In The News

New Uses

May 21, 2020

Ep. 7-Creating Corn Demand with Biobased Materials, with CRA’s John Bode and Iowa State’s Dr. Brent Shanks

Key Issues:New Uses

Corn-based materials technology is ready to compete with traditional plastics for market share.   When new materials can increase demand for corn, offer low-cost alternatives to traditional plastics AND benefit the environment, everybody wins.   And, backed by organizations like Iowa State’s Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), researchers in the heartland are pioneering new uses for corn that could reinvent the future of manufacturing.   In this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett explores the possibilities with CRA CEO John Bode, CBiRC Director Dr. Brent Shanks, BioCognito Principal Nathan Danielson, and NCGA Director for Market Development Sarah McKay.     Direct Share   Transcript Dr. Brent Shanks: We think an important driver for new bio-based products is when we can get products that are produced from molecules generated from corn that can actually create added value in the product.   John Bode: Our industry of...

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May 20, 2020

Creating Demand for Corn through New Uses

Key Issues:New Uses

The confluence of available corn-based feedstocks and consumer demand represents an opportunity for stakeholders in the sustainable biomaterials industry and will help drive demand for corn. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is working to establish new uses of corn and demonstrating corn as the clear feedstock of choice.   “The seeds have to be planted along the way to find the next big new uses of corn,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “This doesn’t just happen overnight. That’s why we’ve been working with university researchers, government entities, and untraditional partners to prime the pump for innovation and viable uses of corn. We also work with individual companies, innovators and research groups to engage in conversations and projects together to facilitate these technologies to commercialization while making sure their customers understand the value of corn as an industrial feedstock.”   NCGA has held two Consider Corn Challenge...

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Feb 14, 2020

ADM’s Dr. Todd Werpy to Keynote Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

Key Issues:New UsesResearch

Dr. Todd Werpy, senior vice president and chief science officer for ADM Company, will be the keynote speaker at the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference on June 1-3, 2020 in Chesterfield, Mo. Werpy, a member of ADM’s Executive Council, will address growth opportunities for sustainable materials from corn.   The biennial CUTC, put on by the National Corn Growers Association, is June 1-3, 2020 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, 16625 Swingley Ridge Road, St. Louis. CUTC provides a great opportunity for attendees to interact with key stakeholders throughout the corn supply chain, sharing each other’s needs, priorities and successes.   Scientists, farmers, researchers and corn industry leaders attend the sessions that focus on what is new and novel in corn product production, processing and utilization.  Since 1987, CUTC has brought together leading innovators in the corn industry with the goal of more efficient and increased corn utilization.   Werpy is responsible for...

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Feb 4, 2020

NCGA’s Annual Report Reflects On Significant Wins Amidst Challenging Times

Key Issues:EthanolSustainabilityTradeAnimal AgricultureBiotechnologyConsumer EngagementFarm PolicyNew UsesProductionResearch

The National Corn Growers Association’s Ann ual Report for the 2019 fiscal year is now available online.  The report highlights memorable events and victories accomplished in a year characterized by weather and policy challenges.   “NCGA was in some pretty amazing positions in 2019. From sharing the stage with President Trump to having a beer with the Coors family after the Super Bowl attack on corn sweetener,” said 2019 NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross from Iowa. “We are constantly prepared to engage, and we are looking for new allies and new conversations to represent corn growers better.”    Through unruly weather, flooding, sluggish markets and trade disruptions, NCGA members kept moving forward together to reach long-term, strategic goals to improve prices and the overall future of the industry. As the year ended NCGA’s grassroots efforts resulted in several major trade victories, a strong support system through the farm bill, and more opportunity for E15 and other...

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Jul 30, 2019

Corn as an Industrial Feedstock

Key Issues:New Uses

  The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) rolled out a new publication at BIO World Congress in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this month called Corn as an Industrial Feedstock. The publication distills corn’s story by explaining why corn is a great industrial feedstock. The book is divided into three sections: Corn is a Responsibly Produced Industrial Feedstock, Corn is an Abundant Industrial Feedstock and Corn is an Affordable Industrial Feedstock.   “As NCGA continues to work to find new uses of corn, this publication will help us have conversations with potential future partners about why corn is an ideal industrial feedstock,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “We have a very positive story to tell. U.S. corn farmers continue to produce a more on less land and corn’s cost as a feedstock has benefited greatly by improvements in technology, production and logistics efficiency.”   NCGA is working to establish at least three new uses of corn by 2020, for a...

