August 30, 2013

Kernels of Truth Podcast: the Farm Bill is important to everyone

The Nebraska Corn Board is starting a new series of podcasts called Kernels of Truth, featuring Nebraska Corn Board members, Nebraska corn farmers and cooperators of the checkoff programs.

In this podcast, Tim Scheer, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, shares the importance of the Farm Bill to our ag economy and our consumers. Also, Tim stresses how Congress needs to hear from farmers about a new, five-year Farm Bill.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Congress needs to hear from farmers! Find the countdown on the Corn Board's homepage, then connect with key policymakers to urge them that it is time to set aside political partisanship and do the right thing—pass a Farm Bill now.

Kernels of Truth podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

August 29, 2013

Appreciate the Journey - by Curt Tomasevicz

Sometimes we get so caught up in chasing our goals that we can forget to stop and enjoy the journey. The end result is not always the most important part of going for a goal. Sometimes we need to stop, take a moment, and remind ourselves what it is for which we are striving.

This, of course, can be applied to any long term goal that we may have. Taking a break can be the best thing for us. When is the last time you forced yourself to take a break? Some of the hardest working people I know are Nebraskan farmers that work from sun up to sun down and sometimes longer. I can relate to their feeling of putting in long hours to reach a goal. But I don’t think many of those farmers take enough periodic breaks to pat themselves on the back and enjoy the moment. But that may be just what they need to refocus and re-energize.

For the past four years, I’ve been working hard in the weight room and on the track in order to get stronger and faster so I can push a bobsled faster than ever and make it back on top of the Olympic podium. I haven’t lost focus for one day or even for one workout. I consider how every meal and snack will affect my training. I contemplate the number of hours of sleep I get every night knowing I need adequate rest and recovery after every day of training.

But that moment on top of the podium isn’t as fulfilling if you don’t have fun along the way. It is important to appreciate the journey.

So this past week, the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation hosted their annual team camp and gala in Lake Placid, New York. It is a chance for the athletes to celebrate last season’s successes and also refocus and re-energize for the long haul of training and competing leading up to the Olympics next February. During the gala, the coaches and staff hand out awards for Athlete of the Year and Athletes’ Choice Award. (I was honored to be awarded the Athletes’ Choice Award). There are video clips compiled together to recap the 2012-2013 season. There were also some inductions into the National Bobsled Hall of Fame. Without a doubt, the purpose of the night is to remind the athletes of the fun our journey should be.
The award winners from the 2012-2013 Bobsled Season

The rest of the camp is geared toward preparing for the 2013-2014 season, ending with the 2014 Olympics in Russia. We reviewed the selection criteria, learned about nutrition and recovery, practiced media training including social media rules, and even worked with sports psychologists. In addition to the educational seminars, various team-building activities helped prepare us to form the best possible teams for the upcoming season.

So whether you’re in the middle of irrigation season, spraying, or even harvesting, take a minute to look around and appreciate the moment. Sometimes it may be difficult, but that extra second may be just the thing to help put a positive perspective on the situation and help you appreciate the journey.

August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Come visit the "Farmers Can" display at the Nebraska State Fair this week. Then take a picture and post it to our Facebook or Twitter pages using the #standbyafarmer. 

August 27, 2013

Podcast: Corn & Soy Mentor Program for College Students

In this podcast, Joel Grams of Minden and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, shares about the Corn and Soy Mentor program for college students that the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, along with their counterparts on the soybean side, have developed.

The mentor program is designed to help these students become more aware of the scope and breadth of agriculture in the state—and the career opportunities that exist. Additionally, they want these students to learn about the checkoff and ag member associations in Nebraska so they can become advocates and leaders once they graduate.

Listen for more!

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

August 26, 2013

Cool Temperatures In Mid August?

Kernels are turning a darker yellow
For the week ending August 18, 2013 most of Nebraska saw cool temperatures. Crop reports indicated that in many areas of the state warmers temperatures are needed to advance crop maturity. Statewide producers had 4.9 days considered suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 44 percent short/very short, 55 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 64 percent short/very short, 36 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

All corn conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 20 percent excellent. Irrigated corn rated 79 percent good or excellent which is higher than the 75 percent average. Dryland corn rated 45 percent good or excellent compared to 59 percent average. Corn in dough was 69 percent which is behind last years 92 percent and 78 percent average.
Corn is over 7 feet tall!

