NEWS STORIES

SEPTEMBER 2019

(Posted Mon. Sep 30th, 2019)

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 beginning on January 1, 2020. These volunteer farmers will actively shape the future of their industry by guiding programs and carrying out the policies and priorities that drive NCGA.   Current FY 2019 teams, committees and members will remain in place until the beginning of the new calendar year.   Leadership for NCGA’s seven major teams in 2020 will be:   Ethanol Action Team: Mark Recker, chair; Kelly Nieuwenhuis, vice chair; Gary Porter, board liaison. Market Development Action Team: Dan Wesely, chair; Jed Bower, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison. Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team: Debbie Borg, chair; Lindsay Bowers, vice chair; Dennis Maple, board liaison. Production Technology Access Action Team: Chad Wetzel, chair; Kate Danner, vice chair; Brandon Hunnicutt, board liaison. Risk...

NCGA Brings Farmer’s Perspective to Women in Agribusiness

(Posted Mon. Sep 30th, 2019)

National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Deb Gangwish, who farms in Shelton, Nebraska, brought her experiences and insights as a farmer to a group of 850 industry professionals during the Women in Agribusiness Summit this morning. During a panel discussion, Gangwish, CommonGround Minnesota volunteer Katie Brenny and poultry producer Amy Syester shared their ideas, concerns and perspectives with the rest of the supply chain.   Moderated by Successful Farming Agronomy and Technology Editor Megan Vollstedt, the farmers delved into topics such as the adoption of technology, sustainability and the importance of markets. The discussion emphasized the importance of working as a team to make change possible and farming profitable.   Gangwish highlighted the need to focus on the many goals shared by all in the industry.   “I respect every farmer every acre no matter their production method,” she said. “There aren’t enough of us to focus on our differences or work against...

State Corn Grower Leaders to Trump: Uphold Commitment to Farmers and RFS

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2019)

State leaders of corn grower organizations in 23 states today sent a letter to President Trump, calling on him to follow the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. The letter to the President comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s most recent approval of 31 new RFS waivers to big oil companies. The 85 total waivers approved under the Trump Administration amount to 4.04 billion gallons, resulting in reduced corn demand due to lower ethanol blending and consumption and a rising number of ethanol producers slowing or idling production.   The state corn grower leaders urge the President to stop the harm caused by waivers and restore integrity to the RFS by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule.   Full text of the letter is below and available as a PDF here.   President Donald J. Trump The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500   Dear...

Cover Crops Offer a Jackpot of Benefits to the Environment and Your Bottom Line

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2019)

Keywords: SHP

  “In the farming community “cover crop” is a buzzword, and for a good reason. Adding a cover crop to your farm means you are extending the amount of time there is something growing in that soil and that adds many other benefits,” according to Lisa Kubik, a field manager with the Soil Health Partnership.   The obvious benefit is improved soil health, but what does that really mean? Improving soil health increases porosity, water holding capacity and builds the structure within the soil. With more pores within the soil, your crop’s roots are better able to proliferate and establish a good root system to support the plant throughout the entire growing season, she says in a new blog.   More pore spaces also mean that when the weather turns dry, the soil has a pore structure waiting to soak in the rainfall and store it until your crops are in need. With that water-absorbing better within the soil, this also reduces the chance for ponding or flooding within the field which could...

NCGA: U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Bright Spot for Agriculture

(Posted Wed. Sep 25th, 2019)

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the news of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will increase market access for American agriculture products in Japan. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement.   “Japan has been a strong trading partner and friend for American agriculture, now the second largest purchaser of U.S. corn. NCGA has long-advocated for an agreement with Japan and, with many farmers struggling amid challenging times in agriculture, this is very welcome news. While we await further details, it seems this phase one agreement will deliver for corn farmers and build upon our successful partnership with Japan.”

Trade and Biofuels Offer Solution for Weak Ag Economy

(Posted Wed. Sep 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade; Ethanol

Earlier this week, NCGA attended the Ag Outlook Forum in Kansas, City. Guests, including NCGA manager of Market Development, Michael Granché, traveled from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska to hear from esteemed speakers on the health of the U.S. agricultural economy, the trade war, and what potential challenges and opportunities lay ahead for the industry.   Speakers included; Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, and USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky, all of whom opened the floor to receive questions from the audience after their remarks. Guests also had the opportunity to engage in a roundtable discussion on Workforce Development led by Mark Stewart, CEO and President of Agriculture Future of America.   Granché found the Forum to be a valuable networking opportunity and enjoyed hearing from different perspectives across the industry. “It’s been a tough year for the industry as a whole. Just like Governor Parson said, ‘he’s never met a farmer who hasn’t...