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Jul 8, 2019

Consider Corn Challenge Winners Focus on Improving Existing Products in the Marketplace with Corn Based Next Generation Renewable Materials

Key Issues:New Uses

Today, at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and AgTech in Des Moines, Iowa, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II. Three winners were chosen, each with a unique technology to improve a product or process using field corn to produce biobased materials.   “Corn is a sustainable, abundant and affordable industrial feedstock that, as these companies have demonstrated, has myriad uses,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “The winners of the Consider Corn Challenge will help America’s corn farmers partner with industry to establish new uses of corn. This challenge continues to highlight the fact that U.S. corn is an extremely flexible feedstock for biobased products.”   The three winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II are ExoPolymer, Inc., based out of San Carlos, California, Sumatra Biorenewables, LLC. from Ames, Iowa, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural...

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Jun 10, 2019

Consider Corn Challenge Winners to be Announced at BIO World Congress

Key Issues:New Uses

At this year’s Bio World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and AgTech in Des Moines, Iowa, the Consider Corn Challenge II winners will be announced. The National Corn Growers Association is also a sponsor of the event and will be participating in a number of sessions.   “This is a great opportunity to be engaged with researchers, end users and leaders in industrial biotech and tell corn’s positive story around sustainability, abundance, and affordability,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “Announcing the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II at this event allows us to showcase all the various potential uses of corn as an industrial feedstock. The submissions this year were very diverse and further emphasized that corn is a versatile crop.”   BIO World Congress brings in roughly 900 attendees from 35 countries. Topics discussed vary from biobased chemicals to advanced biofuels to food ingredients and more.   NCGA is either participating in or sponsoring...

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Mar 7, 2019

Consider Corn Challenge: Just a Few Days Remain!

Key Issues: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: 

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Jan 24, 2019

Don’t Miss Out! Consider Corn Challenge II Informational Webinar Next Week

Key Issues:New Uses

Will you help the National Corn Growers Association find the untapped potential of corn? NCGA is holding the Consider Corn Challenge II and will be hosting an informational webinar January 28, 2019 at 11 a.m. EST. To register for the webinar, click here: 9sig.co/CCIIWebinar .   “The webinar is an opportunity for participants to hear directly from one of the previous Consider Corn Challenge winners, get more specifics about the contest and ask questions about the contest,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “We had a diverse set of applications last year and look forward to receiving more this year.”   “The goal of the contest is to identify and highlight new uses and markets for the U.S. corn crop,” McKay added. “Corn production continues to increase year over year, and corn farmers are able to do more with less. Corn is an affordable, sustainable and abundant feedstock for the bio-based chemical industry to use.”   Three to six winners will be selected for a...

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Oct 30, 2018

Consider Corn Challenge Brings Attention to the Untapped Potential of Corn

Key Issues:New Uses

Today, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the launch of the second Consider Corn Challenge contest. The goal of this global competition is to find new and innovative uses of field corn. NineSigma is serving as the facilitator of the competition.   In 2017, America’s corn farmers produced 14.6 billion bushels of corn and are on pace to produce the second largest crop ever. One of NCGA’s strategic plan goals is to partner with industry to establish three new uses, for a minimum of 75 million incremental bushels by 2020.   “There are many unexpected uses of corn, and there’s a lot of untapped potential,” said NCGA Feed Food and Industrial Action Team Chair and Nebraska farmer Dan Wesely. “Corn is an economical, abundant and environmentally friendly source which can be converted into a range of high-value uses including plastics, solvents and fibers. Right now, consumers are asking for products that are more environmentally friendly and corn has a role to play...

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Jul 24, 2018

NCGA Consider Corn Challenge Winner Closer to Commercialization

Key Issues:New Uses

Lygos, a biotechnology company based in Berkley, California, recently announced the closing of $15.5 million of Series B financing. Lygos was a winner of the first ever Consider Corn Challenge, an open innovation contest put on by the National Corn Growers Association.   “We are thrilled that one of our Consider Corn Challenge winners was able to receive this level of commitment and funding to move towards the path of commercialization for their Bio-MalonicTM acid (Bio-MA) product family,” said Feed Food and Industrial Action Team Chair Bruce Peterson. “This is a great success story of one of our winners and we look forward to following Lygos’ continued progress.”   Lygos was one of six inaugural Consider Corn Challenge winners announced in February 2018. The biotechnology company is focused on developing new bio-based chemicals.  Lygos’ technology can convert corn-based sugars into high value environmentally friendly products that compete directly with incumbent...

