June 29, 2016

The Journey - Planting Process of Corn

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The second episode of 'The Journey' covered how a planting machine works and also what goes into corn hybrid selection.

The planter which is demonstrated in the video is John Deere's ExactEmerge planter.  This planter is one of their newer models and has the capability to plant corn at speeds of up to 10mph.

First, the seed is transferred from a bulk tank at the front of the planter into the individual seed box for each row via a plastic tube. The seed then travels through a seed disk which singulates the seed. While traveling in the seed disk, each individual seed will eventually get pushed out of the disk by a paddle. The seed is pushed out into a brush belt, which runs the length of the seed cartridge. While traveling down the seed cartridge by the brush belt, the seed passes a seed sensor which monitors population, singulation and seed spacing. After passing the sensor, the seed is then carried the remainder of the way down the seed cartridge by the brush belt, and eventually lays into the furrow in the soil which is made by the opening disks that are located in front of the cartridge. After the seed is placed in the furrow, two closing disks close the topsoil over the seed and the seed is then successfully planted into the ground.

During the off-season of farming, growers are often times deciding which type of corn seed they want to plant.  There are many different types of corn seed which can be planted.  These different types of seed are referred to as hybrids.

Hybrid selection can be based off of several things.  One of these things is the field's previous history.  If the field has had problems with certain pests, diseases or weeds in the past, a hybrid can be selected to prevent these things from happening again. Often times these hybrids will make the plant deter insects and disease, or can make the plant immune to certain types of chemicals so the field can be sprayed to kill the pests or weeds without harming the corn plant.

Rainfall and irrigation amounts are also often times taken into consideration when selecting a corn hybrid. There are certain hybrids that can handle heat and dry conditions better. These hybrids possess different physical characteristics such as less droopy leaves in order to attract less sunlight and retain more moisture.  These hybrids also will usually have a shorter growing season than that of an irrigated corn crop.

There are even corn hybrids which are planted primarily for the use of ethanol. These plants produce a grain which contains a certain enzyme which is needed in the production of ethanol. By already possessing these enzymes, there is no need for any additional adding of products in the distillation process which decreases production time and cost.

As you can see, there are many things that go into the planting process of our Nebraska corn. It's not as easy as hooking up the planter and filling it with corn seed, there is a lot of thought process and thorough calculating in order to produce a maximum yielding crop. To check out the second episode of The Journey, click the video below!

Hitting the ground running!

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By Colton Flower, NCGA intern, Washington, DC.


Greetings!

Fields of corn have been replaced by the
Capital Building on my daily commute this summer.
I’m Colton Flower and this summer I am fortunate enough to be interning with the National Corn Growers Association in their Washington D.C office. As the policy and membership intern, I assist the Directors of Public Policy in a variety of ways from farm bill research to farm visits and everything in between. Over the past few weeks I have been able to see the legislative process first hand and experience life in D.C.

Everyday on my commute to and from the office I walk right past the steps of the Capital Building. This is a view I remember first taking in seven years ago on an 8th grade class trip. Back then I never would have imagined I’d be working on public policy just a few blocks away from that building. Growing up in the panhandle of Nebraska and raising club cattle the issues being debated on the Hill, were probably the last thing on my mind, but I have always loved advocating for agriculture and was really involved in FFA. The idea of working in public policy didn’t cross my mind until I had the opportunity to attend Corn Congress last year as a part of the Nebraska CornBoard’s leadership program. This really opened my eyes to all that takes place here in the Capital and how much of an impact the work here can have on so many people all across the country. I am very grateful for this internship opportunity and to have been selected for it by the Nebraska Corn Board, who is creating so many amazing opportunities for students like me.


As I mentioned earlier, I grew up in the southern part of the panhandle, Scottsbluff. This spring, I finished my third year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I am majoring in agricultural education- leadership with minors in animal science and agribusiness entrepreneurship. It has been great to work on projects and learn about legislation that I hear so much about in various classes. I really hit the ground running, in my first week alone, I was compiling crop yield information and reading through the farm bill and the next day visiting Chip Bowling’s farm to discuss the various regulations farmers are facing with Georgetown Law students.  It has been a great start and I look forward to what the remaining weeks bring.

June 28, 2016

Above Average Temperatures Drive Irrigation

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Photo Courtesy of Chase County FFA
For the week ending June 26, 2016, irrigation was in full swing as temperatures, which averaged two to six degrees above normal, were accompanied by mostly dry conditions, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Dryland crops were beginning to show signs of stress as soil moisture supplies were drawn down. Rainfall totals of an inch or more were limited to parts of west central Nebraska and a few eastern counties. Row crops were developing quickly and the dry conditions allowed wheat harvest to progress in parts of the south. Ridge till operations and herbicide applications were major farm activities. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 32 short, 60 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 18 short, 77 adequate, and 3 surplus. 


Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 18 fair, 65 good, and 14 excellent. Corn silking was 1 percent, equal to last year, and near the five-year average of 2. 



Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and UNL Extension Service.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE

June 26, 2016

Summer in Denver is off to a Great Start

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By Kelsey Scheer, USMEF summer intern.


John Hinners and me in the USMEF office
After spending the past two summers on my family farm at home, I decided to apply for the U. S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Summer Internship through the NebraskaCorn Board. To my surprise, I actually got it! Once May rolled around, I packed up and headed west. Thankfully my parents were able to help me move in to my new summer home in Denver.  Our first day in Denver, John Hinners, Assistant VP of Industry Relations, showed us around the office and introduced us to many of the staff members.

I spent my first two days getting acquainted with the USMEF website, learning about what they do, and helping employees get ready for the Board of Directors Meetings. On what would have been my third and fourth days at the office, I toured Colorado’s beef industry with two Japanese Trade Teams. We visited the JBS Beef Plant in Greeley, JBS Five Rivers Cattle Company, and finished the day riding horses at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland. The final day we toured the Cargill Beef Plant in Fort Morgan and Aristocrat Angus in Platteville. I enjoyed visiting all of these places, because I learned more about each specific industry and I was able to get to know the Japanese teams.
Horse Riding with the
Japan Trade Team at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

I took this on the horse riding trip, these are beautiful views
After four days at USMEF, I traveled to St. Louis for the annual Board of Directors Meeting and Product Showcase. About 250 members and 150 international buyers attended the meetings to discuss red meat exports. During the meetings, I was asked to help set up the Foreign Buyers Conference and the Pork Caucus Meeting. I was able to sit in on the Feedgrain and Oilseed Caucus, where they talked about how in 2015, the red meat exports added $0.45 per bushel to the price of corn.  I really enjoyed being able to attend this year’s meetings, because I was able to network with industry leaders, meet USMEF staff from around the world, and assist the USMEF staff.  I was also able to have supper with the Nebraska Corn Board staff, board members, and past USMEF chairman from Nebraska, Mark Jagels.

I am very fortunate to work in an office that is filled with skilled, passionate, and helpful employees. I'm really looking forward to what the rest of the summer has in store for me, and how this experience will be very beneficial for my future in the agricultural industry. 

June 24, 2016

Joining the Nebraska Corn Growers Team

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By Laura Lundeen, NeCGA office intern, Lincoln, Nebraska.


I'm feeling ready to be the new Nebraska Corn Growers Association Intern! I am excited to gain a better understanding of agriculture through numerous perspectives, make new connections, and advocate for Nebraska Corn and the industry itself. 
Growing up on a farm of corn and soybeans in Axtell, NE, I was able to gain a passion and foundation of the agricultural industry. Working alongside my parents, Brad and Deb, and my two brothers, Mark and Nate, has played a huge factor in my pursuit of a degree in agriculture. They have encouraged me and taught me so many things about the industry as a whole, as they share the same passion and love for farming. Studying Agricultural Education with minors in Animal Science and Agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I love learning more and more about the industry, and it is becoming harder to accept that I will be graduating in December of 2017. My mom has always said though that learning does not stop when you end taking classes, and that excites me. I am excited to learn more between now and May of 2017 through the Nebraska Corn Growers Association by watching, following, and sharing a passion with wonderful agriculturalists. 

June 22, 2016

Home Is Where the Heart -or NCGA- Is

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By Lauren Stohlmann, NCGA Intern, St. Louis.

