NEWS STORIES

MARCH 2019

NCGA Testifies in Support of Year-Round E15

(Posted Fri. Mar 29th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

National Corn Growers Association First Vice President and Minden, Iowa, farmer Kevin Ross spoke in support today of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to allow for year-round sales of E15 across the country.   “Farmers stand ready to work with the Administration to clear obstacles to higher blends of ethanol such as E15 and ensure a final rule works for the full ethanol and fuel supply chain,” Ross said. “To ensure E15 sales are not interrupted, NCGA urges EPA to complete this rulemaking by June 1.”   Ross’s comments came during a hearing held as part of the rulemaking that would remove outdated regulations requiring retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15, a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol approved for all vehicles 2001 and newer, during the summer months.   Year-round E15 is a no-cost means for farmers to grow demand. It also saves drivers between 3 and 10 cents per gallon and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.   During...

NCGA CEO at Equality Summit

(Posted Thu. Mar 28th, 2019)

NCGA CEO Jon Doggett this week attended the Bloomberg Equality Summit in New York. The full-day summit sought to “foster forward-looking conversations and spotlight successful business leaders who are paving the way.”   Doggett’s participation was part of NCGA’s commitment to creating a more inclusive and diverse organization.   “Being a part of the Equality Summit was a great opportunity to learn from successful leaders about their inclusivity strategies, and think about ways to implement them across NCGA,” Doggett said. “It was inspiring and thought-provoking to be a part of this important event.”   Doggett highlighted a quote from one of the panel sessions, “diversity and inclusion are not barriers to overcome but opportunities to be seized,” as an important takeaway from the event.   You can learn more about the Bloomberg Equality Summit online -

Good Weed! Bad Weed!

(Posted Thu. Mar 28th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservations Sustainability

If you’re a city dweller, you probably don’t think much about weeds except for the occasionally dandelion in your front yard. Gardeners often have a mixed opinion on weeds depending on the specific kind, and if you are a professional farmer, you likely see nothing redeeming about weeds.   While lambsquarter gives some farmers nightmares, others cultivate it in their gardens because they say it’s delicious.  As with most things time softens or even change opinions. Given that it is National Weed Appreciation Day, it seems a good time to explore the emerging school of thought that not all weeds are created equal. So, is it a good weed or a bad weed?   Some folks prefer to wax poetic and argue a weed is simply a plant growing out of place. Well, that’s largely hokum. They got their original classification as weeds because they have no redeeming value as far as food, nutrition or medicine are concerned. But there is a growing appreciation for the ecological contributions being...

NCGA Provides Comment on Farm Bill’s Trade Programs

(Posted Wed. Mar 27th, 2019)

Keywords: Farm policy Farm Bill

  NCGA President Lynn Chrisp today submitted comments on the 2018 Farm Bill’s Trade Title (Title III) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help advance the department’s implementation of the new bill. America’s corn farmers derive an estimated 33 percent of their incomes from the export of corn and corn products. Farmers’ ability to benefit from these exports is driven, in part, by the export promotion and market development programs administered by USDA.   NCGA encouraged USDA to consult closely with both Congress and agriculture stakeholders to ensure the positive changes to the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program are implemented as Congress intended. Increased investment for both MAP and FMD were top NCGA farm bill priorities.   MAP and FMD are used by cooperators like the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) who leverage these resources to develop overseas markets for corn.   You can read the complete comments

Diving into the Changing Nutrient Profile of Distillers Feed Products

(Posted Tue. Mar 26th, 2019)

Keywords: ethanol animal ag livestock

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held the first Distillers Feed Products Nutrition Roundtable, bringing together animal ag partners, animal nutrition experts and ethanol technology providers to discuss the changing number and nutrient profile of distillers feed products.   “Our goal is to start a meaningful dialogue across segments of the supply chain,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “This is just one of the many steps to better understanding how new corn fractionation technologies are being deployed in dry mills in the U.S.  These technologies create value by separating out the various components of corn to allow improved utilization of the subsequent product streams.  While this technology has a lot of potential for early adopters and could increase corn grind, it will require a change in how the value chain views and uses the products of ethanol plants.  Gathering stakeholder input and starting a dialog early should help the rollout of this...