Corn dented was 11 percent, well behind last years 65 percent and 33 percent average.

Be sure to check out all photos submitted this week on our Flickr and Pinterest pages!

Intern experiences testimonies on the Hill; hosted ag intern luncheons

Kyle McGinnBy Kyle McGinn, NCGA-DC Intern 

Good afternoon. This is my third and final blog entry. My internship with the National Corn Growers Association Washington Office concluded on August 2nd. I am truly saddened to leave Washington, for I have greatly enjoyed my summer here with the National Corn Growers Association. However, I am equally eager to return to the Cornhusker State and resume my studies at the University of Nebraska.

One of the true highlights of my final few weeks with NCGA was witnessing Ms. Pam Johnson (President of NCGA and a Floyd, IA Corm Producer) testify in front of the United State House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power on July 24th. The Subcommittee has been holding a series of oversight hearings regarding the Renewable Fuels Standard over the course of the summer, many of which I have had attended. This particular hearing was focused on ‘Stakeholder Perspectives.’ Ms. Johnson appeared alongside representatives from the National Chicken Council, the Environmental Working Group, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants. She offered a strong defense of corn-based ethanol, noting that “Since its enactment in 2005, [the RFS] has created jobs, lessened our dependence on foreign oil and improved the environmental footprint of our nation’s transportation fuels.” Ms. Johnson then withstood some tough questioning from Committee members; all NCGA members should be proud of her advocacy.

Additionally, as Bryce Vaughn mentioned, we had the opportunity to host an ‘Ag Intern’ luncheon here at the joint United States Grain Council-NCGA Washington office, on July 23. Over the course of the summer, Bryce and I have had the opportunity to join a broad network of agricultural interns working in the Washington area at series of luncheon events, to learn more about Washington based agriculture organizations. We met on 10 occasions or so, to learn about various organizations including CropLife America, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Millers Association, and many others. Our USGC/NCGA event was greatly enjoyable. Approximately 25 interns attended, representing both government and trade organizations. Mr. Jon Doggett (Vice President of Public Policy, NCGA) and Mr. Tom Sleight (President and CEO, USGC) offered a bit of information about the two respective groups, and the agricultural community in Washington. These luncheons further demonstrate the tight-knit relationships between the agricultural community in Washington.

In my final weeks, I have been able to see a few more sites of Washington, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the USDA-led National Arboretum, and the National Portrait Gallery. I would certainly recommend these lesser known (and free!) attractions to anyone visiting Washington.

Lastly, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Nebraska Corn Board, for affording me this opportunity. I have learned a tremendous amount; I hope that I have done you proud. I leave with a much greater knowledge of agricultural production. I also wish to express my gratitude to the National Corn Growers Association, for hosting me this summer.

August 23, 2013

NCB’s newly appointed board members and new officers

Two new board members were appointed to the Nebraska Corn Board at the start of the 2013-14 fiscal year. David Bruntz, farmer from Friend, Neb. was appointed to District 1, and Debbie Borg, farmer from Allen, Neb., was appointed to District 4.

2013-14 New NCB Board Members
Newly appoint board members:
Debbie Borg & David Bruntz

David Bruntz, and his wife, Ann, raise irrigated and dryland corn and soybeans along with feeding cattle. He has served as President of the Nebraska Cattlemen, regional Vice President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), as well as on the executive committee for NCBA. Bruntz has served 15 years on the local coop board and on the Friend Area Foundation. In addition to his role on the Corn Board, he is currently on the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Foundation.

Debbie Borg is a partner in TD Borg Farms, a 5th generation family farm, raising corn, soybeans, alfalfa and backgrounding cattle. Besides serving on the board, Borg has been involved in the Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska AgRelations Council, Syngenta Young Leader program and numerous volunteer organizations within her community, FFA and 4-H. She has been married to her husband, Terry, for 18 years and they have three children, Hannah, Heidi and Hunter.

2013-14 NCB Officer Team
New Officer Team (l to r):
David Merrell, Tim Scheer, Curt Friesen and Alan Tiemann

With the addition of two new board members, the Nebraska Corn Board met on August 13 and elected officers, during their meeting in Lincoln, Neb.

