August 30, 2016

Corn Denting Above Average

Photo Courtesy of Imperial FFA
For the week ending August 28, 2016, temperatures averaged two to four degrees below normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation of an inch or more was limited to the southern border counties and portions of the extreme east. Much of the state remained dry. The cooler temperatures reduced crop moisture demands. There were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 32 short, 57 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 30 short, 61 adequate, and 2 surplus. 

Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19 fair, 59 good, and 16 excellent. Corn dough was 95 percent, ahead of 89 last year, and near the five-year average of 92. Dented was 61 percent, ahead of 53 last year and 56 average. Mature was 5 percent, near 1 last year and 7 average. 

Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and UNL Extension Service. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE 

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE

August 26, 2016

Journal of Kernels


By Laura Lundeen, NeCGA intern.

June and July have come and gone and it is hard to believe it is already August! This summer has flown by, and I feel like the quote “time flies when you are having fun” is very fitting to describe the summer portion of my internship. Working is essential, but it is not always described as “fun”, making me even more thankful to be provided with an enjoyable learning experience by being the intern for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

The end of June and July means a lot for a NeCGA intern; it means Kum & Go promotions, ethanol races, and the moment that we have working exceptionally hard towards- the Corn Grower Open golf tournament.

Kum & Go promotions wrapped up nicely. The more promotions I did, the more I learned. Being around knowledgeable people working for the Nebraska Ethanol Board, the Nebraska Corn Board, and also the Nebraska Corn Growers Association makes it impossible NOT to learn something new! Listening to their responses to difficult questions regarding ethanol was a lesson by example for me, as well as motivated me to promote ethanol at the Kum & Go promotions or by myself. I feel confident in sharing the goodness of ethanol use to my friends, family, and anyone else passing by. Thank you farmers for growing our fuel, cleaning our air, and helping out our state! It is great to be a part of an organization that cares strongly about greater living.

July promised another American Ethanol Night at the Races. This event was hosted at the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood. This night was unique not only because of the ethanol races, but also because we were able to see Austin Dillon’s American ethanol racecar. This event brought in a great crowd where we were able to enjoy time meeting with the local members, promoting ethanol through intermission questions and giveaways, and watch the races while taking in some clean air.

The biggest job that I have had this summer is to help prepare for the Corn Grower Open golf tournament. Finding sponsors, speaking with golfers and businesses, promotion of the event, setting up, and tearing down have made for a busy summer! I am thankful that the event ran smoothly, the weather cooperated, and it was an enjoyable time for the people who came out for the tournament! Even though it was hard work to prepare for the tournament, the credit needs to go especially to our sponsors. Without their help, the tournament truly could not go on. Thanks to them, we can continue to have an annual golf tournament for members to enjoy as well as connect with other businesses. Now that the golf tournament has come and gone, it is time to look forward to all of the excitement August will bring; I am excited to experience it and share it with you all as well!

August 24, 2016

Thanks A Bushel


By Lauren Stohlmann, NCGA Intern, St. Louis.

The day I left in May for Chesterfield, Missouri I called it my “temporary home.” Today, as I find myself back in Nebraska after what feels like a very quick summer, I know now how silly that was because Chesterfield will always be a second home for this intern.

These last few weeks, as all others I’ve had this summer, held much more than 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. workdays. It held lessons, articles, research, pictures, meetings, more traveling and accomplishments. Oh and corn of course. There’s always corn.

Projects needed to be wrapped up, words needed to be typed, people needed to be interviewed and more preparation for traveling needed to be done. During this internship, I realized a new passion. Interviewing. And by golly if NCGA didn’t allow me to explore this newfound passion.

I was able to interview scientists, CEOs, farmers and racecar drivers. All different occupations, all tied to agriculture, more specifically corn! I’ve been lucky enough to explore written, audio and video interviews.

One of my favorite written interviews was with a young professor at the University of Illinois who has create a corn kernel sorting machine to separate kernels with aflatoxins from the non-aflatoxin kernels. He is a very brilliant, humble man with a lot of offer to growers and believe me, he’s excited for the future of corn. Feel free to find my blog here. Sorry. I had to share. I’m proud of it.