China Purchases U.S. Corn

(Posted Mon. Mar 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service announced Friday an export sale of 300,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China.   “The corn purchase by China announced today in USDA’s export sales report is very welcome news for U.S. agriculture, and we see it as a positive sign for the U.S.-China relationship as intense negotiations continue. The outcome of these talks is crucial to U.S. grains and ethanol, and we appreciate continued engagement by our negotiators and their counterparts in China,” U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight said.   Sleight also discussed the purchases and ongoing trade negotiations with Agri-Pulse, telling the publication,  “This is very encouraging — that the negotiations have been going well and getting after some of the key issues that have been blocking trade with the U.S. and China on corn." 

Soil Health Partnership Announces Several Open Positions

(Posted Mon. Mar 25th, 2019)

Keywords: sustainability conservation

As the Soil Health Partnership heads into its fifth year of long-term data collection on working farms, the organization is hiring for several roles to support its expanding footprint. Open roles include Development Director, a Michigan Research Manager, Soil Health Kansas-Nebraska Field Manager, and Soil Health Minnesota Field Manager.   The Development Director plays a critical role in leading the relationships and partnership development for the SHP. The Development Director will provide internal support to the SHP Executive Director and work closely with the team of National Directors. This position will partner with the SHP National staff to build a comprehensive partnership and relationship plan to ensure long-term support of our unique on-farm science program. The position will also provide oversight of and contribution to communication efforts.   The Michigan Soil Health Research Manager will provide technical assistance and research collaboration for the Soil Health...

Devastating Flooding Strikes Farmers, Highlights Generosity of Ag Community

(Posted Fri. Mar 22nd, 2019)

News reports showing the devastating flooding in Nebraska show the incredible tragedy facing so many farmers this spring and compounding the impacts of an already weak agricultural economy. As farm families face these hardships, the National Corn Growers Association extends its deepest empathy and support.   This already devastating situation appears likely to hit even more of America’s farm families. Farmers have been impacted by record flooding in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins including Minnesota and Iowa, as well as Nebraska, already this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts an elevated risk for flooding through May. Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk of flooding, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states.   While these times of crisis place so many at risk, they also serve to highlight the incredible generosity and resiliency in rural America. With many states coordinating...

Chinese Leaders Visit NCGA St. Louis Office

(Posted Wed. Mar 20th, 2019)

Two business leaders from the People’s Republic of China visited the National Corn Growers Association’s St. Louis office yesterday to discuss the U.S. corn industry and NCGA’s role in working to create opportunities for corn farmers.   Robyn Allscheid, NCGA director of Research & Productivity, said the visitors were intrigued by NCGA’s focused mission of sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world in a way that is profitable for our nearly 40,000 dues-paying corn farmers nationwide as well as the 300,000 growers who contribute through corn checkoff programs.   Rong Zhang and Rui Li are touring America as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The program connects current and emerging leaders who travel to the U.S. for programs that reflect their professional interests and U.S. Foreign Policy Goals.   Zhang, manager Dalian Yigu Information Consulting Co., Ltd., and Li, an Associate...

Consider Pollinator Plantings as You Gear Up for Spring

(Posted Tue. Mar 19th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability

If you are a Monarch butterfly supporter buckle up because here’s some good news. The yearly count of the Eastern Monarch butterfly population that overwinters in Mexico was released recently, showing an increase of 144 percent over last year’s count.   After years of struggles with a host of challenges from bad weather to loss of habitat, the large butterfly count - the highest count since 2006 comes as welcome news. But not too fast, because Western Monarchs continue to struggle due to drought, wildfires, pesticides and loss of habitat.   Landowners and farmers are uniquely situated to support the Monarch and are already making a difference. Habitat plantings can fit into many niches on the agricultural landscape, including conservation lands, grazing lands, rights-of-way, field margins, field borders, pivot corners, conservation lands, ditches, buffers and other low-productive lands. Milkweed and other nectar-producing flowers planted in these areas yield multiple on-farm...