Tim Scheer, District 5 director from St. Paul, Neb., was elected to remain chairman of the board. This will be Scheer’s second term to serve as board chairman.

Curt Friesen, District 3 director from Henderson, Neb., was elected to remain vice-chairman of the board for his second term.

David Merrell, District 7 director from St. Edward, was elected to remain secretary/treasurer of the board for his second term.

Alan Tiemann, at-large director from Seward, Neb., will remain to serve as the past-chairman of the board, for his second term also.

“The Nebraska corn industry has some great new leaders representing them with Dave and Debbie on the board,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “They, along with our officer team, will play a dynamic role in helping the Nebraska economy through its market development, research, promotion and education, and in supporting the mission and vision for Nebraska’s 23,000 corn producers that pay the corn checkoff.”

Bruntz and Borg’s appointments concluded the service of Dave Nielsen of Lincoln, Neb. (District 1) and Bob Dickey of Laurel, Neb. (District 4).

“I also want to thank Bob and Dave for their years of dedicated service to the 23,000 corn farmers across the state,” added Hutchens.  “Both of them brought distinguished leadership and significant ideas that continue to move the board and industry forward.”

August 22, 2013

The summer ended, but this intern is more fired up than ever

Casey CampbellBy Casey Campbell, NCGA-St. Louis Intern

Friday, August 9 was my last day with the National Corn Growers Association and I cannot believe how quickly this summer blew by. I started out getting lost many times each day and now I could navigate not only my way around the office, but also the drive to and from the office in my sleep. I also came into the summer expecting to just be stuck in a cubicle the whole time and not have any chances to meet anyone. I ended up forming relationships with almost everyone in the office and miss them all.

This summer I was able to do so much more than I ever thought possible as an intern. I didn’t fill my days with busywork like you see interns doing on TV, instead I was busy doing research, meeting new people, and learning through trial and error how to optimize social media.

My last month or so at NCGA proved to be just as crazy and exciting as the rest. It also helped me realize where in the agricultural industry I want to direct my career. This all started during my trip to DC. In the days before Corn Congress, NCGA hosts their July Action Team Meetings and I was asked to take notes for the Ethanol Committee. Before my trip I had done some research on ethanol and had a basic understanding of it, but I had no idea how interesting it could be. After the Ethanol Committee Meeting ended I was fired up about ethanol and ready to tell the world how important it is as well as how necessary the RFS is.

Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to do just that during Nebraska’s Hill visits in DC. While meeting with Congressman Lee Terry I asked him about his view on the RFS, concluding with the question, “How can I prove to you that the RFS does not need to be reformed?” Since then I have been in communication with one of his staffers and spreading the word about ethanol everywhere I can.

While I am so happy to be back in Nebraska, part of me wishes my internship didn’t have to end. Thankfully, I know another Husker will fill my place at NCGA next summer.

Be sure to check out @CaseysCorn on Twitter for more on Ethanol and everything else I find interesting surrounding the world of corn.

August 20, 2013

Podcast: Urging Nebraska Leaders to Make Progress with the Farm Bill and RFS

In this podcast, Curtis Rohrich of Wood River and member of the the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, urges farmers to take action on the Farm Bill. There is a lot happening on the state and national level right now that will have a dramatic impact on your freedom to farm—and on your profitability. It's important that corn farmers be engaged in the policy process—especially in the next few weeks.

Congress is in its August recess, which means that Nebraska's Congressional delegation will be back here in the state—where you can talk with them face to face. Obviously, getting a new Farm Bill passed is paramount.

When Congress gets back in September, they will have nine days to get it done—or we'll automatically revert to previous farm policy, some of it dating back to the late 1940s. Crop insurance as well as funding for trade promotion and research are all uncertain at this point—and as you know, it's tough for any of us to make decisions about our operations when we don't know what's going to happen on the federal level.

Listen for more!

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

August 19, 2013

Agribusiness Virtual Roundtable–Paul Hammes


*The Business Leaders "Virtual Roundtable" discussion was gathered for the Spring 2013 CornsTalk publication. The responses of these business associates were consolidated for the publication, but you can find the full responses through this blog series.

