December 28, 2012

2013: A new year, a fresh outlook


By Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board
As printed in the Midwest Producer

kelly brunkhorstAs we move into 2013, there unfortunately is a lingering issue from 2012 that will not let go: the drought.

Although the latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates an easing of the drought in portions of the eastern Corn Belt, it seems to be gaining a greater hold on the western Corn Belt. Nearly 99 percent of High Plains is in at least one category of drought, with 26 percent rated as exceptional, the highest drought intensity rating. Additionally, we are heading into the time of year when these areas don't gain much moisture going into the spring months.

Soil moisture conditions in the High Plains remain below normal, as the 2012 year crops had to use this moisture because of the lack of rainfall.

In addition, the current winter wheat crop has shown a steady decline in crop condition ratings, with the percent of crop rated good or excellent at the lowest point since 1985, according to the National Ag Statistics Service. Many farmers wonder how well the crop will endure an average winter.

The drought certainly doesn't provide the best background looking ahead to 2013, but included below are some thoughts in a few area.

Because all major crops having tight stocks ratios, the competition between different crops for planted acres will again be difficult as we leap into 2013. Over the past five years, corn and soybeans have gained 12.4 million acres, and these two crops will lead the battle for acres into spring planting. Yet with a lingering drought, farmers have to balance questions on soil moisture conditions, water availability, input costs, potential revenue and crop insurance. Add to this that industry consultants have started talk of up to 25 percent of the winter wheat acres could be abandoned.

If soil moisture conditions remain low, irrigation and rainfall will be even more important in 2013, not only in quantity, but also timing.

Domestic Demand
Not only has the drought affected this past year's crop production and the winter wheat outlook, but it has had an effect on domestic demand, specifically from the livestock sector.

With the drought in the second year in parts of the Southern Plains and having a strong hold on the High Plains, the loss of forage and dry pasture conditions have led beef producers to begin or continue culling cows, reducing the overall herd size. For dairy, swine and poultry producers, the higher costs of feedstuffs has also reduced herd sizes.

The biofuels industry has also seen continued tight margins from higher feedstock costs and lower prices for their products. This has led to longer maintenance shutdowns and idling of several plants across the country, reducing the demand of grains within the biofuels sector, but also reducing the output of distillers grains, an excellent feed ingredient for the livestock industry.

This year's drought has also had an impact of the domestic and international movement of grains through the U.S. waterways. Specifically, the low water levels in the Mississippi River has caused repeated restrictions and dredging to keep navigation open to barge traffic. Most recently, the lower releases of water from Gavin's Point Dam is reducing water levels around St. Louis, causing rock pinnacles to restrict traffic. Longer term, this could continue to restrict movement of U.S. commodities down the Mississippi River, backing up grains into the Midwest in early 2013, with the hope that snowmelt and spring rains will increase water levels.

There are positives out there! This past year, three free trade agreements became law that removed some tariffs and restrictions immediately within Columbia, South Korea and Panama for grains and value added products such as beef and pork. Other tariffs will be reduced over time. These agreements allow U.S. exports to compete more evenly in these countries with competitors that had agreements in place prior to the U.S.

Major export destinations such as China have shown no slowdown in their demand for grains and oilseeds, especially U.S. soybeans. This past year, China's imports of U.S. soybeans were equivalent to the production off of two-thirds of the acres harvested.

With the reduction in supply, corn exports have been down. The industry looks for exports to return providing production returns to more normal levels in 2013. Smaller exports from the U.S. has led to increased competition from countries across the globe, especially Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Europe and the Ukraine.

December 21, 2012

Podcast: Nebraska Corn Growers conducts leadership development program

In this podcast, Andy Jobman, a farmer from Gothenberg and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, noted that the Nebraska Corn Growers offers many benefits to its members, but perhaps one of the most important is providing opportunities for corn farmers to grow their leadership skills.

"Farmers who understand the issues and are willing to tell their story to our elected officials, consumers and others are important and needed," he said, adding that many farmers appreciate the opportunity to develop their skills and gain insight into the best ways to be involved at the local, state and national level.

To further this mission, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association recently held its two-day leadership development program in Omaha. About 40 corn farmers from across Nebraska attended, along with several other guests.

Have a listen to hear what the program entailed.

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

December 20, 2012

Helping American Industry Thrive

We always talk about all the things that we can do with corn . Recently we received the Corn Refiners Association 2012 Annual Report, where we found to have a very interesting article about some interesting uses. The article is title Refined Corn Products: Helping American Industry Thrive written by Richard Kyle. I’m going to share with you a few things that I found interesting in the article!

