October 31, 2012

Nebraska Agribusiness Club to honor past Corn Board Chair and other honorees

Three Nebraskans will be awarded for their service and dedication to agriculture at the Nebraska Agribusiness Club’s 46th annual awards banquet November1 at Hillcrest Country Club in Lincoln.

The 2012 honorees for Public Service to Agriculture are Lisa Lunz of Wakefield and Alan Tiemann, past chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, of Seward, and Dawn Caldwell of Edgar is the New Horizon honoree, according to Mat Habrock, chair of the Club’s Awards Committee.

Habrock said the awards banquet is open to the public. Tickets are $30 each and can be paid at the door. For more information, click here.

Lisa Lunz, and her husband, Jim farm north of Wakefield, Nebraska raising no-till corn and soybeans.  Lisa is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and a member of LEAD XVII. Lisa is serving her final term on the Nebraska Soybean Board with a total of 12 years served. She has served as the research committee chairman, secretary and the Board chairman from 2010-2011.  In addition, Lunz is the Soybean Board representative to U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) communications committee. Throughout the years, Lisa has often shown her passion for youth and agriculture education. She has served as her community 4-H leader and involved with the Soybean educators, Ag Sack Lunch program, UNL Soybean research projects, CommonGround, and Ag Pen Pals.  In addition, Lisa is very involved with the Wakefield School Board and her church. Lisa and Jim are also the proud parents of three children: Kristina, a recent graduate of Doane College;, Keri, a sophomore at Midland College; and Jacob, a senior at Wakefield High School.

Alan Tiemann, 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.

Dawn Caldwell, her husband Matt and two children farm in Edgar, Neb., on the family farm passed down from Matt’s grandfather. Half of their farm is devoted to row crops and farmed with Matt’s brother, and the other half to pasture for their cattle. Dawn received an Animal Science Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1994, and is a member of LEAD CLASS XXIV. Currently Dawn works as the communications manager for the Aurora Coop, previously holding the position of livestock specialist for the Coop.  Prior to her time at the cooperative, Dawn worked for the University of Nebraska Extension service for three years before taking a job with an independent feed company.  Dawn is involved in the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, a CommonGround Nebraska spokeswoman and volunteer, a member of the Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors and active in the Red Angus Association of America.

Wordless Wednesday


October 30, 2012

A free sack lunch and a little education


Nebraska’s fourth-grade classes have been quick to take advantage of a program developed by the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association to introduce students to the importance of the agricultural industry to the state’s economy.

The Nebraska AG Sack Lunch Program is designed to educate Nebraska fourth-graders on the important role agriculture plays in the state’s economy, from a past, present and future perspective. The program takes advantage of the fact that over 20,000 fourth-graders visit the State Capitol Building in Lincoln each year as part of their curriculum.

The program includes a sack lunch featuring nutritious food produced in Nebraska, a 15-minute presentation by Ag Ambassadors on the vital role agriculture plays in the state’s economy, and a fact-filled card game designed for students to take home and play with their families. “Ag Ambassadors,” who are trained UNL students, make the brief presentations, which typically run 10 to 15 minutes.

“Some students just aren't aware of where their food comes from, just taking it for granted”, one Ambassador said. Their presentations tell students that one in three jobs in Nebraska have some connection to agriculture, including a variety of support industries such as equipment manufacturing and sales, building construction, transportation, and food retailers. Of these jobs, only about 10% are traditional farmers.

Invitations were sent to 660 fourth-grade teachers in 44 counties in the eastern third of Nebraska. Response was overwhelming. The initial program specified a total of 1,300 lunches would be provided. However, the program was expanded to offer 5,000 Ag Sack Lunches. The program has received positive comments from teachers, students and parents.

“Hopefully, this generation of fourth-graders can funnel some of what they learn to their parents,” says Don Hutchens, NCB executive director. “Some have a misconception of how farmers interact with the environment, their livestock or even whether their farm is a family farm. What better way to do it than with a free sack lunch and a little education.”

