NEWS STORIES

OCTOBER 2019

CommonGround Spotlights Ag’s Story with Food and Nutrition Experts

(Posted Thu. Oct 31st, 2019)

This week, CommonGround shared the story of American agriculture at the world’s largest meeting of food and nutrition experts at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Philadelphia. With 10,000 registered dietitian nutritionists, nutrition science researchers, policymakers and health-care providers in attendance, CommonGround volunteers attracted enthusiastic attention and engaged in meaningful dialogue that helped this influential audience delve further into how America’s farmers grow and raise the healthy foods they recommend.   “FNCE provides a great venue for us to connect with people who directly impact the food choices of countless others,” said CommonGround volunteer Paula Linthicum, who farms in Laytonsville, Maryland. “The audience is receptive and appreciates the work that we do to provide a direct link to farming.   “I spoke with a dietitian from Kentucky who was skeptical about GMOs when we began chatting who left noting that she needed to look at the...

NCGA to EPA: Good Intentions Don’t Provide Certainty

(Posted Wed. Oct 30th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Ethanol Action Team member Brian Thalmann today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the law and accurately account for expected refinery waivers in the 2020 RFS volume rule.   Thalmann testified at an EPA hearing to review the agency’s supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking.   “We’re in the thick of harvest and, quite frankly, I would rather be in the field. But the issue we’re discussing today is too important to corn farmers like me not to be here. I have a simple message - when it comes the Renewable Fuel Standard, we need EPA to follow the law. As farmers, we follow rules put in place by state and federal agencies, including the EPA. We are simply asking EPA to do the same for us,” Thalmann said.    Today’s hearing follows an October 4 announcement from President Trump directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the RFS whole by...

Commodity Classic Educational Sessions Focus on Clarity During Uncertain Times

(Posted Wed. Oct 30th, 2019)

Keywords: Commodity Classic

  As farmers look to improve their profitability in an unpredictable agricultural environment, the educational sessions at the 2020 Commodity Classic are designed to provide farmers with the clarity and insight they need to make better-informed decisions that can have a powerful impact on their bottom line.   The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas.  This year’s theme is “See Your Future Clearly.”   More than 40 educational sessions are on the schedule in San Antonio. They will cover a wide range of important topics including soil health, grain marketing, farm policy, farm succession planning, nutrient stewardship, weather trends, mental health, fertility programs, rural broadband access, on-road ag equipment regulations, ag technology, international trade, African Swine Fever and more.   “Every educational session is selected by the Commodity Classic Farmer Committee to ensure the content and the presenters...

Congressional Hearing: “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers”

(Posted Tue. Oct 29th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing today to discuss the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers. Since early 2018, EPA has granted 85 RFS exemptions to refineries, totaling 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. Refinery exemptions under the Trump Administration have totaled nearly six times more gallons than those under the previous Administration.   The hearing also included discussion on the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 (H.R. 3006), legislation supported by NCGA that would set a deadline for refineries to apply for RFS waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process.   The Subcommittee heard testimony from several witnesses, including Iowa farmer, NCGA Ethanol Action Team member, and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis.   “I’m taking time away from harvest...

Scholarship Programs Expanded: Apply Now!

(Posted Mon. Oct 28th, 2019)

To increase diversity and reach a broader applicant pool that more accurately reflects rural America, NCGA’s Engaging Members Committee created two new scholarship programs and increased the benefit of their long-standing William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program.   NCGA will award five $1,000 scholarships to students attending technical school and community college. Students can be enrolled in any degree or certification program. The committee realized that not every student wants or needs to attend a four-year university to be successful in their community.   The committee also decided that the graduate student program deserved its own category. Students pursuing an advanced degree or working on their doctorate degree should be compared against other similar candidates. The graduate student scholarship will provide a single student a $2,500 award plus the opportunity to attend NCGA’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in 2020.   The...

