day on Wednesday, November 12.  Corn farmer Greg Whitmore will host area growers, soil health experts and neighbors at the Central Valley Ag in Shelby, Nebraska.   The morning agenda includes an update of Nebraska Corn Growers Association research and programs pertaining to soil health. Participants will also hear from Dr. Nicholas Goeser, NCGA manager for Soil Health and Sustainability, on productivity, profitability and environmental outcomes related to soil health on your farm. Quentin Cooksley of Hagie Manufacturing Company will present on seeding technologies for cover crops, followed by Mike Zwingmen, Central Valley Ag’s Lead Analyst of Agronomy Research, speaking on their programming and research efforts in soil...

(Posted Wed. Sep 24th, 2014)

Keywords: Sustainability Conservation

National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Paul Taylor, a farmer from Esmond, Ill., participated in the inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. The meeting brought together partners of the alliance to discuss the organization of the alliance in its inception year and a program of work.   The meeting followed the official launch of the alliance on Tuesday at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit.   “With increasing public focus turning to the climate, farmers must take a seat at the table to ensure our interests and concerns on this topic are accurately represented,” said Taylor. “American corn farmers have a dynamic story of constant improvement to share. We have a long history of finding innovative ways to meet...

(Posted Fri. Aug 29th, 2014)

Keywords: Sustainability

Growers looking for insight in improving soil health are invited to the Soil Health Partnership’s first Demonstration Farm Field Day, to be held Wednesday, Sept. 10, near Lu Verne, Iowa.   Featured topics include cover crop integration in corn systems, the benefits of soil health and advanced nutrient management, and hands-on field demonstrations with new equipment for seeding cover crops.   The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with breakfast and lunch provided, and will be held regardless of weather conditions. The location is 1506 190th Ave., north of Lu Verne and southeast of Algona, Iowa.   The next field day events are scheduled for Sept. 15 and 16, in Forrest and Decatur, Illinois.   The mission of the Soil Health Partnership is to catalyze enhanced agricultural...

(Posted Tue. Dec 17th, 2013)

Keywords: Water Sustainability Regulations

Dec. 17: This week, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency convened a Scientific Advisory Board to conduct a peer review of the Water Body Connectivity Report draft released by that agency in September. The panel, which includes a broad variety of independent scientific experts, is assessing the scientific validity of that report, upon which the agency will base their rule defining Waters of the United States. This rule seeks to expand EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The review, which began on Monday, has thus far proceeded in a constructive yet inquisitive manner that the National Corn Growers Association hopes will lead to findings that positively impact the final rule.   “While the debate going on in Washington may seem academic and...

(Posted Fri. Dec 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Sustainability

Dec. 6:  The National Corn Growers Association announces the creation of the Good Steward Recognition Program to expand awareness of best practices in sustainable corn production. The focus of the program will be to demonstrate the economic and conservation value of soil management.   “Success stories abound in agriculture in the areas of precision application and timing of inputs, improved seeds and large advancements in tillage and other practices, “said Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair. “However, some of these successes remain untold, and this program will help deliver the message loud and clear. “   To increase attention to the sound science behind sustainable yield growth, NCGA wants to tell the story of an innovative grower who demonstrates that...

(Posted Thu. Aug 15th, 2013)

Keywords: Sustainability Field to Market

Aug. 15: The Field to Market alliance is preparing to release a water quality metric to its Fieldprint Calculator. This update includes the integration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Quality Index and can help growers better understand how their farming systems and practices affect the quality of water flowing off their fields.    “The time, landscape and community in which farmers grow their crops, along with their management decisions and skills regarding inputs and production practices, all play a part in the profitability of a farming operation,” said Keith Alverson, NCGA’s board representative to Field to Market. “No farmer wants to leave dollars on the field, and the water quality metric in the Fieldprint Calculator will help...

(Posted Thu. Jun 6th, 2013)

Keywords: Sustainability

Jun. 6:  During an event at the National Press Club yesterday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a series of agricultural adaptations to climate change. The secretary primarily focused on food supply and environmental challenges American agriculture will face in years to come. “Our food supply stands at the core of our strength as a nation,” Secretary Vilsack stated during the event. “The bottom line is that in the United States, we produce an amazing amount of food because we adapt to today's threats and prepare for tomorrow's threats. Today, we face a new challenge in the form of a changing and shifting climate.” The secretary continued by stating the latest science states the threat of a changing climate is new and different from anything American agriculture has tackled. Earlier this...

(Posted Thu. Jan 24th, 2013)

Keywords: Ethanol Sustainability

Jan. 24: Corn-based ethanol may offer significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than previously believed. This realization comes following the release of a recent study performed by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers showing that corn grown using no-till methods may sequester larger amounts of carbon more deeply than previously known. The study, which was published in BioEnergy Research, revealed that corn grown over a 10-year period using no-till practices sequesters carbon in the soil down to depths as far as 59 inches under the surface. Previous studies, which looked at depths of less than 11 inches or so, did not take into account carbon sequestration below tillage depths. In doing so, their findings missed more than 50 percent of the increase in...