October 29, 2012

Meet Nebraska Corn Board Director, Mark Jagels

Mark Jagels represents District 2 for the Nebraska Corn Board and has been serving as a director for the Nebraska Corn Board since 1999. Mark is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics. He is a fourth generation family farmer and farms with his father outside of Davenport, Nebraska. He lives on the home place that was originally homesteaded in 1885. They are diversified producers who raise irrigated white corn, yellow corn, and soybeans; have a cow/calf operation; custom feed cattle; and operate a trucking company. Mark mentioned the most important thing is leaving the land they farm now in better shape than what they started with for future generations.

Along with serving on the Nebraska Corn Board, Mark’s leadership and commitment to the livestock and grain industries, as well as his community is evidenced through his service on local, state, national, and international levels. He is a graduate of the Nebraska LEAD XI (11) program and is now an alumnus. In 2007 he received the Outstanding Nebraska LEAD Alumni award. Mark was also received the Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award from the Nebraska Agribusiness Club. On the state level, Mark is an Agriculture Builders of Nebraska member, Nebraska Cattlemen member, and participated in Nebraska Governor’s Trade Mission to Cuba. Nationally, Mark has been very active with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) by serving on various committees and is currently serving as the vice-chair. He has also been actively involved with the U.S. Grains Council, National Corn Growers Association, and has lobbied senators and representatives in Washington D.C. for the Nebraska Corn Board, National Corn Growers Association, and Nebraska Cattlemen. He has also played a key role representing agriculture on the international level by hosting trade teams and traveling to Japan, South Korea, South America, European Union, Poland, and Hungary representing the USMEF and the Nebraska Corn Board.

When Mark isn’t busy representing agriculture on the state and national levels, he can be found serving in his local community. He is a former District 4 Representative for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers/Ranchers Committee, participant in the Nebraska Farm Bureau Ag Pen Pal Program, Thayer County Livestock Feeder member, Thayer County Farm Bureau member, and a Davenport Lions Club member. He has also served as a beef leader for Circle D 4-H Club and was on the advisory board for Cargill at the Carleton location for the Nebraska elevator expansion project. In his community he has served as a youth group sponsor, church secretary, and is a member of the Voter’s Assembly. He was also elected to serve on the school board for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Mark has also volunteered as an umpire and was a former coach for the local summer baseball league.

He and his wife, Suzanne, have three sons. Derek is merchandiser for AGP, Brett and his wife Kristin, live in Austin, Texas where he teaches third grade at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, and Jason is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

October 27, 2012

Podcast: Thank you for making Red Cross blood drive a big success

This past summer, an idea was hatched for Nebraska corn and pig farmers to join forces with the American Red Cross to "stalk up the blood supply" by allowing those willing to donate blood to pig out!

In this podcast, Mat Habrock of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, gives a review of the blood donation program, which included food catered by Skeeter Barnes, concert tickets, pork coupons and ethanol gas cards.

In total, 8 blood drives were sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Growers and Nebraska Pork Producers Associations. He said 570 BBQ pork lunches were served and in the process the program collected 452 pints of blood, with 47 people donating for the first time. "And most importantly potentialy1,356 lives were saved," he said.

Although the spsonsored blood drives have ended, the need for blood is still great. Habrock  encourages everyone to consider giving blood. You can make an appointment to give blood in your community by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS

Listen for more.

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

October 26, 2012

Staff Update

In this week's staff update, director Don Hutchens, talks about how Nebraska's corn crop faired through the 2012 drought.

October 25, 2012

Lexington, Neb., retailer offering 15 percent ethanol blend

A Lexington, Neb., retailer is the first in the state to offer E15, a 15 percent ethanol/85 percent gasoline blend, the Nebraska Corn Board said yesterday. E15 is approved for use in vehicles 2001 and newer.
The retailer, Uncle Neal’s Phillips 66, is located at 2705 S Plum Creek Parkway in Lexington.

