January 30, 2017

What is Ozone?

The difference between good ozone and bad ozone.

Ozone is a compound that occurs naturally in Earth’s atmosphere but is also formed by human activities. In the stratosphere, ozone prevents harmful solar ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth’s surface. That’s the “good” ozone.

Near the surface, however, ozone is pollution that’s harmful to people, pets and plants. More than half of the ground-level ozone comes from common daily activities, especially driving. This “bad” ozone has significant human health implications including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Renewable fuels such as American Ethanol reduce ground-level ozone levels and reduce the amount of particulate matter in vehicle emissions.

Ozone an asthma trigger in kids.
High levels of ozone are especially a problem for children with asthma. Reducing asthma triggers inside the home is a key focus of Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, a non-profit organization focused on helping families improve the health of the in-home environment for children.

“It’s hard enough to control the in-home environment let alone what happens outdoors,” said president and CEO Kara Eastman. “But choosing the right fuel is a pretty simple action everyone can take to reduce ozone in our city. It’s especially easy to make that choice since fuel with American Ethanol is typically the lower priced choice at the pump.”

January 25, 2017

Dozens of new flex fuel pumps coming to Nebraska

Up to 80 new flex fuel pumps will be installed across Nebraska in the next few months as part of a national effort to expand consumer demand for American Ethanol.

The flex fuel pumps will offer a wide range of higher blends of American Ethanol including E15, E30 and E85. E15 can be used in all vehicles model year 2001 or newer, while all American Ethanol blends can be used in flex fuel vehicles.

The placement of new flex fuel pumps in Nebraska will primarily occur in metro areas and along Interstate 80.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture created the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) which targeted $100 million toward the expansion of the flex fuel infrastructure across the nation. The award of federal dollars requires a dollar-to-dollar match from states, private industry and other sources. In Nebraska, more than $6 million has been dedicated to this effort – including contributions from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Chief Ethanol Fuels. The Nebraska Energy Office is serving as the lead administrator of the program.

According to David Bracht, director of the Nebraska Energy Office, sales of mid-level American Ethanol blends have increased 45 to 55 percent at Nebraska stations that have installed flex fuel pumps.

David Bracht, director of the Nebraska Energy Office, states, “Building out our flex fuel infrastructure will make it even easier for consumers to take advantage of the many benefits of higher blends of American Ethanol and exercise their freedom to choose from a wide range of fuels.”

January 24, 2017

Without Corn: Frustrating Wallpaper!

In a World Without Corn...
Corn and products made from corn improve the lives of Americans in thousands of little ways. Often, consumers don't even know corn is present, let alone know the role it plays. But if corn and its products weren't available, many common products would be less useful, more expensive, even unavailable. Here is an example of a little annoyance and bigger problem Americans would face without corn:

Frustrating Wallpaper!
If you've installed wallpaper, you know how important it is to have time to adjust each strip accurately. Repositioning is possible because the wallpaper paste is made with corn starch modified to slow down its adhesive action.

January 23, 2017

Nebraska Corn Board Internships from Lincoln to DC to Panama


Say the word “intern” and it may conjure up images of filing papers, taking out trash or making a coffee run for the staff. But an internship through the Nebraska Corn Board is about being engaged at a high level with some of the leading agricultural organizations in Nebraska, the nation and around the world.

“We want to help students gain a greater awareness of the scope of the industry and help them develop both personally and professionally,” said David Merrell, a St. Edward, Nebr. farmer and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “It’s about developing the next generation of leaders and advocates for agriculture.”

The Nebraska Corn Board has funded internships for more than 20 years. Currently, seven internships are supported including several with national/ international organizations that receive corn checkoff funds from Nebraska.

All intern positions are paid, and the Nebraska Corn Board provides a strong support system prior to and during the internships.

Colton Flower
“They conducted an intern orientation seminar before we left, which prepared us for our summer and gave us greater confidence,” said Colton Flower of Scottsbluff, Nebr., who worked at the National Corn Growers Association office in Washington, DC, during summer 2016. “They were a really great resource and we were in constant communication.”

Interns from Nebraska have proven themselves to be valuable contributors to the organizations for which they work. “We have really enjoyed our Nebraska interns. So often in DC, the quality of summer interns is hit and miss. All of the interns we have had from the Nebraska program have been outstanding people. They are smart. They are interested and they put in the effort to learn and benefit from their DC experience,” said Jon Doggett, executive vice president of the National Corn Growers Association.

Andrea Gurney
Andrea Gurney from Huntley, Wyo., is a senior ag business major at UNL who intends to pursue a law degree. In summer 2016, her internship took her to Panama City where she worked at the Western Hemisphere Regional Office of the U.S. Grains Council. “Working internationally had never really crossed my mind before,” she said. “But now I see opportunities that are very encouraging and exciting to consider.”