NCGA office in St. Louis

You know the phrase “hit the ground running?” According to Google, this is defined as, “start something and proceed at a fast pace with enthusiasm.” That’s how I’d define my first days as an intern at the National Corn Growers Association, or NCGA for us who regularly have to say it and don’t want to lose our breath saying “National Corn Growers Association” 65 times every day, unless it’s necessary of course.
            My first day at NCGA I came to the office, had a brief “here’s where everything is” tour, “here’s how your laptop works” orientation, and met the people I’d be seeing and spending time with this summer. After only two hours at the office, I jumped in a car with a woman I’d only just shook hands with that morning, and drove to the St. Louis airport. From there we flew to Chicago, Illinois for a Communications Summit. Here, I met numerous communicatiors working for corn boards, grain councils, corn councils, etc. from more than 10 different states. We learned how to best measure one’s communication efforts in our various, corresponding associations. We discussed different approaches by referring to current issues in the corn grower world, regarding ethanol in general, the RVO proposal by EPA, how to get legislation killed or passed in our favor. I learned so much sitting in a room with 20 + agriculture communicators that I couldn’t even imagine. I was able to listen to several states’ perspectives on various topics and aid in problem solving on these issues.
Photo taken during boat tour of Chicago skyline 
That evening we were able to indulge in a bit of Chicago. We went on the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour to learn the history behind each of those big tall buildings in the Windy City that you see so many pictures of. Later, we got to see what all the fuss was about the pizza in Chicago while being able to converse with the communicators in a more social setting.
            The following morning, we were lucky enough to visit the Chicago Board of Trade. To say that I felt like I was going to get trampled on, is putting it lightly. We learned what it’s like to work in such an environment, what the different rolls people play and ask questions about the agricultural trade pit where people place on commodities such as corn, soybeans and meat using sign language and shouting techniques. We had one final group discussion that afternoon regarding water quality and what the different state organizations are doing to engage with the growers and the public with this issue.
Photo of my home as I left for my internship
            And that was only my first three days as an NCGA intern! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind that’s for sure. From packing up and moving to a city 430 miles away from my family farm, not knowing a single soul moving here and starting my very first internship experience; it’s been incredible. I’ve already learned so much about what my future field holds for me, that reading from a book just can’t do justice. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity to learn more about the agriculture industry from a national association perspective while developing myself professionally. I hope to make Nebraska look good.
            Another one of my favorite expressions is, “home is where the heart is.” While my heart will always be in “The Good Life,” this summer, my heart; therefore my home, is where NCGA is. 

June 21, 2016

Hot & Humid Weather Boosts Corn

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Photo Courtesy of David City FFA
For the week ending June 19, 2016, hot conditions continued as temperatures averaged six to nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Some relief to dry soil conditions was received with rainfall amounts of an inch or more reported across much of the State. Irrigation was active as a large area of south central Nebraska remained dry. The heat and humidity boosted row crop development and wheat was rapidly turning color in southern counties.  There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 27 short 66 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 15 short, 79 adequate, and 5 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 18 fair, 65 good, and 14 excellent. 


Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and UNL Extension Service.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE

June 20, 2016

Wyoming to Panama

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By Andrea Gurney, USGC International Intern, Panama City, Panama.


If you would have asked the small town, country girl, Andrea Gurney, 6 years ago where she saw herself in her early twenty's her answer would no-where near reflect her current life...

First day in Panama City, Panama
I was born and raised on a farm and ranch, known as Ramirez Land & Livestock, in southeastern Wyoming. As a result, I have always had a strong passion for the agricultural industry.  Upon the completion of my high school career I ventured 500 miles away from home to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here I am majoring in Agribusiness and minoring in Animal Science, with plans to attend law school upon the completion of my undergraduate career. This fall I will begin my senior year.
UNL has given me the opportunity to further explore my passion for agriculture by allowing me to contribute and make an impact in the industry through on campus activities, and most importantly through internships. Throughout the course of my undergraduate career I have held a variety of internships in the United States; however, this year I am proud to announce that the Nebraska Corn Board has given me the opportunity to view the agriculture industry from a global perspective.
For ten weeks this summer, I am serving as the International Relations Intern for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in Panama City, Panama. The focus of this internship is to gain a better understanding of the importance of international trade, trade policies, international relations, biotechnology, and global food security. Words cannot explain how thankful I am for this opportunity to follow my passion, and to make a global difference in the agricultural industry.
Spanish Teachers: Laura & Gabby
I am now starting my third week here in Panama and to say the least, it has already been quite the experience! My first week was spent learning about the major roles and functions of the Panama USGC Office. During the course of my second week I participated in intensive Spanish classes at Spanish Panama. I am fluent; however, I was aware that the dialect in Panama was going to be different than what I was used to. As a result, I took this course to fine tune my Spanish. I truly enjoyed my classes. The teachers were remarkable. In addition, it was a pleasure meeting other students from all over the world.
Currently, we are now preparing for a database training with the Mexico USGC Team that will take place next week in El Valle de Anton (a town approximately two hours from Panama City). In addition, in two weeks I will be traveling to Peru with our regional director, Marri Carrow. We will be attending a Sorghum and DDGS Promotion Conference. Needless to say, I am looking forward to both of these events.
White Blanca
(White Beach)
Outside of my internship I have been taking every opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of Panama. This is my first time traveling outside of the United States without my family, so it has been quite the experience and I am trying to take advantage of it as much as possible! I have spent ample time in Casco Viejo. This is known as the historic district of Panama City.