PaulHammes_UPPaul Hammes, Vice President, General Manager Agricultural Products, Union Pacific

Union Pacific’s relationship with Nebraska agriculture industry

Union Pacific has developed a strong relationship with Nebraska agriculture industry during our 150 year history. As rail was laid across Nebraska in the 1860’s, communities were built and access to markets for the productive crop land was created. Nebraska has become a key part of Union Pacific’s agricultural franchise by generating more than 70,000 car loads of grain in 2012 from 39 shuttle train elevators. Nebraska’s grain production has also created a strong grain processing industry which includes 11 ethanol plants and three soybean crushing plants served by Union Pacific. Union Pacific has helped create and add value to Nebraska agriculture by providing market access with safe and efficient service across our 32,000 mile network. We not only access major feeding markets in the west, but also export markets in the U.S. Gulf, PNW and Mexico.

How should Nebraska leverage its strength in agriculture?

Nebraska has significant in-state markets for grain and grain products, however the long term demand growth will be aligned with exports. Nebraska needs to continue to invest in infrastructure and crop production practices in order to capture and access these markets. Union Pacific is committed to provide rail transportation support, with our January of 2012 announcement of plans to spend $1 billion in new investment in Nebraska over the next several years.

What do Nebraska urban consumers need to understand about Union Pacific’s relationship with agriculture?

Consumers all across the U.S. benefit from a large, safe, diverse and relatively inexpensive food supply because we have great agricultural resources and the ability to supply large population centers. Transportation is a key part of the food supply chain and rail is the safest and most fuel efficient mode of transportation. It all starts on the farm, but Union Pacific is a part of delivering it to the table.

August 17, 2013

Kernels of Truth Podcast: Farm Bill Now!

The Nebraska Corn Board is starting a new series of podcasts this month called Kernels of Truth, featuring Nebraska Corn Board members, Nebraska corn farmers and cooperators of the checkoff programs.

In the first podcast, Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board shares about how Nebraska corn farmers need to urge Congress for a Farm Bill Now. Congress is on recess right now, but when they come back in September, will only have 9 days to act on a new, five-year Farm Bill.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Congress needs to hear from farmers! Find the countdown on the Corn Board's homepage, then connect with key policymakers to urge them that it is time to set aside political partisanship and do the right thing—pass a Farm Bill now.

Kernels of Truth podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

August 16, 2013

Podcast: Putting American Beef back on Japanese Plates

In this podcast, Mark Jagels, Nebraska Corn Board Director and Chair-Elect for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, shares about the mission to Japan recently. The Nebraska Corn Board sent two of its members—plus two representatives of the Nebraska Cattlemen and one from the Nebraska Corn Growers—to Japan to visit with key customers and see what USMEF is doing.

While the group was there, USMEF sponsored a luncheon featuring a popular TV cooking show host who prepared dishes with U.S. beef and pork. Also, they hosted a large seminar on U.S. beef and pork, which was attended by 640 Japanese meat buyers. After the seminar, they were all treated to a buffet featuring a wide variety of beef and pork dishes.

Listen for more!

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

Also, check out for more updates from the mission!

August 15, 2013

Higher water quality helps with farm viability


Corn grows near of Kearney, NE, July, 2010. Agriculture photo shoot in  Nebraska. Photo by Craig Chandler / University CommunicationsThe Field to Market alliance is preparing to release a water quality metric to its Fieldprint Calculator. This update includes the integration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Quality Index and can help growers better understand how their farming systems and practices affect the quality of water flowing off their fields.

"The time, landscape and community in which farmers grow their crops, along with their management decisions and skills regarding inputs and production practices, all play a part in the profitability of a farming operation," said Keith Alverson, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)'s board representative to Field to Market. "No farmer wants to leave dollars on the field, and the water quality metric in the Fieldprint Calculator will help determine if we are boosting yields enough to cover things like extra fertilizer costs or soil loss. While profitability is import, longevity is a greater priority."

Field to MarketNCGA is involved in proactively addressing potential water quality concerns to avoid a one-size-fits-all regulation that will inhibit the ability of farmers to have adequate flexibility in managing issues unique to their operation. In addition to working with Field to Market, NCGA's Production and Stewardship Action Team participates in the Ag Nutrient Policy Council and Waters Advocacy Coalition, two broad-based coalitions working to ensure the Clean Water Act works for American agriculture.