Chrisp Reflects on Time as President, Keeps an Eye on the Future

(Posted Tue. Sep 24th, 2019)

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 2019 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA President Lynn Chrisp, of Hastings, Nebraska, will move into the role of chairman, passing the role of president to current NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross.   The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with Chrisp for a conversation about his perspective on his years in leadership, his insight into the future and how members can work together to make NCGA an even more effective advocate for farmers.     Reflecting upon his time as president, Chrisp discussed many of the programs and projects NCGA completed during his years of service that benefit farmers. From the development of new risk management tools in the Farm Bill to advocating for important trade agreements to protecting the RFS and growing ethanol markets, he sees how the work done and conversations had over many years...

HungerU Launches Tour to Share Ag’s Story on College Campuses

(Posted Mon. Sep 23rd, 2019)

Last week, this year’s class of HungerU ambassadors prepared to launch the college tour portion of the program during a day of educational presentations in Washington D.C. The already-accomplished students prepared to have peer-to-peer conversations at universities that graduated tomorrow’s leader in business, government, science and other fields that open minds to the importance of modern agricultural tools, such as GMOs, pesticides and gene editing, in farmers’ struggle to feed a growing population.   This year’s ambassadors, Tyheim Brown, Lona Strader and Meagan Miller, asked probing questions, showing intense interest in subjects from sustainability’s relationship to landownership to addressing the importance of ethanol in producing feed and fuel, during a multi-hour presentation by NCGA Communications Director Cathryn Wojcicki.   Ambassadors explored NCGA’s mission and activities to foster consumer engagement in agricultural issues and support farmers’ freedom to operate....

(Posted Fri. Sep 20th, 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 Lowell Neitzel, who farms near Lawrence, Kansas, earlier this week. With his combine already rolling, he explained why he harvests some of his corn while the moisture levels remain high.   “The high moisture corn will be used in the rations at our cattle operation,” said Neitzel. “We aim to harvest this corn in the 20 to 24 percent moisture range.”   To listen to the full interview, including how the corn is processed and when he expects to begin harvesting corn for grain, click here.   Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have...

Time to Think Harvest and Cover Crops

(Posted Fri. Sep 20th, 2019)

Put a pre-harvest shine on the combine…check. Prep on-farm grain handling and dryer system…check. Finish your game plan for planting cover crops…What? As the last days of summer dwindle it’s a great time to think about seeding cover crops, according to Lisa Kubik, Soil Health Partnership Field Manager from Iowa. Kubik says what type of cover crop seed you should use depends on your goals.  If your goal is to graze cattle on the cover to extend your grazing days, the seed you choose will be different than if you want to increase the weed control in next year’s crop.    Some cover crops are great at taking up excess nutrients that may be found in the field and others are great at breaking up heavily compacted areas of a field. These goals, as well as other factors, will help to determine the best species, or species mix, to use on your farm.   When choosing the variety of cover crops to plant, there are many ways to get started.  Whether you want your cover crop to live through...

Skunes Reflects on NCGA’s Work and Importance of Leadership

(Posted Thu. Sep 19th, 2019)

As the end of the current fiscal year nears, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board prepares to seat new members and officers on October 1.  When the 2019 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA Chairman Kevin Skunes, a farmer from Arthur, North Dakota, will complete his term, passing the role of chairman to current NCGA President Lynn Chrisp.   The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with Skunes to discuss 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, Skunes found many accomplishments to be important, such as the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, getting year-round E15 sales over the finish line and ongoing work on trade. A humble leader, he notes that who was president of NCGA, at the time an accomplishment happened is not important....

(Posted Wed. Sep 18th, 2019)

Keywords: Trade Ethanol

NCGA State Executives, representing eleven state associations travelled to Washington, D.C. this week to urge members of Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and continue the education effort on NCGA’s Low Carbon/High Octane proposal. The State Executives also pressed lawmakers to use their influence with President Trump regarding potential Administrative actions to mitigate the effects of RFS waivers.   “Having representatives of NCGA’s state affiliates in Washington provides lawmakers and their staffs with a first-hand account of the importance of USMCA and ethanol policy to corn farmers,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “This week was also an opportunity for the State Executives to meet with members of Congress who may not have corn farmers in their district but whose votes will be needed to get USMCA across the finish line.”   Passage of USMCA remains NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019. USMCA will solidify a $4.56...