Most of us never realize that the result of wet corn milling produces products such as corn starch, syrup and oil, which are used as ingredients for many common products. With many industries relying heavily on the corn industry because of its consistent quality and superior performance. Here are just a few of the industries that without their use of refined corn ingredients they would not be nearly as successful.

Starch is one of the most important ingredients in paper. It gives paper it’s smooth feel, strength, brightness, ink adhesion abilities and erasability improvements. It is also very important in the making of recycled paper because of its bonding strength along with more efficient and cleaner manufacturing.

One of the largest markets for starch-based adhesives is the corrugated board industry (cardboard) and paper bag manufacturing. The starch provides strength to the board and forms water resistant bonds. Starch based adhesives are mainly used for carton/case sealing, tube winding, bottle labeling, envelope seams, school pastes, and leather pasting.

Starch is used as a protective coating on yard to ensure it can be handled with minimal breaks or shedding. It will also be used as a textile finish to help with crease-resistance or shrink-resistance softness. Most dye pastes also use starch to help with color dispersion, the controlled transfer of designs to the clothe or just for good color value.

Home Improvements
Starch is often used in this industry as a thickener and binder for things such as wall joint compounds, floor leveling compounds, or tile grouts. In foundry, ceramic applications and manufacturing of bricks and tiles, starch and sweeteners will be used as an anti-cracking additive to maintain even distribution of liquids and solids. It helps to reduce brittleness and deformation of the product.

Oil Refining & Mining
Starch is often used to cool down superheated oil drilling bits or used to improve the efficiency of ore separation processes. Corn-derived ascorbic acid will be used in oil drilling fluids to protect against iron corrosion and prevent the formation of ferric oxide.

Refined corn products play an ever increasing role in pharmaceuticals. They can be used to enhance drug delivery systems as binders, diluents, tableting agents and coating agents. They can also be ingredients for formulating intravenous injection solutions and clinical nutrition products.

These are just a few of the things mentioned in the article. If you would like to read the entire article visit and click on “2012 Corn Annual ”.

December 19, 2012

Corny Foods - by Curt Tomasevicz


As many people celebrate this holiday season, food becomes the focus of a lot of social gatherings. Thanksgiving is, of course, centered around the meal as well as Christmas dinner. But there are also Christmas parties that include snacks and finger foods. This time of year people’s ovens are busy baking pies, cakes, and cookies.

Since I started working with the Nebraska Corn Board, a lot of my bobsled teammates ask me how much I know about corn. So, since this is the season for food, in Forrest Gump shrimping style, here is my corny list of corn-related foods…
  1. Sweet corn
  2. Creamed corn
  3. Yellow corn
  4. White corn
  5. Corn bread
  6. Candy corn (still counts)
  7. Corn on the cob
  8. Field corn
  9. Seed corn
  10. Acorn (a food, maybe not corn related)
  11. Grilled corn
  12. Boiled corn
  13. Corn Flakes
  14. Corn Pops
  15. Indian corn
  16. Corn sugar
  17. Corn syrup
  18. Corn meal
  19. Popcorn
  20. Corn casserole
  21. Corn dogs
  22. Cornish Hen (not sure how corn relates)
  23. Corn oil
  24. Corn starch
  25. Corn chips
  26. Corn beef
  27. Carmel corn
  28. Peppercorn (again, not a corn)
  29. Corn chowder
  30. Can o’ corn (baseball term for easy pop fly)

December 18, 2012

Meet Nebraska Corn Board Director, Alan Tiemann

Alan Tiemann has been serving as the at-large director for the Nebraska Corn Board since 2005 and just served three years as chairman of the board.

Alan, and his wife Lori, became the second generation to return to production agriculture when he began farming with his parents in 1978. Alan is fortunate to have their son, Dan, and his wife Casey, return to the farm making it three active generations of Tiemann's farming together.

Their operation is a row crop farm raising corn and soybeans. Alan began his career in public service to agriculture serving on the Seward Farmers Cooperative and Ruby Farmers Cooperative Board of Directors from 1986 to 1994. He has also served on the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, serving as president from 2001 and 2002. Tiemann also represented the Board on the U.S. Grains Council Executive Committee.

In 2003, he began his current tenure on the Nebraska Corn Board. Alan was elected by his peers to serve an unprecedented three terms as Chairman of the Board. Alan again returned to activity on the U.S. Grains Council’s action teams, and was elected to serve on the Board of Directors from 2006 to 2012. In addition to their son Dan, Alan and Lori also have a son, Brian, who is employed as an architect in Chicago.

 In 2001, Alan and his family were awarded the Outstanding Farm Family from the Seward Kiwanis. This year, Alan was awarded with the Public Service to Agriculture award by the Nebraska Agribusiness Club.