Although best management practices are adopted by individual growers, their performance and cost-effectiveness are not well characterized. To promote more sustainable water quality solutions, NCGA has invested in the development of a comprehensive data management system for collecting, storing, and evaluating water quality related agricultural best management practice information.

NCGA's recent "Driving Change" video and its new Water Quality Training Module are recent additions to the organization's water quality educational tools for farmers.

*Information from NCGA’s News of the Day

August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Record corn production is being anticipated this year. Check out this photo submitted by the Fullerton FFA Chapter! Please send us your corn photos, they can be submitted on either our Facebook or Twitter page!

August 12, 2013

Meat industry trade teams and fact sheets

Michael Chao
By Michael Chao, USMEF intern

I cannot believe today is actually my last day here at USMEF. It has been three months since I moved to Denver. Since my last blog post, I was given the tasks to accompany two trade teams to tour U.S. animal agriculture. The first one was a Chinese team from Hebei province and the second one is a Taiwanese team. I also completed two more fact sheets, one is on how consuming red meat benefits human nutrition, and the other one is on food safety at the regulatory and commercial level.

The Chinese team members were mainly animal science academia and hog producers. I led them through a purebred cow/calf operation and a feedlot. Most of them have never seen cattle grazing on pastures because in China, it is illegal to let your cattle to graze on pastures due to concerns of over-grazing resulting in desertification. They were also amazed by the scale of the feedlots here in the United States. In China, an operation of 1,000 head of cattle would be considered huge, and a major packing plant would kill about 500 head of cattle per week.

I spent three days with the Taiwanese team. We toured a portion control plant, a cow/calf operation, a feedlot and two major packing plants. The Taiwanese team members all have food service background. One of the members owns a high-end Western steakhouse, and he wanted to add new items on his menu. I suggested flat iron steaks, and he seemed to be interested in it. One other member owns a chain buffet style Yakiniku (Japanese-style BBQ) restaurant. He has about 30 restaurants that utilize approximately 40,000 lb of beef per month. I suggested some alternatives to the typical short ribs and short plates that might help him lower his costs, such as brisket point, rib lifter meat and the newly introduced ranch cut from the shoulder clod. At the end of the trip, they all gained a good understanding of the muscle cuts and U.S. animal agriculture in general.

The human nutrition fact sheet focuses on how red meat could be a good weight management tool as well as it provides quality nutrients to people of all ages. The food safety fact sheet aims to educate consumers about meat inspection, pathogen reduction, HACCP, third-party certification and safe substances used in meat production.

I am moving back to Nebraska this weekend to continue my education at the University. I know I am going to miss all of the kind people here, and hopefully, I will have the chance to come back one day. Adios Denver and USMEF!

August 9, 2013

EPA Issues Final 2013 RFS Renewable Volume Obligations

Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO).

The final figures are:
* Biomass-based diesel - 1.28 billion gal; 1.13%
* Advanced biofuels - 2.75 billion gal; 1.62%
* Cellulosic biofuels - 6 million gal; 0.004%
* Total renewable fuels - 16.55 billion gal

That leaves conventional biofuel, which is comprised mainly of corn based ethanol, with 13.8 billion gallons.

The only change to this updated release was in the cellulosic biofuel department. EPA proposed that the cellulosic biofuel target would be 14 million gallons, down from the prescribed 1 billion gallons.

Fuels America has issued a statement that the "EPA is fully utilizing the flexibilities incorporated within the RFS. It also provides evidence that the RFS works: it adjusts to market conditions."

The EPA intends to release its proposed 2014 RFS RVOs shortly, with plans to issue a notice of proposed rule making in September.

Source: OPIS 

August 7, 2013

Congressional Countdown for the Farm Bill


image32 days, 12 hours, 57 minutes, 05 seconds….04, 03, 02, 01, 00.

The countdown is ticking on the Nebraska Corn homepage to show Nebraska farmers the time left that Congress has to take action on a new, five-year farm bill.

Once they are back in session, the House will have only nine working days until the current Farm Bill extension expires.

This lack of Congressional action on a Farm Bill could stifle the economic vitality that Nebraska agriculture has brought to the state over the past several years.

