September 30, 2010

Reminder about truck weight exception during harvest

The Nebraska Corn Board, in a news release this week, reminded farmers and those hauling grain and other seasonally harvested products that they do not need a permit to exceed maximum load weights by 15 percent on any tandem axle, group of axles and gross weight. The law also applies to trucks with no more than a single rear axle.

The load weight exception applies only to seasonally harvested products that are moved from the field to storage, market or stockpile or from a stockpile to market or factory up to 70 miles away. Other overweight situations, traveling distances and farmers looking to exceed legal length limits for trucks during harvest require a permit.

To use the exception, the grain or harvested product’s owner or representative of the owner must sign a statement of origin and destination.

The exception does not apply to Interstate highways and farmers must still follow any weight restrictions for bridges and roads posted by local officials.

“The overweight exception helps farmers be more efficient and more quickly move corn, soybeans and other products to market and storage facilities during the busy harvest season,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board. “However, farmers must still follow posted weight restrictions and follow safety guidelines and limits for their specific grain trucks.”

September 28, 2010

Reaching the “Right Audience”: River City Rodeo & Stock Show


The Nebraska Corn Board had a large role with Aksarben’s River City Rodeo & Stock Show this year. This event reaches out to a very urban audience, which is the “right audience” who need to hear agriculture’s story. In doing so, NCB helped sponsor the event, as well as set up two promotional displays, sponsored a wrapped grain trailer displayed in front of the Qwest Center, helped educate over 2,000 third and fourth graders on School Tours, had banners in the livestock and rodeo arenas, and participated in the parade with our promotional trailer.

DSC_0004Carl Sousek  (@farmproud), vice president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and family farmer from Prague, Nebraska, helped educate the third and fourth grade students during the School Tours day. He shared about Nebraska corn production and all of the uses of corn. He also shared some of his personal experiences of farming and the importance of being a family farmer. 

Showing the image of family farmers and how Nebraska farmers are sustaining innovation was important to portray at the River City Rodeo & Stock Show. The Nebraska Corn Board partnered with the Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester to have a grain trailer wrapped with sustaining innovation messages and Nebraska farmer pictures.This trailer was parked in the front apron of the Qwest Center and was very visible to the public walking and driving by.


Two informative displays were also setup inside the second level of the Qwest Center. One in the “Family Farm to Fork” area where we prominently displayed two family farmer messages, and one in the “Sustain Your World” area which hosted our blender pump display and had information about ethanol.

  family farm to fork2family farm to fork sustain your world

We were excited to have our logo largely displayed in the rodeo arena!DSC_0003

The Heritage Parade on Saturday was another way to show the urban audience how farmers are producing more with less. The trailer has already made it to 21 parades this summer and has traveled all over the state to different audiences and events. parade

For more pictures from Aksarben’s River City Rodeo & Stock Show, view our Flickr set.

September 27, 2010

Harvest Beginning Soon

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office, corn condition is rated 58 percent good and 23 percent excellent, above 2009 ratings. Mature corn was at 78 percent, well ahead of 30 percent last year and the 59 average. Corn Harvest was 10 percent complete, ahead of 3 last year and the 7 average.

clip_image002Temperature across the state averaged 4 to 6 degrees above normal in all regions of the state except the North Central and Northeast Districts, which were 1 to 2 degrees above normal. The eastern third of the state received the most rainfall with areas of the Northeast District receiving 2 to 6 inches of precipitation. The Panhandle, Southwest, and South Central Districts were drier and averaged less than .50 inch of precipitation.

 For more, click here to view the Nebraska Corn Board's crop progress update.

clip_image008Nationally, 85 percent of corn is mature, compared to 69 last week and 35 a year ago. For acres harvested, 27 percent is complete, compared to 18 percent last week and 6 last year. The national average is at 15 percent. In terms of overall condition of the corn crop, 19 percent is excellent, 47 percent is good, 21 percent is fair, 9 percent is poor and 4 percent is very poor.

This week's photos, from the Nebraska Corn Board's crop progress set on Flickr, feature photos submitted by the Heartland FFA Chapter (top), Howells Clarkson FFA Chapter (middle), and the Imperial FFA Chapter (bottom).