December 17, 2012

Despite drought, Grains Council report shows high quality corn crop


The U.S. corn crop harvested this fall gets high markets for quality despite the severe drought across much of the Corn Belt, according to the U.S. Grains Council's Corn Harvest Quality Report 2012/13.

The corn crop showed a year-over-year improvement in average text weight, protein levels and density, as well as lower moisture and broken corn and foreign material (BCFM) than the 2011 crop.

The full report is available here.

This is the second year for the Council’s harvest report, which assess the quality of the U.S. crop as it is delivered from farms to local elevators, the first step in entering international marketing channels. It will be followed in April 2013 by the second Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, which assess quality at the point of export.

The Council said it produces the reports so global importers will have access to reliable and comparable data from year to year, with samples being gathered and tested using transparent and consistent methods.

For the harvest quality report, samples of U.S. corn were gathered from 12 states that combined are the source for 99 percent of U.S. corn exports.

Data indicates the average test weight for the 2012-13 crop was 58.8 pounds per bushel, an increase over 2011 and more than 2 pounds per bushel above the grade limit for No. 1 U.S. corn. Other physical characteristics are shown in the chart below and are compared to 2011.

 Chemical characteristics - protein, oil and starch - are shown below.

The Council said the frequency of stress cracks, which indicate the relative susceptibility of kernels to break up during handling, are up marginally (from 3 percent last year to 4 percent this year). This could be an indicator that the crop will be more susceptible to breakage during handling, information that may turn up in the Corn Export Cargo Quality Report in the spring.

“With an increasingly competitive global market, the availability of accurate information is in the long-term best interest of U.S. farmers, exporters and international buyers,” said Erick Erickson, USGC director of global strategies. “We received a tremendously positive response to the inaugural reports from international buyers, so certainly there is a need for this type of information.”

December 14, 2012

Nebraska Corn Growers announces Golden Ear Award winner, new officers

At its annual meeting this week at the Nebraska Ag Classic, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association presented its Golden Ear Award and elected new officers for 2013.

The Golden Ear Award is presented annually to recognize and appreciate an individual’s contribution to agriculture. The 2012 award was presented Keith Olsen, past president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Carl Sousek (left), Nebraska Corn Growers Association
president, presents Keith Olsen with the
2012 Golden Ear Award.
“Keith Olsen has had an incredibly positive impact on agriculture and Nebraska during his years of service. The Golden Ear Award is our way of honoring him and his efforts,” said Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “His dedication, especially to young people through FFA, 4-H and other activities, is a model for us all of us.”

Olsen was born in Imperial in 1944 and was raised on the family farm near Venango. Now in its fourth generation, the Olsen farm is located in Perkins County, about 20 miles southwest of Grant. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where he earned a degree in Agriculture Economics in 1967, after which he began farming with his father. He married his wife Doris in 1969.

In addition to farming, Olsen has served on the Nebraska Farm Bureau board of directors and was elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors in 2004. He was elected first vice president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau board in 1997, and was elected president in 2002, a position he held until retiring in December 2011.

Keith and Doris Olsen have three sons, Craig, Jeff and Curtis, and seven grand children.

Association Officers
From left: Joel Grams, Larry Mussack, Rick Gruber,
Chuck Emanual,and Carl Sousek.
The Nebraska Corn Growers Association board of directors also elected new officers for 2013 following the organization’s annual meeting.

Joel Grams of Minden was elected the association’s new president. He previously served as vice president and is a member of the Kearney-Franklin Corn Growers Association.

Larry Mussack of Decatur was elected vice president. He is a member of the Burt-Washington Corn Growers Association.

Chuck Emanual of North Bend was elected treasurer of the organization. He is a member of the Colfax-Dodge Corn Growers Association.

Rick Gruber of Benedict was re-elected as secretary. He will oversee the association’s records and is a member of the York County Corn Growers Association.

Carl Sousek will move from president to chairman of the organization.

Two at-large directors were also elected at the annual meeting. They include Curtis Rohrich of Wood River and Rick Gruber of Benedict.

Podcast: Five-year farm bill best option during lame duck session

In this podcast, Curt Friesen, a farmer from Henderson and member of the Nebraska Corn Board, said Congress needs to include a farm bill on its agenda during its lame duck session.

A simple extension, he said, is a poor choice because it does not provide the stability farmers and ranchers need to make sound business decisions going forward. The best path, he said, is a new five-year bill.

The Senate has already passed a bill and that could serve as a template for the House. The Senate bill provides for reasonable changes to programs and reduces spending significantly. It takes a common-sense approach to crop insurance and other items while providing drought-related assistance to livestock producers, Friesen said, adding that an extension does none of that.

He encouraged everyone to contact their Congressional representatives because it will make a difference.

Listen for more.

