August 21, 2014

Corn progress well ahead of last year


Chase County (3)For the week ending August 17, 2014, rain in the central part of the State helped reduce the need for irrigation, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Dryland crops in areas that did not receive rain were showing stress. Cooler weather in the eastern part of the State slowed crop development, while warmer temperatures in the west helped dry down hay. There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 31 short, 61 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 32 short, 57 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Corn conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 21 fair, 50 good, and 20 excellent. Corn dough was 78 percent, well ahead of 64 last year, but near 75 for the five-year average. Corn dented was 20 percent, ahead of 10 last year, but behind 29 average.

See more crop progress pictures on our Flickr album. Chase County (6)Chase County (1)Chase County (8)Chase County (10)

August 20, 2014

VIDEO: Kernels of Truth - Beyond Bt


In our previous two GMO videos, we talked about what GMOs are and why they are safe.

In this video we’re going to look at some uncommon, or at least lesser-known uses of biotechnology that can benefit everyone from Indiana to India.

Bt and Roundup Ready hybrids have allowed farmers to use fewer pesticides and herbicides, respectively. But this is not where the environmental benefits of modern biotechnology stop. Scientists in Indiana have inserted a gene into a poplar tree that allows it to clean up soil and groundwater pollution by breaking down and metabolizing the pollutants.

On the human health front, biotechnology also has significant potential to help fight disease in the developing world. Have you heard of “Golden Rice”? Learn how biotechnology can lead to preventing deaths in developing countries and more in the Kernels of Truth – Beyond Bt video.

Watch now!

Watch more videos on GMOs:

Kernels of Truth - What are GMOs?

Kernels of Truth - GMO Safety

August 18, 2014

Nebraska Corn Board welcomes Boone McAfee on staff


The Nebraska Corn Board is pleased to announce that Boone McAfee has joined its staff as Director of Market Development & Research.

In this role, McAfee will work on behalf of Nebraska corn farmers and industry to expand market opportunities for Nebraska corn and value-added products both domestically and internationally. He will co-manage the Board’s research programs and establish a working relationship with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and others conducting research on various aspects of corn and its value-added industries to further the use, efficiency, sustainability and development.  McAfee will also manage a database of Nebraska corn statistics.

"I look forward to Boone joining our team of staff that has a combined 73 years of agricultural experience," said Kelly Brunkhorst, Nebraska Corn Board’s new executive director. “With his diverse Nebraska agriculture background, his education and proven leadership, Boone will be a great addition to our staff.  With market development and research being two of the four key ‘pillars’ of the Nebraska corn checkoff, I look forward to Boone leading and expanding our efforts in these two areas.”

McAfee grew up on his family farm near Leigh, Nebraska. He earned a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was involved as a student ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, a research assistant in the agricultural economics department and a teacher’s assistant in the agronomy department. He also held internships with Farm Credit Serves of America and Dow AgroSciences/Mycogen Seeds.

"I am very excited to be joining the Nebraska Corn Board staff,” said McAfee. “Having grown up on my family's farm in Nebraska, I consider it a huge opportunity to support the agriculture industry through research and promotion of one of the state's most valuable resources.  I look forward to working alongside and learning from the team on staff, the board members, and Nebraska's corn farmers.”

McAfee started his new position on August 11.

August 15, 2014

A Well-Experienced Summer


Abigal Wehrbein, USMEF-DenverBy Abigail Wehrbein, USMEF intern

This summer has been one to remember. I have had one of the best opportunities a college junior could ever experience. I had to grow up fast, but the things I learned living on my own in a bigger city like Denver, will prepare me for the rest of my life.

In my previous blog, I wrote about the projects I worked on this last summer. I was currently setting up a photo shoot at Tyson for the photos I will be using in the export beef poster and cut guidebook I am designing.

My supervisor and I finally traveled to Dakota City, NE with our photographer, Joe Mendoza, to the Tyson Corporate Offices. I had a great experience being a food stylist for the day in preparing the raw beef cuts to be photographed. Who knew meat could be so photogenic? abby

The next week back in Denver, we sat down with our graphic designer and started to plan out how we wanted everything to look. This involved me designing layouts for the cut guidebook and finding pictures of plated cooked beef. Although my internship came to an end, I will keep in touch with my supervisor and the graphic designer until we receive the finished product.

clip_image004Before I made the eight-hour drive back to Nebraska, I did some last minute sight seeing with my boyfriend in Wyoming. We rented an Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport Side-by-Side for the day and raced along the rocky trails in the mountains of Cinnabar Park around Albany and Centennial. It was a great way to wrap up my summer and although we didn’t see many animals, there were several spectacular views.

I met many people through my internship and made countless connections I plan to keep for years to come. I am so thankful for everything that happened and the Nebraska Corn Board for this summer. I encourage anyone to develop more experience and apply for the Nebraska Corn Board internships. Lastly, the mountains may be beautiful, but I am glad to be back surrounded by miles of cornfields again in Nebraska.


August 7, 2014

VIDEO: Kernels of Truth–GMO Safety


Are GMOs really safe for humans and the environment?

The answer is not just yes, but in some cases, more so than non-GMOs. Let’s take a closer look.

There have been over 1,700 reputable studies on GMO safety by organizations like the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the food regulatory bodies of numerous governments, including the United States and the European Union.

Every one of these studies has shown GMO foods to be just as safe as non-GMOs. The only time a study ever showed a difference in safety, it actually found the GMO to be safer. This is not surprising, considering they go through years of testing by the FDA, USDA, and EPA before being sold, in order to assure they’re absolutely safe for human consumption and our environment.