Through the brain of my coworker, I was able to create a podcast personality/blog website to share interviews that I conducted and I will be able to continue to utilize it for the rest of my ag-loving life!

It is called LoKationFarmland if anyone cares to take a look it up! Side note: my first name is Lauren and middle name is Kate. My friends call me by my first and middle name, Lauren Kate, quite often. LoKate became a nickname, I live on a farm, I study agriculture communications, hence LoKationFarmland.

Almost all of my completed podcasts were women in CommonGround, an amazing group of women who want to share their lives on the farm with the public who may or may not understand agriculture. All of these women are empowering, intelligent and deserve to be put in the spotlight for all they do. Therefore, I was more than happy to interview them.

I was able to attend Corn Congress in Washington DC at the end of July with hundreds of other corn growers and staff members. We gathered together in several different rooms according to the committees, had discussions and learned about what the next year had in store for corn growers across the nation. The meeting at the end of the week in a much larger ballroom, informed the entire group on what the committees discussed in their designated rooms, hosted a speaker, allowed for the members to elect members for other positions and to welcome the new president who will officially start in October.

My final hoorah was a weekend spent in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. We attended the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway where I had the opportunity to be an official member of press! I had a nametag at a desk and everything. I felt quite important. I interviewed the CEO, Brandon Igdalsky, about Pocono Raceway’s green movement and I interviewed our driver, Austin Green, about his opinions and knowledge of ethanol.

This 22 year-old college girl was so excited about another portion of this trip. I was able to go to my supervisor and tell her I thought it’d be a good idea to have a Snapchat Geofilter at the NASCAR. She agreed so the picture you see here is me celebrating my Snapchat design being used by NASCAR fans who want to share their love of ethanol with their friends. Yay!

As the realization sets in that I’m not returning back to my second home, there’s quite a bit of bittersweet feelings going on. Here, I met people who supported me, taught me and helped me to develop into a different person this summer. I can’t thank the Nebraska Corn Growers enough for this opportunity and to the National Corn Growers Association for all that they have done for me over the past 11 weeks. Thanks a bushel NCGA. Sorry for being corny just then. Alright, now I’m done I promise.

August 23, 2016

Nebraska Corn and Sorghum Urge Farmers to Tell EPA That They Need Atrazine

EPA’s proposed Atrazine decision will impact farmers’ bottom line

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association are urging farmers to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on their proposed reduction of acceptable application levels for atrazine, a herbicide used for weed control in growing corn, sorghum and other crops.

For more than 50 years, Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn and sorghum farmers for its proven control of a broad range of weeds. That is why the Nebraska’s Corn and Sorghum Associations are strongly encouraging Nebraska farmers to contact the EPA and express their disapproval of their ecological risk assessment for atrazine. If the recommendations included within the assessment stand, it would effectively render this important tool useless on farms and significantly increase farmers input costs. EPA is accepting public comments on the assessment through October 4, 2016.

"Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool that farmers cannot lose access to," said Larry Mussack, farmer from Decatur, Nebraska and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. "Farming without atrazine could cost farmers up to $59 additional dollars per acre. In a time when net farm incomes are already at a sharp decline, this is a staggering cost most Nebraska farmers cannot afford.”

In a joint statement, Nebraska Corn and Sorghum leaders expressed great disappointment and concern regarding the EPA’s recently released ecological risk assessment on the herbicide. “In spite of more than 7,000 scientific studies proving atrazine’s safety, the EPA chose to ignore sound science and is proposing to drastically reduce the use of one of the most reliable herbicides available,” added Mussack.

The EPA based their ecological risk assessment for atrazine on studies their own Science Advisory Panel deemed ‘flawed’ just 4 years ago. Through the use of these highly questionable studies, the EPA arrived at an aquatic level of concern for Atrazine of 3.4 parts per billion, a two-thirds reduction from the current level of 10. Scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life level of concern at 25 parts per billion or greater. If the proposed level of concern becomes the standard, effective use of the herbicide would be unachievable and would ultimately represent a de facto ban on the use of atrazine.

"The facts are simple—we need Atrazine,” added Lynn Belitz, farmer from Fullerton, Nebraska and president of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association. “Taking away atrazine will drastically set back our conservation and no-till practices as well as eliminate safe, long lasting weed control. That is why it is absolutely imperative that farmers get engaged during this comment period.”