According to Tim Scheer of St. Paul, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, “All the progress achieved and contributions that agriculture has made in the past decade are at risk if Congress continues to drag its feet,” he said. “We need Nebraska farmers to speak up now and get our nation’s leaders to cooperate on a Farm Bill. Congressional leadership stated they were not hearing from farmers last fall, so we need to get our voices heard this year.”

The current Farm Bill, crafted in 2008 and extended last year, is set to expire September 30, 2013. If a new bill or an extension of the 2008 bill is not passed, federal price supports revert to their 1949 levels. If that happens, some farmers, such as those involved in wheat or dairy production, would be big winners—while others, such as soybean farmers, would get nothing at all because some commodities were added after the 1949 legislation.

“Nebraska farmers should not settle for another extension of the 2008 bill. We need a new Farm Bill that is in step with what is happening today and with the future challenges and opportunities for agriculture—and we need it now,” Scheer said. “Without Congressional action, America’s farm policy will become a patchwork of policy that is unworkable for producers trying to run their businesses and plan for the future.”

Read the full news release.

The Nebraska Corn Board has established a page on its website that enables farmers to reach Nebraska and key federal policymakers via email to make comment.

  • When communicating with our Nebraska delegation, be sure to thank them for their support for a new Farm Bill—and urge them to put pressure on their leadership to pass a new Farm Bill.
  • American agriculture needs a Farm Bill that is in step with today’s economy and an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
  • America’s farmers and ranchers need a long-term Farm Bill in order to plan, operate their businesses and provide a reliable, abundant food supply.
  • We need to ensure sustained food security and food assistance for our nation. A piecemeal approach is simply not acceptable.
  • Simply extending the current Farm Bill—or worse yet, reverting back to decades-old legislation—is not an acceptable alternative.
  • Agriculture has been a bright spot in our nation’s economy—improving our trade balance, creating jobs and revitalizing rural communities across the nation.
  • We need the assurance of crop insurance, trade promotion, and exports to provide stability, demand and growth.
  • Ag research is critical to maintaining America’s global leadership in food production.
  • It is time to set aside political partisanship and do the right thing—pass a Farm Bill now.


Click on name to contact via email.

Nebraska Representatives:

National Representatives:

Wordless Wednesday

Some severe weather has been moving through parts of Nebraska lately. Here is a photo submitted by Haley Harthoorn of a totaled field near Ainsworth, Nebraska. Please post your corn photos to our Facebook and Twitter pages for a chance to be shown in our wordless Wednesday post's.

August 6, 2013

Japanese media team sees Nebraska biotech corn firsthand


7-31-13 011A team of Japanese mainstream media, food industry media in combination with an opinion leader visited Nebraska last week for meetings and visits with corn farmers, industry organizations, and biotech seed companies to receive a firsthand information on how U.S. biotechnology help increasing U.S. corn production with the growing demand for feed, food, fuel and exports of U.S. Corn. The group is traveling through the United States with the U.S. Grains Council who the Nebraska Corn Board partners with on programs to promote and expand exports of corn and corn co-products.

The team met earlier in the week with the National Corn Growers Association and were eager to learn about how American farming works to help feed and fuel the world.

7-31-13 012One of the reasons for visiting Nebraska was to visit Monsanto’s Water Learning Center in Gothenburg. Another was for the team to observe the benefits of biotechnology to stable corn production by taking drought tolerant corn traits as an example – in a area that experienced drought conditions last year and continue into this growing season in areas.

The team also stopped at Nebraska Corn Board director, Curt Friesen’s farm near Henderson. Curt demonstrated his sub-surface irrigation system, as well as talking about his center-pivot and pipe forms of irrigation.

On Thursday morning, the team joined Nebraska Corn Board staff for breakfast where Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center updated the team on the current status of drought in the U.S. and Nebraska, as well as sharing historical figures of drought trends on corn crop producing areas.

7-31-13 020The journalists represented news media with a combined circulation of about 27 million, representing the Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun and Japan Food Journal newspapers, as well as the Jiji Press news service. After leaving Nebraska, the team headed to Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings.

