(Posted Wed. Feb 20th, 2013)

Feb. 20: The National Corn Growers Association has released its 2012 National Corn Yield Contest Guide online, providing an online look at the winner profiles and yield boosting tips that will hit many farmers’ mailboxes in the mid-February issue of The Progressive Farmer. With a personal message from NCGA President Pam Johnson and a look at the lessons contest winners took away from the 2012 drought, this edition of the annual publication provides the detailed contest information, insightful articles and exciting updates upon which farmers have come to rely.

This year, the format of the online edition has been updated to take advantage of interactive technology and provide a richer experience. Incorporating a search function and easy-share options, the 2012 online guide allows readers to customize their experience and delve more deeply into enhanced content.

To view the full guide, click here.

In her letter, Johnson praises the resilience of America’s corn farmers, noting that her fellow growers drew upon their work ethic and scientific tools to produce an abundance that would have been unimaginable during a similar drought only decades earlier.

“Strength, resilience and dedication define the character of the American corn farmer, as they have for generations,” wrote Johnson. “The men and women who continue this proud tradition worked tirelessly in 2012, striving to supply the corn necessary to feed our world and fuel our economy. In 2013, NCGA continues to work with that same resolve, providing opportunity for those who provide a corn crop to meet growing global needs.”

Thanking the parties who make the contest possible, including the supervisors who donate their time and the seed companies who support the contest, Johnson also noted the contribution that all contestants make to agriculture.

“Only slightly short of the prior year’s record, contest participation demonstrated how, even during trying conditions, U.S. corn farmers push themselves to excellence,” she wrote. “We thank you for your dedication, and we would like every participant to know that the work each of you does during the contest contributes to the pool of agronomic knowledge that allows farmers to stand strong in the face of adversity.”

The feature article provides insight from past contest winners on what they learned from last year’s drought and a look at how the experience will make them even better growers moving forward. While many of the champions found it difficult to repeat the yields achieved in prior years, these farmers found ways to tweak production practices and spread risk that will benefit their operations for years to come. The article includes both the valuable lessons learned and a post-drought checklist that can be applied to help growers prepare for the 2013 season.

The National Corn Yield Contest is in its 48th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. With 8,262 entries, the 2012 NCGA National Corn Yield Contest neared the participation record set last year of 8,425 entries.

The national and state contest winners will be honored next week at the 2013 Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. During an awards breakfast March 1, attendees will see the debut of a video featuring high yielding contest entrants providing insight on techniques applicable on farms across the country. Following Commodity Classic, the video will be available for viewing on the NCGA website.