May 30, 2015

Keep your kids learning with agriculture this summer

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Summer is here for your family and your kids are glad to be out of the classroom. But you are wanting them to learn at least one thing this summer. Why not have them learn about Nebraska's #1 crop: CORN! Here are some awesome educational activities you can give them to keep them entertained and educated this summer:

Corn A-Z: have a kid learning their ABCs or even an older kid who you want to wow? Find all of the items that are made from corn using this poster as a resource.

If your kids like to read, you can find them some great reading material from http://agbooksforkids.com/. Check with your local library if they have these books or if they can get them for you!


Have kids that love games and apps on your phone/device? Download the National Corn Growers Association's app, KernelQuest! It's a game for smartphones featuring beloved character Captain Cornelius. KernelQuest is a game of skill, maneuverability and all-around corniness. Join Captain Cornelius, our a-maize-ing superhero in green spandex, as he defies gravity and weaves his way across the Midwest. Set a new high score, challenge friends and learn corny facts along the way. KernelQuest is available for free through Google Play and the iTunes store

Here is a list of great online content for K-12:
  • History of Corn
    – Corn has been part of Nebraska’s history for more than a thousand years!
  • Can Corn Fuel the Future? (YouTube playlist)
    – YES! Corn can fuel many different things. It can make ethanol that fuels your car, feed that fuels the diets of livestock and can be used to fuel the development of new products made from corn.
  • There’s Corn in my Crayons (.pdf)
    – An adventure in eight coloring pages with puzzles
  • The Great Corn Adventure
    – An interactive website in English and Spanish
  • AgDay
    – A site that contains informative ag facts
  • USDA For Kids
    – A collective resource of agriculture-related websites
  • Corny Culture
    – A cornucopia of poetry, art, recipes, legends, songs and places to visit
  • Corn for the Future
    – Nebraska corn farmers look to the future with many possibilities for corn

May 29, 2015

EPA Snubs Consumers and Farmers Again, Takes Renewable Fuel Backward

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The following is a statement from Maryland corn farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of proposed  renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Once again, the EPA has chosen to ignore the law by cutting the corn ethanol obligation 3.75 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016. This represents nearly a billion and a half bushels in lost corn demand. The only beneficiary of the EPA’s decision is Big Oil, which has continuously sought to undermine the development of clean, renewable fuels. Unfortunately, the EPA’s gift to Big Oil comes at the expense of family famers, American consumers and the air we breathe.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard was working as intended, with no need to change. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, decreased our reliance on foreign oil, lowered gasoline prices for consumers, increased economic stability in rural America and spurred innovation in advanced and cellulosic biofuels.


“We are evaluating our legal options for defending the law and protecting the rights of farmers and consumers. We will fight to protect and build profitable demand for corn, which is of fundamental interest to NCGA and our farmers.”

May 28, 2015

2015 Nebraska Corn Interns Announced

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Seven Nebraska Students Selected to Represent Nebraska Corn in Internships

(Left-Right): Amanda Clymer, Emily Scholting, Greg Sullivan, Megan Hamling
and Kaydee Caldwell.  Not pictured: Samantha Schneider and Glen Ready.

The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) are proud to support seven college students as interns starting this summer, including an international internship.

NCB will once again partner with the U.S. Grains Council to host an international student intern in their regional office of Panama City, Panama. Four of the other six internships will be hosted by national cooperators of Nebraska Corn: National Corn Growers Association in St. Louis, Missouri and Washington, D.C., the U.S. Grains Council in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Denver, Colorado. The last two internships will be held in the Nebraska Corn offices in Lincoln and will be year-long internships.

“Nebraska Corn’s internship program has been engaging students for over 20 years, and year after year, we continue to hit homeruns, finding excellent students to fill the various internship opportunities,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director for the Nebraska Corn Board. “We are thrilled to be able to offer our future agricultural leaders these great internship opportunities.”

“We have very high expectations for these interns. Nebraskans should be very proud of our collegiate candidates who apply for these internships and go on to excel in agricultural focused careers," added Brunkhorst.

Below is a listing of students who were selected for this year's internships and a short description of what they'll be experiencing. You can keep up with many of these students and their experiences throughout the summer on our blog under the tag: Interns 2015.