August 5, 2013

A Cold and Wet Start to August

Most corn is over 6 feet tall now
A large portion of the state received an inch or more of rain this last week and with this rain came unseasonably low temperatures. Portions of the extreme southeast saw 3 or more inches of rainfall while the southern Panhandle counties continued to be mostly dry. As a result of the rain stress was reduced on growing crops. Statewide producers had 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork and pollination started coming to a close.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 49 percent short/very short, 49 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 70 percent short/very short, 30 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

All corn conditions rated 4 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 48 percent good, and 20 percent excellent. Irrigated corn rated 85 percent good or excellent compared to the 76 percent average. Dryland corn rated 43 percent good or excellent compared to the 62 percent average. Corn silking was 93 percent completed which is behind last years 99 percent but near the 95 percent average. Corn in dough was 14 percent, well behind 71 percent last year and this years 37 percent average.
This is a picture of adventitious roots!

All crop progress photos can be viewed at Flickr and Pinterest.

The importance of Agricultural Exports

By Bryce Vaughn, U.S. Grains Council intern

“Nothing improves an economy as efficiently as agriculture.”-Bill Gates

This quote comes from Bill Gates as he was addressing a group of Capitol Hill staffers in Washington, D.C. this summer. During my internship with the U.S. Grains Council I have kept his quote on my computer monitor to remind me that agriculture is much more then feeding the world, it is an integrated part of the world that allows everything else to work. Growing up on my family’s farm in Western Nebraska, I felt a sense of pride knowing that the corn was feeding and fueling the world. Little did I know that a couple years later I would be interning for the Council working to expand international markets for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and co-products.

Since my last blog post I have had the opportunity to attend National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington, D.C, with delegates from the Nebraska Corn Board. During the conference we were able to meet with all five Nebraska Congressional delegates on Capitol Hill. During these visits we asked our Nebraska delegation questions on the Farm Bill, immigration issues, the RFS and also concerns about new trade negotiations such as TPP, and T-TIP that are coming down the pike.

This past week was the U.S. Grains Council’s 53rd Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Ottawa, Canada, which is an international gathering of USGC members. One of the most important events of the meeting was officer elections to the board of directors; Alan Tiemann of Seward, Neb. was elected to the Council’s Board of Directors as an officer. I had the opportunity to help with the Grains Foundation auction which raises money for programs like the I-CAL which allows for college students to travel internationally to learn about agriculture outside of the United States and the importance of free and open trade. The auction was a huge success.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, NCGA and USGC hosted an intern lunch for D.C. agriculture interns. Jon Doggett (NCGA) and Tom Sleight (USGC) spoke with the group of interns about each organization and also briefed the group on agriculture issues as well as the importance of young professionals in agriculture.

The final day of my internship is August 6th, as I return to UNL to finish my degree in agriculture economics and public policy. This internship has been a valuable experience and has greatly contributed to my education. I have been able to take the information that I have learned during past internships and from the classroom and apply it to real world experiences. I have gained a great understanding how important agricultural exports are to American farmers and the world. I would like to thank everyone who read my blog posts this summer and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my experience.

August 1, 2013

August Corn Products Spotlight: Clothing

Rayon sample cloths
This summer has been full of various activities and as we start August it's time for that one big job, back to school shopping. Of course students need the usual pens, pencils, notebooks, and new backpacks because those never hold up long enough. But there is another thing that everyone needs before going back to school and that is a new wardrobe. Ok, so maybe not everyone needs a whole new wardrobe but you at least need a new outfit to wear for the first day of classes! Thanks to the corn industry it is easier to find that fancy new shirt you will wear to start your year off right.
Rayon looks like silk!

Now I know that everyone thinks about cotton being used for clothing but surprisingly enough rayon is another type of fabric used to make shirts, suits, name it. This magical rayon fabric also uses a product that is highly produced in the United States, corn!

Rayon is a man made fiber that is considered a natural product because cellulose fibers are used to produce it rather than chemical compounds. Since it is a natural based product the fabric is more affordable, has more diversity, and is more comfortable than fabrics that are synthesized from chemical compounds. Rayon has a texture similar to silk but is cheaper and more diverse, those things together have lead to its popularity. Today it is considered on of the most versatile man made fibers and is called "the laboratory's first gift to the loom."

Rayon suit
So next time you are out shopping for that perfect back to school top or a dress for date night check the label and see what fabrics the product contains. You never know maybe it will have rayon?!

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