August 17, 2017

Stages of Growth: Growing

"Knee high by the Fourth of July"

A saying that is often heard in Nebraska as state residents talk about the beautiful green corn fields they drive past on a daily basis. While we are celebrating the Fourth of July and enjoying our summers, corn is busy growing.

Rapid Growth and Dry Matter Accumulation (V10 to V17)

After corn has surpassed the emergence stages they move on to the rapid growth and dry matter accumulation. This includes V10 to V17. During these stages it is vital that plant stress is reduced. Management and climate both effect the growth of a corn plant. Ideally, adequate nutrient levels and a proper climate will help maximize the potential yield grades.

  • V10 Stage
    • This stage can be identified by 10 leaves, elongated stalk and the tassel begins to rapidly grow.
  • V11-V15 Stage
    • These stages are bringing the corn plant closer to pollination. This means that soil moisture and nutrient availability are extremely important. Also during this time kernel row determination is almost complete. 
Pollination (V18 to R1)

Finally, nine to 10 weeks after corn emergence the corn plant begins pollination. Again, in this stage it is important to monitor moisture and heat stress. If these stressors occur this could led to loss of entire ears or barren tips, decreasing yields. 
  • VT Stage
    • Stage VT is all about the tassel. This begins when the last branch of the tassel is visible, but the silks have not emerged. Tassels normally appear two to three days before silk emergence. 
  • R1 Stage
    • Stage R1 is all about the silks. This stage begins when the silk is visible outside the husk. This helps with pollination. 
Grain Fill (R2 to R6)

We have finally reached the last stages of growth. The intentions of growth shift from vegetative growth to reproductive growth. We have already determine the number of kernels by this point, so at this time we determine the size of the kernels. At this point we are also not out of the woods. Corn can still be killed or yields damaged. 
  • R2 Stage
    • The kernel is white and shaped like a blister. 
  • R3 Stage
    • The silks are brown, the kernel is yellow and the dry matter accumulation occurs very quickly. 
  • R4 Stage
    • This is 24 to 28 days after silking and the starch levels of the kernel begin to increase. The kernel has accumulated half of its total dry weight. 
  • R5 Stage
    • The kernels begin to dry down from the top of the kernel toward the cob. This less to a dent on the top of the kernel. 
  • R6 Stage
    • This is it, this is the last stage of growth. The kernel continues to gain weight until maturity occurs. Kernel moisture ideally ends at 30 to 35 percent. 

August 11, 2017

10 Things on “Interning”

Corn is at full growth. Calves are about to be weaned. And everyone is starting to say the words, “Are you ready for your senior year?” I’m only making observations (through telephone calls and snapchats because being surrounded by the city of D.C. doesn’t yield those things I might add), but I think my summer internship is ending...

We, as interns in every aspect, are wrapping up our summers reflecting and thinking about our experience these past couple months, and even more about our future. Working for the U.S. Grains Council this summer was a totally different summer I have been used to, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. To wrap it up, I’m compelled to make a straightforward guide to what are great things to know and learn from in any internship, tailored to students who may not have had an internship before and may want some expectations. They rest of us can relate:

1. Don’t make assumptions
Sure, we all read up on the company, or talk to past interns. But when the rubber meets the road, the internship programming is changing on the company's end to tailor the needs of that specific moment. Be ready for changes and open to any experience we get exposed to.

2. We are there to learn
Believe me, coming from a man that is used to being outside all day with ranching responsibilities, it’s expected to be a learning curve when taking an internship that is completely different than what we are used to. Plus, we wouldn’t apply for college credits for the internship if this wasn’t the case.

3. Show up to work (as a verb)
Want a job? A reference? Or work that is more meaningful? Prove that you deserve those things.

4. It’s okay to ask for time off...for experiences
I was new to this one. Understand that the employers probably have made an internship position at their place of work because they believe in the learning objective. This is more inclusive to DC internships, as I can’t express enough on how many lunches and social networking events there are for interns in the Capitol City.

5. Take advantage of new locations
There is no better time to travel than when we are young. Experiencing another culture and geographic location, while having the time and energy to explore is perfect. The Nebraska Corn Board is a great example of a way to make this happen with their internships they facilitate in places like Central America, Mexico, Colorado, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.!

6. With involved socially
Yes, I know Netflix just bolstered their series lineup, but it will still be there when we return. How often in our lives do we get the opportunity to start a new original friend group that can allow our minds to think differently and grow our network of friends across the country? Take advantage of that ability.

