December 1, 2016

Nebraska Corn Board Elects New Officers

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The Nebraska Corn Board met and elected officers for the 2016-2017 fiscal year at their board meeting on Tuesday, November 22 at The Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. The board met to conduct regular board business and hold election of officers.

David Merrell, District 7 director for St. Edward, Nebraska, was reelected as chairman of the board. Merrell has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006 and will serve his second year as chairman. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanized Agriculture (Mechanized Systems Management). He and his wife, Cyndee, have three children and have been farming for over 20 years around St. Edward located in Boone County, Nebraska.

Merrell said it’s an honor to continue to serve as the chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We are fortunate to have farmer leaders and staff members who are extremely dedicated to an industry that is vitally important to our state. I look forward to working with the board, staff and industry leaders to continue the positive momentum of enhancing demand, adding value and ensuring sustainability of Nebraska’s corn industry.”

David Bruntz, District 1 director from Friend, Nebraska, was elected as vice-chairman. Bruntz previously served as the secretary/treasurer and currently serves on the board’s research and stewardship committee.  He has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2013.

Dennis Gengenbach, District 6 director from Smithfield, Nebraska, was elected as secretary/treasurer. Gengenbach previously served as the vice-chair and currently serves on the board’s market development committee.  He has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006.

Tim Scheer, District 5 director from St. Paul, Nebraska, will continue to serve as the past-chairman of the board. Scheer has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2007.


“Our dedicated farmer-leaders have contributed great time and energy to our industry over the years,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Through their passion and leadership in the corn, livestock and ethanol industries, they continue to play a dynamic role in supporting the mission and vision for Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers that invest in the corn checkoff.”

November 30, 2016

Nebraska Corn Harvest Nearly Complete

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For the week ending November 27, 2016, temperatures averaged four to six degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rain at mid-week and over the weekend brought an inch of precipitation to eastern border counties and parts of central Nebraska. Western Nebraska remained mostly dry. Fall harvest activities were near completion, with only scattered fields remaining. Fall tillage and anhydrous applications were active. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 30 short, 57 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 31 short, 57 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

This is the last weekly Crop Progress and Condition report for the 2016 growing season. We would like to extend our appreciation to the dedicated county FSA and extension staff who supplied the necessary information for these reports. For December through March, we will issue monthly reports. The first monthly report (for December) will be issued January 3, 2017. Weekly reports will begin April 3rd for the 2017 season. 

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 34 fair, 48 good, and 5 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

November 21, 2016

Corn harvest nearing the end

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For the week ending November 20, 2016, above normal temperatures continued in the eastern part of the State, averaging six to nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation totaled half an inch or less throughout Nebraska, with some of it coming in the form of snow. Producers welcomed the much needed moisture after experiencing very dry soils. In most counties, harvest was nearly complete and fall tillage activities continued. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 36 short, 49 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 32 short, 55 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Corn harvested was 96 percent, near 94 last year, and equal to the five-year average.



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

November 16, 2016

Holzfaster Concludes 6-Year Term on National Corn Growers Association

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Nebraska Corn Board member, F. Jon Holzfaster, farmer from Paxton, attended his final board of directors meeting for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), bringing a six-year term to a close.

“My time as a board director has broadened my perspective of the agricultural industry. I now take a more worldly view on the effect global events have on agriculture, the vulnerability of our industry and the importance of pushing forward on demand issues; such as new uses, old uses, livestock and ethanol,” said Holzfaster. “These factors play an important role in keeping supply and demand in check and ensuring the value of the products we grow.”

During Holzfaster’s tenure on NCGA’s board, he served as chairman of the NCGA Ethanol Committee and was also an instrumental leader in NCGA’s partnership with Growth Energy to establish E15 as the official racing fuel for NASCAR.

Holzfaster said that his six years spent as a NCGA board director were also six years that he was able to commit to working with the American Ethanol and NASCAR partnership. “It has been phenomenal for me to get to know some of the folks within that sport and understand how not only the entertainment component of NASCAR works, but the marketing component. NASCAR is a marketing monster; and, when you can use that for your industry's benefit, that can be very, very beneficial.”

Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, said that Holzfaster was an influential leader with NCGA’s E15 effort and NASCAR partnership. “Jon’s passion for the industry and commitment to NCGA’s ethanol efforts have played a major role in guiding American Ethanol to become a centerpiece for NASCAR. It has been gratifying to see a Nebraska corn farmer give so much of his time to serve and expand opportunities for our industry.”