Argus Biofuels & Carbon Markets Summit Dives into the Future of Fuel and Transportation

(Posted Mon. Oct 28th, 2019)

Biofuels and Carbon Markets was the focus of a recent Argus Summit in California.  Now on its 7th year, the Summit brings together market-focused content and perspectives from government leaders and other stakeholders. Key industry participants, including the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), representing fuel markets, utilities, industrials, traders, brokers and offset developers gathered to network and discuss the impact of new regulations on the marketplace.     At the Summit, Richard Corey, Executive Director of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), kicked off the event where he delivered the keynote address and focused on a series of questions:   -What are the statuses of California’s LCFS and cap-and-trade programs? -What are the challenges ahead on the path to meeting 2030 emission reduction targets? -How might changes at the federal level impact California’s program? -What does the future of California’s transportation mix look like? -How is California...

(Posted Thu. Oct 24th, 2019)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding application exclusion zones (AEZ).   The EPA proposal would make two major changes for corn growers. Modifying the AEZ so it is only enforceable on a farmer’s property would replace the current regulation requiring farmers to ensure individuals are outside of the pesticide AEZ not only on their property, but off their property as well. The proposal would also exempt farm owners and their immediate family members from the requirement that they leave their home during certain pesticide applications.   NCGA will be participating in the rulemaking process to ensure the final rule works for corn growers and their farming operations.

NCGA Joins America’s Conservation Ag Movement

(Posted Wed. Oct 23rd, 2019)

Keywords: Sustainability Conservation

Driving sustainable farming practices is a priority of NCGA. That’s why it joined the America’s Conservation Ag Movement, a unique partnership between Farm Journal’s Trust in Food Initiative and leading agribusinesses, food companies and non-profit organizations. A national education and engagement program, it’s designed to more rapidly scale the adoption, documentation and beneficial outcomes of conservation agriculture. It will build upon the work of NCGA, USDA, land grants and others that have worked to improve the ecological impact of agriculture.

(Posted Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its ninth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Field Notes caught up with Jim Raben, who farms in southern Illinois, this week. Given planting conditions and the weather throughout the summer and fall, he had worried about yields. Now that the crop is largely in the bins, he found some surprising results.   “Even though we did have a lot of bad spots, the yields were better than we anticipated,” said Raben. “It probably isn’t anything great in our area. It is an average crop or, maybe, just a little below, but it is still better than what we had anticipated.   “The quality is probably equal to if not better than last year. The quality...

NCGA Urges Farmers to Practice Proper Grain Bin Safety This Harvest

(Posted Mon. Oct 21st, 2019)

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.   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 Fri. Oct 18th, 2019)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its ninth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.   Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, who farms in northern Iowa, today. While weather presents harvest challenges across much of the Corn Belt, she has finally gotten her combine into the fields.   “Harvest is finally coming along pretty well. Right now, I am actually sitting and unloading corn into my drying bin,” said Hemmes. “I just finished harvest soybeans, but they are wet everywhere. Some in my area are finding 14 to 15 percent moisture. So, soybean harvest is holding up corn harvest in those places.”   To listen to the full interview, including her thoughts on the importance of...

(Posted Fri. Oct 18th, 2019)

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from interested members for the 2021 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization’s leadership.  Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.    The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations.  Board members serve the organization in a variety of ways.  They represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokespeople for the NCGA and enhance the organization’s public standing on all organizational and policy issues.   Applications are due Friday, January 24. Nominated candidates will be introduced at the 2020 Corn...

Winterizing Your Lawn Equipment: It Doesn’t have to be a Spooky Process

(Posted Thu. Oct 17th, 2019)

The days are shorter, and it’s finally getting cooler outside, which means yard work is winding down across the country. That’s the signal that it is time to think about winterizing your lawnmower and other outdoor yard power equipment so you’re ready to go in the spring.   There are several online resources available with tips and tricks to get your equipment ready to store, but the best place to find specifics is in your owner’s manual.   Here are a few standard practices to keep in mind:   Drain Fuel: Completely drain the tank and fuel lines. Gasoline has a short shelf-life; old gasoline may not work in the engine and could possibly cause damage. Change the Oil and Filters: This keeps your engine clean by preventing the build-up of particles and foreign materials. Check Spark Plugs: Replacing spark plugs at the end of the season is a cheap way to keep your engine running smoothly. Clean and Inspect: Thoroughly remove any debris accumulation. Storage: Store in a clean,...