7. Be ready to eat a lot of ham sandwiches
Nothing is more appetizing than eating a sandwich you made early that same morning, knowing it cost you about 50 cents for the whole thing. Especially when you are living in the district that is known for any prepared meal costing an arm and a leg.

8. Don’t get caught going through the motions
If we find ourselves in a stage of being comfortable or not learning anything, what is the credit? It’s good to settle in and be productive, but we shouldn’t settle for the “past” to be only place we learn.

9. Quality over Quantity on professional relationships 
Jack of all trades, master of none. Finding those meaningful and genuine relationships that we can lean on for our careers and advice goes a long ways. Yes, it’s good to broaden the scope of choices, but when it comes down to it, and if we know what path we want to take in our lives and careers, appreciate the quality of a few.

10. Be thankful 
Think about it. A majority of companies, when supplying an internship experience, put time and effort in training for the experience. In return, they get an employee they invested in leaving after ten weeks. Let’s say the internship was good, they would hope that we will return later down the road or give a return in some aspect on the investment. Being thankful for the opportunity, working hard on the job, and providing some sort of return on their investment is the least we can do.

I have an immense appreciation for the company and staff of the U.S. Grains Council. They gave this Rancher their trust, insights, and friendship, while allowing me to work alongside the global programs staff in planning and marketing U.S. Commodities. Planning and escorting the Japanese trade team through my home state of Nebraska may of been a highlight (and once in a lifetime internship experience), but it was only one of the many neat things I was able to be a part of, here at the world headquarters.

And to Nebraska Corn, I can’t think of another opportunity that is as genuine or perfect for an agriculturalist wanting to explore and grow themselves. Thank you. If you have interest in international agricultural policy and trade, and want to spend the summer in our nation’s capitol. Contact Nebraska Corn this coming fall!

David Schuler
Global Programs Intern
U.S. Grains Council
(202) 789-0789 Ext. 711

August 8, 2017


As I wrapped up the last few weeks of my internship and moved back to Lincoln, I reflected on how quickly this summer has gone. There has been so many things to learn here at NCGA. There is no way I could learn about everything the organization does in just 10 weeks. The last few weeks of my internship have been filled with wrapping up projects in the office and traveling to Corn Congress in Washington D.C.

I had the opportunity to visit communication organizations outside of the office to learn about different aspects of the communications industry. While still in St. Louis I visited the Osborne Barr office, an agricultural communications agency. They have many clients including NCGA, the National Soybean Board, Monsanto, Morton Buildings, and many others. I learned about different projects they do for these organizations. In Washington D.C., I continued my learning by going on a tour of the Washington Post. This was a great experience to learn how WP is incorporating new technology into the way they share news to keep it relevant even as print newspapers become a thing of the past in a tech savvy world.

Corn Congress was an amazing way for me to expand my understanding of the organizational structure of NCGA and my knowledge of corn. I spent time in meetings with the Freedom to Operate Action team. This team focuses on government policy and other items that affect farmer’s access to new biotechnology, pesticides, and other technology that makes corn operations more profitable and sustainable. I learned about the development process for new biotechnology products and the regulation process after it is developed, both in the Untied States and abroad. I also enjoyed attending Corn Congress sessions where delegates voted on resolutions to add to the policy book and attended to other business. It was interesting for me to learn about the priorities of corn farmers and what they think is important to include as a national policy. While in D.C. I also got to visit some Nebraska Congressmen, meet staff from some national ethanol organizations, and listen to a speech from the Ambassador of Mexico to the Untied States on his opinion and work on NAFTA renegotiations.

While wrapping up my time in St. Louis I attended a Cardinals baseball game, enjoyed a giant Fourth of July celebration in Forest Park, and visited some beautiful state parks south of the city including my favorite, Elephant Rocks State Park. While in D.C. I did some sightseeing including some stops on the National Mall and a stop outside the White House to watch some street performers. The White House was only a few blocks from our hotel!

This summer has been a truly wonderful experience for me to learn how a national organization works and experience living in a big city for the first time. It has helped me to determine what I want to do after graduation from college and to discover some things I don’t want to do as a career. I am thankful for the caring individuals I worked with and the passionate farmers I met during my time at NCGA.

Renae Sieck
National Corn Growers Association,
National Office 632 Cepi Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Office: 636.733.9004

August 7, 2017

Busy in the Nebraska Corn Growers Office

This past month has been extremely busy in the Nebraska Corn Growers office. It started off with our last American Ethanol Promo at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood. Austin Dillon, an American Professional Stock Car driver even had one of his show cars at the race! This race also included a money grab and a Bill Wrich Tribute which brought in a lot of fans. This allowed for more opportunities to talk with consumers about Ethanol and how people are already using it every time they fill up at the pump!

