In The News

Oct 2020

Oct 27, 2020

Working Together to Build Demand

Key Issues:Ethanol

This is a guest editorial, provided to NCGA by Geoff Cooper - President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association.   At the Renewable Fuels Association, our “reason for being” is really quite simple: Build new markets and grow demand. In fact, RFA’s mission statement is crystal clear on this point: Drive expanded demand for American-made renewable fuels and bioproducts worldwide.   We know this cannot be accomplished alone. We realize building demand for ethanol and its coproducts is important not just for RFA’s ethanol producer members, but also for those who supply them—our nation’s corn farmers. For this reason, we are extremely grateful for our strong and long-standing relationship with NCGA and our ability to collaborate on important demand creation programs.   The recent collaboration on the USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program is one of the best examples of our work together. With support from the corn growers, RFA was able to assist three dozen retailer...

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Oct 26, 2020

NCGA to EPA: Remove Barriers to Increase Ethanol Demand

Key Issues:EthanolFarm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today, along with 14 state affiliate associations, urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more certainty and use forward-looking data analysis to update policy that will lead to greater flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production and increased demand for higher blends of ethanol.   The associations submitted comments in response to EPA’s request for input on data sources and analytical approaches on which to base an updated weighting factor (F-factor) for E85 FFVs for model year 2021 and later.   “As the producers of the primary feedstock for ethanol, corn farmers support a forward-looking, consistent, long-term F-factor that provides automakers with greater certainty in compliance crediting for planning vehicle production,” the associations wrote.   “Corn farmers have responded to the demand for clean, renewable fuel with increased productivity. Corn production has improved on all measures of resource efficiency,...

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Oct 23, 2020

DigestData Facilitates Networking Across the Bio-Based Materials Industry Connecting Start-Ups with Trusted Partners

Key Issues:Ethanol

In 2018, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) partnered with Biofuels Digest to support the creation and launch of DigestData. This online database was designed to facilitate connections and the transfer of information between interested parties working in the biobased industry. The sponsorship by NCGA continues to provide free access for users to search research and find pilot-scale facilities.   This database allows companies, investors, and innovators to easily find facilities that they can contact to scale up their technologies as well as partners that can help commercialize their products. There is a large opportunity to utilize facilities located in areas with major corn production, creating an opportunity to tap the further potential of corn as an industrial feedstock.   “Thanks to NCGA’s support and the other initial sponsors, we’ve been able to hire freelancers twice a year to keep the database up to date as projects and products evolve, and to add new projects...

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Oct 22, 2020

Unleashing the Potential of Ethanol: National Corn Growers Association and Growth Energy hosting a Free Virtual Town Hall Meeting

Key Issues:Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and Growth Energy will discuss exciting ethanol initiatives and other opportunities on the horizon for corn growers and biofuel producers during a free virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday, October 28 at 11:00 a.m. Central/12:00 p.m. Eastern.   This year, the global pandemic has challenged rural America like never before. But corn growers and ethanol producers have stood together to weather the storm and seize opportunities for growth. Today, these partners remain focused on the same mission: to drive demand and propel this industry forward. That’s why Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association are proud to present this virtual town hall where farmers, biofuel producers and leaders of both businesses and communities will hear about:   The latest policy priorities for the biofuel and ag industry Opportunities for growth in the domestic and global marketplace The path to increased consumer choice at the pump via...

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Oct 22, 2020

Market Growth Opportunities for Ethanol: A conversation between an Iowa Corn Farmer and Growth Energy’s CEO

Key Issues:Ethanol

There are many opportunities for market growth in the ethanol space, and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) works closely with the ethanol associations to help share the story of the benefits of ethanol and drive demand locally and in Washington D.C.   Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor sat down with Iowa corn farmer and Ethanol Action Team Vice Chair Kelly Nieuwenhuis to talk about small refinery exemptions (SRE’s), E15 in the marketplace and future market growth opportunities. “There are a lot of positives looking forward, and I’m looking forward to playing offense instead of defense,” Nieuwenhuis said. “It’s time to get in the lead and share our message and make sure everyone knows the benefits of biofuels.”   During the conversation, Skor mentioned the industry is at a critical juncture for biofuels. “At Growth Energy, we will continue to work with the National Corn Growers and the ethanol industry because when we speak with one voice, that’s when we have the best...

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Oct 21, 2020

NCGA Now Accepting Applications for FY 2022 Corn Board

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from interested members for the 2022 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization’s leadership. Click here for the application, which provides complete information on requirements, responsibilities and deadlines.    The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations.  Board members serve the organization in a variety of ways.  They represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokespeople for the NCGA and enhance the organization’s public standing on all organizational and policy issues.   Applications are due Friday, January 22. Nominated candidates will be introduced at the 2021 Corn...