The top photo shows that harvest is underway for high moisture corn. Corn moisture was between 25%-30%. The corn being harvested here was sent to a local feedlot to be ground up and fed to cattle. The middle photo shows the full ears of corn, ready to be harvested soon.  Below that is the scene of a field up-close and close to harvest.

Podcast: A thank you from Darrin Ihnen to Bob Dickey for his service to farmers

In this podcast, Darrin Ihnen, current president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from South Dakota, takes time to thank Nebraskan Bob Dickey for his years of service to NCGA and to farmers. Dickey's term as chairman of NCGA comes to an end this week when Ihnen moves from president to chairman.

"It takes a special person to be so committed to serving for the good of fellow corn growers for so many years. On behalf of all of them, I thank you, Bob for your commitment and service," Ihnen said.

While Dickey is moving off the NCGA board this week, he will continue serving farmers through is position with the Nebraska Corn Board.

In addition to a message thanking Dickey, Ihnen also encouraged farmers to be safe during harvest.

"Whether driving on the roadways, working around a grain bin or handling an ATV, fall harvest and fieldwork are times to be doubly strict about safety rules. And that goes not only for us more experienced farmers, but for all the youngsters that enjoy helping us do our work," he said.

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

September 24, 2010

Corn growers recognize Dickey for service on national board

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association recognized Bob Dickey today as term as chairman of the National Corn Growers Association comes to an end September 30 – ending a seven-year run on the grassroots organization’s board, where he served as president last year and vice president two years ago.

Bob Dickey
“I believe everyone should support and work to improve the industry in which he or she is making a living,” said Dickey, a farmer from Laurel. “Serving on the NCGA board has been a very rewarding experience and I have many fond memories.”

Alan Tiemann, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, said being involved in a national organization takes a great deal of time and commitment and "we appreciate Bob’s tireless efforts on behalf of farmers in Nebraska and across the country.”

While Dickey's time on NCGA’s board is ending, he will continue to serve farmers as part of the Nebraska Corn Board.

Brandon Hunnicutt, president of NeCGA, said Dickey provided important leadership during his time on NCGA’s board. “We want to thank Bob and all farmers who volunteer to help their state and national organizations,” he said. “Their leadership is what keeps our industry moving forward and ensures that the positive work we do on the farm is recognized in Washington and elsewhere.”

In addition to his service with NCGA, Dickey previously served in leadership roles with the U.S. Grains Council, including as chairman of the organization. In fact, he is one of only two people to have served as chairman of both the NCGA and the Council.

For more, click here.

September 22, 2010

Podcast: Farmers need to respond to VeraSun letter

In this podcast, Larry Mussack, a member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Decatur, talks the letters that the defunct company VeraSun sent to farmers and others recently.

He notes that while NeCGA has posted several helpful informational sheets from the National Corn Growers Association on its website, it is important that growers seek legal council -- and respond to the letter by the deadline.

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

September 20, 2010

Nebraska Corn Board urges farmers, others to keep an eye on safety

The fall harvest season is upon us – and that means more trucks, tractors and other equipment will be traversing typically idyllic rural roadways.

“People driving the roadways need to keep an eye out for agriculture equipment, which is larger, heavier and slower moving than it sometimes appears,” Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, said in a news release. “It only takes a second or two at highway speeds to close the distance between slow moving trucks and equipment, and a collision between a large piece of equipment and a car can be devastating.”

With a good crop expected and a lot of new storage bins put up in the last year or two, the Nebraska Corn Board also encourages farmers to think about grain bin safety and communicate safety rules and procedures to anyone who may be helping load and unload grain.

“There is a real chance of entrapment in a grain bin; it only takes grain up to your knees to be trapped, and the situation can deteriorate rapidly,” Hutchens said.

This week (Sept. 19-25) is recognized as National Farm Safety & Health Week. This year’s theme is “ATVs: Work Smart. Ride Safe.

While ATVs are an incredibly useful tool around the farm, Hutchens said, they are also one of the most dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there were 410 deaths related to ATV use and more than 135,000 injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2008.

“ATVs should be considered another piece of equipment on the farm, another tool to help get the job done,” Hutchens said. “There should be safety rules for an ATV just like you’d have for a tractor or combine.”

President Obama – like every sitting president since 1944 – made the declaration for Farm Safety and Health Week.