Neal Hoff, owner of the Uncle Neal’s in Lexington, had previously received a Nebraska Corn Board grant to install fuel pumps that offer him more flexibility. He said E15 seemed like the logical fuel to offer since vehicles that are 2001 and newer use more than 80 percent of the fuel sold. "We want to give consumers fuel choice and what better than to offer a locally homegrown and produced fuel?" he said.

The Nebraska Corn Board and the Renewable Fuels Association worked with Hoff to ensure he was registered for the fuel and labeled properly for selling E15.

"It is a great feat for the ethanol industry to see E15 being sold in multiple states, and we are pleased Nebraska is added to the list," said Robert White, director of market development for the Renewable Fuels Association.

"It has been 30 years since a new fuel has been introduced, and we know adoption is going to be slow. Consumers in Nebraska now are one of the first in the nation to have a new fueling option that we believe other retailers in the state will choose to offer in the future," White said.

For more, check out the report below from KHAS-TV.

October 23, 2012

9th Season Eve - by Curt Tomasevicz


It’s hard to believe that this weekend will be the start of the World Cup team trials marking the beginning of my 9th season of bobsledding.

When I began this adventure in September of 2004, my plan was to compete for sixteen months until the 2006 Olympics and then move on to another life adventure. I thought that I would push a sled for a couple bobsled seasons and then put my electrical engineering degree to use by working for an electric power company. Well, I guess that I forgot to move on. It sounds crazy, but I've become addicted to the daily beating that I put on my body during the violent and chaotic bobsled trips as a brakeman as well as the daily strain on my back and legs during the off-season weight lifting sessions. I can’t think of another way I would have liked to have spent the last eight years. I wake up sore and achy, but I love the competition and challenge of getting better every day.

Some people would think that because I've been doing this for nearly a decade that I wouldn't get as excited for the upcoming season. That’s simply not true. This past summer while training in Colorado Springs, I knew that this World Cup season would be a test. This is the pre-Olympic season. Many people see this year as having more importance than even the Olympic season because, frankly, if you’re not in position to make the Olympics this year, you won’t be in position to make the team next year and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Sometimes, it’s not easy to find ways to stay motivated for so long, but deep down, the drive is still there. It’s just a matter of putting that drive into performance. During the past few weeks during our pre-season testing, I've been able to lift (squat and clean) more than I ever have in addition to pushing as fast as I ever have.

A friend of mine, Cheryl Haworth, an Olympic bronze medalist in weight lifting said that it is rare that a person finds what they are truly meant to do. I think I've found that thing in my life. No one in their right mind would have guessed that a Nebraska kid from a small town would be meant to push a bobsled in the Alps and the Rockies every winter. But I was lucky to find it.
Single push at the recent 2012-2013 National Push Championships. I finished in 3rd place.
So now, with another season about to begin, I’m finding that in addition to the typical motivation that I feel to represent my country, I’m also feeling a selfish motivation knowing that my seasons may be numbered. I know that I have an amazing support team from the corn fields of Nebraska and they’ll be in the back of my mind as this season begins. Someday, I will miss the competition and the challenge, but not before the eve of season number TEN!

October 22, 2012

Harvest Picture Contest

As harvest wraps up in Nebraska, we know many of you have great pictures, so we’re having a harvest picture contest! It's pretty simple, we know that a lot of you out there have some really great pictures from harvest and we want to see them! Submit your photos on our Facebook page (facebook.com/nebraskacornboard) by the close of business on Thursday, November 1. Then all of the photos will be posted in an album on Facebook to be "voted on". The picture that wins will be the picture that has the most “Likes” by Monday, November 19. The winner will receive a little package of goodies including a t-shirt, mug, and some other pretty cool stuff!

To submit your picture you can post it to our Facebook page/wall after which we will move it into the contest album. Please only one submission per person – anyone can enter, even if you’re not from Nebraska!

We look forward to seeing your pictures!!

