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Friday, August 5, 2016

COMMENTS NEEDED: EPA Disregards Science in Atrazine Report:

You can contact the EPA to voice concerns at www.FightEPA.com.

EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016. All pesticides sold or distributed in the U.S. must be registered by EPA and re-registered every 15 years. Ecological risk assessments are one step of that registration process. 

In the report, EPA recommends an aquatic life level of concern (LOC) be set at 3.4 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average. EPA's current LOC for atrazine is 10 ppb; however, scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater. In drafting this assessment, EPA discounted several high-quality studies showing atrazine to be safe, relying instead on studies its own Science Advisory Panel deemed "flawed" in 2012. 

EPA is accepting public comments on the ecological assessment through October 4.

"I cannot stress enough how important it is for farmers to submit comments on this issue," said Laura Knoth, KyCorn Executive Director. "Atrazine is one of the safest and most effective crop management tools farmers have and is in almost 100 products at varying levels. It's also one of the most studied pesticides in on the market and more than 50 years' worth of data show it is safe."

Local Corn Grower Sees Market Stability Through NASS Surveys


(Lisa Ferguson- NASS) The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its findings June 30, from the June Agricultural Survey conducted in late May and early June. The survey queried nearly 2,600 farms across Kentucky to determine crop acreage for 2016.

Kentucky farmers planted an estimated 1.5 million acres of corn, up 100,000 acres from 2015. The U.S. corn planted for all purposes in 2016 was estimated at 94.1 million acres, up seven percent from last year. This represents the third highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944.

One of those 2,600 farms surveyed earlier this year in Kentucky was Michael Buckman's farm in Marion County. Buckman, 39, of Calvary, Kentucky, is a lifelong, many-generation corn and soybean farmer in central Kentucky. He bought his farm from his parents in 2011, and has been running it ever since with his wife, Megan.

"I've always been a farmer," Buckman said. "I've either worked for dad or run the farm my entire life. We can trace our family farming back to the Civil War right here in Calvary."

Despite the rainy start to planting and some early hotter-than-usual temperatures, Buckman expects a 1:1 plant to harvest ratio this year, which falls in line with his farm's historical averages. He always harvests all his acres, even in a drought year like 2012, because his insurance policy requires that he harvest even zero-yield acres. He'd much rather get paid for his crop contracts than insurance payouts, but realizes weather is one of the unknowns in farming.

Weather isn't the only uncertainty facing farmers, a fact Buckman knows well from serving as the treasurer for the Kentucky Corn Growers Association, on several district boards through the county extension office, and being involved in the Marion County Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Soybean Association. 

"Market instability is one of the biggest issues facing corn growers," Buckman said. "We just want a stable market to know what to (generally) expect each year. A young farmer can't get started, because he can't go out and secure funding with a market that so radically changes every year. That's where the growers associations really work to offset the market instability and make sure the export market and trade programs are available."

Buckman sees the importance of NASS survey data assessing yields and values in adding stability to a farmer's life and answers all those that come across his desk, sometimes answering over the phone instead of filling out the paper survey.

Click here to learn more about NASS surveys and corresponding data in Kentucky. To sign up to be counted in the Census and other surveys, visit Ag Counts

Friday, July 29, 2016

Ethanol Research Presented at NACAT Conference

Last week more than 200 automotive technicians and educators met in Pasadena, TX for the 43rd annual North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) conference. NACAT is an international conference that provides educational and professional development opportunities for automotive educators from the U.S. and Canada. Attendees came for four days full of training and networking opportunities.  For the second year, Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) partnered with Corn Grower Associations from Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri on behalf of the American Ethanol brand to attend NACAT and present ethanol educational resources.
 
"This is one of the few conferences an educator can learn from not only their presenters, vendors and corporate trainers, but can also learn from peers and colleagues that are in similar classroom situations," said Mike Rodgers, Interim VP of Academic Affairs and Director of Advancement, OCTC. "NACAT provides such an array of educational topics, it makes the quality of the conference like no other."

OCTC instructors Fred Wright and Lewis Nall presented results found from an engine testing project that was commissioned by KyCorn and MoCorn.  In the investigation, flex fuel lawnmower engines manufactured by KOHLER engines were tested with various ethanol blends to document wear, durability.  In short, higher ethanol blends burned cleaner and led to less wear and tear; oil test results also indicated less were and tear at higher ethanol concentrations.  Detailed findings were distributed during the classes taught at NACAT. You can see that here
 
"The project we presented was a yearlong project. Every part of the presentation was built by students, including stands and wiring," said Fred. "We had a lot of positive feedback from instructors who thanked us for researching and presenting this type of information. If you get one teacher on board, you have 500 followers."