Watch our short video to learn more about GMO safety.

If you missed the first video, What are GMOs?, watch it now!

August 6, 2014

Irrigating Season Continues


LINCOLN, NE- For the week ending August 3, 2014, cooler temperatures limited moisture demands of non-irrigated crops. However, another week of only scattered rainfall stressed dryland crops and pastures, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Irrigation continued non-stop in many areas.

Wheat harvest was near completion with only
northern Panhandle fields remaining. The dry
conditions also supported hay harvest.

The number of days considered suitable for fieldwork were 6.7. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 39 short, 51 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 31 short, 57 adequate, and 0 surplus.

 Corn conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 20 fair, 52 good, and 20 excellent. Corn silking was 94 percent, near 91 last year and equal to the average. Corn dough was 42 percent, well ahead of 13 last year and 32 average.

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

August 1, 2014

Urge EPA to Revise Proposed WOTUS Rule


The National Corn Growers Association is urging all farmers to contact EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy advocating for a revision of the proposed Waters of the U.S. rulemaking. 

As proposed, this rule would significantly expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and would only further muddy the waters for farmers seeking clarity as to what is and what is not subject to federal regulation.

NCGA has many serious concerns regarding the impact the proposed rule could have on U.S. farmers.  NCGA's concerns fall into four main areas:

  1. Farmers will face tremendous uncertainty because of the way the rule defines what is a tributary and what is an adjacent water subject to the Clean Water Act. 
  2. The proposed rule represents a significant expansion of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction relative to anything that has ever been covered in a previous rulemaking and contradicts two U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
  3. The vast numbers of ditches that would be subject to federal jurisdiction.
  4. Farmers will be required to obtain NPDES permits or face the threat of citizen action suits challenging the use of fertilizers and pesticides on or near drainage features that are made jurisdictional. 

Click here to take action now.

Read more about WOTUS here, here, here and here: Nebraska Ag Groups Say No to EPA's Water Rule.

July 31, 2014

VIDEO: Kernels of Truth–What are GMOs?


There’s a little acronym floating around: G-M-O.

It stands for Genetically Modified Organism. A big name for a common practice in crop production.

What is is? There are several terms associated with it: GM, biotechnology, genetic engineering, hybrids, Bt.  These terms are used interchangeably with the practice of incorporating favorable traits into the DNA of plants like corn and soybeans.

In fact, you can get a quick glimpse into GMOs explained in easy terms in this Kernels of Truth – What are GMOs? video by Nebraska Corn intern, Matt Perlinger. Enjoy and please pass it on!

July 30, 2014

Podcast: Don Hutchens reflects on 27 years

In this podcast, Don Hutchens reflects on the past 27 years of programs carried out by the Nebraska Corn Board under his charge as executive director. This week marks Don's last week as executive director and we are celebrating all of the achievements that Don has worked so hard for, on behalf of 23,000 corn farmers, in the past 27 years.

Many of Don's achievements, highlights and unfinished business were outlined in the summer CornsTalk, but please take a moment to listen to his podcast now and help us in thanking Don for his dedication to the corn industry!

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

July 29, 2014

Washington, D.C. & ag community in D.C. is a truly distinct place

By Morgan Nelson, NCGA-DC intern, Masters of Public Service and Administration Candidate at the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M, Legal Studies graduate from Chadron State College
Morgan Nelson, NCGA-DC

Time flies while you’re having fun! The saying may be cliché, but it proves true time and time again.  This is my final week in DC and I can hardly believe it.

A couple of weeks ago, Corn Congress lived up to all of the stories I’ve heard from coworkers, former interns, and friends.  It was fantastic to see a grower-led organization make policy decisions, collect information, and act as a democratic body.  For a government nerd like me, it was a truly fantastic thing to witness.  It was great to meet the group from Nebraska and participate in the Public Policy Action Team.  I also got to meet my St. Louis counterpart (Joe Conrad) and have some great conversations about the summer and politics in general.

Washington D.C. is a truly distinct place, and the same can be said for the Ag Community in D.C.  All summer I’ve kept contact with interns from Ag organizations, between hearings and the intern lunch series we’ve maintained, I’ve experienced firsthand the true camaraderie within the Ag community in D.C.  Most news of D.C. consists of polarity, lack of cooperation, and dissatisfaction. I’m proud to report that while Washington D.C. appears to get nothing done, the organizations interacting with The Hill work tirelessly and put in extensive hours to ensure that things do get accomplished.  Where would we be without industry and shareholder input?

capitol  CornCongress

SmithThe Nebraska Corn Board has a truly fantastic program, one that contributes both to the individuals it hosts and the state as a whole.  Professional experience and gaining a world perspective doesn’t occur for Nebraska’s young professionals without investment and mentorship.  Bryan Brower (USGC intern) and I have had a great summer working together and we even got to meet Senator Johanns and Congressman Smith during our Corn Congress duties.

Flying to Nebraska is great not only because I’ll be headed home, but I’ve got a theory that Nebraska bound flights are consistently the nicest flights I take (in terms of people, airports can be rough!).  Between the red clothes (go big red!) and the friendly folks I always end up sitting by, I’ve concluded that “Midwest Nice” isn’t a myth.

It’s been a truly fantastic summer, one that I couldn’t have accomplished without the NE staff, NCGA DC staff, and last but not least my family.  Look out Nebraska, I’m coming back!