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Oct 21, 2020

Growing Ethanol Markets: E15 Testing to Start in California

Key Issues:Ethanol

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), along with state corn organizations, ethanol partners and the auto industry, are working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to conduct vehicle testing at the University of California at Riverside (UCR). E15 in the California market is important to growing ethanol demand. CARB is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is the state’s clean air agency.   The testing will demonstrate the environmental benefits and compatibility of E15 in selected makes and models of vehicles. This process will help pave the way for sales of E15 and higher blends of ethanol in California.   “With the scope of research agreed upon and contracts signed, E15 testing in California can move forward,” said JR Roesner, Indiana farmer and Ethanol Action Team (ETHAT) member. “If we can achieve E15 as the base fuel in California, based on estimated total gasoline usage in the state in 2015, the potential market opportunity...

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Oct 20, 2020

EP. 12 - A Wild Ride: Outgoing NCGA President Kevin Ross on his Eventful Term in Office

Key Issues:Farm Policy

The NCGA’s outgoing President Kevin Ross had a term in office unlike any other. From a Twitter battle with the world’s largest beer brewer, to a public speech with President Donald Trump, to the NCGA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, his year at the helm was anything but boring.   In this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett asks the Iowa grower to unpack all the highlights from his term and look to the future of the industry. And, in spite of all the uncertainty, Kevin shares his reasons for optimism and a love of farming that's stronger than ever.     DIRECT SHARE   TRANSCRIPT   Kevin Ross: Having that opportunity to speak to the leader of the free world about what you've got going on in your industry and it did hit me right as I was walking up onto the stage and like you said, you see that seal of the president of the United States on a podium and you're sitting there going, "Hmm, that's kind of a big deal standing behind that thing and give a speech."   Dusty...

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Oct 19, 2020

Consider Corn Challenge Aims to Grow Demand Through New Industrial Uses of Corn

Key Issues:New Uses

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has held two Consider Corn Challenge contests, garnering nine winners with unique technologies that would improve a product or process by using field corn to produce biobased materials. If all nine of the Consider Corn Challenge winners reached full commercialization with products available in the marketplace, the potential for additional corn demand would be approximately 2.9 billion bushels.   “The team is discussing having another Consider Corn Challenge because we know there is still a lot of untapped potential out there, and researchers have new and innovative ideas to bring to the table using corn as an industrial feedstock,” said NCGA Market Development Action Team (MDAT) and Nebraska farmer Dan Wesely. “This is an important area of focus because it will set us up for driving corn demand long-term.”   Previous Consider Corn Challenge winners have recently received more funding for their technologies. ExoPolymer announced the...

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Oct 16, 2020

Barriers That Prevent Food from Reaching the Hungry Take Center Stage this Food Day

October 16 marks World Food Day, a day that has special significance in 2020, as COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on global food security and food systems. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that COVID-19 will drive an additional 130 million more people into food insecurity. Northwestern University recently estimated that the rate of food-insecure households, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as, “household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food,” has more than doubled, from 10.5 percent of American households to 23 percent of American households, as a result of the pandemic.   It is no surprise that the recently announced 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme for its efforts to combat hunger.   This week, the global community of NGOs, think tanks, academia, government, and industry leaders came together for the annual World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue....

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Oct 15, 2020

China Purchases More U.S. Corn

Key Issues:Trade

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday an export sale of 420,000 metric tons of U.S. corn to China.   “I saw the sale this morning and China could be our biggest customer this year,” said Lesly McNitt, director of public policy and trade for the National Corn Growers Association. “We are seeing tremendous purchases.”   Agri-Pulse reported that outstanding sales of U.S. corn – the amount of purchases that have not yet been shipped – to China as of Oct. 1 totaled about 8.9 million tons, according to the latest weekly trade data out of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. A year ago that total was zero. And the sales to China are significantly boosting overall U.S. export sales. Total outstanding U.S. corn export sales as of Oct. 1 were about 22 million tons. Physical corn exports to China are also continuing to surge. China was again the biggest corn importer during the Sept. 25-Oct. 1 period. The U.S. shipped 349,900 tons of corn to China in that week-long...