The Nebraska Corn Board has supported NCGA with corn checkoff dollars for many years. The board strongly believes that collaboration and strategic partnerships with other like-minded organizations like NCGA make for an even greater impact. Through the continued support of NCGA, Nebraska corn checkoff dollars are leveraged with those of other corn-producing states to create programs and initiatives that are national in scope and impact. From biotech and stewardship education, to high profile consumer and influencer outreach programs; from the American Ethanol NASCAR sponsorship to white papers on critical issues such as trade and biofuels, NCGA provides leadership and partner-building influence to make a difference on a national scale.

“There is great power in our ability to leverage Nebraska corn checkoff dollars with those of other corn states—and it has been extremely rewarding to see this process first-hand on a national level,” said Holzfaster. “Despite the many challenges facing the corn industry today, the phenomenal board and staff at NCGA are able to accomplish amazing things on behalf of the industry.”

“All of us involved in Nebraska agriculture owe Jon Holzfaster a big thank you for his outstanding service and selfless leadership as a National Corn Board director over these past six years,” added Brunkhorst.

Holzfaster operates a third-generation family farm based in Perkins County. He produces corn, popcorn, alfalfa, wheat, soybeans, edible beans and operates a background feed yard. He has been involved with the Nebraska Corn Board since 2003. He is currently the district 8 director and past chairman for the Nebraska Corn Board and has been representing the board as a director on the National Corn Board since 2010. Prior to that, Holzfaster served for six years on the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

AUDIO CUTS:

Holzfaster 1 (31 seconds)


Holzfaster 2 (25 seconds)

November 14, 2016

Nebraska Corn 93% Harvested

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Photo Courtesy of Heartland FFA
For the week ending November 13, 2016, unseasonably warm temperatures were again experienced and averaged six to nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rain early in the week was confined mostly to south central and central counties, with totals generally less than an inch. Harvest activities made good progress, with many producers now done combining. With limited rainfall over the last month, dry soils were noted in a number of counties. There were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 38 short, 47 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 32 short, 56 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Field Crops Report: Corn harvested was 93 percent, near 91 both last year and the five-year average.


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

Removing our blinders to a global agricultural intensity

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It’s so easy to look inward and focus on the issues we have going on in our lives: our work or business, family, responsibilities, volunteering – not to mention the economy and political environment in our country. We have demands drawing our attention in as many ways as cat to a laser pointer.

But let’s look at the bigger picture. Are our issues really that illustrious in the grand scheme of life when you look at everything going on around the globe?

It’s easy to look at the issues that face our agricultural economy domestically. But thinking bigger – globally – really brings a perspective that there is more to our industry and gives us a glimmer of hope. So many countries are experiencing food insecurity and we have the ability to provide food security.

With USDA’s recent crop production report showing a nearly 10 percent increase in corn production from last year, we are looking to have a record corn crop, if realized. This is huge for farmers – and a challenge albeit – but it means they are doing all they can, putting heart and soul and resources and technology into growing more food. It means abundant supplies and an even greater need for more markets on a global intensity.

So many people and organizations are expanding and empowering agriculture on a global level. The World Economic Forum has gathered and organized the Global Agenda Council to bring individuals and corporations together to address challenges like food security, sustainable consumption, and health and wellness.

Banks are offering special financing programs to help create jobs and boost agribusinesses across the globe.

The Gates Foundation is helping farming families all over the world produce more food and increase their income, while preserving the land for future generations.

The list goes on and on.

The middle classes of the world’s countries with the largest populations – India, China, Indonesia - are increasing. And as more their population rises to middle class, they can afford more protein. Just this fall, China removed a ban on shipments of some U.S. beef products, opening up the trade for the first time since 2003 as the country sees a surge in imports of the meat. This is excellent for our growing beef supply, but also our large corn supply. The more cattle we can feed here, the more beef we can export to places like China, Japan and South Korea. Beef exports had tremendous year-over-year growth in Japan (up 49 percent year-over-year) and South Korea (up 75 percent), according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

As U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have a challenge to meet the needs of our growing population. Thinking globally does not end with opening markets for U.S. agricultural products. It means collaborating with agribusinesses and food companies all over the world. Helping developing nations. Teaching new technology to farmers young and old. These opportunities are optimistic. Let’s remove our blinders, focus our attention outward, and think globally.

November 7, 2016

Nebraska corn 84% harvested

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Photo courtesy of David City FFA
For the week ending November 6, 2016, above normal temperatures combined with dry conditions promoted fall harvest activities, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Temperatures averaged nine to twelve degrees above normal. Rain was limited to a few south central counties, with less than one-half inch received. Most of the harvest activities were focused on corn acres. There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 35 short, 50 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 29 short, 58 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Field Crops Report: Corn harvested was 84 percent, equal to last year, and near the five-year average of 83.