(Posted Mon. Mar 18th, 2019)

Keywords: Research

Corn researchers from around the world gathered in St. Louis last week for the annual Maize Genetics Conference. The conference covers a broad range of subject areas and allows attendees from academia, industry, and funding agencies to learn about the most current scientific and technical advances in the maize genetics community.   Program directors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation were also present to discuss the current priorities and budget levels for their research programs. This annual conference represents a unique opportunity to stress the importance of research in areas that have substantial promise in addressing the issues most important to corn farmers.   This year, many presentations and posters highlighted the importance of the Genomes to Fields research initiative, which has been financially supported through state and national corn grower organizations. This interdisciplinary program has created an invaluable network of...

CommonGround Invites Consumers to the Conversation in New Video

(Posted Fri. Mar 15th, 2019)

CommonGround launched a new video inviting mom with food questions to a conversation about farming and food. The short piece shows the many resources available to help cut through food conversation clutter and find peace of mind in their decisions.   Filmed at the St. Louis Science Center, the video showcases real families given the options of asking a CommonGround volunteer, a blogger, a dietitian, the internet or a friend their honest questions about food. Many of those who chose to participate were excited to learn that they could ask an actual farmer, one who shared their same desire to make the best food choices for their family, about issues ranging from the use of pesticides to the nutritional value of conventional versus organic options to how farmers treat livestock. Even those who expressed a desire to look at information online reacted positively to knowing they could find information shared by women in farming at www.findourcommonground.com.   To see the video...

(Posted Thu. Mar 14th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol policy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, National Ag Day, granted five additional Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) for the 2017 compliance year, waiving 366 million gallons of biofuels from RFS compliance.   EPA’s decision today brings the total waivers from 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations to 53, amounting to 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons.  In years prior to 2016, SREs totaled less than 300 million gallons per year.   This action continues to chip away at the RFS and corn demand, hurting America’s corn farmers. NCGA has called for EPA to account for these lost volumes and disclose which refineries receive these waivers and why the waivers are justified.   The five refineries receiving today’s exemptions produced approximately 3.4 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel in 2017, resulting in 366 million Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) being exempted.    Currently, EPA has two remaining refinery exemption petitions for...

CommonGround Volunteers Spotlight Farming at “Empower and Light” Conference

(Posted Wed. Mar 13th, 2019)

Farm women volunteers involved in the CommonGround outreach program, along with state and national staff met in Kansas City, Mo., to share their experiences with the program and welcome new members earlier this week.  Over the course of three days, the participants worked intensively to gain insight into consumer questions and hone the skills that they use to share their personal story and that of modern farming with urban and suburban moms.   In addition to social media training and panels focused on consumer questions, the volunteers hosted an event for women from the Kansas City area focused on food discussions. From entering through an exhibit designed to provoke thoughts on what sources they turn to for information to a closing panel discussion featuring volunteers, a local lifestyle blogger and a dietitian, the evening sparked conversations and built relationships to bridge the divide from the field to fork.    The conference offered the volunteers and staff a chance to...

NCGA Statement on E15 Proposed Rule

(Posted Tue. Mar 12th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol policy

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp made the below statement today following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of a proposed rule to allow for year-round sales of E15.   “Today’s proposed rule is great progress to getting the rulemaking completed by the start of the summer driving season, June 1. NCGA appreciates EPA’s efforts to meet this deadline, and we look forward to fully reviewing the content of the proposed rule. We will be providing comments to EPA and urging our membership to provide input during the comment process as well.   “Allowing year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol not only grows a domestic market for farmers, but E15 gives consumers more choice at the pump, a lower price option and greater environmental benefits from a cleaner fuel. It’s time to remove the barrier to all of these benefits.”  

Ag Tech & the Future of Farming

(Posted Mon. Mar 11th, 2019)

The National Corn Growers Association, along with the National Pork Board, co-sponsored a U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance panel on ag tech, advanced breeding techniques and the future of farming at this year’s South by Southwest, or SXSW. Held in Austin, Texas, SXSW is a collection of conferences and festivals that focus on the film, media, music and technology industries.   Our panel gave the full room of attendees a first-hand account of how modern agriculture is helping farmers provide more food with far fewer resources. Panelists include:   Megan Vollstedt, Executive Director, Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Darren Anderson, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder, Vive Crop Protection Randy Spronk, Minnesota Pig & Crop Farmer Alex Heine, Director of Customer Experience, Quantified Ag   Click here to watch a USFRA recording of the panel.