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

Census of Ag time


PrintDid it feel like just yesterday we completed the last Census of Agriculture? Well, it has been five years and the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be mailing forms in the next few weeks where America's farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities by taking part in the Census of Agriculture.

Why do we need the Census? Conducted every five years, the Census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. The Census is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. It provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture will collect information concerning all areas of farming and ranching operations, including production expenses, market value of products, and operator characteristics. This information is used by everyone who provides services to farmers and rural communities - including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, and many others. Census data is used to make decisions about many things that directly impact farmers, including:

  • community planning
  • store/company locations
  • availability of operational loans and other funding
  • location and staffing of service centers
  • farm programs and policies

Participation in the Census is required by law, and that same law protects the confidentiality of all individual responses.Responses are due by February 4, 2013.

Producers also have the option to complete their forms online. After all, the Census is your voice, your future and your responsibility. For more information about the Census, visit or call 1.800.4AG.STAT (1.888.424.7828).


December 13, 2012

Awards handed out for Innovative Corn Youth Challenge; challenge open for 2013

Ten teams across Nebraska signed up for the inaugural Innovative Corn Youth Challenge in 2012, with six completing the project proposal and five completing the program.

The challenge was implemented by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension with financial support from the Nebraska Corn Board. It is designed to encourage young people to pursue an agricultural career and return to rural Nebraska. (For more on the challenge, click here.)

Each team received $50 for their efforts and a copy of the Hybrid Maize CD, a computer program that simulates the growth of a corn crop under non-limiting or water-limited (rainfed or irrigated) conditions based on daily weather data.

The five teams completing the challenge and awards presented to them earlier this month include:
  • Elizabeth Blaser and Reid Fullner, members from the Wranglers 4-H Club in Platte County, with sponsor Alex Labenz, received first place and $1,000 in the Corn Production Challenge.
  • Kaylyn Kucera, Sidney Kucera, and Andy Zessin, members of the Pioneers 4-H Club from Madison, with their sponsor Regan Kucera, received second place and $500 in the Corn Production Challenge.
  • Spencer Beller and Lynn Slama, members from the Humphrey FFA, and adviser Robyn Graham, received third place and a $250 award in the Corn Production Challenge.
  • Rob Buhl and Bennett Nelson of Osceola, members from the Super Strong 4-H Club of Polk County, and adviser Tim Pallas, received the Innovation Award.
  • Austin Tatro and Trevor BirkyMembers from the Strang 4-Bar-H Club from Fillmore County, with Brandy VanDeWalle as sponsor, received the Data Completion Award and $200 for excellent record-keeping.

(Scroll down for details on teach team’s project.)

A second Innovative Youth Corn Challenge is planned for 2013 with the addition of another award. The limited resources award will be given to the team that achieved the highest yield per inch of water.

Entry forms to participate in this program are available at and are due March 1, 2013. For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at or (402)759-3712.
Those attending the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge Banquet held Dec. 5 at
UNL’s East Campus were: Dennis Gengenbach, Nebraska Corn Board,
Austin Tatro, Sidney Kucera, Elizabeth Blaser, Reid Fullner, Rob Buhl
and Alan Tiemann, Nebraska Corn Board Past Chair.

Participants and their sponsors:
Super Strong H’s from Osceola consisted of Rob Buhl and Bennett Nelson with Tim Pallas as their supervisor. This team focused on planting populations in dryland conditions with populations at 26K and 30K. Yields of 49.05 bushels/acre with 30K and 52.65 bushels with the 26K respectively. This team did well on explaining the importance of increased yield to feed our growing population and also explained the important role of drought tolerant hybrid technology.

Humphrey FFA members Spencer Beller and Lynn Slama tested strip till with a starter and nitrogen in the furrow vs. a perplant application of starter and nitrogen 15” from the row. They exceled with crop scouting records and their rainfall report. Their challenge plot yield was 217.5 bushels. Their project sponsor was Robyn Graham, FFA advisor.

The Wranglers 4-H Club from Platte County tested the use of a foliar fungicide to early-stage corn (V5) to help corn reach its yield potential by protecting the corn plant from early-season diseases. Their challenge plot using Headline was 250 bushels and without was 254.8 bushels. Detailed crop scouting reports were completed with production information and a very complete budget. Their sponsor was Alex Labenz.

Strang 4-Bar-H Club in Fillmore County members Austin Tatro and Trevor Birky tested planting populations. On irrigated ground they tested 34K and 30K per acre compared to a check plot of 32K seeds per acre. Their economic analysis was complete and showed the difference in costs between treatments. Planting population at 30K yielded 223 bushels, while 34K yielded 216 bushels and their check was 226 bushels/acre. Project sponsor was Brandy VanDeWalle.