After the race promos ended for the season, we started right back up again but this time at the ball park. In the middle of July, Catherine, Nikki, and I went to Ag Night at Werner Park. We had a booth where we set up the spinning wheel, asked fun trivia questions and gave away prizes. I am pretty sure it was on the warmest day of the year, but it was also bark in the park so the dogs made the heat a little more tolerable. While at Ag Night I had the opportunity to speak with adults about Nebraska Corn. It was neat to see how interested some people were. Many consumers think Nebraska producers only grow sweet corn for consumers for farmers markets and grocery stores. Although that is true to some extent the majority of corn produced in Nebraska is field corn, which is used for livestock, ethanol, and other byproducts. In fact, sweet corn production remains quite small, less than 1% of acres in Nebraska produce sweet corn. I also talked with farm families from Wisconsin and Illinois.

The Corn Grower Open was this past week in Kearney at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course. We had a great turnout with 111 golfers and many different sponsors. We started in May contacting agriculture businesses to sponsor the 7th annual Corn Grower Open. I was excited to see all of our hard work finally come together. While at the tournament I had the opportunity to meet several corn growers and get to know our sponsors a little bit more.

It has been a busy summer here in the office, however I have been able to do other things as well. At the end of June, I took a week off to volunteer at the National 4-H Shooting Sports that is held annually in Grand Island, NE. There were over 700 4-H competitors from 36 different states. This was my 6th year volunteering. Each year is like a big “family reunion” with the volunteers and range officers that I’ve met over the years, so I couldn’t miss it. I have had the opportunity to spend a few days on the lake and river with my friends and family. This past weekend I went to Lake Okoboji for the first time. It was as great as promised! Also coming up is the Seward County Fair (my home town). The saying “once a 4-Her, always a volunteer” is very true to me. Now that I am a 4-H alumni I was asked to come back as the photography superintendent. So I will be spending a few days at my county fair but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am looking forward to the coming fall events including Frog Fest, August 19th and Husker Harvest Days, September 12-14th.

This Isn’t Ketchup…

I was mortified the day I first tried ketchup in Mexico. The moment the “catsup” landed on my very American burger, I knew something was wrong. There was a translucent (possibly glowing) liquid running over the edge. The mixture tasted sweet, even sweeter than the ketchup back home… and it wasn’t very tomato-y. What I was tasting seemed more like a sweet and sour sauce from a Chinese restaurant than my beloved American ketchup. I began questioning a society that would alter my beloved condiment.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I’m spending time with Mexican and Spanish friends. One of my amigos from Mexico grew very serious and requested permission to ask a question. I, of course, said go for it expecting some inquiry about American politics or why so many of us are “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Instead, he asked bluntly “Do you like Taco Bell?”. I laughed at this as I recalled late-night Taco Bell trips during high school. So, I responded to my friend “Yes, I try not to eat it all the time, but I think it’s delicious” (and better than Amigos, sorry Lincoln friends). He looked at me appalled and went on a rant about how terrible and far-off Taco Bell was from Mexican food. And he’s right. It is a delicious abomination of Mexican food. It’s wrong, but it’s right.

I’ve thought about the parallels between my ketchup and his Taco Bell experience. All cultures have their unique aspects, whether it’s differences in taste pallets, religious beliefs, age at when people get married (or if they choose to at all). When living in or working with another culture, it’s important to note these … almost with a scientific lens. But to abhor every difference makes for a miserable life and complicates business negotiations. The happiest I’ve been in Mexico is when I’ve changed my mindset from thinking “This is not how we do it in America” to looking for what is great about the Mexican way of life. And as my time here winds down, I’m beginning to realize there

is a lot I’ll miss about Mexican culture: the abundance of mom and pop shops, the importance of family, siestas and fiestas, and most of all, salsas. I already asked for recipes in-advance because Nebraska’s selection of salsas is a sad excuse for the magical manna here.

When I return to the U.S., I plan to make homemade salsa. I’ll likely keep some Mexican phrases like “Que fresa” and prefer larger lunches. These pieces of Mexican life will mix with my already established norms and create my own cultural stew. In a way, this is rather American - we are the “melting pot” nation after all.

 Stephen Enke
 U.S Grains Council
Jaime Balmes No. 8-602 "C" Col.
 Los Morales Polanco Mexico, D.F., Mexico 11510
 Office: 011-52-55-5282-0244

July 28, 2017

Oh the Places U.S. Meat Will Go!