October 18, 2012

Five internship opportunities with NCB, national cooperators


The Nebraska Corn Board is again partnering with its national cooperators to provide four summer and one year-long internship for Nebraska college students.

Partnerships with these cooperators include: National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Four of the five programs are summer programs and we are accepting applications currently until January 15, 2013. One internship is hosted at the Nebraska Corn Board office in Lincoln and is a full-year internship (full-time in the summer and part-time during the school year).

Duties and responsibilities of each internship are explained in the links below.
To learn about the past interns experiences, check out their blogs on the Nebraska Corn Kernels blog.

Please send questions or inquiries to kelsey.pope@nebraska.gov.

October 17, 2012

Transportation, tickets available for Sunday's NASCAR race in Kansas City

A few seats remain for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board trip to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Kansas City this Sunday (Oct. 21).

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is on and this is a great opportunity to witness some great racing fueled by American Ethanol!

The cost is $90 per person, and includes round-trip transportation from Lincoln to the race, a ticket to the race and morning and evening meals and beverages. The green flag is set to drop at 1 p.m., so the bus will be leaving Lincoln at 6 a.m. and should return about 9:30 p.m.

This is a great way to see American Ethanol and NASCAR in action by taking a day-trip with your fellow Nebraskans. 

To secure your spot today, call Kim Clark with the Corn Board at 402-471-2676.

October 16, 2012

Crop update: Nebraska corn 80% harvested

In its weekly crop progress report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 80 percent of Nebraska's corn crop is in the bin.

That's up from 67 percent harvested last week and is well ahead of last year's 27 percent harvested and the five-year average of 26 percent harvested.

Soybeans harvested in Nebraska stood at 86 percent, compared to the average pace of 65 percent harvested. Sorghum harvest in the state was 45 percent complete, compared to 16 percent for the average.

Nationally, 79 percent of the country's corn crop was harvested, up from 69 percent last week. A year ago 42 percent of the crop was harvested by this date, while the five-year average is 38 percent harvested.

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

October 15, 2012

Nebraska Food, Fuel, Water Contest


We all know that when talking about food, fuel, and water that Nebraska is a state that should be mentioned. The Nebraska Corn Board has recently partnered with the Nebraska Soybean Board and the Nebraska Wheat Board to sponsor a photo contest.

To enter the contest all you have to do is enter a photo of food, fuel, or water from Nebraska that has been taken within the last three years. The deadline is November 1, 2012 with the best picture in each category winning an Ipad. For more information about the contest visit the website: http://innovate.unl.edu/photocontest

October 5, 2012

Podcast: Some silver linings from the drought

In this podcast, Steve Ebke, a farmer from Daykin and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, recognizes that while this year's drought certainly created challenges and frustrations for those involved in agriculture, there are a few silver linings that Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Grower Association, said are worth considering.

The importance of risk management and crop insurance are two key points. The impact of the drought will be mitigated by the widespread adoption of crop insurance and the shift in farm policy to focus more on risk management.

"Another silver lining is that we are seeing the value of advanced seed technology," Ebke said. "If you compare this year to 1988, the last time we had a major drought, corn plants are much healthier and more robust. While yields are still down significantly nationally, they will likely end up 30 to 35 bushels per acre more than in 1988 – even though this year’s drought is worse."

That leads right into modern agronomic and production methods adopted by farmers across the country. Some have compared this year’s drought to the drought that led to the dust bowl in the 1930s. Yet there is no dust bowl. And there is little concern there will be one.

Listen for more.

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

October 4, 2012

Corn crop quality during drought

Mycotoxin, aflatoxin, ear and stalk rots, Goss's Wilt and drought were the main discussion points given by Dr. Tamra Jackson-Ziems at the October Nebraska Agribusiness Club meeting on Monday.  Dr. Jackson-Ziems is the corn and sorghum specialist with the Extension Plant Pathology Team and the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

This discussion was especially timely as the heat and drought of the growing season this year, that spurred the growth of many mycotoxins which affect corn in Nebraska. However, Dr. Jackson-Ziems assured the club that we have mycotoxins every year, but the talk of aflatoxin has gotten many people worried.