The NCB office in Lincoln is excited to welcome Megan Hamling of Garland, Nebraska, for a year-long internship. Megan will be a sophomore in agriculture business with a minor in communications and leadership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. As part of her internship, she will oversee crop progress report placement, contribute to communication and outreach programs and help with education and promotion activities.
The NeCGA office in Lincoln is happy to welcome Samantha Schneider of Cozad, Nebraska, for a year-long internship, supported by DuPont-Pioneer. Samantha will be a senior in agricultural journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She will oversee NeCGA’s online communications as well as contribute to a variety of communication and outreach projects.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) office in Washington, D.C. will host Glen Ready of Scribner, Nebraska, as their summer intern supported by a partnership between NCB and NCGA. Glen will be a senior in agricultural economics with an emphasis in public policy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He will be involved with a variety of agricultural issues related to environmental regulations, transportation, free trade agreements, biotechnology, ethanol, and energy.
The National Corn Growers Association headquarters office in St. Louis, Missouri, will host Emily Scholting of Springfield, Nebraska, as their summer intern supported by a partnership between NCB and NCGA. Emily will be a senior in political science with an emphasis in pre-law at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She will be assisting with production and stewardship projects, as well as participating in committee meetings and policy issues.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) will host Amanda Clymer of David City, Nebraska, as their summer intern supported by a partnership between NCB and USGC. Amanda is a junior in agricultural economics with a minor in entrepreneurship and leadership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She will be working with the global programs team and assisting with preparation for international trade teams and other market development programs that help to develop demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products. 
The U.S. Grains Council will host their second international intern, Greg Sullivan from Omaha, Nebraska, in Panama City, Panama, in cooperation with NCB. Greg earned bachelors in psychology from St. John’s University (Minnesota) and is currently working on his masters in agricultural business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He will be working on issues related to global trade in food and agricultural products, assisting with communication to importers and working on the upcoming USGC Regional Buyers Conference in Medellin, Colombia, July 7-8, 2015.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) will host Kaydee Caldwell of Edgar, Nebraska, as their summer intern supported by a partnership between NCB and USMEF. Kaydee is a junior in animal science with a management and reproduction option from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She will be assisting with beef, pork and lamb specific projects, as well as promotions and international relationship opportunities.

May 27, 2015

Wet Conditions Hampered Spring Planting

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Courtesy of Heartland FFA Chapter
For the week ending May 24, 2015, cloudy, wet conditions hampered spring planting activities with an inch or more of rainfall common in the western half of the State, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Temperatures were again cool, and averaged six to eight degrees below normal. The wet conditions have been favorable for disease development in southeastern wheat fields, with some producers applying fungicide. Sunshine and warmer conditions were needed to dry soils and boost corn and soybean development. Alfalfa harvest has been slow due to the wet conditions. Pastures continued to improve.

Courtesy of Shickley FFA Chapter
There were 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 9 short, 69 adequate, and 17 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 17 short, 66 adequate, and 11 surplus.

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 32 fair, 54 good, and 7 excellent. Planted was at 92 percent, near 96 for both last year and the five-year average. Emerged was at 73 percent, near 70 last year, but ahead of 67 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.
Courtesy of David City FFA Chapter

May 26, 2015

Use American Ethanol-Blended Fuel to Lessen the Burden of Gasoline Costs this Summer

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It’s that time of year again. Summer is quickly approaching and gasoline prices are once again climbing. Although gas prices are lower starting off this summer’s driving season compared to last year’s, gas prices have been on the rise. Thankfully, there is a solution to help lessen the burden on drivers’ pocket books, and that solution is American Ethanol.

The rise of gas prices in the busy summer months can have a big impact on consumers’ summer plans. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) projection for the April-through-September summer driving season year is on average $2.45/gallon. However, AAA, has the current national average at $2.73, which is the highest price for gasoline since December. American Ethanol-blended fuel lowers gas prices and saves the average American household over $1,000 on their gas bill annually.

“As Nebraskans gear up for their summer travel and recreational plans, the choice to use American Ethanol at the pump is the easy one,” said Kim Clark, Director of Biofuels Development at the Nebraska Corn Board. “American Ethanol-blended fuels provide a wealth of benefits for consumers. It is cost-effective, American-made, renewable, and better for our environment and consumer health.”

Compared with oil, American Ethanol-blended fuel burns cleaner and improves air quality. When drivers use American Ethanol, they’re improving air quality and reducing the causes of asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer not only for themselves but also their children and grandchildren. American Ethanol lowers the level of toxic, cancer-causing emissions in vehicle exhaust—reducing air pollution, improving human health, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


American Ethanol also gives Nebraskans a choice when they go to fill up with gas. Those choices aren’t limited to the lower price of their gas bill, but also the chance to choose a domestic, clean-burning fuel that fuels our state’s economy as well. Drivers with a flex fuel vehicle (FFV) have the choice to use any American Ethanol fuel blend up to 85 percent ethanol (E85)—a blend of 85 percent American Ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The EPA has also approved that non-flex fuel vehicle owners with automobiles manufactured in model year 2001 and newer, can use E15. Additionally, small engine owners can successfully use American Ethanol-blended fuels up to 10 percent (E10) for their marine watercraft and small engines, such as lawn mowers.