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Oct 14, 2020

Inland Waterways Vital to America’s Corn Farmers

Key Issues:Transportation

The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to export, with more than 60 percent of the grain produced in the U.S. being transported by barge. For the past few months, the Illinois River has been shut down to go through necessary upgrades, with a price tag totaling roughly $200 million.   “The waterway system is critical to all of agriculture,” said Bill Leigh, Illinois farmer and Vice Chair of the Risk Management and Transportation Action Team. “The work that’s gone into making the waterways viable transportation hubs to reliably move agricultural goods is what has made our grain so competitive around the world.”   The locks and dams on the Illinois River at LaGrange, Peoria, Starved Rock, Marseilles, and Dresden Island have been closed for various construction projects, with a target completion date of all the projects by the end of October. For more information on the locks and dams undergoing construction on the Illinois River, click here.   Tracy Zea,...

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Oct 13, 2020

AgTalks: Taking the Town Hall Digital

Key Issues:Trade

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joined other agriculture leaders this summer in hosting a series of Farmers for Free Trade town hall discussions focused on the future of agriculture.   The AgTalks town hall series focused specifically on the big challenges American agriculture faces on trade, international supply chain resilience and global competitiveness. With the cancellation of many state fairs and agriculture conventions where farm and agriculture leaders typically engage in dialogues on industry-wide challenges, AgTalks served as a platform for insightful discussion on trade and its importance to the health of rural economies.   “Farmers and Agribusiness leaders from across the country are leading the way in defining the future for their industry and communities. Expanded trade is key to revitalizing Rural America and it is incumbent upon our local leaders to play a critical role in shaping future policies that will not only open markets but also ensure...

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Oct 9, 2020

Sustainability Research to Drive Corn Demand and Collaboration Continues with Industry Partners

Key Issues:SustainabilityAnimal Agriculture

Sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand and that’s been the focus of a partnership between the National Pork Board (NPB), United Soybean Board (USB) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).  Two years ago, the three organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a sustainability research platform that will benefit all three organizations and their producers.   Since the MOU was signed, the groups have been collaborating on sustainability goals and initiatives, as well as a feed sustainability blueprint project. This project intends to encourage on-farm and facility outcome-based goals that contribute to watershed and sustainability goals. The objective is to establish practices, definitions, and standards on how to measure and track the sustainability of feed ingredients, primarily soybean meal and corn, with a focus on water quality, water quantity, climate resilience and wildlife habitat.   “America’s pig farmers are committed to producing pork and...

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Oct 8, 2020

NCGA Joins Secretary Perdue Supporting Higher Blends of Ethanol

Key Issues:EthanolFarm PolicyHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) First Vice President Chris Edgington, along with Minnesota Corn Growers Association leadership, today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue for an Albert Lea, Minn., event in support of higher blends of ethanol.   Perdue announced today that USDA has invested $22 million out of the up to $100 million in grants available to increase American ethanol and biodiesel sales through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP).  According to USDA, the $22 million HBIIP investments are projected to increase ethanol demand by nearly 150 million gallons annually. USDA will announce the remaining grant recipients in the coming weeks.   Further developing the infrastructure needed for higher blends of ethanol continues to be a priority for NCGA. These cost-share grants will support more retailers offering E15 and E85 across the country. Increasing the availability of higher blends today also helps expand...

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Oct 7, 2020

Reaching Retailers to Foster the Adoption of Higher Ethanol Blends

Key Issues:Ethanol

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has been a leader in retailer education when it comes to utilizing and accessing higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85. ACE’s Flex Fuel Forward website is a resource for retailers by retailers.   Ron Lamberty, Senior Vice President of Market Development, says the organization launched a new tool for retailers, helping them determine the compatibility of existing station equipment with E15.   “A huge number of retailers have E15 compatible equipment and could sell it tomorrow without a big investment,” Lamberty said. “But they don’t know, and most haven’t even checked, because API, AFPM, oil companies and petroleum marketer groups have been telling station owners their equipment isn’t compatible with E15 since it was approved, and replacing it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We just want them to check because a lot of them will be shocked to find out they can add E15 for next to nothing.”   The National Corn Growers...

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Oct 7, 2020

Aflatoxin Mitigation Grant Program Accepting Research Applications

Key Issues:ProductionResearch

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announces a new round of research grants to help farmers manage aflatoxin issues. Letters of intent from principal investigators, co-principal investigators, and collaborators not exceeding the $75,000 per year limit will be accepted by AMCOE until October 30, 2020. For more information about the review process, evaluation criteria and program, click here.   The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program will again offer researcher grants for projects focused on solving profit-robbing aflatoxin issues for farmers. These grants, which will be awarded to researchers focusing on six priority areas, were designed by southern corn checkoff boards to bring a unified approach to funding research projects across the region and will thus favor research teams that include members from multiple states.   “We have made significant progress in understanding and managing Aflatoxin and other mycotoxins in recent years through the...

