After a few years of record corn prices, this year we saw the markets pull back to prices that are very close to the cost of production. It's times such as these that your corn checkoff matters most. When it gets cold outside, you don't turn down the furnace. You keep the heat on—and that's what your corn checkoff investment is doing. We're staying the course with research, market development, promotion and educational initiatives focused on building demand for the corn you grow.
With 2014 coming to an end and the new year upon us, there is no better time to reflect on a few highlights of Nebraska Corn Board activity over the last year…
Standing up for the RFS: Part of our job is keeping you apprised of the opportunity and necessity to make your voice heard. At the beginning of 2014, some 6,000 Nebraska farmers and ethanol advocates submitted comment on the EPA's proposed changes in the Renewable Fuel Standard—and, while the EPA has currently decided to not decide on the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) until 2015, it's pretty clear that they are reconsidering their position. Similar comment has been solicited for EPA's proposed Waters of the U.S rule (WOTUS).
Education and Outreach: The Nebraska Corn Board was the first group to step up with funding for the Raising Nebraska experience at the Nebraska State Fair. Raising Nebraska is an interactive experience like no other. From science and innovation, to community and culture, and even the global economy, Nebraska’s agricultural experience touches everyone. Through this incredible 25,000-foot interactive exhibit, you actually become part of it – in ways you never imagined and that you’ll never forget. Recently, this outstanding consumer education exhibit took top honors in two categories at the International Association of Fairs & Exhibits awards competition. We've also funded ethanol pump promotions, published our consumer-focused Cornstalk insert in Nebraska newspapers, and helped Nebraskans understand the value of flex fuel vehicles.
Corn Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: The Nebraska Corn Board has made a $2.0 million commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation to establish the permanently endowed Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair faculty position. The endowment will provide annual support to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) for research and development related to enhancing the value of Nebraska corn. This is a significant investment focused on the long-term future for Nebraska corn farmers.
Nebraska Corn: We have done a lot of work this last year to strengthen and better align the two organizations that represent Nebraska Corn Farmers. Leaders from the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) and the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB ) have been working together to bring even greater strength, efficiency and effectiveness to benefit Nebraska's leading grain commodity and the farmers who grow it. Improved communication, collaboration and joint coordination are expected outcomes as we work to bring the two corn organizations even closer together. It's important to note, however, that each organization has a distinct mission and purpose and those will remain intact. We expect that this collaboration will make both organizations stronger and increase their positive impact on behalf of Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers. Looking forward, NeCGA and NCB leadership will continue to explore new opportunities to join forces for the betterment of Nebraska’s corn industry.
Joint Collaboration: The Nebraska Corn Board collaborated with a number of state and national organizations to amplify the impact of its efforts. In Nebraska, we work closely with the Nebraska Soybean Board, A-FAN, and other livestock and commodity groups to create consumer education programs and improve the position of agriculture in our state. Outside the state, your corn checkoff dollars are supporting the American Ethanol initiative with NASCAR, CommonGround, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, the Corn Farmers Coalition and other consumer outreach efforts. You're also helping fund the international market development activities of the U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation to promote Nebraska corn, ethanol, distillers grains, beef and pork around the world.
Thank you again to all the Nebraska Corn Kernel Readers for your continued support of the Nebraska corn industry. We hope you will join us in 2015 as we continue in our efforts to educate and inform everyone about important agriculture-related news, events and issues taking place in our state, nation and world.
Have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
See you in 2015!