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Jun 7, 2018

Student Research Efforts Recognized at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference

Key Issues:New Uses

A graduate student from Iowa State University took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2018 Poster contest held in St. Louis, Mo. this week. Joseph P. Polin, from Iowa State University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for his work on improving the process economics of making bio-renewable fuels and chemicals from corn stover.   “Encouraging young researchers to consider a career in agriculture is a major focus for the National Corn Growers and their State Partners. Those recognized in the poster contest show our efforts are paying off and they provide another reason for optimism,” said Dennis Maple, chair of CUTC and the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “I think all of the conference attendees were very impressed with the quality of research and...

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Jun 6, 2018

Science Community Recognizing the Need to Enter a National Public Relations Dialogue

Key Issues:New Uses

When a group of scientists, academics, and processing engineers get together for a technical conference to discuss the latest in corn uses and corn processing you don’t expect a big discussion on communications and public relations to break out.  But that’s exactly what happened during the opening session of the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in St. Louis.   It seems the growing communication challenge between the public and farmers is also being felt in the scientific and technical communities.  Those attending CUTC’s general session concurred that there is a compelling need to develop techniques and messages that help bridge between how consumers “feel” and what they need to “know.”   Since 1987, CUTC has brought together leading innovators in the corn industry. The biennial conference provides a venue that allows scientific exchange and engaging discussions for researchers, farmers and other industry leaders.   “CUTC provides a great opportunity for...

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Feb 28, 2018

Consider Corn Challenge Shines a Light on Corn’s Growing Potential in Bio-Economy

Key Issues:New Uses

Six new technologies, that are poised to change the way the public perceives our country’s most abundant crop, were highlighted today in Anaheim, Calif. as winners of the inaugural Consider Corn Challenge, an open innovation contest hosted by the National Corn Growers Association. The diverse range of science unveiled shows that corn is squarely situated on the cutting-edge of technology, ready to support a wave of growth sweeping through the renewable products industry.   More than thirty, scientists and start-up companies answered the global call to bring forth their best ideas focused on the conversion of corn into bio-renewable chemicals. Contest entries reinforced that corn can improve the environmental footprint of many products used by consumers, including plastic bottles, acrylics, solvents, fibers, packaging, and coolants.  Many of the submissions included bio-advantaged molecules, with the ability to deliver performance and value that exceeds petrochemicals.   The six...

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Nov 16, 2017

Corn-based Compound Used for Ice and Snow Control on Roadways

Key Issues:New Uses

Road crews around the country are preparing for winter weather by running preparedness drills and stocking up on road treatment products. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) added a new product to their lineup for dealing with ice and snow on the roadways, one that includes a corn-based compound.   “We added another road treatment option to our winter operations,” says MODOT St. Louis Maintenance Engineer, Mark Croarkin. “The corn-based portion of the product is a carrier for Magnesium Chloride.  There are similar products that result in an approximately 2% Magnesium Chloride treated salt that use other base materials.  These products typically cost a little more to mix, but they can be more effective.”   Croarkin says the corn-based product MODOT started using goes by IceBan® M20 or IceBan® 300.  “If I was trying to quantify I would estimate the IceBan® treated material is about 25% more effective overall,” says Croarkin. “The benefits we have seen depend on the...

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Oct 4, 2017

Consider Corn Challenge Entries Spotlight Bright Future of Corn

Key Issues:New Uses

The National Corn Growers Association’s innovative search for new corn uses, called the Consider Corn Challenge, wrapped up last week, and reports just in show the effort to be a complete success. Initial results show that the group’s first-ever Open Innovation Contest attracted strong interest from the United States and six other countries.   Entrants shared their lab bench-vetted ideas on new ways to convert corn or corn-based products into sustainable chemicals.    “With the productive capacity of the nation’s corn growers continuing to grow, we need to be working hard to find new uses for corn so it can continue to be a positive national resource that makes major contributions to the economy,” said Larry Hoffmann, chair of NCGA’s Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. “A whopping 35 entries were submitted, surpassing the original success metric set by NCGA, which was 20 entries. We are very happy with the result.”   The contest now moves into the judging phase, and up...

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