Corn Growers Learn about Mississippi River Initiatives

(Posted Tue. Sep 17th, 2019)

Keywords: Transportation; Infrastructure

  National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staff, state staff and grower leaders had the opportunity to participate in a river collaboration trip, in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River St. Louis district, to see firsthand the infrastructure and inner workings of the inland waterway system.   On the first day, the group boarded the barge at Lock and Dam 22, located near Saverton, Missouri, roughly 10 miles southeast of Hannibal. This lock and dam have been in operation since 1938. In 2017, more than 21-million tons of food and farm products went through this lock and dam.   “Agriculture relies so heavily on the inland waterways system to move our product each year to export markets,” said Market Access Action Team (MAAT) Chair and Colorado farmer Michael Lefever. “With more than 60 percent of grain exports in the U.S. being moved by barge, having up-to-date infrastructure is imperative. This trip helped us learn more about the needs and challenges of the river...

Farmers Must Play Key Role in Effort to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

(Posted Mon. Sep 16th, 2019)

Keywords: Sustainability; Production

Efforts throughout society, and virtually every industry, to cut greenhouse gases are underway and agriculture is no exception. There is also a growing awareness throughout the supply chain that any successful initiative will start with farmers.   “There is no silver bullet for addressing GHGs and climate change outcomes, but we are working in the right direction,” said NCGA’s Stewardship and Sustainability Director Rachel Orf. “Throughout the Ag supply chain, from conservation groups to the largest retailers, there is solid agreement that this effort needs to be driven by science. And if it doesn’t work for farmer’s it doesn’t work at all.”   Orf attended a meeting hosted by Field to Market last week in Washington, D.C. with the objective of better understanding climate change risk facing the ag value chain, including retailers, conservation groups, farmers, agribusiness. The Field to Market effort, which is focused on cross-sector dialogues, began last fall with the goal of...

Preserving Water Quality and Quantity a Key Priority for Corn States

(Posted Fri. Sep 13th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservation

State and NCGA staff who deal with environmental and sustainability issues like water quality met in Colorado this week to discuss efforts by farmers to assure both the quality and quantity of water society will need in the future.   The Water Quality Working Group, representing 11 states from Ohio to Colorado, discussed successes and compared notes on challenges farmers face as they increase sustainability efforts while balancing society’s future need for increased productivity.   Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District hosted the meeting and provided a close-up look at how they manage and conserve water to meet the needs of the growing population and a flourishing agricultural industry in what was once known as “the great American desert.”   The group was also briefed on the Natural Resources, Conservation Service’s ongoing Conservation Effects Assessment Program. Information and data collected through this initiative is expected to reflect the positive impact of...

EPA Releases WOTUS Repeal Rule

(Posted Thu. Sep 12th, 2019)

Keywords: WOTUS

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final rule to repeal the harmful 2015 definition of "waters of the United States.”   NCGA will be reviewing the repeal rule and is encouraged that we are one step closer to ensuring farmers have the clarity and certainty they have long-sought to effectively implement stewardship practices on their operations.   NCGA and state affiliates have been working to balance environmental protection efforts while sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world. The Soil Health Partnership and Field to Market are both proactive efforts to help farmers fully utilize sustainability tools.   NCGA has also been active in the ongoing WOTUS rulemaking process, submitting comments as part of the organization’s participation in the Agricultural Nutrients Policy Council (ANPC) and the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC). 

NCGA Members Now Save in More Ways at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops

(Posted Thu. Sep 12th, 2019)

Keywords: Membership

With the recent purchase of Cabela’s by Bass Pro Shops, a special program has been designed for NCGA members by Bass Pro Shops-Cabela’s Business Sales. The program provides discounts which can save you up to 30% on all purchases and 15% on gift cards.   Now, you have the option of adding the National Corn Growers Association logo to almost any Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s merchandise you order for free, or you can customize your order using your own farm, ranch or business logo for a modest fee. Certain restrictions may apply.   To receive the NCGA member Bass Pro Shops-Cabela’s Business Sales Discount: For product selection, please visit www.basspro.com or www.cabelas.com, Discount will be applied when you contact Bass Pro Shops-Cabela’s Business Sales team through the toll-free number 1-800-243-6626. Specify that you would like to place the order through the National Corn Growers Association Member Program, using the Customer ID # of 38751073 Specify items, sizes, and...