In the declaration, President Obama noted that:
Our farmers, ranchers, farm workers, horticultural workers, and their families and communities are among the most productive in the world. Our agriculture industry employs only a tiny percentage of the United States workforce, yet its yield is worth billions of dollars a year and supports the growth and development of the American economy. Agricultural producers are stewards of our natural resources and precious open spaces, and they are playing a key role in developing renewable energy and moving America towards energy independence.
The mention of renewable fuels and energy independence was a nice touch to the message of American farmers being so productive and important to the economy.

For more, click here. Or visit the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

Nebraska corn: 48% mature

Sun, heat and wind throughout much of the state today will certainly help dry down Nebraska's corn crop, of which 48 percent is considered mature according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop progress report out this afternoon.

The difference between this year and last year couldn't be more clear in the maturity rating: last year's crop was only 14 percent mature at this point – and much of the crop would never dry down, which caused a lot of problems for farmers and grain elevators who had limited drying capacity.

Things are already looking better this year – so hopefully all those new grain dryers that got put in over last year can just sit, which would save everyone a lot of money and time.

USDA also reported that 5 percent of the state's crop was harvested, 2 points ahead of the five-year average, while 98 percent of the crop was dented – 3 points ahead of average.

Crop conditions remained high, with 83 percent of the corn crop rated good to excellent.

Nationally, 68 percent of the corn crop was rated good to excellent this week, while 21 percent was fair. Ratings a year ago were similar, with 68 percent good to excellent and 22 percent fair.

Farmers across the country have 18 percent of their crop in the bin – well ahead of the 10 percent average and quadruple last year's 4 percent.

Maturity rations nationally show the same thing as Nebraska's figures: the crop is much further along. Nationally, 69 percent of the crop is mature, compared to the five-year average of 48 percent and well head of last year's 20 percent number.

This week is also National Farm Safety & Health Week, so farmers and farm workers are encouraged to stay safe. For more, click here for a news release from the Nebraska Corn Board.

September 16, 2010

Governor proclaims September as Renewable Fuels Awareness Month in Nebraska

Governor Dave Heineman (second from left) is joined by
Alan Tiemann, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board;
Lisa Lunz, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board,
and gold medalist Curt Tomasevicz after the
Governor proclaimed September as
Renewable Fuels Awareness Month in Nebraska.
While at Husker Harvest Days yesterday, Governor Dave Heineman took time to talk with members of the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board, and then make a few comments while presenting a declaration proclaiming September as Renewable Fuels Awareness Month in Nebraska.

Renewable fuels are a critical component of energy independence and energy security, while providing economic growth and vitality in the state, Gov. Heineman said.

“Nebraska is one of the leading producers of corn and soybeans in the United States – agricultural commodities used in the production of ethanol and biodiesel, which reduce our dependence upon foreign oil,” he said, adding that ethanol replaced the need for more than 300 barrels of oil last year, while biodiesel displaced the equivalent of 38 million barrels of crude oil.

In a news release, Alan Tiemann, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and a farmer from Seward, noted that the ethanol industry is good for Nebraska, creating more than $3 billion in economic activity and more than 3,000 jobs in the state. “Ethanol has also generated more than $63 million in new tax revenues, while the feed co-product produced by ethanol plants has become a valuable component of livestock rations," he said.

Lisa Lunz, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board and a farmer from Wakefield, said increasing the use and availability of biodiesel increases demand for U.S. soybeans and has a positive economic impact in Nebraska.

“A study found that the industrial demand for soybean oil for biodiesel, Bioheat and soy-based products increases the supply of soybean meal, which lowers its price and benefits livestock producers,” she said. Lunz explained that Bioheat is heating oil blended with soy biodiesel that is used to heat millions of homes and businesses throughout the United States.

Also on hand was Olympic gold medalist Curt Tomasevicz, on behalf of the Nebraska Corn Board, who touched on the importance of the quest toward energy independence.

“This isn’t just about creating a more robust domestic energy supply. This is about keeping American dollars at home instead of sending billions of dollars overseas for imported oil. This is about American self-reliance and ingenuity. This is about taking charge of our future – and changing that future for the better,” he said.

September 15, 2010

Taste test at Husker Harvest Days: HFCS, cane sugar or stevia?

The good folks at the University of Nebraska's Food Processing Center have a great exhibit at Husker Harvest Days this year. They offer three samples of a sweetened drink – each sweetened differently – and ask tasters to pick their favorite.