“Consumers and professional drivers alike can appreciate the power and performance that American Ethanol-blended fuels offer while also recognizing the money saving benefits the fuel provides,” said Jon Holzfaster, a farmer from Paxton, Nebraska, Director on the Nebraska Corn Board and chairman of National Corn Growers Association’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “NASCAR has proven the power and durability of American Ethanol and as consumers you can witness the health and cost savings.”

May 22, 2015

El Nino weather impacting Nebraska crops and the world

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In agriculture, we all know that Mother Nature is one of the key factors in determining a successful or unfortunate year. Thankfully in Nebraska this spring, we have received ample moisture, thanks to El Nino.

Recently, the National Climate Prediction Center has raised the probability of an El Niño in the Northern Hemisphere lasting through this summer to 90 percent, and added that there is an even greater than 80 percent probability it will last through all of 2015.

While this “rainy” season is among us here in the bread basket of the world, the El Nino is not positive for some around the world.

The probability is raising the chance of heavy rain in the southern United States as well as South America, but it is adding scorching heat in Asia that could devastate crops of thirsty food staples like rice.

A new paper recently published in journal Nature Communications confirms the link between the natural climate fluctuation known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation and food harvests of wheat, rice, corn and soybeans that provide nearly 60 per cent of all calories consumed by humans on the planet.

El Niño years were found to have a tendency for negative impacts on crop yields in 22 to 24 percent of growing regions, especially in Asia. At the same time, El Niño tended to have a positive impact on crop yields in 30 to 36 per cent of harvested regions, especially North America. The study estimates the global average negative impact of an El Niño on total crop harvests is between a 0.8 and 4 percent decrease for wheat, rice, corn and soybeans.

These numbers may not seem large to some, but five years of El Niño in the 1950s led to massive famine in China. In the late 1950s, food supplies dropped by 30 percent and immense starvation prevailed in China. It has been 18 years since the world was hit with a strong El Niño, so very few countries are equipped for its considerable impact. However, we have more available technology and information than we did 65 years ago. With China and virtually all of Asia now confirmed global traders, there should be plenty of wheat, rice, corn and soybeans in storage to initially prevent any type of famine. But we could see the price of food increase.

Recently, Reuters reported that a strong El Nino last appeared in 2009-2010 and resulted in significant spikes in sugar, cocoa and wheat prices. If a strong El Niño does develop the likely U.S. impacts include wetter conditions across the southern U.S., from California through Texas to Florida, which could bring relief to the drought-stricken areas.


May 20, 2015

Kum & Go to Offer E85 Fuel for $0.85/Gallon

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Flex-Fuel Vehicle Owners Can Save on American Ethanol-Blended Fuel for Six Consecutive Thursdays in the Omaha Metro Area

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Drivers of flex-fuel vehicles in Nebraska and Iowa will be able to fill up with E85 for just 85 cents per gallon during six upcoming promotions at Kum & Go locations in the Omaha metro area.

The promotions will take place as follows:

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Currently, one in seven drivers in the Omaha metro has a flex-fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol and gasoline, from E10 to E85. However, many drivers do not realize they own a flex-fuel vehicle, let alone the additional fuel options they have at the pump. To confirm your vehicle is flex-fuel, look for a yellow fuel cap, a flex-fuel emblem, or check your owner’s manual.

“Consumers like to have a choice when they are making a purchasing decision at the pump,” said Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels at Kum & Go convenience stores. “Kum & Go will soon begin to offer E15 at locations in Omaha and already offers E85 at seven locations across the metro area.  The E85 promotions are a great way to bring awareness to the variety of fuel blends we offer and provide an opportunity to promote the many environmental and economic benefits of ethanol-blended fuels.”

According to the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, when flex-fuel drivers fill up with E85 – a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, and other American Ethanol-blended fuels, they’re improving air quality and reducing causes of asthma, heart disease and lung cancer not only for themselves but also their children and grandchildren. E85 is approved as a Clean Air Choice® and when flex-fuel drivers fill up with E85 rather than 100 percent gasoline, they are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions that enter our air.

“The health and environmental benefits of American Ethanol is so great we want all consumers to use American Ethanol,” said Ryan Welsh, Director of Sales & Marketing of American Ethanol.  “Even if a consumer doesn’t drive a flex-fuel vehicle, they still have the option to use American Ethanol fuel such E15 and reap the benefits.”

All standard vehicles can operate on E10, a blend of 10 percent American Ethanol and 90 percent unleaded gasoline. E15 with 15 percent American Ethanol has been approved for use in all standard vehicles model year 2001 and newer. E15 is gaining a foothold at retailers across the U.S. and is available at a growing number of locations. Kum & Go recently announced that E15 will soon be offered at several Midwest retail stations, including Nebraska and Iowa.