The Pioneers 4-H Club from Madison County consisted of Kaylyn Kucera, Sidney Kucera, and Andy Zessin. They tested a higher population (30 vs. 38K), increased nitrogen rate (200 vs. 250# N) and a biological growth enhancer. Their challenge plot yielded 249.1 bushels while their check yielded 237.5 bushels. In addition to great production records, they documented visual differences in their report. Regan Kucera was their sponsor.

December 12, 2012

Nebraska schools can apply for iPad, boost ag education

The Nebraska Corn Board announced it has received a $5,000 grant from DuPont Pioneer to use towards iPad technology for agricultural literacy. The Nebraska Corn Board also said it will match the grant with an additional $5,000.

“For the past year, I have been an agriculture consultant from my farm in Davenport, Neb., with a classroom in an urban school in Texas using wireless technology,” said Mark Jagels, a farmer-director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We need more agriculture in the classroom and using technology, such as the iPad, is the easiest way to do this. Partnering with DuPont Pioneer to put more iPads into the school systems makes sense and we are able to reach many more school children.”

(For more on Jagles work with the classroom in Texas, click here.)

Nebraska schools can apply to receive an iPad for their school or classroom through the Nebraska Corn Board. The application process begins on January 1 and ends on February 28. For an application, click here.

“At DuPont Pioneer, we are dedicated to developing seed that will help provide the food, fuel and fiber demands of a rapidly growing global population. What we also recognize is how important agricultural education is to inspire the next generation of ag leaders who will provide the solutions needed locally and across the globe,” said Steve Reno – DuPont Pioneer western business unit director.

December 11, 2012

Nebraska Corn Growers Association holds leadership program

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association recently held its two-day Leadership Development Program, which was attended by 40 corn farmers from across the state plus several other guests.

The organization said the purpose of the program is to give member-farmers the opportunity to develop their skills and gain insight into the best ways to be involved at the local, state and national level.

“This is important as a grassroots organization, as we need to develop leaders to contribute in different ways,” Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague, Neb., and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association said in a news release. “It’s also important for agriculture as a whole because the need to tell our story is greater than ever.”

Attendees at the leadership program heard from industry representatives about issues that are of importance to agriculture. They also learned different methods for advocating, setting goals and how they can make a positive difference on the future of agriculture.

Jon Doggett, vice president of public policy for the National Corn Growers Association’s Washington, D.C., office, told participants that he often sees firsthand how effective a citizen lobbyist can be in spreading the great story of agriculture to elected officials in Washington. He said the same is true with consumers, who want to hear direct from farmers, the ones raising their food and growing the corn that produces ethanol for their cars.

Details on the Nebraska legislature and its associated dynamics, as well as information on critical water issues and Nebraska’s animal agriculture industry were also presented.

“Once participants had this solid background, they worked with a grassroots consultant who explored ways Association members can actively engage in those issues,” Sousek said. “They then developed ideas and created an action plan that we will follow up with as time goes on.”

In the release, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association said it appreciated all the organizations who helped make this year’s leadership program a success, especially the sponsorship by the Nebraska Corn Board, which supports several leadership development programs each year.

December 7, 2012

We'll be seeing you in Florida..

When I started this internship I was told of this illustrious thing called the Commodity Classic. That if I was a good intern and of course hadn't beem fired before Feburary that I would have the chance to go. Well I'm glad to report that I haven't been fired yet and that we are currently working on scheduling our trip to the Commodity Classic.

This years Commodity Classic is in warm, sunny Florida. It starts Feburary 28 and ends March 2, 2012 with three days full of sessions and trade shows.

FULL REGISTRATION BY            JAN 20    JAN 21- FEB 10    AFTER FEB 10
Member Primary                                  $190              $215                   $240
Nonmember Primary                            $290              $315                   $340
Spouse/Youth 16 & up                        $145              $165                    $190
Youth age 5-15                                   $75                 $75                     $75

For more information about the Conference or to register for it visit and we'll be seeing you there!

December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Another picture from our Facebook photo contest. Thanks to all who participated!

December 3, 2012

Look Good, Play Good? - by Curt Tomasevicz


Does looking good actually help an athlete play better?  I’ve often wondered this. It’s impossible not to question if star baseball athletes like Bryce Harper really need all that eye-black under their eyes to help them see the ball better. Does Tim Thomas’s painted goalie mask of a fierce looking bear actually help him feel better and be able to stop more pucks for the Boston Bruins? How many wrist and arm bands does Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson really need to keep moisture from causing him to fumble? 

Some may argue that there is a placebo effect that gives a player some confidence but I doubt any scientific research would support such a theory.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals
Of course these examples of flair do nothing more than help a player think they look good or maybe intimidating. There probably is zero correlation between looking good and playing good (and there can be plenty of argument about the definition of “looking good”).