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Oct 6, 2020

Protein and Energy Supplementation for Cow-Calf Operations in the East and West the Next Focus of the Cattlemen’s Education Series

Key Issues:Animal Agriculture

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is rolling out another round of the Cattlemen’s Education Series (CES), focusing on protein and energy supplementation. NCGA is the sole sponsor of the CES, which is designed to provide resources to NCBA state and breed affiliates through grants, which allow them to extend outstanding educational experiences. The mission of the CES is to provide cutting-edge information to beef producers that contribute to increased knowledge, profitability, and sustainability. With the need for virtual events this year, NCGA and NCBA have pivoted CES efforts toward a virtual webinar series.    The beef cattle industry consumes more than 1.2 billion bushels of corn. One out of four bushels of added corn demand is due to beef and pork exports, with the beef industry providing $5.7 billion in corn value. DDGs account for nearly 8 percent of total domestic corn usage.   “Supporting programs like the CES...

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Oct 6, 2020

NCGA Action Teams and Committees Announced for 2021

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, 2021. 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 2020 teams, committees and members will remain in place until the beginning of the new calendar year.   Leadership for NCGA’s seven major teams in 2021 will be:   Ethanol Action Team: Mark Recker, chair; JR Roesner, vice chair; Gary Porter, board liaison. Market Development Action Team: Robert Hemesath, chair; Troy Schneider, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison. Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team: Lowell Neitzel, chair; Dan Nerud, vice chair; Kenneth Hartman, board liaison. Production Technology Access Action Team: Kate Danner, chair; Patty Mann, vice chair; Dennis Maple, board liaison. Risk Management...

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Oct 5, 2020

High-Octane Low-Carbon Fuels: The Importance to Corn Farmers and Consumers

Key Issues:EthanolHigh-Octane Low-Carbon

A high-octane low-carbon (HOLC) fuel in the marketplace, once fully implemented, has the potential to increase ethanol consumption by more than 5 billion gallons. That’s equal to over 1.8 billion bushels of new annual corn demand. Not only is a HOLC fuel good for corn farmers, but it also benefits consumers and the environment.   Brian West, former Group Leader for the Fuels and Engines Research Group at the National Transportation Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), says based on the engine testing work he’s done, the move to a HOLC fuel just makes sense.   “Ethanol has a high Research Octane Number (RON), which is why it is attractive as a spark-ignition engine fuel,” says West. “At ORNL, we tested an unmodified Ford F-150 with conventional E10 gasoline and splash blended that with more ethanol, to make a 98 RON E25 and found modest improvements in efficiency and the truck was four-tenths of a second faster in an acceleration test. Then, in a series of...

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Oct 5, 2020

NCGA Launches New Women and Mentors Program

The first inaugural Women and Mentors Retreat will kick off virtually on October 15. Tara Smith, executive vice president at Michael Torrey and Associates and Kellie Bray, chief of staff at CropLife America, will open the event with a panel delving into mentorship relationships, including how these vital connections lead to career and personal growth. In January, NCGA will host a second virtual session designed to help participants set deliberate intentions and goals with an in-person meeting will June 24 to 25, 2021.    The Women and Mentors program provides an opportunity for women looking to find the next steps in their leadership journey to partner with a mentor who has traveled that path. Mentors, who can be of any gender, both foster leaders of tomorrow and learn how to share the wealth of knowledge and understanding accumulated through years of service.    Interested? NCGA is still accepting applications. This program provides an impressive platform upon which to network...

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Oct 2, 2020

Advancing and Driving Demand for Biofuels Through Research at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center

Key Issues:Ethanol

The National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) has expanded its capabilities and offerings over the years, but one thing remains the same; its mission to create opportunities for America’s corn farmers.   NCERC opened its doors, thanks to the work and partnership with the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA), back in 2003. Along with ICGA, NCGA has worked closely with NCERC to help underscore the advantages of renewable corn ethanol.    “Ethanol production in the United States has grown significantly since NCERC opened its doors from roughly 2.8 billion gallons annually to the nearly 16 billion gallons of production today,” said NCERC Executive Director John Caupert. “NCERC has assisted in advancements in fuel ethanol production, with more than 75 products and technologies that have passed through our doors now in the commercial marketplace. These products and technologies are being utilized in every commercial corn ethanol plant operating today, with a significant...

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Oct 1, 2020

New Year. New President.

Happy New Year! Administratively speaking, it’s a new year at NCGA. And with that comes new leadership. Today, John Linder, a corn farmer from Ohio, takes over as president of NCGA.    Click on the video to see what John wants to get done in the year ahead.      

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