NCGA Files Court Motion in Support of E15

(Posted Tue. Sep 10th, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol

NCGA yesterday moved to intervene in an effort by big oil to challenge the EPA’s final RVP rule by filing a motion in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the final rule allowing for year-round sales of E15. If successful, the oil industry’s lawsuit would overturn the E15 rule.   NCGA and its farmer members have been long-time advocates of removing the unnecessary and outdated barrier to year-round E15. Removing that barrier took several years to accomplish, but our persistence paid off. With that barrier gone, more retailers are coming off the fence to offer consumers more fuel choice that saves drivers money and lowers emissions. Monday’s action was a continuation of NCGA efforts to increase corn grind by expanding the sales of higher ethanol blends. NCGA will be joining efforts with other ethanol advocates as the legal process continues.

NCGA at USDA Farmers Market

(Posted Mon. Sep 9th, 2019)

NCGA last Friday participated in the VegU fruit and vegetable education program at the USDA Farmers Market in Washington, D.C. Chip Bowling and NCGA staff gave a presentation covering how to choose the best sweet corn and the difference between sweet corn and field corn.   NCGA also shared the other places consumers can see field corn in their diets, such as animal proteins and cornmeal products.   The VegU-cation program, initiated in 2016, teaches consumers how to pick, grow, and prepare produce that is in season across the United States and its territories. VegU has its own tent in the market and each week presentations for the week’s vegetable run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. where the featured produce is highlighted during 10-minute cooking presentations.   During the presentation, NCGA gave sweet corn samples and recipe cards featuring corn-based meals to patrons at the market.

(Posted Fri. Sep 6th, 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.   Over the holiday weekend, Field Notes checked in with Lindsey Bowers, a farmer and grain merchandiser from southeastern Texas. With this year’s crop in the bins, she keeps busy with her work as a grain merchandiser and in promoting U.S. ag products to export markets.   “We harvested a bit later than is typical, but we planted later also. Now, we are wrapped up,” said Bowers. “I received my last loads of corn and grain sorghum at the coop last week. We are still receiving soybeans but the rain we couldn’t catch before finally came. Unfortunately, it has done a number on the quality of the...

USMCA Must Be at the top of Fall Congressional Agenda

(Posted Thu. Sep 5th, 2019)

Keywords: USMCA; Trade

Congress returns to Washington next week and passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be at the top of their agenda.   Farmers have taken the opportunity to share this message with lawmakers at local events during the August break and are eager to see the working group process bear fruit so the agreement can move forward for consideration.   USMCA will solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some certainty for farmers weathering a perfect storm of challenges. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.   Since NAFTA, U.S. ag exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico. Mexico is now the top buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing 25 percent of corn exports. For more information on what these markets mean to your state - https://www.fas.usda.gov/usmca-benefits-states   Congress has a lot to do and they...

(Posted Wed. Sep 4th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology Glyphosate Production

NCGA Supports EPA’s Interim Decision on Glyphosate Registration   The NCGA recently submitted comments in support of U.S. EPA’s proposed interim registration review decision for glyphosate. EPA is required to review pesticide registrations every 15 years to comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), but may choose to issue interim decisions as needed to account for completed risk assessments and the availability of new data.   “The introduction of chemical herbicides during the second half of the 20th century transformed modern agriculture. Glyphosate, in particular, revolutionized weed control and facilitated the use of no-till practices, which have reduced topsoil erosion and improved soil health,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president from Nebraska. “It is one of the most widely used and comprehensively evaluated herbicides and we appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the sound science behind this product in its interim review decision.”   In the...

NCGA Hosts LCFS Regulators and Environmental Non-Profits

(Posted Tue. Sep 3rd, 2019)

Keywords: Ethanol; Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association and Renewable Fuels Association last week hosted Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulators from the California Air Resources Board and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, along with representatives of leading environmental non-profit organizations for a Midwest tour of corn-growing and ethanol decarbonization technologies.   The tour was designed for individuals who already have a working understanding of ethanol but who want to learn more about the research, innovation and investment in the science of growing corn and producing ethanol firsthand.   Tour participants were able to hear from farmers and see advances in corn production practices. They learned how farm production practices already help reduce the carbon intensity of ethanol and how corn production can provide additional decarbonization benefits, including sequestering carbon in the soil.   Tour stops included Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson, Neb., and Elite Octane...