Roommates and I preparing to take
off to the small beach outside of Portobelo.
In addition, I was fortunate enough to find a home for the summer with roommates. I live with three young women, two are from Venezuela and the other from Honduras. They are all studying at the Florida State University branch here in Panama, and they will be transferring to the United States in the fall. I have enjoyed learning about their specific cultures and getting to experience Panama with them. My first weekend here we traveled an hour and a half outside of the city to Portobelo. Portobelo is a port city that is in the province of Colon. Upon arrival we took a twenty-minute boat ride out to a small, but beautiful beach in the Caribbean. Our day was spent relaxing and admiring the clear water. This was my fourth time visiting the ocean; yet, I can easily say nothing beats the Caribbean.
This year's Memorial Day was spent at the Panama Canal.
While the ocean was outstanding, so far what I have enjoyed most was visiting the Panama Canal. I clearly remember learning all about it in high school; but, I never would have imagined getting to experience it firsthand. It was quite surreal, and it’s a memory I will cherish for a lifetime.
For me, this entire experience is a reminder that as long as one is passionate, motivated, and willing they will always be presented with an opportunity. My advice to you, no matter what your dream is, no matter what your area of expertise is, and no matter what age, always remember this:
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

June 17, 2016

From Dirt Roads to Downtown

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By Morgan Schilling, NCB office intern, Lincoln, Nebraska.


            As I exited the state office building after my first official day of my internship with the Nebraska Corn Board, numerous feelings rushed throughout my head.  I felt eager, passionate, and a little intimidated as I walked past the state capitol building on the way to my pickup.  Coming from a farm and ranch south of McCook, NE, I am used to walking through fields of corn and checking cattle on grass, not maneuvering my way through a crowd of suited businessmen.
           
I’m honored to have received the opportunity to be a staff member in the Nebraska Corn Board office in Lincoln.  Even though my internship has been a much different experience than I’m used to, I am enjoying it greatly and find it a tremendous opportunity to observe what all goes into the agriculture industry besides just the nitty-gritty hands on work that I’m used to.
           
As the market development and communications intern, I have been able to help with many of the Corn Board’s promotional activities.  I participated in my first American Ethanol promotion a couple of weeks ago.  During this event, we sold E85 fuel for $0.85 for three hours at the Sapp Bros. fueling station in Omaha.  It was great to talk to the general public about the many benefits of American Ethanol, especially noting the positive impact it has on the environment.  I also have traveled to the Children’s Groundwater Festival in Grand Island and to Werner Park in Omaha for their ag night.  At both of these events, we conversed with the public about how Nebraska corn affects their daily lives and how it plays a huge role in our state’s economy.

As a continuous project throughout my internship, I will be helping update the corn board’s social media networks with current issues and topics.  These topics include the state’s current crop progress, E-Agletter’s, E-agUpdates, and blogs.  By doing this, the public can get a better understanding of Nebraska corn and can also learn about topics and issues they may have not been aware of.

As a Nebraska Corn Board intern, I want to leave a lasting impact on not only the corn board, but also on people’s understanding of agriculture and the corn industry.  To accomplish this, I have created a video series, titled “The Journey”, which will follow Nebraska corn from seed to product.  I feel that this will be a great way to connect with people and share new aspects of Nebraska corn and how it has an impact on the state.



I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Nebraska Corn Board team and I am anticipating a great time during the remainder of my internship.  I look forward to making some lasting connections with people not only in my home state, but also across the entire country.

June 16, 2016

Limited Acres. Unlimited Opportunities.

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Nebraska’s crop producers are among the most productive in the world, continually breaking yield records as they grow more corn, soybeans and other commodities with fewer and fewer inputs. The true opportunity for Nebraska’s economic future is to transform that abundance into added value.

We only have so many available crop acres in the state, so the only way we can make significant gains in crop production is through continual improvements in yield, technology and innovation—and that is happening,” said Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. “But if we really want to create a new engine of wealth in our communities, we need to be talking about livestock expansion and value-added processing.”

Livestock expansion can be as simple as a farmer adding a hog or poultry barn on a pivot corner, an area of the field that typically does not produce high grain yields. A couple of those barns can generate enough income to support a son or daughter returning to the farm or be used as a strategy to mitigate risk.

“When you add livestock to a crop operation, you have two enterprises at work to determine farm profitability instead of just one,” Ibach added. “It adds diversity and improves the risk management and potential profitability for an individual farmer.”

Groups such as the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN), supported in part with Nebraska corn checkoff dollars, are working with farmers and ranchers to expand responsible livestock production in ways that are sustainable, environmentally sound and neighbor-friendly.