2019 Commodity Classic Sees Second Highest Farmer Attendance in History

(Posted Fri. Mar 8th, 2019)

Initial reports indicate total attendance at last week’s 2019 Commodity Classic in Orlando exceeded 9,100 including approximately 4,500 farmers. The farmer attendance figure ranks second highest in the 23-year history of Commodity Classic and total attendance ranks third. These numbers are still preliminary. Final attendance information will be available in 10 to 14 days.   “Farmers across the country are using new challenges in the industry as a launchpad for innovation, and that was clear this year at Commodity Classic, where interest in the educational sessions and new technologies was elevated to a new level,” said Wade Cowan, a Texas soybean farmer and co-chair of the 2019 Commodity Classic. “The energy and enthusiasm among farmers and agribusinesses alike made for some deep and engaging conversations and an overall very positive experience.”   “Commodity Classic is where farmers come to gain knowledge and insight—and this year’s educational line-up was focused on helping...

(Posted Fri. Mar 8th, 2019)

Keywords: production

The National Corn Growers Association released a video last week offering tips from perennial high-yield entrants of the National Corn Yield Contest during a breakfast at Commodity Classic in Orlando honoring the state winners of the 2018 contest. The new video, which accompanies the traditional online NCYC Guide, offers farmers across the country a chance to apply the tips learned through the contest to their own operations to improve their yields and their bottom line.   To view the video, click here.   “The contest affords an opportunity for farmers to test their skill against their peers while also providing NCGA with a significant amount of information about cutting-edge production practices that all farmers might find useful,” said NCGA Stewardship Action Team Chair Roger Zylstra. “NCGA always looks for new and innovative ways to use this data, sharing the lessons learned with corn farmers. The video provides a quick, simple way for interested farmers to discover new...

(Posted Thu. Mar 7th, 2019)

Keywords: new uses

Only days remain to submit a proposal for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Consider Corn Challenge II. A successful proposal will outline how the project will enable a new market for corn, have a clear path to commercial scale and use components of the corn kernel as a primary feedstock.   “Finding new and innovative uses for field corn in order to utilize 75 million bushels by 2020 is what we are striving to do,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “There is a lot of great research work going on right now in the industry, and we are hopeful that anyone who is developing bio-based materials from corn will enter the contest.”   Three to six winners will be selected for a total prize pool of U.S. $150,000. Submissions are due March 20, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST. This year’s winners will be announced at the BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Des Moines, Iowa on July 8, 2019.   For more information on the contest click here: 

Minnesota Farm Family Represents Generations of Stewardship

(Posted Wed. Mar 6th, 2019)

Keywords: Sustainability

A Minnesota farm family’s four generation conservation initiative garnered national attention at the Commodity Classic in Orlando, Fla. The National Corn Growers Association’s presented Rick Schlichting’s - Schlichting Farms of Rice, Minn. with its 2019 Good Steward Recognition.   “NCGA defines sustainability as the pursuit of constant improvement and the Schlichting family personifies this description,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president of Hastings, Neb. “Their progressive farming practices and contributions to healthier soils, cleaner water and sustainable crop production are nothing short of extraordinary.”   The program and recognition funding are provided by the NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture.   The Schlichtings farm 6,600 acres of cropland, and the operation reflects their commitment to the concept of regenerative agriculture. They employ cover corps, crop rotation, extreme nutrient...

(Posted Tue. Mar 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday sent a draft rule to allow for year-round sales of E15 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. This is the next step in the regulatory process and meeting expectations that this rulemaking be completed when the summer driving season begins June 1.     “NCGA is pleased to see the process move forward and will be providing input during this important phase,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “A timely rule is important for the summer driving season but it’s also important that the rule is done right.”   NCGA will be providing OMB with input to help ensure a strong, clear rule for E15. Following the review and interagency approval, EPA will issue a proposed rule for public comment.

(Posted Fri. Mar 1st, 2019)

Keywords: Trade policy

The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers today announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).   Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.   Members representing the four organizations will be advocating members of Congress to ratify USMCA this year while also urging the Administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement intact until the new agreement is ratified.   “Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable corn market; Mexico is corn’s number one buyer and Canada is one of our largest ethanol importers. We cannot afford to risk losing this market,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “USMCA is NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019, and we will be working closely with the Administration...