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

November 2, 2016

Home Run Heroes

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Photo Credit: Flickr
Since we are in the midst of the World Series competition, we thought it would be fun to compare baseball and corn farming. 

A corn growing season is similar to a baseball game: in the end, everyone wants a home run!

Weather, yields, and commodity prices are unpredictable factors that corn farmers play against year after year. Predicting these factors and outlining a strategy to compete with these volatile factors during the "game" are the steps a corn farmer takes for a chance at a profitable growing season or a “home run” year.

To be successful, a baseball team needs multiple players, with diverse talents but one common goal. The same is true in the corn growing season. The "corn team" is made up of corn growers, seed/chemical companies, grain elevators, ethanol plants, livestock producers, food companies, international trade partners and more. These players are different but all have an essential role on the “team.”

Government and the current policy "umpire" the game, influencing how the crop is grown, where it is exported and how it's used. While sometimes they get in the way, they ultimately are there to keep it fair.

Markets are volatile and act as the "pitcher." Throws can be fast or slow, unsuspected or predicted. No matter what, we as corn team can't control the pitcher so we hit what we can. 

The grain merchandisers act as "catchers," trying to catch what the markets throw and providing everyone else a heads up.

The National Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, and Nebraska Corn Board roles are to serve as the fans. At times, cheering or booing, but always providing insight, educating, and tirelessly promoting the great things their team can do. Being a fan has its challenges, but is not impossible. The fans have passion for their team and passion for the game.  Even when times are hard, they will be there to show their support.

But who's coaching?

The corn farmers are playing multiple roles: they are playing and coaching. Each game- or growing season- corn farmers try to incorporate strategy, react to events of the game, throw out signals and keep the morale up even when it doesn't go their way.

What's more American than baseball and corn farmers? Not a lot. But when it comes down to it, we all just want a home run.

How do we get a home run? Keep coaching. Keep playing. Keep growing. 

Blog submitted by Toni Rasmussen, an attendee of Nebraska Corn Board's Corn Congress Leadership Mission.

November 1, 2016

North African Buying Team Visits Nebraska to See Corn Industry Firsthand

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The U.S. Grains Council’s Export Exchange conference just wrapped up in Detroit, Michigan, and overseas grain buyers from the North African countries of Morocco and Tunisia have now seen corn harvest and ethanol production for themselves after making a pre-conference stop in Nebraska.

International trade plays a key role in the success of our industry. With a record corn harvest expected for 2016, it is critically important that there are markets for our corn and value-added corn products. U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) Export Exchange conference offers the perfect opportunity to bring international trade teams to Nebraska, and across the U.S., so they can see our corn supply and quality for themselves.

The team, consisting of representatives from major North African corn importers and feed companies, had the opportunity to visit Central Plains Milling in Howells to learn about the U.S. feed industry, before heading to Green Plains trading floor in Omaha. They also had the opportunity to tour the Green Plains production plant in Shenandoah, Iowa to see ethanol and distillers grain production. The team capped their Nebraska visit by experiencing corn harvest firsthand at Alan Tiemann’s farm by Seward.

Tiemann, at-large director on the Nebraska Corn Board and past-chair of the USGC said, “The grain buyers from North Africa were extremely impressed with the quality of our corn and corn products and were appreciative of their time in Nebraska.”

“The fact is, every farmer and rancher in Nebraska benefits from exports, even if they don’t personally export anything. Inviting grain buyers from Morocco, Tunisia and other places around the world to Nebraska is a vital step in establishing relationships and building new export markets with international trade partners,” added Tiemann.

Held every other year by the USGC and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange brings together international buyers with U.S. sellers of corn, sorghum, barley, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed. The conference highlights the importance of strong trade policy and market development to U.S. agriculture. The USGC in partnership with Nebraska Corn Board works in more than 50 countries and the European Union to market U.S. grains and their related products and build long-term demand from loyal customers.

Boone McAfee, Nebraska Corn Board’s director of research and coordinator for this team, noted, “Strengthening the bonds between Nebraska suppliers and our international trade partners is essential. The connections made during their visit to Nebraska, in addition to their time at US Grains Council’s Export Exchange Conference, will help propel a positive trade partnership for current and future trade opportunities.”

Photos available (Click here).

October 31, 2016

Nebraska corn harvest on track with the average

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Photo Courtesy of Imperial FFA
For the week ending October 30, 2016, unseasonably warm conditions persisted throughout the week, with temperatures averaging nine degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was limited to a few counties in the northeast. Many producers finished soybean harvest and were focusing on corn. There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 32 short, 56 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 29 short, 61 adequate, and 2 surplus. 

Field Crops Report: Corn harvested was 69 percent, near 70 both last year and the five-year average.


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