In The News

Aug 2020

Aug 31, 2020

Take Action Program Offers Advice on Dealing with Corn Rootworm

Key Issues:BiotechnologyProduction

Harvest is a critical moment for your farm business because it pays the bills, but it is also a learning opportunity that can help you gather performance data and conduct insect reconnaissance to help you farm better next spring.   The Take Action program, supported by NCGA, is one way to mentally prepare for how you will deal with problematic insects like corn rootworm, and you can learn more here.   “There’s a lot to be learned as combines roll. Hybrid performance is obviously top of mind,” said Nicole Hasheider, Biotechnology and Crops Input Director. “When evaluating yields from your fields or sections of your fields, consider any insect pressure you noticed during the season. Was it more or less than normal? Is that impacting your yields? If the answer is yes, it should change your approach for next year.”   Harvest is where planning for 2021 planting really begins, Hasheider contends. She recommends approaching fall in a purposeful way, especially when it comes to...

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Aug 31, 2020

Iowa and Missouri Field Notes

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly 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.   “Corn is maturing more quickly than we thought it would. For the first week of September, we are pretty far along for northern Iowa. North of me, they started harvesting seed stock. My neighbor hand-shelled some corn at 35 percent.” – April Hemmes, Iowa farmer   “The corn has fired, but the ears haven’t flipped down yet. We chopped silage last week. Harvest is still about 10 to 14 days out, so it is a waiting game.” – Addie Yoder, Missouri farmer   Visit the Blog here

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Aug 27, 2020

Ep. 10 - Broadband a Big Challenge for Small Towns During COVID-19, with Elsie Wetzel

With kids in farm country headed back-to-school, rural broadband access is a bigger issue than ever before.   The poor quality of internet access in rural America has been an issue for a long time. The lack of reliable broadband has impacted farms, communities and the rural economy, and that was BEFORE the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Now that kids in farm country are headed back to school, some virtually and some in-person, broadband access is a bigger issue than ever before.   In this episode, Jon talks with Elsie Wetzel--a school administrator, teacher, mother, farmer and Common Ground volunteer from North Texas--about how they’re making it work in these unprecedented times. Together, they explore the need to connect our rural communities, discuss the pandemic's impact on kids, families and rural schools, and share some important advice for staying grounded in the midst of all this uncertainty.     Direct Share   Transcript   Elsie Wetzel: We need the...

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Aug 26, 2020

NCGA to Support EPA and USDA on Future Fertilizer Strategies

Key Issues:Sustainability

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges, a joint EPA-USDA partnership and competition to advance agricultural sustainability in the United States. The competition includes two challenges that seek proposals for new and existing fertilizer technologies to maintain or improve crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizers on the environment.   Along with EPA and USDA, the competition is coordinated with the National Corn Growers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, the International Fertilizer Development Center, and The Nature Conservancy.   “This is a great opportunity to partner with USDA and EPA in developing new technologies that will help farmers advance their sustainability efforts,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA president. “Corn farmers are committed to sustainability and have made major improvements in recent years related to fertilizer use and nutrient management,...

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Aug 25, 2020

Alavez Joins NCGA Washington Office

Johnny Alavez has joined NCGA’s Washington, D.C. office as Legislative Assistant. In this role, Alavez will provide support to the Risk Management Action Team and other public policy areas as needed.   Alavez comes to the Washington office following two years working on Capitol Hill in the office of Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash. Prior to his time on Capitol Hill, Johnny worked as a field supervisor at Rader Farms in Lynden, Washington, where he was responsible for managing a team to meet production quotas and coordinating with farm and production plant managers to ensure product standards.   “Johnny’s Capitol Hill and on-farm experience make him an excellent addition to the NCGA Public Policy team,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “He’ll be an essential part of our office’s work on public policy issues impacting corn growers.   Johnny is originally from Washington state and received a degree in Political Science from Western Washington...