Corn Growers Search for Solutions to Aflatoxin Continues

(Posted Wed. Oct 16th, 2019)

Keywords: Research

NCGA continues to move forward with its long-term initiative to manage and ultimately solve aflatoxin issues for farmers with the announcement of a new round of research grants.   The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program will again offer grants to researchers for projects focused on solving aflatoxin issues for farmers. These grants, which will be awarded to researchers focusing on six priority areas, were designed by southern corn checkoff boards to bring a unified approach to funding research projects across the region and will thus favor research teams that include members from multiple states.   “The National Corn Growers Association, working with southern state grower associations including Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, developed AMCOE to bring a unified approach to aflatoxin research that will yield results in a timely and more efficient manner,” said NCGA Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team Chair Charles Ring, a...

EPA Plan to Address RFS Waivers Falls Short

(Posted Tue. Oct 15th, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol RFS waivers

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross today made the below statement following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking. The proposed rule follows an announcement from President Trump last week directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole.   “While corn farmers appreciate the EPA’s intent to follow Department of Energy recommendations on waivers going forward, the proposed rule fails to provide the assurance needed that EPA’s practices for granting waivers will change going forward. Farmers have long been skeptical of the EPA’s administration of the RFS. This proposal doesn’t provide farmers confidence in EPA’s ability to follow through and make this right. President Trump made a commitment to farmers and instructed the EPA to follow the law, but this proposal appears to come up short...

Researching the Next Generation of Biobased Materials

(Posted Thu. Oct 10th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

The Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) recently held a workshop on Leveraging First Generation Bioethanol Production Facilities. The National Corn Growers Association participated in the event, which was held in Ames, Iowa at the Ames Laboratory, a national laboratory operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Iowa State University.   The workshop focused on how to leverage existing infrastructure and available feedstocks to create biobased materials and chemicals. Suggestions and proposals from the workshop may be used to inform future DOE Bioenergy Technology Office funding announcements. NCGA’s Director of Market Development, Sarah McKay, presented a Rapid-Fire Talk during the workshop. McKay discussed NCGA’s priorities and approach for increasing corn demand and driving the bioeconomy.   “NCGA has a three-pillar approach toward increasing corn demand and driving the bio-economy,” said McKay. “This approach creates new opportunities, improves...

Corn Growers Making Significant Contribution to Bee Health Cause

(Posted Thu. Oct 10th, 2019)

Keywords: Production

  NCGA constantly works to ensure corn growers’ voices are represented in wide-ranging conversations on sustainability issues like the long-term health and viability of honeybees. Most recently, NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Crop Inputs, Nicole Hasheider, participated in the annual meeting of the Honeybee Health Coalition.   As an active member of the coalition for several years, NCGA ensures The Coalition includes representation across a spectrum of stakeholders, including grower groups like NCGA, commercial beekeepers, input providers, specialty crop growers and more.   Even though corn production does not require pollination from bees, NCGA still engages with groups like the Honeybee Health Coalition to create dialogue and foster a better understanding of the similarities and differences in crop production around the country. During the meeting, NCGA staff had the opportunity to lead a discussion on crop selection and grower decision making, which gave other...

Linder Looks Toward Building on Strengths in FY20

(Posted Wed. Oct 9th, 2019)

The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year on October 1 and seated the 2020 Corn Board with John Linder of Edison, Ohio assuming the position of first vice president.  Off the Cob spoke with him to delve into his views on what lies ahead for farmers in the upcoming years and his thoughts on the important role farmers play in NCGA as a grassroots organization.   Looking at the year ahead, Linder looks forward to working with the talented team already in place, in both the states and nationally, to maximize these human assets and tap into both the board and membership to maximize NCGA’s impact.   “It’s going to be a great year to explore the opportunity because that is what we are really out here looking for – opportunities for corn farmers,” said Linder. “I’m really looking forward to making the membership feel like they really have a place in our organization. With all of us together, we should be positioning for success.”   Over the coming years, he sees...