Kelsey Scheer
Kelsey Scheer of St. Paul, Nebr., worked for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in Denver. Kelsey’s background as a member of the UNL meat judging team gave her an edge in terms of both getting the internship and being up to speed when she arrived in Denver. “My work at USMEF helped me better understand the importance of the criteria we use in meat judging as it relates to market value around the world,” she said. “It completed the circle for me.”

Internships include:

  • Communications internship with the Nebraska Corn Board in Lincoln, Nebr. 
  • Communications internship with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association in Lincoln, Nebr. 
  • Marketing and Communications internship with the National Corn Growers Association in St. Louis, Mo. 
  • Public Policy internship with the National Corn Growers Association in Washington, DC
  • Promotion and international Relations internship with the u.s. Meat export Federation in Denver, Colo. 
  • International Relations internship with the US Grains Council in Washington, DC 
  • international Agricultural Relations internship with the US. Grains Council (international location)

The deadline to apply for Nebraska Corn Board internship programs is typically in mid- to late october each year. For information, visit nebraskacorn.gov or call the Nebraska Corn Board office at 402.471.2676.

January 18, 2017

Vehicle Emission Dangers Well Documented

Some recent research clearly outlines the health dangers of vehicle emissions:

  • Almost 16,000 babies arrive early each year due at least in part to air pollution, according to a recent study led by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an environmental health researcher at New York University School of Medicine. The research concluded that approximately 3 percent of preterm births in the U.S. can be attributed to air pollution, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine. A build-up of toxic chemicals in the blood can cause immune system stress that weakens the placenta and shortens the amount of time the baby can remain in the womb. (Reuters, March 29, 2016)
  •  A study available from the National Institutes of Health found that urban air with high levels of cancer-causing benzene and ultrafine particulate matter (both found in vehicle emissions) are associated with DNA damage in people living near high-traffic areas.  More HERE. 
  • A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that climate change will likely lead to higher levels of ground-level ozone, which in turn can lead to increased rates of premature death, allergic sensitivity, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease. More HERE. 
  • A study conducted by Tufts University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health focused on Boston residents who live or spend a significant amount of time near Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. The study, which included blood sample analysis, found that those living within 1,500 feet of a highway have increased chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke due to increased exposure to microscopic metals and chemicals spewed from vehicles. More HERE.
  • According to information from Dr. Michelle Hoffman with the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics, proximity to traffic is a key component in the level of danger posed by vehicle emissions. Much higher exposures to traffic-related air pollutants occur within 30 meters compared to greater than 200 meters. Some 11 percent of U.S. households are located within 100 meters of four-lane highways. Near highway pollutants may pose greater health risks than ambient air pollutants. Because of their common source (vehicle emissions) the levels of ultrafine particulate matter, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and black carbon (soot) are highly correlated. More HERE.

 The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest (ALAUM) strongly recommends the use of higher blends of American Ethanol as a way to improve air quality and reduce the human health threats posed by toxic vehicle emissions. “Every time you pull up to the pump, you make a choice. So choosing fuel with American Ethanol is a pretty easy way to help reduce air pollution – and make the air cleaner and safer for you and your family,” said Angela Tin, ALAUM vice president for environmental health. “American Ethanol is clearly the clean air choice.”

January 16, 2017

NAYC Connects UNL Ag Students with High Schoolers


For 45 years, Nebraska has had a group of college-aged agricultural ambassadors who help tell the story of agriculture to high school students and consumers across the state.

The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) is sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, with financial support from the Nebraska Corn Board and other ag stakeholders.

Morgan Zumpfe from Friend, Nebr., has been a member of the NAYC for three years. This past year, she served as one of two head counselors for NAYC. Morgan is a senior at UNL majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication and also a past intern with the Nebraska Corn Board.

“In essence, we serve as the youth outreach team for the Department of Ag,” Morgan said. “Becoming a part of NAYC involves a competitive interview process. From there, 23 college students are selected to share their passion for agriculture with others, especially with high school students.”

Morgan Zumpfe

The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) is the largest NAYC event of the year. The five-day institute is held on UNL’s East Campus and is attended by high school juniors and seniors. “The intent is to expose high school students to the wide range of careers in agriculture,” Morgan said. “Attending NAYI as a high school junior and senior was a big reason I chose to come to UNL and pursue a career in agriculture.”

NAYC is very involved in youth outreach throughout the year, and even arranges farm tours for elementary students in the Lincoln Public Schools. The organization also participates in promotional and educational activities at AKSARBEN, the state FFA convention and other events to help raise awareness of and appreciation for agriculture.

During her college career, Morgan has had four internships. “My internship in the Nebraska Corn Board offices started it all off,” she said. “They took me as an intern when I was a sophomore and gave me great experiences for an entire year. I’m really blessed that the Nebraska Corn Board offered me that internship, and it convinced me that a career in agriculture was right for me.”