After someone tries all three and picks, they are told which sweetener was in their drink of choice – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), cane sugar or stevia (in this case Cargill's Truvia product). If needed, a bit of education was also provided.

For example, I heard the staff on hand explain that yes, cane sugar and HFCS are exactly the same thing, and that both have the same number of calories. They provided other details and information as necessary – what a great teaching moment!

Laurie Keeler, senior manager for product development with the Food Processing Center, gave me the results from day one of the HHD taste test.

Of those who took the test...drum roll please:
  • 46 percent preferred HFCS,
  • 39 percent preferred cane sugar, and
  • 15 percent preferred Truvia.
Many people had a difficult time choosing between HFCS and cane sugar. Keeler said many people liked them equally but picked one when pressed. (This makes sense considering that a sugar is a sugar.)

She also said corn farmers almost always always chose HFCS, which is interesting. Others who usually chose HFCS were young people, while older people tended to drift towards sugar. Those who were diabetic preferred the Truvia.

For more on HFCS and sugar, check out these previous posts:

September 14, 2010

OPEC pleased with itself on its 50th anniversary

Today is OPEC's 50th anniversary - it even established a 50th anniversary web page to celebrate its achievements. The cartel brags about "Supporting stability, fueling prosperity" while providing "Goodwill Messages" and a list of six achievements.

It also provides a 50 years in photos section. Absent from those photos, of course, are the long gas lines from the early 1970s, gobs of pollution or the destruction of Nigeria. No photos suggesting any sacrifices by the U.S. military, either.

To help boil down some of OPEC's achievements, I've included them below with a few comments.

1. Secure and steady supply of oil

No, that's right. OPEC actually says "secure".

OPEC member countries.
A bastion of peace and freedom?
Interestingly enough, OPEC is proud of the fact that its first resolution "aims to achieve stable oil prices, 'with a view to eliminating harmful and unnecessary fluctuations'; a steady income for producing nations; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on their capital to investors."

In other words, "We will do our best to control the price and you will pay it because your addicted. Period."

2. Fifty years old – a success in itself

OPEC was organized in Baghdad in 1960, and it's safe to say that OPEC countries have not  always the most stable. But when you control things with an iron fist and barrels of cash, it gets easier to keep the fringe countries in line. OPEC actually argues that it has saved the world from "established industrialized powers" who controlled the oil markets before it set out on its "brave act, a pioneering act".

That makes me feel so much better. The oil cartel saved us all from Big Oil (pot meet kettle).

3. Sustainable development

Do I really need to comment here? Sustainable development? Riiiiiight.

OPEC attempts to spin this by saying it formed a special fund to care for the poor, aid developing countries and help others in need to "realize their economic and social development goals."

While I'm sure OPEC feels it is doing something, it's claim of providing $11.7 billion ($230 million a year) to this do good fund is a pathetic attempt at spin. In 2008, the oil cartel had profits of more than $640 billion in six months. Even if you figure oil prices are half the level they were then, we're talking significant amounts of cash flowing from the rest of the world to the cartel. But all that is OK because they give $230 million a year to developing countries.

4. OPEC and the environment

"The oil industry through human ingenuity and technological development has a long history of successfully improving the environmental credentials of oil, in both production and use."

Yes, that's a direct quote. And yes, it is complete B.S.

5. Encouraging dialogue and cooperation

While formed around "the premise of cooperation," certainly that cooperation can only go so far. More than on President has gone to OPEC to encourage the cartel to place more oil on the market. Remember $140 a barrel oil? The answer was, of course no.

While that answer may have affirmed the cartel's "commitment to safeguard the interests of its Member Countries" it certainly didn't "ensure order and stability in the international oil market." And who paid the oil piper?

And remember what got blamed for the high prices? OPEC's president at the time blamed the intrusion of ethanol onto the market place.

OPEC then when on to communicate it's panic when oil prices started falling – to $103, then $70, when OPEC was begging for some stability. When oil dropped to $50, the cartel was worried about its credibility. It said $80 was its goal. Two readers astutely pointed out that

A. In 2003, OPEC thought $25 oil was a good level where they could be profitable. (Greed changes ones point of view, I guess.), and

B. At the beginning of the 2007-08 crisis, oil was at $37 a barrel. Once countries like Venezuela were not "making the windfalls profits they have enjoyed at the expense of the American people," they want to cut production and try to hold the price near $100 a barrel. 