The E85 promotion is sponsored by Green Plains, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Nebraska Corn Board, and Nebraska Ethanol Board in cooperation with Kum & Go. For additional information about these promotions and American Ethanol, visit E85Omaha.com.

promotion-site

May 19, 2015

Corn Planted at 85%

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For the week ending May 17, 2015, precipitation during the last half of the week limited fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service. Rainfall of one inch or more was common, except for portions of northeast and southwest Nebraska, which received lesser amounts. Lowland flooding was again reported in southeastern counties where fieldwork was at a standstill. Temperatures were cool, averaging two to four degrees below normal. There were 2.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 10 short, 67 adequate, and 17 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 18 short, 65 adequate, and 10 surplus.

Corn planted was at 85 percent, near 89 last year and 87 for the five-year average. Emerged was at 54 percent, ahead of 39 last year and 40 average.

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



May 18, 2015

Positive Cattle on Feed and Beef Exports worth celebrating

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May is a time for celebration. This time of year finds many of us attending graduations, weddings and BBQs – where great-tasting Nebraska corn-fed beef may be featured. May is also Beef Month and there is a lot of exciting beef news important to us right now.

Photo credit: AgView.net

Big Beef

Recently, the Cattle on Feed Report came out showing that the number of cattle on feed in Nebraska was up 2 percent from last year. Nebraska feedlots with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.53 million cattle on feed on April 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Placements during March totaled 440,000 head, up 7 percent from 2014. This is the largest number of placements for March since the data series began in 1994. Fed cattle marketings for the month of March totaled 395,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during March totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.

On a national level, cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on April 1, 2015. The inventory was slightly above April 1, 2014. The inventory included 7.46 million steers and steer calves, up 5 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 69 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.34 million head, down 10 percent from 2014.

All of these positive increases in cattle number are positive signs of a strong beef and ag economy in Nebraska and in the U.S.

Export Momentum


But we also know that domestic consumption of beef is not what is growing, but exports of our high-quality beef is showing positive momentum. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), an important cooperator of the Nebraska Corn Board, exports of U.S. beef (and pork) gained momentum in March after starting the year slowly.

March beef exports totaled 86,774 mt, down 7 percent from a year ago but a 5 percent increase over February. Export value was $527.3 million, up 2 percent year-over-year but down slightly from February. The March results reflect some degree of relief from the West Coast port congestion that plagued red meat exports in January and February Beef exports add well beyond $300 to the value of each head of cattle annually, but without the USMEF and their excellent staff all over the world working on behalf of farmers and ranchers to build demand for U.S. beef, this figured wouldn’t be nearly so positive.

Let’s continue to celebrate beef this month, and continue on through the summer. Summer is the perfect time to BBQ, so now is as good a time as ever to enjoy some Nebraska corn-fed beef. For recipes, visit the Nebraska Beef Council’s Kitchen or www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipes.

May 15, 2015

A final look at my time as Nebraska Corn Board Intern

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Approximately one year ago I attended the 2014 Nebraska Groundwater Festival to present about the value of water to the corn industry with Lauren Ibach, Nebraska Corn Board’s (NCB) 2013-2014 intern. Lauren was a great mentor and did a good job of preparing me that week to take over her role as the new NCB in-house Communications and Outreach intern.
Since then, my NCB intern experience has been fantastic. I have met people all over the state, helped lead a trip of young professionals to Washington D.C., became proficient in effectively communicating through social media, and learned about how the Nebraska Corn Board is working on behalf of Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers. But most of all, I have grown as a person and as a professional.
This brings me to this week; my final week at the Nebraska Corn Board. The 2015 Groundwater Festival was held on Tuesday, May 12th and once again I had the opportunity to attend this event. However, this time, I was accompanied by Megan Hamling, the newest NCB Communications and Outreach intern --officially starting today (Friday, May 15th). We had a wonderful time playing Corn/Aqua Bingo with 4th grade students and even learned a little bit ourselves! I’m excited to see how much Megan learns and accomplishes during the next year! The circle of interns will continue to revolve as I leave the NCB internship in Megan’s hand and begin my newest adventure as a Mycogen sales intern for Dow Agrosciences. I know that I will continue to work hard and be pushed out of my comfort zone so that I can gain one more step towards finding a future career in the agricultural industry.
Additionally, I would like to thank all of the Nebraska Corn Board members and staff, along with the state’s 23,000 corn farmers for supporting this internship program. Your money, time, and effort is more than worth it, as you are creating much-needed future leaders of the agricultural industry.