Although some alternate athlete appearances may be for comfort, I think many just fall under the category of superstition. In most sports superstition can go a long way. Some athletes wear the same underwear during a winning streak, hockey players refuse to shave as their team progresses through the playoffs, and some baseball players wear the same color of gloves for every at bat. I’ve never liked the cocky and arrogant athletes that were more concerned about their appearance than they were about winning. And I’m not saying Harper, Thomas, and Johnson don’t care about winning. But I always respected the plain-looking, hard workers more. Those that didn’t seem to care if they were the center of attention or not appeared to be the ones more focused on giving their best effort. No one wants to look ugly, but if you need to look in the mirror before you take the field, then I think you have to ask yourself where your athletic focus is.

My altered speed suit of short sleeves
before pushing a 2-man sled
In bobsled, there is very little that can an athlete can do to change their appearance on race day for show. Our faces and hair are covered by our helmets. Our speed suits don’t leave much room for alterations and we don’t have jersey numbers. And nearly everyone wears the same style of Adidas bobspikes. So how can I draw attention by my appearance? From an outsider looking in, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish one sledder from another. In fact, on my 4-man team, the biggest difference in appearance lies in the length of our sleeves. I pull my sleeves up to my elbows where my teammates may keep them at wrist length. 

Just like the blue-collar, hard-working farmers that work in dirt fields and dusty grain bins, bobsledders are only concerned about the minimum necessary apparel that will get the job done. Aerodynamics determine our attire. After all, jeans, a flannel shirt, and a ball cap certainly aren’t fancy. But they are considered just comfortable enough to get the job done and done the right way for the right reasons. 

November 30, 2012

Podcast: FTAs are important; farm bill top priority during lame duck session

In this podcast, Lynn Chrisp, a farmer from Kenesaw and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, discusses free trade agreements that went into effect recently and increase the opportunity for American farmers to participate in a growing global marketplace.

He mentions Panama specifically, but also notes the importance agreements with Korea and Colombia.

He then goes on to discuss the farm bill, noting that he hopes members of Congress will be more bipartisan in their actions and get a farm bill completed. An extension is not something corn growers favor, he said, noting the best choice would be to pass a new five-year bill, as it would provide the stability farmers need going forward.

Listen for more!

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

Staff Update

In this week's staff update Don Hutchens talks about some of the effects we've seen so far from not getting a Farm Bill passed.

November 29, 2012

Nebraska farm girl uses corn for fashion


134972_297361363698980_1587808202_oWho would have thought that a farm girl from Nebraska would hit it big in the fashion world –especially with corn?!

JLynn Hausmann, started her brand – also known as JHaus – grew up in Butte, Nebraska on a farm and ranch. In a recent fashion show in Los Angeles, JHaus featured her new fashion and denim line, and one dress was entirely made from corn.

Even more exciting for this Nebraska girl, is that JHaus got invited to New York Fashion week by Elle Magazine as well as getting her clothing line picked up by Zappos, which will become available February 1st.


We caught up with Jennifer for a little Q&A:

Where did you grow up and what inspired you to go into fashion design? I grew up in Butte, Nebraska on a farm and ranch. Growing up in the country, I saw an opportunity to bring an American made brand that was authentic and genuine into the fashion industry.

561576_301063049995478_1807297282_nHow has agriculture/your roots defined who you are in the fashion industry? Living a “less is more” mentality in Nebraska inspired me to have an All-American brand that is unique. It's fun designing couture pieces for the runway that are made out things that you would find on a farm/ranch. (like this burlap dress on the right!)

What would your message be to young adults growing up in agriculture that are interested in fashion design? Design from the heart and follow your dreams. Rules are made to be broken in fashion. I will never forget designing a red carpet dress for a model when I first moved to LA. The dress I designed was denim and chicken wire. So many people laughed at the idea but I knew it would be a hit. The model wore the red carpet dress and we got our first press at JHaus off of that dress.

How do you share your positive story of agriculture to your colleagues in LA? At JHaus we are creative and innovative and our colleagues see that. You can see the positive story of agriculture through our designs.


You can find her clothing in Nebraska - the JHaus line is being sold in Lincoln at Sunny’s Boutique and the Post and Nickel, and in Omaha at the Denim Saloon and Skyz Boutique, according to the Lincoln Journal Star article about JHaus.

Thank you Jennifer, and best of luck at Fashion Week!

November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Here is the winning entry from our harvest photo contest. Thanks to Jenny Keyes for submitting it!

November 27, 2012

Podcast: On-farm research program is great way to advance corn production, methods

In this podcast, Chuck Emanuel, a farmer from North Bend and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, discusses opportunities for Nebraska farmers to participate in on-farm research. He said it's a great way to examine ways to grow corn, including methods that lead to better yields while having less of an impact on the environment and conserving natural resources. All while having a positive impact on the bottom line.

"The key is to have proven best management practices that are practical and make sense in the real world on your farm," he said. "So how can we move from theory to practices? By taking advantage of on-farm research."

To help make this happen, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board have partnered with University of Nebraska Extension over the last few years to develop a statewide on-farm research program. The program, which is completely free for farmers to join, aims to address important farmer production, profitability and natural resources questions.

The main three areas of research focus on irrigation, nitrogen management and corn population. Those are pretty critical areas for farmers, Emanuel said, and having solid research based on your specific conditions is a tremendous opportunity.

For more information on the program, contact the Nebraska Corn Growers or click here to visit the UNL website.

Listen for more!

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

November 26, 2012

Meet Nebraska Corn Board Director, Tim Scheer

Tim Scheer represents District 5 for the Nebraska Corn Board and has been serving as a director since 2007. He is the current Chairman of the Board. Tim has been involved in agriculture production since high school and returned to St. Paul in 1988 and started a small farrow to finish hog operation and over the years it has grown and changed. Along with the farrow to finish hog operation, Tim farms 800 acres, growing row crops, alfalfa, and has a cow-calf and back grounding enterprise. Tim is also very passionate about agriculture and believes very strongly that agriculture is the foundation for a strong and secure future for our nation.

Tim is not only passionate about agriculture but is also very passionate about his community as can be seen through his involvement in various groups and associations. He is a graduate of the Nebraska LEAD XXIV (24) program and is now an alumnus. Along with serving on the Nebraska Corn Board, Tim is also the president of the St. Paul Investment Club. He has been on the Howard County Fair Board for ten years and is a member of the Howard County Farm Bureau where he has served on various state committees and has served as the president and vice president. Along with those duties, Tim has also served on various ball associations for local booster clubs and is also a member of the St. Paul Rotary.

He and his wife Amy have three children, Krista who is a senior at UNK, Kelsey who is a senior at St. Paul, and Nathan who is in 4th grade. Tim and Amy will celebrate their 25th anniversary this coming year.

November 22, 2012

Every dog has his day - by Curt Tomasevicz


It is always fun to see good things happen to good people and part of the reason it’s such a good feeling is that it doesn’t happen nearly enough. Athletes know that, in the end, it’s often the little things that end up making the difference between winning and losing. The little things category may include the extra repetition in the weight room in the off-season, avoiding desserts and sugar, and going to bed early.

Success in the sport of bobsled is no exception. We constantly try to maintain a healthy diet, make plenty of visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist, and continue to increase strength in the weight room in order to keep our bodies in optimal shape to push as fast as possible.

We also have to do the little things to maintain our equipment. Just as Nebraska corn farmers have to maintain their tractors, combines, planters, and cultivators, we are responsible to keep our sleds and runners in top condition. However, we do have a little help from time to time. We have a sled mechanic. Frank has been with the United States bobsled program since 1992. He’s seen the program in some of the low times and the high times including the 2010 Olympic gold medal. In fact, Frank was on the start line for every one of our runs in Vancouver and was the person to put the sled in the start grooves before we blasted off the start block. He didn’t receive any credit for his role in the race but, in addition to lining up the runners and making sure all the working parts were in order, it was essential to our success.

I’m sure (at least I hope) that Frank felt like he was more than a little part of our success. February 27, 2010 was a great day for him. But, despite insisting that he was retiring numerous times, Frank finally built his own sled this past summer. He took a BoDyn bobsled body and introduced some modifications to the frame and the steering, incorporating some ideas that he came up with along his career.

It worked.

Frank Briglia and I after 2012 World Championships
Last weekend, in the 2-man World Cup race in Lake Placid, my teammates Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton decided to use Frank’s sled. The Lake Placid track is one with a reputation of violence. The 20 curves with few straights can whip a 375 lb sled back and forth under 4 G’s of force. Frank’s sled held strong and when Steve and Steve crossed the finish line in first place, no one was more excited than Frank. Like a kid on Christmas morning, no one could stop Frank from smiling knowing that his 150+ hours (volunteer hours by the way) paid off.

Once again, other than this blog, Frank probably won’t receive much credit or recognition for what he does. But just like a corn farmer can measure the value of the little things during harvest season with the yield volumes, we know that Frank’s contributions over the last two decades have made the program what it is.

November 21, 2012

The truth about food prices

Am I paying too much for food for my family?

Do I need to buy the most expensive food to get the best for my family?