6. Strengthening of National Oil Companies

To me this means: "Big International Oil companies controlled us. Now we control them via our national oil companies."

See #2 above.

I guess we're all better with OPEC running the oil show. OPEC says so.

Does that mean we can forget this whole Renewable Fuels Standard? Ethanol from all (and every) source? Biodiesel? Wind power? Conservation?

What would OPEC say?

Biofuels proclamation, gold medalist at Husker Harvest Days

While Husker Harvest Days is getting underway today, a couple of great activities are planned for tomorrow.

To celebrate the success of renewable fuels like ethanol and soy biodiesel, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman will proclaim September Renewable Fuels Month at 10:30 a.m., tomorrow (Sept. 15) in front of the Ag Commodities building on Husker Harvest Days Main Street.

Olympic Gold Medalist Curt Tomasevicz will also be on hand.

He will speak at the proclamation and will be available for photos/autographs. He will also be part of a special tweet up and social media event at 2 p.m. in the hospitality tent, then he'll be back at the Ag Commodities building at 4 p.m. if you'd like to see the gold medal. (He was recently at the State Fair, click here and here.)

"We appreciate Governor Heineman taking time to highlight the benefits of renewable fuels and declare September Renewable Fuels Month at Husker Harvest Days. Corn ethanol and soy biodiesel are clean burning renewable fuels that provide important benefits to rural communities across Nebraska," Alan Tiemann, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and a farmer from Seward, said in a press release about the event.

Remember that the Ag Commodities are in a different building this year – they've moved just across Main Street where they have been in the past to a larger building.

September 13, 2010

Corn harvest just getting underway in Nebraska

Two percent of Nebraska's corn crop is harvested, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its crop progress report today.

That figure is on par with the five-year average and provides an inkling of what is to come over the next several weeks. Dry weather and sunshine has moved the crop quickly toward maturity – 26 percent of the state’s crop is mature – up from 8 percent last week and ahead of the 22 percent average.

Some farmers reported that corn moisture levels in their area are already better than they ever were last year! In a week or two combines will be rolling in force – perhaps even this week for some soybeans.

As for crop condition, 83 percent of the state's corn crop is in good to excellent condition, with only 13 percent fair and 4 percent poor to very poor. Time will soon tell if yields will exceed last year’s 178 bushels per acre.

Corn yields in Nebraska are estimated to be 179 bushels per acre, USDA said last Friday. If realized, that would be the largest yield on record for the state and would put the state’s crop at 1.53 billion bushels – the second-largest crop behind last year’s record 1.58 billion. (Harvested acres this year are estimated to be 8.55 million acres, about 300,000 fewer than last year.)

A national yield estimate of 162.5 bushels per acre would be second only to last year, but the country’s corn crop at 13.2 billion bushels would be the largest ever should estimates hold. As harvest gets underway in more states across the country, yield estimates may change – and USDA will provide an update in October.

USDA also updated its supply/demand numbers last week. Corn stocks were revised downward a bit since USDA lowered it's crop estimate. Feed numbers were also down, while exports were revised upward.

This week's photos, from the Nebraska Corn Board's crop progress set on Flickr, feature photos submitted by the Imperial FFA Chapter (top), Howells Clarkson FFA Chapter (middle), and the Sumner Eddyville Miller FFA Chapter (bottom).

The top photo shows corn beginning to dry down, the middle one shows an ear with 14 rows, whiel the bottom photo shows an ear nearly ready for harvest.

For more details, be sure to check out the Nebraska Corn Board's crop progress update.

Podcast: Be sure to stop by our new space at Husker Harvest Days

In this podcast, Joel Grams, a member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Minden, talks about the new location for the ag commodity groups at this year's Husker Harvest Days.

He notes that the move is only across Main Street - but that the building is quite a bit larger. That will make more room for NeCGA, the Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association and all related checkoff organizations like the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

The move will also make more room for the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association and Nebraska FFA Foundation, as both of those groups also shared space in recent years in the smaller building.

The move to a larger building comes through an agreement with Syngenta, which owned the larger building on the north side of Main Street.