When she graduates in May 2017, Morgan will begin her career with Cargill Animal Nutrition in the company’s junior management program.

Morgan says that pursuing a career in agriculture does not require growing up on a farm or ranch. “I strongly encourage people with different backgrounds to consider a career in agriculture—from finance to business to engineering,” she said. “We have a big world to feed, and it’s going to require a wide range of experience, talent and ideas in order to help us meet the challenges ahead of us.”

January 11, 2017

Automakers scaling back on FFV production.

Just at the time the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping America build out a larger infrastructure for flex fuels, U.S. automakers are cutting back on the production of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can use higher blends of American Ethanol.

FFVs are specially designed to run on regular unleaded or any ethanol fuel blend up to 85 percent (E85). Special on-board diagnostics “read” the fuel blend, enabling you to fuel your FFV with E10, E15, E20, E30, E40, E50 or any ethanol blend up to E85, or ordinary unleaded if ethanol-blended fuel is not available.

The automakers say nobody is asking for FFVs, but the truth is that the fuel economy credits automakers receive for manufacturing them are being phased out.

According to Ethanol Retailer, Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota all offer flexible fuel engines as standard equipment in certain vehicles – at no additional cost to consumers. Each FFV comes with the same factory warranty as its non-FFV counterpart.

“Losing FFVs means eventually losing the opportunity to purchase higher blends of American Ethanol at the pump,” said Roger Berry, director of market development for the Nebraska Corn Board. “We’ve invested in building the ethanol industry and in expanding the flex fuel infrastructure. We need to make sure that automakers continue to make the vehicles that can use higher levels of clean-burning American Ethanol.”

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
 fills up a customer's car with E85
 during a recent promotion at
Sapp Bros. in Omaha
Tell automakers to keep making FFVs!

Visit FlexMyChoice.com to discover more and follow the prompts to make your voice heard.

The Nebraska Corn Board also has pre-addressed postcards for each of America’s automakers, which consumers can simply fill out and mail.  Call 402.471.2676 for your copy.

January 9, 2017

Without Corn: No low-fat diets!

In a World Without Corn...
Corn and products made from corn improve the lives of Americans in thousands of little ways. Often, consumers don't even know corn is present, let alone know the role it plays. But if corn and its products weren't available, many common products would be less useful, more expensive, even unavailable. Here is an example of a little annoyance and bigger problem Americans would face without corn:

No low-fat diets!
Many low-fat foods depend on corn-derived starches to provide qualities that used to come from fats. Examples include everything from low-fat salad dressing to baked goods and meat products.

Building Career Skills Beyond the College Classroom


Successfully preparing for a career in agriculture is not The Leaders Conference includes a progressive series simply about meeting the academic requirements in of intense four-day workshops that focus on key success college. It’s also about making the most of one’s college experience through involvement and engagement, while also developing the soft skills needed to become a leader, collaborator and productive employee.

That’s the objective of AFA—Agriculture Future of America.

“AFA invests in young men and women that share three characteristics – they are talented, passionate and committed to a career in agriculture. We deliver the
programs, experiences and connections that stimulate leader development and fuel passion in order to equip tomorrow’s leaders to shape agricultural innovation for the betterment of the world,” said Mark Stewart, CEO of AFA.

AFA’s flagship program is its annual Leaders Conference, which features a four-track leadership development program. Students must apply to attend the conference. Some 700 students are selected from across the nation to participate annually.

Mark Stewart
AFA Leaders Conference areas—from professional skills development to time management, from problem solving to conflict resolution. Qualified students move through four tracks over the course of their college years.

“We’re not redundant with the students’ college education. Instead, we’re focused on personal development training that enhances their college experience and prepares them for success in the workplace and in life,” said Mark Stewart, CEO of AFA. “We want to challenge their perspectives and help them hone the skills they need to work collaboratively in a diverse and challenging environment.”

AFA also offers specific institutes focused on key areas such as policy, leadership, crop science, animal agriculture and food. Programs for young professionals who have already begun their careers are also available.

The Nebraska Corn Board provides scholarships for qualified Nebraska college students to participate in the AFA. “By supporting AFA, the Nebraska Corn Board
Emma Likens
is making it clear that they believe in the personal development training we offer students,” Stewart said.

Emma Likens, a UNL graduate from Swanton, Nebr., went through three of the four AFA Leaders Conference tracks and participated in many other activities. “If you are passionate about rural agriculture, entrepreneurship, and personal development—and you have a real drive to get connected with other students and career professionals from across the nation—AFA is definitely for you,” she said. “It gives you a larger, more diverse perspective than you’ll get on campus. I learned about everything from strawberry farming to pecans from the connection I made with other AFA students—things I would have never thought of as ‘farming’ if I hadn’t had the chance to network with students from those backgrounds.”

For more information on AFA, visit: www.agfuture.org.