Farmers can take action on this issue and submit a comment to the EPA by visiting the website: The website will directly link you to a comment submission form with suggested verbiage. Additionally, farmers will be able to directly submit comments to the EPA and learn more about this issue from Nebraska Corn and Sorghum Associations leaders in the commodities building during Husker Harvest Days.

August 18, 2016

My experience as a NCGA intern


By Colton Flower, NCGA intern, Washington, DC.

This summer has been one of unmatched personal growth, exploration, and learning. I cannot thank the you, the Nebraska Corn Board Members, and the Nebraska Corn Staff enough for not only creating this opportunity, but also providing me with the resources to be succeed and make the most of my time in Washington D.C. I would highly recommend this opportunity to any of my peers and will be promoting it this fall on campus. 

This summer experience really opened my eyes to all the opportunities in agriculture on the Hill and reaffirmed my interests in agriculture policy. The staff at NCGA gave me a lot of freedom and responsibilities. I was able to attend dozens of legislative hearings on various issues of interest. Several of my projects threw me into something I had little knowledge of and through these “baptisms by fire,” I got into the nitty-gritty of a lot of issues and gained a lot of valuable insight. Now, I can look back and appreciate how much I have learned and really accomplished. Sam Willet gave me projects that had me down in the weeds on crop insurance and I can’t wait to see how my research might help Sam in his efforts to improve the various crop insurance programs. 

I also got to immerse myself in the Capital’s unique culture and make several new friendships and new network connections. The U.S. Grains Intern, Maddy, and I have become very good friends after this summer and I was also fortunate to have two great random roommates from the Midwest that I look forward to staying in contact with. Being a part of the D.C. Ag intern network connected me with dozens of like-minded interns from all over working in different aspects of the industry and I also made great contacts with different Associations and congressional offices, which I am sure, will prove to be invaluable as I seek employment here in the not so distant future! I think the experiences that took place out side an office are just as valuable as the ones that took place inside one. Being exposed to so man different people from all walks of life really broadened my horizon and challenged my perspective. 

I would challenge all of my peers to pursue an opportunity like this. I haven’t lived at home since leaving for college and considered myself pretty independent before, but after this summer I think I have become much more self-reliant and am much more prepared in all aspects of life to begin a career. 

Again, thank you for the opportunity I had this summer. I really can’t explain all that it has done for me in a single page paper. I hope this program continues on for a log time.

August 16, 2016

Nebraska corn 17% dented

Photo Courtesy of David City FFA
For the week ending August 14, 2016, Nebraska experienced near normal temperatures, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Many areas received more than two inches of rain, while large pockets in the central and southwestern parts of the State remained dry. In these dry areas, there was concern about the lack of rainfall affecting dryland crop conditions. There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 30 short, 59 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 29 short, 64 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 59 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dough was 76 percent, ahead of 64 last year and the five-year average of 66. Dented was 17 percent, ahead of 11 last year, but near 19 average. 

Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and UNL Extension Service. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE

August 15, 2016

Hasta Pronto


By Andrea Gurney, USGC International Intern, Panama City, Panama.

I said goodbye to the rainforest and the ocean, and I’m now back in the Midwest. Until we meet again Panama… 

The Bridge of the America's
 Two and a half months ago I was on a plane to Panama to begin an opportunity of a lifetime. I remember being nervous, scared, and excited to leave the country and to learn more about global agriculture. Now, I am sitting back at home in Wyoming reminiscing on my internship, and wondering where the time went… 

 The last two weeks spent in Panama passed much quicker than expected. During this time I was working diligently on wrapping up my projects. As previously mentioned, I was working on creating an importer/exporter manual for Michigan and Canada. In order to complete this project it had to be outsourced to a company. As a result, I had to draft and finalize a request for proposal (RFP) to be sent to a variety of companies that we would like to have bid on our project. Once the companies who were interested responded, I evaluated them and determined which one I believed would meet our project expectations. Finally, I was in charge of our regional database system; therefore, prior to leaving I made sure all expectations for the database were met and that it was ready to be put to use. 
Saying goodbye to Venezuelan roommate, Sara,
at the airport

Aside from wrapping up projects, I was busy saying goodbye to all of the remarkable friends I had met over the summer. I made friends from Venezuela, El Salvador, Serbia, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and many more! Each one was incredibly welcoming, which led to an even more incredible summer. 