The concentration of mycotoxin in grain is influenced by fungal infection, growing conditions and plant stress. Mycotoxins can still survive in distillers grains after corn has gone through the distillation process as they are heat stable - however their concentration increases 3 times by volume in the distillers grains.

One major point to remember when talking about aflatoxin and that is the FDA Action Levels for corn intended for livestock or human use. The following picture shows the parts per billion (ppb).

Dr. Jackson-Ziems worked with a colleague who collected samples of corn in a 100 mile radius of Lincoln and found that 42% of those samples had no detectable aflatoxin at all. In 80% of the samples, the corn showed less than 20 ppb of aflatoxin - which according to the chart above, is completely safe levels.

In 99% of the samples, aflatoxin was less than 100 ppb which is perfectly safe for livestock feeding. So even though there are rumors and concerns about aflatoxin in this drought year, this study has confirmed the safety of the Nebraska corn crop.

You can catch Dr. Jackson-Ziems' presentation on YouTube.

October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Combining corn for the first time. (And a nap!)

Zevan Wolf of Scotia (two-year-old son of Lucas and Andrea)
combining corn for the first time!
(His uncle, Jared Rasmussen of Cotesfield, is helping.)

Worn out from all the work, Zevan gets a nap in the cab.

October 2, 2012

Podcast: Keep safety in mind as we move through harvest

In this podcast, Mark Jagels, a farmer from Davenport and member of the Nebraska Corn Board, discusses farm safety during harvest time - and year round.

He was reflecting on National Farm Safety and Health Week, which was in September. This year’s farm safety theme was Agricultural Safety and Health…A Family Affair. (More here.)

"Family members and farm workers should be trained on how to handle equipment, especially if they do not use harvest or fall-related equipment very often," Jagels said. "They should also know how to respond in an emergency, such as accessing a first aid kit, calling for help and shutting down equipment."

"Because of the drought, this year especially may create more dust issues. "From vehicles on gravel and dirt roads to farm equipment in fields, dust that lingers like a thick fog can create significant visibility issues. Slow down in dusty areas, especially at intersections. Use your lights and be extra careful," he said.

For listen, click on the icon above.

A recent trip to Franklin Schools in Franklin, Neb., I snapped the photo below. It provides a reminder about the hazards of working on a farm and the importance of keeping safety in mind. Tombstones cite ATVs, tractors and accidents.

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

October 1, 2012

Crop update: Nebraska corn harvest 53% complete

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today that 53 percent of Nebraska's corn crop was harvested as of yesterday. That's up from 36 percent harvested last week. It's also significantly ahead of the 10 percent harvested last year at this time and the 10 percent harvested for the average over the last five years.

USDA said 93 percent of the state's crop was mature, up from 87 percent last week and 68 percent last year. The five-year average for this week is 67 percent mature.

Soybeans harvested in Nebraska stood at 48 percent, compared to the average pace of 16 percent harvested.

Kelly Brunkhorst at the Nebraska Corn Board said if you look at corn and soybean harvest progress over the last week, Nebraska farmers harvested nearly 3 million acres (totaled together) this past week. (Iowa farmers harvested nearly 5.5 million acres combined of corn and soybeans.)

If you look back to planting progress in April, there was a week Nebraska farmers planted 3.1 million acres of corn and Iowa farmers planted 6 million acres – so farmers are harvesting almost as fast as they planted this spring!

Nationally, 54 percent of the country's corn crop was harvested, up from 39 percent last week. A year ago 18 percent of the crop was harvested by this date, while the five-year average is 20 percent harvested.

USDA said 94 percent of the country's crop was mature, compared to 88 percent last week, 74 percent last year and 72 percent for the average.

The national soybean harvest stood at 41 percent complete, up from 22 percent last week, 15 percent last year and 19 percent for the five-year average.

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