When hosting a dinner party my mother taught me that it is important to be warm and welcoming and to always have a clean home. She emphasized that what makes a dinner party successful is for guests to have good conversation and to provide them a delicious meal. Fortunate for me, the U.S. Meat Export Federation office is very similar to this kind of system, where hospitality is key and hard work is rewarded. There are always guests coming and going, whether it be a foreign Ambassador from Ecuador, a team of 30 Japanese businessmen visiting the United States to learn more about our beef, or a guest from Washington D.C. coming to discuss NAFTA (yes, these are all real examples)! Every day brings new challenges and a chance to interact with people around the country as well as around the world. This is why it is key to always be warm and welcoming, to engage in conversation, and to always—always enjoy a great meal of U.S. raised beef, pork, or lamb with excellent company!

In June, I had the opportunity to travel with a trade team from Mexico and Central America. The team came to the United States to interact with pork processors and learn about U.S. pork. The trade team consisted of ten representatives from many companies in Mexico and various countries throughout Central America, along with three international USMEF staff, myself, and a colleague from the Denver office. We had several fun dinners, toured processing plants, and even took a day trip to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Some highlights include, touring the Tyson pork plant in Storm Lake, Iowa, attending the annual International Dinner hosted by the Iowa Economic Development at Wassenaar Farms, and riding in a limousine style bus jamming to Spanish music throughout Iowa. There were 200 guests at the International Dinner with representatives from every continent and dozens of countries (excluding Antarctica of course). Thankfully, I became good friends with our interpreter who helped exchange questions between myself and the group, and taught me various cultural difference, such as kissing on the cheek whenever greeting someone. My experience with the trade team was a highlight of my summer!

Throughout June and July many international and domestic groups have visited Denver. Our responsibility is to grow a strong relationship and provide information on why they should either purchase U.S. meat or become a member of USMEF and reap the benefits of trade. I have sat in on many meetings with groups from around the world, all coming to learn about our protein and why it is the best—of course I am very biased towards our U.S. product! Some presentations include projections on how much pork will be exported in the future, benefits of branded beef programs, and opening new markets. Fun fact: growth in red meat exports is projected to increase by 26% from 2016-2025, that is why I am so excited to be a moving part to make that happen! The promise of trade and growth will benefit the entire agriculture industry and grow our economy.

Recently, I visited the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association here in Denver and assisted a presentation to the Kentucky Cattlemen Association. My supervisor, John Hinners, spoke with the group on the Asian market, particularly Japan and South Korea where a large sum of Kentucky beef is sent. He discussed various types of product and cuts they prefer and where they are sold in those specific markets. Both, USMEF and NCBA work closely and have a strong partnership to promote beef.

Even though we are all business throughout the week, after hours every Thursday evening the office comes together to play softball in a recreational league here in Denver. Our team is called the “Grand Hams” and we all have a blast playing. I won’t tell you our record because it is slightly embarrassing, but this is the first year we have competed in a league, so cut us some slack! I have never played softball so it has been a learning experience! During one close game I was up at bat, the pitcher yelled for everyone in the outfield to move up (again I will stress my lack of softball skills), he pitched the ball and I swung, it shot down the first base line. It went by the first basemen and he and the right fielder were scrambling to get the ball. Meanwhile, I made it all the way to third! We were all tied up, 9 to 9. My teammate up at bat after me hit the ball and I finished the home stretch making the score 10 to 9! We won that game and I was voted MVP, which was the highpoint of my softball experience thus far.

Michaela Clowser
U.S. Meat Export Federation
1660 Lincoln Street, Suite 2800
Denver, CO 80254
Office: 303.623.MEAT

July 27, 2017

Policy, Painters, and Soft-Pop Artists

July means a couple things in NCGA’s Washington office-- one, Corn Congress is rapidly approaching and two, August recess is near. Corn Congress has been a highlight of the summer. I was able to dabble in some graphic design and develop the templates for this year’s one-pagers, I emailed and called member offices to organize Hill visits, and more importantly, I finally met many of our grower members. One of them, Chip Bowling, graciously invited our staff out to his farm (as is tradition), and exposed me to my first Crab Fest. I gained a new appreciation for the price tag next to crab. It was tedious work for a small harvest, but oh did it taste good.