I have to say, I was also more than blessed to have worked with the Western Hemisphere Team. I was sad to say goodbye to them as well. The team consisted of Marri Carrow, Regional Director; Luis Bustamante, Marketing Specialist; Egna Rodriguez, Regional Programs Manager; Constantino Ruiz, Accountant; and Kathy Luque, Administrative Assistant. Each staff member contributed greatly to my experience. I will forever be thankful for their hospitality and their dedication to helping me learn and grow professionally. 

Overall, this summer was full of learning experiences in the agricultural industry. I became more aware of the importance of internal relations and how the U.S. Grains Council works diligently, to not only make a lasting impact on the United States, but the entire world as well. This internship is one that I will forever remember and forever be grateful for. Thank you to both the U.S. Grains Council and the Nebraska Corn Board for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. 

Hasta Pronto Panama! (See you soon Panama)

August 9, 2016

Nebraska corn surging ahead with 9% dented

Photo Courtesy of Chase County FFA
For the week ending August 7, 2016, temperatures averaged near normal as cooler conditions arrived the last half of the week, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation of an inch or more was limited to portions of the southeast and some central areas. In the west, Panhandle producers were preparing for winter wheat planting. Irrigation was active in many counties. There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 29 short, 63 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 26 short, 68 adequate, and 1 surplus. 

Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 19 fair, 59 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dough was 47 percent, ahead of 37 last year, and near the five-year average of 45. Dented was 9 percent, ahead of 4 last year, and equal to average. 

Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and UNL Extension Service. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE 
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE

August 8, 2016

Tiemann Ends Term as Chairman of U.S. Grains Council

Nebraska Corn Board member Alan Tiemann, a farmer from Seward, Nebraska, led his final meeting as chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) at the organization’s 56th annual board of delegates meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. Tiemann served as chairman of USGC for one year.

“As I look back over this past year and all the years since 1997 that I have been part of the Council, there has been constant change,” said Tiemann. “It is with the upmost confidence that I leave this post knowing that the USGC staff and its membership are ready to handle all of the changes and challenges that lie ahead as they build on this past year’s theme of Excellence in Exports.”

During Tiemann’s tenure as chairman of the USGC, he introduced the theme of Excellence in Exports. This theme focused on the council’s display of excellence in its membership, its global staff team, the relationships it fosters, the collaboration it has with its partners and its continued dedication to export markets.

In his final speech to the USGC delegates, Tiemann noted, “Markets don’t just happen, we have to work to make them happen. In my time serving as chairman, I am honored to have witnessed firsthand the significant contributions our staff and leadership, in collaboration with partners around the world, have made to the industries we represent.”

Tiemann also noted that USGC continues to focus on building export markets for U.S. ethanol and communicating to global customers about the work the U.S. grains industry does to reliably produce high-quality crops. They are working with organizations such as Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the National Corn Growers Association and state corn associations to build a robust ethanol promotion program around the world. Additionally, the council will continue to support the work of grower associations at the state and national levels as they advocate for trade agreements.

“The corn industry has a lot at stake when it comes to exports and we appreciate all the work the Council does on our behalf,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “It has been rewarding to see a Nebraska corn farmer give so much of his time to serve and expand the opportunities for our industry.”

The Nebraska Corn Board strongly believes in USGC’s mission and has supported the organization with corn checkoff dollars for many years. USGC strives to develop export markets around the world and has offices in more than 50 countries. With 95% of the world’s population outside of the U.S. and that population projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, USGC makes it a priority to teach producers around the world how to use feed grains effectively and manage their operations efficiently.

“Despite some of the challenges facing the farm economy today, the Council’s programs have a clear impact around the world,” added Tiemann. “This last year has truly served as a year of excellence in exports that will make a difference to agriculture’s success now and long into the future.”