Grams added that while you’re at Husker Harvest Days, be sure to stop by and sign up to win a brand new John Deere X 300 riding lawnmower. The giveaway is sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Association and Plains Power and Equipment. A drawing for the winner will be held at the Nebraska Ag Classic on December 15th.

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

September 9, 2010

Award recognizes Nebraska Corn Board, others for support of ethanol program

The Nebraska Corn Board said today that it was among the organizations honored with the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award for its support of the national Blend Your Own Ethanol (BYOethanol) campaign.

The award was presented by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) at the organization’s recent conference.

The BYOethanol campaign launched a year ago when ACE and the Renewable Fuels Association partnered to create a first-ever single source of ethanol information and technical expertise for petroleum marketers looking to upgrade their equipment and offer more ethanol choices to customers. By serving as a central clearinghouse for renewable fuels information and infrastructure incentives, BYOethanol brings e85 and other flex-fuel blends like E20 and E30 to key areas of the country.

The Nebraska Corn Board supports the campaign financially and by working to provide fuel marketers in Nebraska with information on higher ethanol blends and the benefits of ethanol blender pumps.

The Nebraska Corn Board also offers $5,000 grants to gas stations that install blender pumps – grant money is still available (click here for details). The grants are in addition to federal tax incentives.

“We’re honored to be recognized by ACE for our support of BYOethanol and for our efforts to expand fuel choice for Nebraska motorists,” Curt Friesen, a farmer from Henderson and member of the Nebraska Corn Board said in a news release. “At the same time, we want to let Nebraska station owners know that grant money is still available should they be considering installing a blender pump.”

The Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award was established in honor of the late Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana who understood the importance of developing markets for ethanol and worked tirelessly to make his vision of fueling the IRL with ethanol a reality. In addition to the corn organizations in Nebraska, the National Corn Growers Association and 10 other state corn organizations were honored with the award.

September 8, 2010

BBQ gives families a thank you; memorial for past pork producer

Smiling 4-Hers! A long line and smiling 4-H and FFA exhibitors proved enough to show the success of the annual BBQ hosted by the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) and sponsored this year by the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB).

The annual BBQ is held at the Nebraska State Fair to show appreciation and support of Nebraska’s agricultural youth by serving 4-H and FFA members and their families a free BBQ pork lunch.

This year’s lunch was held Sunday, September 5, at the 4-H CafĂ© on the new grounds in Grand Island. It is a way to say “Thank You” to all Nebraska youth actively involved with agriculture and to all those who have helped them on the way.

Willard's family accepting the award from Troy McCain, NPPA and Mark Jagels, NCB
During the lunch, Troy McCain, president of the NPPA and Mark Jagels, NCB board member, presented a memorial award to the family of longtime pork producer and state fair supporter, Willard Waldo, who passed away in May. Many of Willard’s family were present to accept the award in his honor. Both Troy and Mark, and Willard’s daughter, Willa Cammack, remarked on Willard’s commitment to the industry and his presence at the Nebraska State Fair for more than 90 years.

For more pictures, check out our Flickr album, Nebraska State Fair 2010, or click here.

Pickin' up the pork!

Blender pump opening set for Thursday in Ord

Country Partners Cooperative will host an ethanol blender pump grand opening this Thursday (September 9), at their location at 424 North 14th Street in Ord, Nebraska, the Nebraska Corn Board announced.

As part of the grand opening, Country Partners will have specials on e10, e20, e30 and e85 beginning at 10:00 a.m. and lasting until 2:00 p.m. In addition to the fuel specials, door prizes and drawings will be held as well as a BBQ served by the local FFA chapter.

Country Partner’s new blender pump was financially supported in part by the Nebraska Corn Board through its blender pump grant program offered to those looking at installing blender pumps in Nebraska. Blender pumps offer the flexibility of mid-level blends of ethanol (like e20 or e30) for flex fuel vehicle (FFV) owners.

“With the incentive being offered by the Nebraska Corn Board and the growing number of flex fuel vehicles being driven across the U.S., blender pumps are one avenue to help get the ethanol industry past the blend wall,” said Curt Friesen, a farmer from Henderson and a member of the Nebraska Corn Board.

In addition to the Nebraska Corn Board's incentive, other credits are available for those installing blender pumps, including federal tax incentive that runs through the end of the year.

In addition to support from the Nebraska Corn Board, the Country Partner’s blender pump was supported by Green Plains Renewable Energy and Growth Energy.

For more information about the Nebraska Corn Board's blender pump incentive grant program, click here or the Blender Pump Info icon.

September 7, 2010

State Fair provides education for all ages

This year’s Nebraska State Fair allowed fairgoers to be surrounded by agriculture. This last Thursday, the Nebraska Corn Board sponsored two groups to come and give presentations on the stage in the Exhibition Hall near the ag exhibits.

DSC_0129As Thursday was the fair’s “Largest Classroom Day”, the first presentation brought in a lot of children as the gals from Nebraska Agriculture In The Classroom presented on the “'A’maize’ing Corn Plant”.

Ellen Hellerich, state coordinator for Nebraska Ag In The Classroom, gave an excellent presentation on where kids could find corn in their household items. She explained how the corn we see grown in fields is used to feed livestock and make ethanol, and is different from the corn we like to eat off of the cob.

DSC_0135She also finished the presentation with an educational activity where the kids could make “Corn Babies” - or a plastic bag with a wet cotton ball and corn seed - to see how corn grows. Kids were able to tie these to a string and carry them on their neck all day.

DSC_0139Later in the day came education for the adult crowd. Marge Lauer, from the Kearney Area Ag Producers Alliance, or KAAPA, presented on the opportunities that KAAPA offers to its members and the surrounding communities. She explained how those involved with KAAPA have the opportunity to produce, or invest in, value-added agriculture. Specifically, Marge talked about how the KAAPA Ethanol plant was started and how they are working on a new venture now that creates a corn plastic, PLA, made from distillers grains – the co-product of ethanol production.  

We want to thank the Nebraska Ag In The Classroom and KAAPA for coming out to the State Fair to give their presentations! You can find more pictures on our Flickr site, or click here.

September 3, 2010

NeCGA encourages farmers to sign on to atrazine letter

Brandon Hunnicutt (@cornfedfarmer) wrote a letter to members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association this week urging them to support a letter written by the Triazine Network to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson ahead of EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel meeting that's coming up. Hunnicutt is a farmer from Giltner and president of NeCGA.

To see previous posts on atrazine, click here, but be sure to check out information on atrazine and frogs and Atrazine: What's the safety limit?

Here's the letter from Hunnicutt:
NeCGA is very concerned that environmental extremist organizations continue to wrongly portray atrazine as unnecessary and unimportant to farmers. Even more concerning, the EPA believes there are plenty of replacements for atrazine and farmers simply don't need the product. We know the real truth, and virtually every Nebraska farmer recognized the importance and value of atrazine.

The EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel meets September 14-17 in Washington, D.C. The purpose of that meeting is: "Re-Evaluation of Human Health Effects of Atrazine: Review of Non-Cancer Effects and Drinking Water Monitoring Frequency."

It is time that we stand up and send EPA a message. Please join producers and individuals from all over the country by submitting an e-mail to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Tell her that you support the continued use of Atrazine.

Simply go to and you will be routed to the AgSense webpage where you can submit an e-mail.

Thanks for your assistance and all that you do to support NeCGA.

Brandon Hunnicutt, President NeCGA

September 2, 2010

Great day at the State Fair for Tomasevicz


Nebraska corn farmers were well represented by Olympic gold medalist Curt Tomasevicz at the State Fair yesterday.

The Nebraska Corn Board signed Tomasevicz to be the official spokesman for Nebraska corn this upcoming year.

Tomasevicz, a Shelby, Nebraska, native, won the gold medal with his teammates on the U.S. men’s bobsled team, nicknamed “Night Train,” in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Watch it here or read about it here!

In addition to six television interviews, three radio interviews, a few newspapers interviews and photos, two public addresses, a stop in the Beef Pit for an appearance (and lunch!), a trip to the VIP area to meet dignitaries and a stop in the livestock arena, Tomasevicz managed to sign many many autographs for fans and pose for pictures.

He even let a few lucky folks hold his gold medal. It was a great day to promote corn; ethanol; corn-fed beef, pork and poultry, and the economic importance of agriculture to the state of Nebraska.

While a few photos are included here (just click on an image to make it larger), you can find more at the Nebraska Corn Board's Flickr page.

For those who missed a chance to visit with Tomasevicz or see him on TV, he'll be at Husker Harvest Days on September 15.