With August recess nearing, activity on the Hill is starting to wind down. However, trade policy is still on my radar, and that of other Ag groups in town. I attended my third NAFTA hearing of the summer today, and listened to testimonies from grain, dairy, poultry, beef, oilseed, fruit, and vegetables, about what the renegotiation means to their industries. Ag groups have been united behind the policy of “do no harm”, one that has been conveyed strongly to Congress; however, trade barriers are still present for some industries, and everyone is going to be pushing for a seat at the table as negotiations get underway.

In my time away from the office, I’ve made some new friends. Some of you may know them, some may not-- their names are Rothko, Bennet Newman, and Ed Sheeran. Rothko and Newman are men of few words. We met recently at the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, the gallery’s contemporary section. I’m a huge fan of contemporary art. I love the color, design, expansive canvases, and the relaxation of spending a couple hours wandering through the galleries. If you’re having a hard time relating to me right now, I do, for the record, enjoy Terry Redlin’s works as well. (I highly recommend making the trip to Watertown, SD and visiting the museum there with his pieces.) Sheeran is the more vocal one of the trio, and has been a huge supporter in my efforts to run and exercise more this summer. Spotify has allowed us to have a close knit relationship, and for that I am thankful.

Despite being in a city that never sleeps, it’s been great taking a little more time for myself. If you’ve felt a little spread thin, stressed, or overwhelmed lately, perhaps take a little break from the politics and spend a little more time with some painters, or soft-pop artists. They’ve been good friends to me, and I hope they can be to you too!

Jacy Spencer
National Corn Growers Association
Washington D.C. Office
20 F Street NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20001
Office: 202-628-7001

July 26, 2017

The U.S. Grains Council in Action

It’s been quite the busy summer here at the Council.

In my first update, I spoke of just getting started and giving an overview of what was to come. Now, we are right in the thick of it. My main project for my internship with the U.S. Grains Council was to plan and execute Japanese Ethanol Media Team programming through our great state of Nebraska. Our mission was to share the recent strides of efficiencies and production of ethanol to our guest from Japan, who are journalists for the Japanese public. Currently, American ethanol is not being exported to Japan. But with our work at the U.S. Grains Council, numerous agriculture groups, we may see that change. Informing the media of Japan of our great product will help consumer perception overseas moving forward as well.

With weeks of planning stops, agendas, itineraries, logistics, and oh so much paperwork, the trip was set. I was fortunate enough to be the guide for the team, as we visited numerous farm industries across the eastern side of Nebraska for the week. We saw the entire process of ethanol production. From the family farms that grow the corn, to plants that produce the ethanol, to the feedlot that feeds Distillers Grains from the byproduct of making ethanol. Our guests saw how much ethanol production is intertwined in our rural Nebraska community and economy, and the numerous benefits of corn ethanol production. With true confidence, I think they will have good things to say about ethanol (and I may be biased, and our superior state of Nebraska) when they return back home. This experience made the internship a full circle of learning, doing, and executing. I am thankful for the opportunity.

The fun didn’t stop there! This last week, Corn Congress was in town. Seeing the Nebraska Delegation, Leadership Team, and many more familiar faces from Nebraska and across the country was a cherry on top for this experience. We must realize in our college years that acquiring new networks and connections is great, but revisiting and deepening connections already made are just as genuine, and in some cases, more rewarding. I also appreciate there are things called “Corn Congress” and events such as “Cornfest” in D.C. Some of the local residents I have got know chuckle and think I’m kidding when I say those words, but myself and other Nebraska Residents don’t even bat and eye.

The D.C. life has been still breathtaking. Getting to know this historic city has been a blessing. Every weekend, there is always another museum to explore or an adventure that needs to be taken. I road tripped to Monticello during the 4th of July weekend and saw where Thomas Jefferson lived and studied many new agricultural practices. Which I would have never known where it was or learned the history of one of my favorite presidents without being in D.C.

I’m nearing the end of my internship with the U.S. Grains Council, and the reality of returning to Nebraska and collegiate responsibilities is coming fast. I look forward to maintaining present here in D.C. and taking in all relationships and experiences I have left in this city. So far, it’s exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to continuing to contribute on the global programs team. Arigato! (Thank you in Japanese)

David Schuler
Global Programs Intern
U.S. Grains Council
(202) 789-0789 Ext. 711

July 17, 2017

Japanese Bioethanol Media Team Experiences the Good Life

Japanese Bioethanol Media Trade Team Experiences the Good Life
July 12, 2017

This past week, a Japanese Bioethanol Media Team got to experience the “Good Life” here in Nebraska. I was fortunate enough to ride along with the team one for the days. It was a great learning experience! The U.S. Grains Council worked with the Nebraska Corn Board to host the delegation and demonstrate the positive impacts of the ethanol industry in Nebraska.

The team consisted of delegates that were media professionals, university professors and a microbiologist. Tommy Hanamoto, a Director for the U.S. Grains Council selected these delegates because of their ability to influence their communities.

Currently, Japan is not using corn ethanol. The Japanese government has only allowed Brazilian sugarcane as a biofuel option because of its high greenhouse gas reduction capabilities. However, the Japanese government leaders are looking to revise the policy and use corn ethanol in the future. This team was here to learn and then return home to provide industry data to the public and government officials.

Tommy said, “Our main focus is to get them really educated and broaden their understanding,” said Hanamoto.

David Schuler, an intern with the U.S. Grains Council was also part
of this tour. He is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, grew up on a farm in Nebraska and was a part of planning this trip.

“Being a citizen from Nebraska, I am excited to work for the U.S. Grains Council this summer and specifically to show our Japanese media team the numerous benefits of American Ethanol with Nebraska based companies,” said Schuler.

It is exciting to see young adults involved in these discussions about ethanol, trade and the future. The diversity of minds and ideas are what make it possible for this industry to constantly improve. David worked with Nebraska Corn Board staff to plan a variety of visits that would answer questions and make clear how corn, ethanol and distillers grains benefit our communities in many different ways.

The day started with a great question and answer series at Green Plains headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. The team was able to see the ethanol trade floor and learn the ins and outs of the company. It was great to see the team’s excitement as Jim Stark, vice president, and Brandon Thomas, trader, shared how the value of this product has been realized.

Jim shared with the group that the world will experience a protein and octane shortage in the future.

The team visited Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson, Nebraska. This plant recently celebrated its 10 years. Seven hundred investors in the area own the plant, and they have each made good on their investment by supporting ethanol, producing corn and using distillers grains.

Nick Bowdish, CEO of Siouxland Ethanol told the media team that he is looking for the headline to read, “we should buy U.S. ethanol” when the delegation returns to Japan. This brought many smiles and laughter to the conference room.

Time spent at Siouxland was filled with great conversations about how ethanol started, where it is going, its efficiencies, challenges and many statistics. What made these discussions so great was that everyone had a personal investment. The trade team wants what is best for their country and the Nebraska producers were sharing their personal experiences and successes from working with ethanol.

In addition to the roundtable discussion, the team was shown the plant facilities. The trip around the plant showed the trade team how field corn can be used in so many different ways, making the most out of a bushel, all while helping the environment and providing jobs.

We left the plant and headed to Jackson Express, a gas station that uses ethanol directly from Siouxland Ethanol.

“Ethanol is a superior fuel,” said Bowdish. Now, the team was able to see it at the pump, how it is blended and why it appeals to consumers.

Another stop made was at Alexander Feedlots. The team had seen the business of ethanol, the plant, a fueling station and now a feedlot using distillers grains. Alexander Feedlots had a great family history and stories that had everyone’s attention on the bus. The farm had been destroyed by a tornado, was completely rebuilt and is still going as strong today as it was in the 1940s when it started.

This feedlot used Siouxland Ethanol distillers grains so it was a great tie into the rest of the day and the team was able to experience the great smell of Feedlot that Nebraskans are all too familiar with.

This is a review of just one day of their visit. By the end of this day it was clear that ethanol is a standard commodity and is valued just as much as any other, if not more.

Time Fly's When You're Having Fun

July is half way over and there is about a month till school starts. I cannot believe how fast the summer is flying by, but I guess that is what they say… “Time fly’s when you’re having fun.”

My summer has been filled with laughter and learning, what else could I ask for? When I started, everyone kept telling me that I would meet so many people and that I would be working with a great group of people. I underestimated how true that would be. I have been busy doing a variety of different jobs over the past month.

Board Member Visits 
I have been able to get out to board member John Greer and David Bruntz’s place since my last blog. John represents district two and lives in Edgar, Nebraska. David represents district one and lives in Friend, Nebraska. Both are places I had never been and it was great to visit! Nebraska is beautiful and so were these board members farms. It was great to hear their stories and I look forward to sharing them with the Nebraska Corn Board audience. I am so glad that I chose to do this as a project. I have loved meeting all of the board members and seeing more of the state that I grew up in. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the board members!