Tiemann farms near Seward, Nebraska, and has spent more than 35 years in production agriculture. He is currently the at-large director and past chairman for the Nebraska Corn Board and has been representing the board as a USGC delegate since 2005. Prior to that, Tiemann served as a USGC delegate representing the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board for a number of years. Over the next year, Tiemann will serve as the past-chairman for the USGC.

Advocates Celebrate 11th Anniversary of America's Most Successful Biofuels Program

Eleven years ago today,  Monday, August 8, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was signed into law, ushering in a new era of rising energy security, cleaner air, and more affordable options at the pump. After more than a decade, the program continues to drive U.S. job creation and startling new innovations in renewable energy, a fact celebrated today by the nation's leading biofuel advocates.

"Our government challenged the biofuels industry to produce the world's cleanest, most affordable and sustainable fuel for cars and trucks. We delivered - and America continues to benefit," said Adam Monroe, President, Americas, Novozymes North America Inc. "The RFS is a proven winner: it grows communities with hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs; saves American drivers money and keeps billions of their dollars in the US versus going to the Middle East; and fights climate change by preventing millions of tons of carbon emissions from getting into our air. Let's not roll back a winner; let's let it work to its full potential. We urge the administration to maximize renewable fuel production."

"This is a good opportunity to remind the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the RFS is designed to get stronger over time, delivering a greater share of renewable energy into our fuel mix," said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. "The agency has proposed cutting RFS targets for 2017, which would needlessly undermine eleven years of progress toward a cleaner environment and a healthier, more secure America. Ethanol producers, retailers and the current auto fleet are 100 percent capable of providing consumers with a true choice at the pump, and now is certainly not the time to roll back the clock. EPA must get the program back on track and deliver on the promise of new, more affordable options for consumers."

"Passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act could not have been possible were it not for the cooperation between the ethanol, agriculture and oil sectors," said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. "The oil industry needed an off ramp from the use of MTBE, which was polluting groundwater across the country, and the ethanol industry needed a growth path if farmers were ever to realize the promise of value-added markets. Every stakeholder cheered the passage of this groundbreaking legislation, and it was an immediate success. MTBE disappeared as a gasoline additive, investments in U.S. biofuel production soared, farmers saw increased demand for their commodities allowing Congress to dramatically cut farm program costs, consumers saw pump prices fall as ethanol displaced more expensive oil, and carbon emissions from the transportation sector fell precipitously. All of those benefits continue to this day."

"The RFS guarantees America's leadership in the global transition to ethanol, which has cut world-wide carbon emissions 589 million metric tons over the past decade, the equivalent of taking more than 124 million cars off of the road," said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association. "And thanks to innovation in U.S. agriculture, we are growing more crops on less land than we cultivated when the RFS was first enacted."

"Simply put, the RFS is delivering on its promise," said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. "Almost every gallon of gasoline in the country now contains renewable fuel. Consumers are gaining access to new biofuel blends that reduce pump prices, increase octane, deliver better performance, and replace cancer-causing gasoline additives like benzene. With cellulosic biofuels -- the lowest carbon motor fuel in the world -- now coming online, the RFS is driving innovation like we have never seen before in the transportation fuel sector."

On August 8, 2005, the bipartisan RFS was signed into law by President George W. Bush as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). The legislation was passed by the House by a vote of 275 to 156 and the Senate by a vote of 74 to 26. Expanded in 2007, it requires refiners to blend increasing amounts of biofuels into new options for consumers at the pump. It has since sparked billions of dollars in U.S. investments and driven America's emergence as a world leader in renewable technology.

August 3, 2016

How to talk about Sustainability

In our culture’s evolving society, more communication avenues are emerging, allowing food-eaters to share about their food and desiring to know how it was raised. The ‘sustainability movement’ amongst consumers has caused a myriad of definitions of the term that farmers and ranchers have been ‘sustaining’ since the beginning of time.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has been conducting research on consumers’ perceptions of agriculture since 2011 in an effort to earn consumer trust in American food and agriculture. Along with conducting annual research, they aim to ensure the voices of farmers and ranchers are presented in influential conversations about food and agriculture where they can make a positive impact.