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Aug 25, 2020

There’s Still Time to Submit Entries for the Farm to Virtual Fair Contest

Key Issues:Animal Agriculture

Whether your local, county or state fair was canceled or held in person, you can still submit pictures of you and your livestock to the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) Farm to Virtual Fair contest. The contest focuses on the benefits of using corn in the feed ration. You can submit entries through Monday, November 2, 2020.   “The contest is a fun way to engage with the next generation and get students to think about what a corn-powered diet can do for their livestock,” said NCGA Market Development Manager Michael Granché. “There’s a lot that goes into caring for and showing livestock, and we are celebrating the hard work that’s put into livestock shows through this contest.”   The first-place winner will win $300, second place will receive $200, and third place will get $100. Winners will be announced by Monday, November 16, 2020.    To enter the contest, you must follow NCGA (@corngrowers) on Instagram, tag NCGA in the post and use the hashtag #MyCornFedBarn....

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Aug 24, 2020

Minnesota Field Notes

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly 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.   “Our crops are looking good. The corn is denting. Dry areas are starting to show up now though. A shot of rain now would help finish the crop off.” – Bryan Biegler, Minnesota farmer Visit the Blog here

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Aug 24, 2020

National Yield Contest Now Accepting Harvest Entries

Key Issues:Production

The online harvest entry is now available to all NCGA members entered in the 2020 National Corn Yield Contest. The yield threshold for a required recheck is now 325.0000 bushels per acre or greater, increased from 300 bushels per acre. Please consider the availability of supervisors this harvest year. With many government offices under restrictions due to COVID-19, it is important to begin conversations with potential yield check supervisors early.   Learn more about rules pertaining to supervisors by clicking here.   The contest winners will be announced on December 14.   The premier event of every corn growing season since 1965, the National Corn Yield Contest offers challenges and rewards to each entrant! In 2019, 7,454 growers accepted the challenge to their corn production skills knowledge by competing with one another in a friendly yet exciting way.   NCGA challenges you to take advantage of this opportunity to explore new ideas and production technologies while...

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Aug 21, 2020

CornPAC Calendars Available

The National Corn Growers Association’s CornPAC now has calendars available for purchase. The calendars feature twelve months of award-winning photos from NCGA’s Fields-of-Corn photo contest.   Proceeds from all CornPAC calendar sales will go directly to NCGA’s CornPAC, promoting the public policy goals of corn producers and their agricultural related interests. CornPAC is a non-partisan, voluntary political action committee that provides the opportunity for individuals to support and elect pro-industry congressional candidates for federal public office who believe and have demonstrated their belief in the priorities of corn growers.   Calendars are $30 or four for $100 and can easily be purchased through the CornPAC website, or by contacting Anne Thompson or Kendra Ricks directly.   Any contribution is used for political purposes and is not tax-deductible as a charitable contribution for federal income tax purposes. Participation in CornPAC is voluntary, and you may refuse...

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Aug 20, 2020

Communications Key This Fall as Harvest Begins

Key Issues:COVID-19Production

This spring, the nation’s corn farmers executed an extremely successful planting season amidst a swelling pandemic. Now that harvest is nearly upon us, will this season be any different? And what can growers do to assure a safe and timely harvest? Will the steps you took this spring also work this fall?     Jeff Bender, director of the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH), says following CDC guidelines, including social distancing, remains important even if your community has not had a COVID-19 diagnosis.   Prevention is the key to safety, Bender said. During harvest, this means increased vigilance as grain moves from the farm to elevators, ethanol plants, food and feed mills, and rail and river terminals.   Each of these entities are different. They have different approaches to receiving your grain to maintain your safety, their employee’s safety and others who visit the delivery points such as maintenance personnel and grain inspectors.   NCGA...

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Aug 19, 2020

NCGA and Leaders of American Agriculture

Key Issues:Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Tuesday evening joined Leaders of American Agriculture (LAA) for a virtual symposium in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention (DNC). NCGA sponsored a pre-event welcome room, “Climate, Conservation, and Community.”   NCGA CEO Jon Doggett, NCGA Board Members Brandon Hunnicutt and Deb Gangwish, Ethanol Action Team Chair Mark Recker, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and former USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie participated in the NCGA welcome room to discuss agriculture’s role in climate change policy, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) and the environmental benefits of renewable fuels.   “The virtual symposium gave participants the opportunity to hear directly from corn farmers on the sustainable practices they’re using on their farms to leave it better for the next generation,” Doggett said. “We had great participation from the audience and especially appreciated the remarks from Rep. Spanberger on her bipartisan work on...

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Aug 18, 2020

Market Value of Red Meat Exports to the U.S. Corn Farmer

Key Issues:Animal Agriculture

Red meat exports added 12 percent of bushel value to the U.S. corn farmer in 2019. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently updated a study on the market value of red meat exports. At an average of $3.75 per bushel, $0.46 is from red meat exports. The study indicated that without red meat exports, corn growers would have lost $6.4 billion in corn revenue in 2019. Other highlights from the updated study include:   Value of Red Meat Exports’ Feed Use of Corn and Soybeans In 2019, U.S. beef and pork exports used 480 million bushels of corn. Corn revenue generated by pork exports totaled $1.8 billion (480 million bushels x average annual price of $3.75/bushel). Beef and pork exports also used about 3 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in 2019 at an annual average price of $137/ton. This generated $411.8 million in revenue for ethanol mills’ co-products. The projected market value of red meat exports to U.S. corn from 2020-2029 is $23.1...

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Aug 17, 2020

Kansas and Ohio Field Notes

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly 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.   “Our corn is in surprisingly good condition. Right now, I would say that most are good, and some would be considered excellent. Even some of our less productive ground will do fairly well this year.  The fields we planted first are close to black layer while the corn planted later in the spring is in the late milk stage of development.”   – Lowell Neitzel, Kansas farmer   “Our corn crop is looking better since we got rain on Friday. Different fields vary, but all got from one-half to three inches of precipitation. In general, the amount of moisture we have now should get us through...

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Aug 14, 2020

NCGA Submits Comments on EPA Vehicle Test Fuel Rule

Key Issues:Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule on Vehicle Test Procedure Adjustments for Tier 3 Certification Test Fuel. The proposed rule would change vehicle emission test procedures following the update in test fuel from E0 to E10 fuel and would have the effect of discouraging lower carbon fuels such as higher ethanol blends.   “Lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicles and improved fuel economy benefit consumers, our environment, and our energy security. Just as updating the test fuel from E0 to E10 reduced GHG emissions by blending cleaner, renewable ethanol with gasoline, E15 and future fuels that blend more ethanol will further reduce emissions and improve fuel economy when used with optimized engines.   “Vehicle test procedures for E10 certification fuel must not create impediments to low carbon fuels, such as E15 and higher blends and the vehicle technologies that help reach our...

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Aug 13, 2020

Farmer Leaders Build a Better Future for Ag Through Training

Twelve growers from seven states took part in the first session of this year’s National Corn Growers Association Leadership Academy program in St. Louis last week. This program, open to candidates from farmer members submitted through their state association, prepares participants to lead their state grower associations and check-off boards.    This year’s class grew their skills in a variety of areas, including transformational leadership, consensus building, meeting facilitation, parliamentary procedure, and building trust with consumers through traditional and social media. Additionally, these up-and-coming leaders took part in exercises that helped them refine their ability to forecast and anticipate future challenges. With additional briefings from the Soil Health Partnership team and an election preview provided by Washington staff, the attendees prepared to successfully serve their fellow farmers in a leadership capacity.   “NCGA’s tradition of grassroots-focused...

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Aug 12, 2020

NCGA Sponsoring Farm Journal Webinar – America’s Farmers Carrying On: How Commodities are Adapting in a Pandemic World

Key Issues:Animal AgricultureCOVID-19Production

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is partnering with Farm Journal, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, National Pork Board and United Soybean Board to discuss how commodities are adapting to a pandemic world.   NCGA President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross, Beef Checkoff Chair and Idaho cattleman Jared Brackett, Missouri farmer and Pork Checkoff President David Newman and Soy Checkoff Chairman and Arkansas farmer Jim Carroll will represent each checkoff organization on the panel.   The panelists will dive into the challenges each commodity has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and short- and long-term solutions moving forward. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask the panelists questions at the end. The free event is Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. CDT. You can register here.   Farm Journal broadcaster Clinton Griffiths will host the virtual roundtable.     

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Aug 10, 2020

Nebraska, North Dakota and Illinois Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly 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.   “Good, timely rains over the last few weeks have given us a bit of a break from irrigating. Most of my corn crop is in the late milk and dough stages. Generally, it is filling out well minus a few fields with hail or wind damage. Today, it is in the 80s with full sun. If we can have more days like this, it is going to help us out a lot.”   – Andy Jobman, Nebraska farmer   “In our area, we have a good corn crop and a mediocre bean crop coming. Our soil moisture profile has been saturated for quite some time. Last week, we had four days with measurable precipitation.  Thirty miles away,...

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Aug 10, 2020

NCGA and the 2020 Presidential Election

Ahead of the 2020 Presidential election, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is looking forward to serving as a resource for agriculture policy. Rural America is an extremely important electorate with the ability to swing key states, including NCGA affiliate states, and NCGA’s membership provides a unique perspective into the priorities of rural America.   To help corn farmers evaluate how their policy priorities align with the two Presidential campaigns, NCGA has prepared fact sheets for both the Trump and Biden campaigns. These materials are based off of policy plans and statements from each campaign website.   NCGA is focused on helping farmers recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and, in the long-term, increasing demand for U.S. corn. The two documents released today outline NCGA’s ethanol, trade, sustainability, farm bill, regulatory, and infrastructure policy priorities against those of each campaign.   As the election day draws closer,...

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Aug 7, 2020

Corn Checkoff Funded Curriculum Effort Filling the Virtual Learning Gap

Another school year is rapidly approaching, and many teachers and parents will be looking for solid, professional teaching materials that lend themselves to a virtual classroom and meet state learning guidelines. National Corn Growers Association is here to help with a great program called Nourish the Future.   Nourish the Future is a national education initiative developed by science teachers for science teachers with the assistance of NCGA, the nation’s corn farmers and their state checkoff investment. The goal is to inspire a network of educators to foster critical thinking, connect students to modern agriculture, and provide sound science-based resources that meet teachers’ and students’ needs in the classroom.   So, if you want to fire young minds have them tackle a real-world issue like:   How does climate affect global food supply? How do food producers steward soil and water quality? How are science, engineering and technology helping modern food production? How...

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Aug 6, 2020

Use of Corn as an Acceptable Feedstock Clarified by the Department of Energy

Key Issues:New Uses

An important step forward to driving demand for corn was recently achieved, thanks to the work of state and national corn growers staff and members of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Market Development Action Team (MDAT).   In the most recent Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) clarified that corn grain is an acceptable feedstock. This means that starch derived sugars, specifically starches from field/feed corn, were clarified as acceptable.   “This is an important evolution in how DOE interprets legislative intent,” said NCGA Market Development Director Sarah McKay. “Given U.S. corn growers’ ability to efficiently produce, it is clear that corn can not only meet the needs of existing markets but can enable exciting new markets for renewable materials. We are excited to continue working with BETO and other government agencies to lay the groundwork and develop a solid foundation for future...

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Aug 5, 2020

Virtual Town Hall Features NCGA Corn Board Member

Key Issues:EthanolTrade

The AgTalks virtual town hall discussion continued today in conjunction with what would have been Minnesota IDEA FarmFest. This year’s in-person event was canceled, and sessions held virtually due to COVID-19.   National Corn Board Director and Minnesota farmer Harold Wolle served as a panelist during the town hall to discuss the future of agriculture, with a focus on trade, supply chains and global competitiveness. The town hall gave panelists the opportunity to provide updates from their industries and take questions from conversation participants, including local corn growers.   Wolle highlighted the importance of the ethanol industry, a market that takes more than 35 percent of the annual U.S. corn crop, and NCGA’s efforts to support the industry’s recovery and long-term success.   “In terms of global competitiveness, the expansion of ethanol exports is an opportunity to really move the demand needle for our industry. Global customers are increasingly turning to ethanol...