Greenwood I-80 
This was my fourth ethanol night at the races and it was probably my favorite! My family came to check out what I get to do for work and others from the office decided to visit as well. The night was a success, all of the giveaways we had brought had been given away and I had talked to numerous people about American ethanol! That was the last Ethanol Night at the Races and I am sad that it is over, but it was a wonderful experience. This was the best way for me to learn about ethanol because I got to talk to others about it and answer their questions. On top of the great people and conversations, Greenwood I-80 is home of the state’s best pork tenderloin sandwich, a title it absolutely deserves!

Japanese Bioethanol Media Team 
This is probably one of the best and most unique experiences I have been a part of at the Nebraska Corn Board. I was able to tag along with the Japanese Bioethanol Media Team that visited Nebraska. David Schuler, the intern in D.C. was the one who planned the trip as part of his project. The team was here for a whole week learning about Nebraska corn, ethanol and distillers grains. I was able to go with the team to the Green Plains Headquarters in Omaha where we learned about their ethanol plants and other projects. We then headed out to Jackson, Nebraska to Siouxland Ethanol Plant. I was just as amazed as the team we were with, this was my first time visiting an ethanol plant. It was a wonderful learning experience. Next, the U.S. Grains Council, Nebraska Corn and the team stopped at Jackson Express, the gas station in town. We had followed the corn to the ethanol plant and then to the gas station so our next stop was a feedlot that uses distillers grains. We visited Alexander Feedlots in Pilger, Nebraska. This was also my first time visiting a Feedlot! I have driven by many but, never stopped. So I was learning just as much as the team once again. This was a wonderful opportunity and I am so thankful! While I was riding along I got to put my photography skills to the test and took photos for Nebraska Corn, U.S. Grains Council and the places we visited to use!

NAYI Career Fair
I attended NAYI so when I found out that I would be able to help with it as an intern I was pumped! What made this even more exciting is that when I went to NAYI I heard about the internship I am currently in and was dead-set on applying. It sounded like something that I would love and learn from, and here I am! It was great to share this story with all of the NAYI participants as they visited our booth. It was also fun to be back on campus and see everyone! It was great to be surrounded by all of the positive attitudes and energy that the NAYI members brought. They had great questions and I hope to see some of them apply for these internships in the future. Kurtis and I definitely had the coolest table with fun music and awesome giveaways.

Outside of work I am taking a quick weekend trip to Mt. Rushmore! I have never been before and I am very excited! We are also stopping at Chimney Rock and a few other sites. My roommates and I are going on a trail ride through Custer State park while we are there too! I am ready to go, have a blast and cross this off my bucket list!

I was thinking about how the summer was almost over the other day and was sad for a second, then I remember the office is stuck with me through the school year! Each day I love my job more and more. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

Summer is almost over! Enjoy it while you can!

Catherine Jones
Marketing and Communications Intern
Nebraska Corn Board
301 Centennial Mall So.
Lincoln, NE 68509
Office: 402-471-2676

July 11, 2017

Exploring the World of Corn

The more time I spend at NCGA, the more I am impressed by the collaboration that happens in this organization. States work together. Different commodity organizations and companies share research and ideas. Diverse coalitions tackle solving challenging problems. I could work here for a year instead of just a summer and still not be aware of all the people NCGA works with inside and outside of the agricultural industry. There are always new, innovative ideas being shared and implemented.

A few weeks ago I attended meetings where collaboration was key as state and national staff got together to discuss agriculture nutrient management, water quality, and ethanol. I learned about state programs, government programs, and online tools that promote more sustainable farming and make nutrient management practices more financially feasible for farmers. I also learned about predictions of future market trends, opportunities for new markets for ethanol, government ethanol policy, coalitions, fuel pump infrastructure, and the health benefits of ethanol versus gasoline. As part of these meetings we toured research farms that were studying different nutrient management practices. We also visited the Funk Prairie Home museum which is a restored 1864 farm house on one of the first corn farms in Illinois.

The main project I am working on this summer is a social media campaign. This project has given me the opportunity to learn about different NCGA programs. Of course, I also learned about growing corn and some unique uses for corn. Like the National Corn Growers Association Facebook page to see some of my posts!

My work learning about communicating with consumers has reached farther than my social media project. I have seen examples of ways to teach agriculture in schools, have witnessed the beginning of a successful consumer engagement campaign, and have seen how agricultural communicators are planning ahead to explain new technology to consumers in the future.

Weekends in the city have lead me to the top of the Arch, into an art museum, to a museum of sculptures that double as a playground, and to a musical at the oldest outdoor theater in the country. I have eaten the most delicious Italian food, gelato, and barbeque I have ever tasted. I have also discovered a love for some regional favorites like fried ravioli and gooey butter cake. So far my time in St. Louis with NCGA has been full of learning and fun. I look forward to continuing to explore the world of corn.

Renae Sieck
National Corn Growers Association, National Office
632 Cepi Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Office: 636.733.9004

June 28, 2017

A Mile in my Shoes, or Seven

Some of you may know that most people in D.C. don’t drive and that most interns, myself being included, don’t bring our cars for the summer. At home we measure most things in minutes, rather than miles (a trusty measurement) and one hour, four, you name it—we’ll drive it. Rewind to June 3, my first day in the District, and I was missing my car within 24 hours. I bet I covered 7-8 miles my first full day in town, and my calves and legs were killing me. I don’t really know what point I am trying to make, but as much as I’ve missed the flexibility (and physical relief) that my car lends me, public transportation has its perks too. When it comes to work, I walk a quick 6 minutes to hop on the bus and after 15 minutes am dropped off right next to the office. No wasted time parking or paying for parking, and I’m free to go about my work day.

Lately with the NCGA I’ve been trying to keep track of the priority policy issues which includes keeping pace with Sam Willet on the Farm Bill and keeping issues of trade and research on my radar. My first week I attended a House Ag hearing on food aid and international development. After 2.5 hours of sitting, frantically writing notes and pulling up faces of Congressmen on my phone playing a matching game, I was affirmed that I am in the right place. Despite the length, the hearing moved quickly for me and I enjoyed listening to the bipartisan conversation around food aid and the importance of assisting other nations. If you’re a reader, I really enjoyed reading through a report released by the Farm Journal Foundation titled Enhancing United States Efforts to Develop Sustainable Agri-Food Systems in Africa. One of the contributors, T.S Jayne, testified at the hearing and pulled many of his points from this report.

When not at work, I’m back to burning through the soles of my shoes and exploring the District. Highlights so far have been the Congressional baseball game and Nat’s game (really just there for the sunshine), walking the National Mall, taking advantage of free bluegrass music in the park along the Potomac river, attending the 25th Giant National Capital BBQ Battle and arriving home to our dear “stray” cat (it has a collar, not sure about the owners) that hangs out on our steps. There’s much to do here, and in the meantime before my next blog post, we are in full planning mode for Corn Congress in July. (Excited to have some of you here!)

All for now!

Jacy Spencer
National Corn Growers Association, Washington D.C. Office
20 F Street NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20001
Office: 202-628-7001

June 22, 2017

CornsTalk: What Happens When Trade Agreements are Renegotiated?

U.S. agricultural exports have been larger than U.S. agricultural imports since 1960, generating a surplus in U.S. agricultural trade. This surplus helps counter the persistent deficit in non-agricultural U.S. merchandise trade. 

At the same time, leaders in Washington, D.C. have made trade a hot topic as they propose to rethink America’s current trade agreements and participation in trade talks.

Chris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, said there is some value in taking a second look at trade agreements to ensure that the U.S. is getting a fair shake. But there is a downside, especially when it comes to breaking apart multilateral agreements involving several countries and, instead, negotiating one-on-one with individual nations.

 “You’re more or less going back to Ground Zero, but now, instead of one negotiation, you have a dozen or more,” said Novak. “History has shown us that these negotiations are not something you can hammer out overnight. It can take three to five years or more—even with a bilateral deal.” 

Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council agrees. “You can’t use the words ‘fast’ and ‘trade agreements’ in a sentence at the same time,” he said. 
In the meantime, the U.S. stands the risk of losing valuable market share. “Not having trade agreements in place is going to provide an advantage for many of our competitors during a time when we’re fighting for access to every bushel of demand here at home and around the globe,” Novak added.

“If the U.S. is not part of a trade agreement, somebody else will fill that vacuum,” said Sleight. “A great example is the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) that the U.S. recently decided to exit. Obviously, China wants to fill that void with their own version of TPP and capture that rapidly growing market in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim.” 

Q: If we don’t have a trade agreement in place, can we still sell ag products to other countries? 

A: Not having a trade agreement in place does not totally shut out the U.S. from doing business with a nation. But if there is no trade agreement, countries can establish quotas on the amount of product they import from any single country or impose duties and tariffs. If the U.S. has to pay a duty or tariff to ship its corn into a country—and a competitor such as Brazil, for example, does not—that puts the U.S. at a price disadvantage.

 To read more about trade in Nebraska click here to view the whole Spring 2017 CornsTalk publication.