Sustainability and Consumer Perceptions

Most recently, USFRA’s research focused specifically about sustainability and consumer perceptions; conducting online interviews, surveying a total of 1,000 consumers. This perception survey provided benchmark results and explored opinions on farming and ranching based on two key types of consumers: general consumers and consumer food connectors. General consumers included: millennials; parents; non-parents; or general consumer population. Consumer food connectors included: educated consumers with a strong interest in politics and government policy; highly-engaged food influencer that others turn to for information about their food; make all household decisions and purchases related to food; or engaged in food advocacy activities.

When it comes to specifically talking about sustainability, USFRA found that terms like, “water, soil, air and habitat” resonate the most with both general consumers and consumer food connectors.

The 2016 Food and Health Survey, conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), found that consumers consider sustainability more in their decisions to buy food and beverages than just a year ago, and seven in ten consumers think it is important that the food products are produced in a sustainable way. Both USFRA and IFIC’s surveys showed that agriculture’s impact on humans is always top of mind for consumers. They want to improve their health, as well as their families, through access to safe, nutritious food and want to have a positive impact on their local community.

But are consumers equating “producing nutritious, safe and high-quality food” to “sustainability”? Obvious enough, sustainability can mean different things to different people. USFRA found that consumers define sustainability with terms such as: environmentally responsible, integrity, ethical, accountable for actions, trustworthy, supporting local communities and social responsibility.

Even more interesting, half of the consumers polled with USFRA could not state what sustainability meant to them, although they say it is important. It needs to be farmers and ranchers responsibility to define sustainability for them.

Defining What We Do As Sustainable

Farmers and ranchers keep future generations top of mind. We love talking about being a third or fourth-generation farmer while bringing in the fifth generation. Doing more with less is part of being good stewards of the land. We talk about our sustainable practices, but we don’t always convey or define what we are doing is actually sustainability. Consumers, food connectors and media alike are hijacking this concept that food producers have been doing for hundreds of years and making it their own. Much of the language the agriculture industry uses today gives consumers unnecessary anxiety, simply because they don’t understand what it means. We have an opportunity to turn terms and phrases that are perceived as negative, into positives.

For example, when we talk about pesticides, explain that they prevent bugs and other pests from eating crops – that’s sustainable. By taking time to explain the term from our perspective, we will be squelching the negative perception in the food-eaters’ eyes.

Transparency Leads to Sustainability

Based on consumer perceptions, transparency is king when it comes to making food-purchasing decisions. Food connectors find it extremely important to know about where the food was grown or raised where price was the number one importance for general consumers.

To help tell this agriculture-sustainability story, USFRA recommends that farmers and ranchers:

  • Keep in mind that sustainability is an inherent part of your business. Keep the future generations top of mind and communicate that doing more with less is part of being good stewards of the land. Sustainability means smart business practices.
  • Make sustainability relatable. Communicate that you are making it better for the future versus defining success of the past. Connect your audience to who you are and not just what you do, and associate with shared values.
  • Use language that resonates. Water, soil, air and habitat; improving the environment around my farm; limiting impact; improving human health; access to safe and nutritious food; efficient use of land; more with less; using new technologies – equipment and software; making business more profitable through sustainability; sustainable food is affordable food.

More than ever, now is the time to be transparent about what you do. People don’t need a checklist on each “hot issue.” But they do want relevant and true pieces of information about where their food comes from and where it was raised. Take advantage of opportunities to deliver factual information about how food was grown and raised across the supply chain, and share information whether it’s superior or not. Coffee shop conversations, church lunches, social media interactions – all of these venues will make an impact if you start telling your story and most importantly, relating it to sustainability.

August 2, 2016

Nebraska corn silking almost finished


Photo Courtesy of David City FFA
For the week ending July 31, 2016, temperatures averaged two to four degrees below normal, lessening crop moisture demands and livestock stress, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was widespread, but amounts varied from over three inches in portions of central Nebraska to little or no accumulations in extreme eastern counties. Hail was reported in localized areas. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 27 short, 65 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 25 short, 69 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 18 fair, 59 good, and 18 excellent. Corn silking was 95 percent, near 91 both last year and the five-year average. Dough was 25 percent, ahead of 20 last year, but near 26 average. 

Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and UNL Extension Service.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE