NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2017

Bowling Reflects on Leadership Experience, Calls Fellow Farmers to Service

(Posted Fri. Sep 29th, 2017)

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 2017 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA Chairman Chip Bowling will complete his term, passing the role of chairman to current NCGA President Wesley Spurlock.   The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with Bowling, 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.    To listen to the full interview, please click here.   Reflecting upon his time on the Corn Board, Bowling explained that he is proud of maintaining the tradition of organizational excellence and credits the many leaders at both the state and national level for this achievement.   “I am proud both of the lobbying that we do in...

(Posted Wed. Sep 27th, 2017)

Keywords: WOTUS

The National Corn Growers Association today asked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to rescind the 2015 “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule and write a new rule that provides farmers with clarity and certainty, reduces red tape, and does not discourage farming practices that improve water quality.   “Corn farmers take very seriously the important role we play in helping the country meet its water quality goals, as laid out in state and federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act. We depend on clean water for our livelihood, and we are committed to conservation practices that protect our nation’s streams and rivers,” NCGA President Wesley Spurlock wrote in comments submitted today to the Agencies.   Spurlock called the 2015 rule inconsistent with the aims of the Clean Water Act, and noted that the rule also “has the perverse effect of making it harder for farmers to practice good soil and water conservation, nutrient management, and water quality protection...

(Posted Mon. Sep 25th, 2017)

Keywords: Research

In a continuing effort to discover new uses for corn, NCGA is proud to announce an investment with QMaxx Products Group to develop a bio-renewable gun oil for use in both the civilian market and potential military applications.   “The National Corn Growers Association recently completed negotiations with QMaxx to provide financial support for military specifications testing of their bio-renewable based cleaning, lubricating, and protecting (CLP) gun oil,” said Larry Hoffmann, Chairman of NCGA’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “With our support QMaxx will submit a formulation derived from corn sweeteners to the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).”   The QMaxx formulation is designed to meet the high-performance standards required by our military.  In addition, it will meet federal bio-renewable standards and reduce soldiers’ exposure to some harmful components.    Hoffmann, a former U.S. Army officer, said “It’s exciting to think CLP, a...

(Posted Fri. Sep 22nd, 2017)

NCGA Action Team and Committees Announced for FY 2018   The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve their industry as members of the action teams and committees in the next fiscal year, which begins Sunday, October 1. These volunteer farmers will actively shape the future of their industry by guiding programs and carrying out the policies and priorities that drive NCGA.   “While the year ahead will offer many challenges and opportunities, I am certain that the teams and committees we have assembled will be both capable and wise in their leadership,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock, a corn farmer from Texas. “The men and women who volunteer to lead will provide excellent insight that will guide us into a bright future for agriculture. Again, we received an incredible slate of candidates and strongly urge all interested to continue serving their state organizations and look to serve NCGA in the...

(Posted Wed. Sep 20th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade Policy

The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction today of the CREAATE Act, a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products.   The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.   MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue—$309 billion since 1977.   “MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of NCGA.   “These programs deliver a strong...

(Posted Tue. Sep 19th, 2017)

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 Mon. Sep 18th, 2017)

A fewer number of corn acres have reached the dented or mature stage than the five-year average according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 86 percent of total corn acres dented by September 17 and mature acres at only 34 percent, corn progress trails the five-year average by four and 13 percentage points respectively.   The number of corn acres harvested also has fallen behind the five- year average given maturity delays, currently trailing by four percentage points. Additionally, 61 percent of all corn acres in the top 18 corn-planted states in 2017 remained in good or excellent condition, 13 percentage points lower than last year at this time.   To view the full report released today, click here.

(Posted Fri. Sep 15th, 2017)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its seventh 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.   Early this week, Field Notes caught up with Jim Raben who farms in southern Illinois. As a changing weather forecast loomed on the horizon, he provided insight into how harvest has gone thus far on his farm and for his neighbors.   “There is quite a bit of harvesting going on in my area already, but most people aren’t moving very quickly” he explained. “I think many farmers are waiting for the corn to dry down further in the field.   “Early season moisture did make an impact. We had problems early on with standing water, which dropped the yields. Then, we have had dry spells ever since...

(Posted Fri. Sep 15th, 2017)

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, the National Corn Growers Association Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest will provide enough fodder for a novel telling the story of American agriculture.   Photographers can help tell that story of farming field corn in America through this fourth annual contest by capturing high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest and the families that grow it. Interested photographers wishing to help tell that story will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2017.   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, including a $500 grand prize. 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, Little Farmers and one for the most popular as determined by Facebook “likes.”   For more information...

(Posted Thu. Sep 14th, 2017)

With harvest beginning across the country, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that online harvest forms for the 2017 National Corn Yield Contest are available online for those who entered the contest. While the harvest information form deadline may seem distant, entrants are asked to report within two weeks of their final yield check or by Nov. 17, whichever comes first.   “While harvest is only just kicking off for many, it is important to keep contest rules regarding harvest form submissions in mind. We ask contest applicants to submit harvest forms within two weeks of their final yield check to allow NCGA staff adequate time to thoroughly review each form,” said Stewardship Action Team Chair Brent Hostetler. “The National Corn Yield Contest plays a significant role in recognizing excellence and finding new, more productive techniques. We hope that growers continue to support the contest by seeing their entry through and submitting their completed harvest...

(Posted Wed. Sep 13th, 2017)

This week, visitors coming to National Geographic’s website will see the story of corn’s sustainability in the spotlight through a series of four articles about real U.S. corn farmers. Prominently displayed on National Geographic’s homepage, these articles help tell the story of how farmers grow corn sustainably for use in more sustainable products that, ultimately, create a better future for families both on and off the farm.   The series of articles, which launched in August with publication of new articles on a weekly basis was made possible through the work of the National Corn Growers Association and its state affiliates as part of a project aiming to share the story of corn’s sustainability with consumers. The four stories, which feature Minnesota farmer Bryan Biegler, Ohio farmer Patty Mann, Illinois farmer Paul Taylor and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross, are reaching audiences through numerous channels including National Geographic’s social media channels and its travel-oriented...

(Posted Tue. Sep 12th, 2017)

If you are a scientist, entrepreneur, or inventor, the clock is ticking to enter the Consider Corn Challenge. The National Corn Growers Association wants your ideas by 5:00 PM US EDT, Thursday, September 28, 2017 on how to create a new generation of sustainable chemicals from field corn.   NCGA, along with innovation facilitator NineSigma, launched a global open innovation competition in June, 2017 to identify new and innovative uses for field corn as a renewable feedstock for making chemicals. So, if you have a good idea, why not be rewarded for sharing your inspiration.   “Corn is already used in thousands of products because of its availability, versatility and low cost. But we are growing larger crops each year,” said Larry Hoffmann, a farmer from Wheatland, North Dakota and chairman of NCGA’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “Corn is a great national resource and NCGA believes there is significant untapped potential for corn in the emerging bio...

(Posted Tue. Sep 12th, 2017)

U.S. corn production could total 14.18 billion bushels in 2017/18 if forecasts reported in U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today are realized. With projected ending stocks higher and feed and residual demand increases offset by decreased demand from the ethanol sector, the season average corn price projections sit ten cents lower than only a month prior, with prices for the crop sitting between $2.80 and $3.60 per bushel.   “The farm economy continues to struggle, and that’s why it’s so important that we encourage and grow corn markets wherever possible,” said Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Stratford, Texas. “From growing our export markets through trade agreements to supporting the ethanol and livestock industries, whether it be by protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard in Washington or building demand for higher blends around the country, NCGA continues working tirelessly on behalf of America’s farmers to...

(Posted Mon. Sep 11th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade

Trade teams from South Korea have met face-to-face with U.S. farmers and grain suppliers in eight states in the last three months - all part of work by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to secure and expand U.S. exports to the third largest market for U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).    The four teams represented the diverse sectors with which the Council works, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, on developing markets in South Korea, including government officials, industrial corn buyers, feed grain importers and bioethanol advisory teams. The breadth and depth of representation on these teams reflect the importance of the South Korean market as well as the dedication by the Council and our member organizations to further develop the long-standing relationship and future growth opportunities with this large market.    “South Korea is a mature market, but one that is still growing significantly,” said Cary Sifferath,...

(Posted Fri. Sep 8th, 2017)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its seventh 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 Chad Wetzel, who farms outside of Dallas in Texas. Despite unseasonably wet weather, Wetzel’s harvest progress has been slowed but his farm has escaped the damage farmers further south have seen.   “We are approximately 75 percent of the way through corn harvest,” he explained. “We saw about 20 inches of rain here in August, which is unheard of in northeast Texas. It has been a bit wet and the corn has stayed wet, so that has slowed harvest progress. But, we are finally in some dry weather now and making some good headway.”   While progress has fallen a bit...

(Posted Fri. Sep 8th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation are now accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2018-19 school year. While these scholarships are open to any NCGA members and their children or legal guardians, all submissions must be postmarked on or before December 1, 2017 for consideration.   "Building the leaders of tomorrow is essential to NCGA’s work to build a productive, sustainable and profitable corn industry," said Paul Taylor, chair of the Engaging Members Committee. "Our partnership with BASF helps ease the financial pressures these students face in pursuing their degree and, in doing so, helps ensure the brightest minds remain engaged in agriculture."   Applicants for the NCGA William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program must be entering at least their second undergraduate year or any year of graduate...

Hamburg Joins NCGA Washington Office

(Posted Thu. Sep 7th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association recently welcomed Connor Hamburg as manager of public policy and regulatory affairs. Hamburg brings more than four years of Capitol Hill, public policy and political campaign experience. In this position, he will manage a diverse issue portfolio with an emphasis on regulatory affairs and emerging issues, including precision agriculture and technology, labor and immigration, and rural broadband.   Hamburg joined NCGA on August 31. He has held several positions on Capitol Hill, most recently as legislative assistant to Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois). He has also previously worked for Representatives John Carney (D-Delaware) and Steve Israel (D-New York), and as an intern in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden.   “We are excited to welcome Connor to NCGA’s public policy team,” said NCGA Executive Vice President Jon Doggett. “With experience on Capitol Hill and the Administration, and a long family history in production...

Missouri Farms Join Soil Health Partnership, Embracing Next Frontier in Agriculture

(Posted Wed. Sep 6th, 2017)

Keywords: Conservation

Six Missouri farms have joined the Soil Health Partnership, a move that could hasten the adoption of agricultural practices linked to optimizing crop production and sustainability alike in the Show-Me State.    Often called the next frontier in agriculture, research shows the benefits of nurturing soil health include improved crop yield, enhanced water quality, increased drought resilience, better flood resistance, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. Key practices to improve soil health include reduced tillage, the use of cover crops in winter, and advanced nutrient management.   “The missing link has been data that show these practices can provide a significant economic benefit on real, working farms, in addition to positive environmental outcomes, “said Darrick Steen, director of environmental programs for the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. Both organizations support the program and helped bring it to the state. “The SHP is...

(Posted Tue. Sep 5th, 2017)

The National Corn Growers Association today congratulated Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on his nomination to Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   “Bill Northey is a longtime friend of NCGA and a passionate advocate for farmers. We congratulate him on this well-deserved appointment, and we urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. “His roots in production agriculture run deep. He will give farmers and ranchers a senior-level voice on important issues such as risk management and conservation programs, especially as we craft the next farm bill.”   Northey is a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans near Spirit Lake, Iowa. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in a variety of agricultural groups, including serving as President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association from 1991-92 and President and Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association from...

(Posted Fri. Sep 1st, 2017)

This week, the National Corn Growers Association continued its seventh 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 Kyle Kirby, who farms in Missouri. As he has begun corn harvest, Kirby has seen yields that may be a bit above normal for his farm. In addition to harvesting corn for grain, he has also harvested corn for silage.   “It is very unusual that we are chopping silage while we are picking corn,” he explained. “Usually, our corn for grain is earlier varieties but, this year, we had some corn that had to be replanted and is later to mature. So, we find ourselves picking grain corn and chopping silage simultaneously.”   Going into further detail, Kirby notes that the...