Why do food prices go up at times?

These are all questions that you might have about your food. One myth about food prices is that farmers are getting richer from rising food costs.

This diagram shows that is simply not true. For every dollar spent on food in America, farmers see less than 12 cents. We hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving season and can remember that Americans have the safest, most affordable and abundant food supply in the world!

 Go to to answer your food questions and check out the CommonGround Nebraska blog.

November 16, 2012

Podcast: Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is a tremendous success

Since the EPA denied a request to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard today, it seems like the perfect time to share this podcast, which was recorded in October.

In the podcast, Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, explains how the RFS has been "a tremendous success" on several fronts, from increasing national energy security to boosting the U.S. economy.

"Over the past six years, corn growers have responded to an increased demand for corn," he said. "Greater corn demand led not only to increased acres of planted corn, but more profitable corn, which has led to better agronomic practices, better seed and increased yields. Without these enhancements, fueled by the RFS, the production of corn would have been much less."

Listen for more!

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

Three million miles on E15 for NASCAR

Below is an ad the good folks at NASCAR Green placed on the back cover of today's USA Today.

Among several green initiatives, the text highlights 3 million miles NASCAR has raced over the last two years on Sunoco Green E15, a 15 percent ethanol blend that provides a boost in horsepower while reducing emissions by 20 percent.

The final NASCAR Sprint Cup race is this weekend. Be sure to check it out — and support American Ethanol!

November 15, 2012

Corn and Soy Collegiate Mentoring Program accepting applications


The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Soybean Association are launching a new collegiate agriculture mentoring program.

The goal is to provide college students across Nebraska with a comprehensive understanding of agriculture. Participants will learn about the issues impacting agriculture on a state and federal level. They’ll also discover the opportunities available by supporting industries such as the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board and University of Nebraska Extension.

The Corn and Soy Collegiate Mentoring Program kicks off Jan. 1, 2013, and runs through the year. During that time, participants will attend seminars where they will learn about various aspects of the agriculture industry and participate in a bus tour highlighting Nebraska agriculture.

The first seminar is scheduled for January and will cover state and federal policy, while a session in April will provide details on how agriculture groups promote their respective industries.

The summer bus tour includes all areas of Nebraska agriculture, from production to manufacturing to processing. Environmental stewardship is also on the agenda. Fall brings a session on UNL extension and the role the university plays in people’s lives outside of college.

During the whole year, participants have opportunities for job shadowing throughout the corn and soybean industries.

Students will not be responsible for any expenses to participate in the program, and upon completion, each will receive a $500 scholarship toward their education expenses.

Applications are open to any full time student in a Nebraska post secondary school.  

Applications are due November 30, so if you are an interested student or know a student who may be interested, contact the Nebraska Corn Growers Association or Nebraska Soybean Association for more details — or click here.

November 10, 2012

Podcast: Corn farmers defend RFS, join Fuels America

In this podcast, Greg Whitmore, a farmer from Shelby and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, explains that corn farmers via the National Corn Growers Association have joined forces with a large coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS.

The new coalition, called Fuels America, spans the full spectrum of agriculture, national security, renewable energy and other stakeholders.

"Ethanol and other biofuels are essential to the continued growth of rural economies," Whitmore said, "and they also play an essential role in ensuring the future of our nation."

He noted that domestically produced, renewable fuels create American jobs and increase national energy independence — they are a win-win solution to many of the energy problems facing our nation, "and we believe that it is our duty to bring this truth to our representatives in Washington and to citizens across the country."

Listen for more!

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

November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Check out a video we made using our 2012 Crop Progress pictures. Thanks so much to the FFA chapters for sending them in!

November 5, 2012

Nebraska corn harvest 97 percent complete

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today that 97 percent of Nebraska's corn crop was harvested as of Nov. 4

That's up from 94 percent harvested last week and is well ahead of last year's 83 percent harvested. The five-year average is 64 percent harvested by this time.

Everything was early this year, from planting to tassel to drydown and harvest. That's what warmer than normal temps will do in the first half of the year when combined with dryer than normal conditions for pretty much the whole year.

The soybean harvest in the state is done, USDA said. A week ago, soybean harvest stood at 98 percent complete. A year ago the crop was 99 percent harvested, while the average is 93 percent.

Sorghum harvest in the state was 94 percent complete, compared to 85 percent last week, 79 percent last year and 60 percent on average.

Nationally, 95 percent of the country's corn crop was harvested, up from 91 percent last week. A year ago 85 percent of the crop was harvested by this date, while the five-year average is 71 percent harvested.

The photo above comes from the Nebraska Corn Board's 2012 crop progress photo set at Flickr, while the graphic below was created by Kelly Brunkhorst at the Corn Board.