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Aug 5, 2020

NCGA Welcomes New Accounting Clerk

The National Corn Growers Association welcomes Katie Walter, who joins the organization as Accounting Clerk in the St. Louis, Missouri office.    Walter joins NCGA from Dent Wizard, where she has been working in their accounting group for six years. She will perform daily accounting functions for NCGA, such as processing accounts payable, recording accounts receivable, completing check requests and processing expense reports.   “We feel fortunate to add Katie to our team,” said NCGA Accounting, Human Resources and Administration Director, Marie Nelson. “She brings a strong skill set to the position that will be helpful in achieving our goals and being responsive to our staff and farmer constituency.”

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Aug 4, 2020

NCGA Relaying Farmers Input on Ag Innovation Agenda Direction

Key Issues:Research

National Corn Growers Association responded in formal comments this week to USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky’s request for stakeholder input into a new formal Agricultural Innovation Agenda.   NCGA developed a comprehensive process to provide our best understanding of the objectives and opportunities leading to research goals and informed product goals to facilitate transformative breakthroughs. Through this process, NCGA identified a few major concerns coming from U.S. corn growers that primarily boiled down to three key points:   Their ability to retain or grow profitability; Their ability to optimize environmental and economic benefits from implementing conservation or sustainability practices; and, Their ability to cope with increasing biotic and abiotic stressors.   NCGA considered not only the innovation needed to reach USDA’s goals of improved yield and efficiency with a reduction in environmental footprint but also how to best encourage the adoption of...

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Aug 4, 2020

Last Call! NCGA Yield Contest Entry Period Closing Soon

The time has arrived to submit your entry for the NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest. With contest entries open only through August 15, 2020, act today.   To enter today using the online form, click here.   If you have already or plan to enter, please consider the potential availability of supervisors this harvest. With many government offices under restrictions due to COVID-19, it is important to begin conversations with potential yield check supervisors early.   Learn more about rules pertaining to supervisors by clicking here.   All harvest forms will be due by November 30. The contest winners will be announced on December 14.   The premier event of every corn growing season since 1965, the National Corn Yield Contest offers challenges and rewards to each entrant! In 2019, 7,454 growers accepted the challenge to their corn production skills knowledge by competing with one another in a friendly yet exciting way.   NCGA challenges you to take advantage of this...

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Aug 3, 2020

America’s Watershed Initiative Appoints New Executive Director

Key Issues:Sustainability

Kim Lutz has been named as the new Executive Director for the America's Watershed Initiative. AWI is a collaboration among hundreds of business, government, academic, and civic organizations, including the National Corn Growers Association, with a mission of finding solutions to the challenges facing the Mississippi River and its tributaries.   AWI serves as a voice for the entire Mississippi River Watershed, working to chart an action plan for the watershed that secures the long-term health of our nation, its communities, economies and natural systems. The NCGA Director of Stewardship and Sustainability, Rachel Orf, serves on the AWI board.   NCGA supports AWI efforts because the infrastructure of the Mississippi River Watershed continues to face significant challenges at the same time its national and local importance continues to grow. The fourth-largest watershed in the world, the Mississippi River Watershed traverses 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, comprising...

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Aug 3, 2020

Iowa and Missouri Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

This year, the National Corn Growers Association launched its tenth season of Field Notes, a weekly 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.   “Looking at the same field I have all season before reporting, the corn is tasseled out, has brown silk and the ears filled out nicely. That said, I do have cracks in the ground as there hasn’t been a significant rain here in the month of July. I now have gravel pockets that are starting to yellow, but it is nothing like my friends to the west. They are in a drought so significant it isn’t clear if a rain now would make a great difference in the crop.”   – April Hemmes, Iowa farmer   “With our corn, everything looks good here. The kernels are well developed but a long way from dent....

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