NCGA Urges Farmers to Harvest Safely this Fall

(Posted Tue. Oct 8th, 2019)

Keywords: Production

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...

NCGA Joins President Trump for U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Signing

(Posted Mon. Oct 7th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

NCGA President Kevin Ross today joined leaders of other farm and commodity groups at the White House to commemorate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The agreement secures the second-largest export market for corn farmers. Ross made the following statement.   “Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high-value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”

NCGA: Farmers Thank Trump Administration for Listening and Upholding the RFS

(Posted Fri. Oct 4th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol; RFS

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed an announcement from President Trump directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the letter of the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole.    The RFS and corn farmers have repeatedly come under attack from big oil and the EPA, including the most recent approval of 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, reducing corn demand for ethanol and increasing total waived biofuels demand to 4.04 billion gallons under the Trump Administration. Today’s announcement that EPA will reopen the rulemaking for the 2020 RFS volumes and propose to account for waivers in the volume requirements allows EPA to follow the law and restore integrity to the RFS.   “We’re very grateful the President listened to our concerns and is upholding his commitments to put the RFS back on track,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “Corn farmers weren’t shy in telling the President that the impact of these waivers would lead...

Photo Contest in Final Stretch with Harvest

(Posted Wed. Oct 2nd, 2019)

The 2019 photo contest of National Corn Growers Association, Fields-of-Corn.com continues collecting entries through the harvest season.   First ($300), Second ($200), and Third ($100) place prizes will be awarded for each of seven categories. Judges will select a single Grand Prize winner to be awarded $500 and the single, most popular photo with Facebook “likes” will also be awarded a $500 prize.   Stricter resolution requirements are in place this year, so photographers should use their equipment’s highest resolution settings, and allow extra time for uploads.   You can enter as often as you like at Fields-of-Corn. Pro tip: Once your entry is approved, go to Fields-of-Corn.com/vote to share for more Facebook likes. The “Likes” obtained on the post will automatically tally to your entry.   Open to all, entries will be accepted through Nov. 30 and will be available to accumulate Facebook “likes” through December. Winners will be announced in January of...

Ethanol Again Fuels Winners of Crappie Masters National Tournament

(Posted Wed. Oct 2nd, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol

For the fifth consecutive year, the winning team of the Crappie Masters National Championship powered their boat with clean, renewable ethanol. The 2019 season concluded last week with Robert Carlile and Craig Nichols coming out on top with a two-day weight of 31.97 pounds at Grenada Lake in Grenada, Mississippi.    The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) were co-title sponsors of the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail for the third consecutive year.   “We’ve had a dream season,” said Carlile. “When we are filling up our boat before coming to the tournaments, we never think twice about filling up with E10. We will continue to put ethanol in our boat.”    “We are proud to use E10 in our boat and be a part of the group of winning teams who use ethanol,” said Nichols. “Our engine runs great when using ethanol-blended fuel. We see the benefits of running ethanol in our engine first-hand.”   The team received a $2,000 bonus from the...

Ross Reflects on Leadership with an Eye on the Future Entering FY 2020

(Posted Tue. Oct 1st, 2019)

The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year today and seated the 2020 Corn Board with Kevin Ross of Minden, Iowa assuming the presidency.  Off the Cob spoke with the new president to explore his views on what lies ahead for corn farmers in 2020 and his goals for his term.   Looking at the year ahead, Ross is grateful for the chance to serve and to create opportunities to fully utilize the talents of his fellow grower leaders.   “I am looking forward to having the opportunity to facilitate the growth amongst our board and to lead the organization in which I have spent so much time,” said Ross. “It is such a privilege to be able to step into this role. In doing so, I hope to represent fellow neighbors and farmers across the country well.”   Over the year ahead, he sees many opportunities to build markets and impact change for farmers. A true believer in the power of grassroots action, he sees the power of NCGA coming directly from the farmers who join, act...