"It was extremely well received. After the first class, we noticed instructors came back for the second," said Lewis. "There is a lot of skepticism and we can prove that it's not true; not just with words, we can show them. During the trade show, our booth was busy the entire time. It shows there's a need for this kind of information to be disseminated."  If you are interested in the findings of this project, the principle investigators can be reached at lewis.nall@kctcs.edu and frederick.wright@kctcs.edu.  

UK Field Day Spotlights Techniques and Research Findings

    
Yesterday hundreds of farmers, researchers and agribusinessman met in Princeton at The UK Research and Education Center for the annual UK Corn, Soybean and Tobacco Field Day. Attendees heard from different researchers about their past findings and what they are currently working on. 

"This year was tremendously successful in terms of additional research. We have a lot of new faculty who have started research on site," said Colette Laurent, University of Kentucky, Grain Crop Coordinator. "We enjoy the field day as an opportunity to showcase the new and continuing research. With the weather offering a bit of a challenge, we went to plan B and moved the event indoors allowing all attendees to hear the presentations as one group."

KyCorn was a sponsor of the event, as well as the research that generated much of the information presented. 

Louisville Host to U.S. Grains Council Annual Meeting


Louisville was host to the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC) 56th Annual Board of Delegates meeting this week, with members in attendance focused on emerging opportunities for the grain industry and the need to spread the positive message of ag trade.

USGC, export arm of the grain industry, works in more than 50 countries and the European Union to develop export markets for corn and other feed grains as well as co-products like DDGS and ethanol. It's members include farm organizations like Kentucky Corn as well as agribusinesses, and it receives grant funding from market development programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. 
 
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles kicked off the sessions by offering a special welcome at the general session, spotlighting the importance of agricultural trade to the local industry and encouraging those in attendance to advocate for trade and agriculture.
 
The rest of the week offered a full agenda with a look at the global economy and current trade environment, the return on investment of USGC programs, the Tanzania Food for Progress Program, ethanol programs globally and future feed grain demand that the Council is working to tap.
 
Another highlight of the week was the presentation offered by Leanne Ragland, LaRue county farmer and Commonground volunteer. Leanne spoke to a group of delegate spouses about how her organization uses farm women to share accurate information about the agriculture industry with other farmers and consumers.

During the meetings, USGC's membership also elected new board members and officers and adopted its fiscal year 2017 budget. 

"We were excited for the opportunity to be in Kentucky for this meeting and truly appreciate the hospitality Kentucky Corn has shown us from start to finish in the planning process," said Chip Councell, a Maryland farmer who became USGC chairman at the Louisville meeting.

"The Council's work totally depends on the engagement of our members to help us set direction and carry out our programs globally. We definitely saw and felt Kentucky's support this week." 
  
For more information about USGC, visit www.grains.org.

Friday, July 22, 2016

KyCorn Attends Annual Summer Corn Congress

KyCorn Corn delegation with Senator Rand Paul's Staffers
KyCorn leaders meeting with Chip Bowling, NCGA President 



















National Corn Growers Annual Summer Corn Congress session was held this week in Washington DC. Representing KyCorn as delegates were Richard Strode, KyCorn President, and Mark Roberts, KyCorn Vice President. Delegates elected five new NCGA Corn Board members and discussed policies such as trade, ethanol and atrazine.

While in D.C., KyCorn also made hill visits. "It is extremely important for corn farmers from around the country to come together to discuss issues impacting their industry and work together to find solutions and ways to improve," said Laura Knoth, KyCorn Executive Director. "It is equally important for our farmer leaders to make personal visits to capitol hill to share policy positions and discuss issues that affect the agriculture industry."

KyCorn Represented on NCGA Action Teams

    
This week KyCorn traveled to Washington D.C. for a week full meetings and networking opportunities. Starting off the week were farmer-led action teams and committees having in-depth conversations in areas of public policy, ethanol, biotechnology, government regulation, trade and grower services. 

Representing KyCorn this week on NCGA action teams were Quint and Leah Pottinger. Quint serves on the Research and Business Development Action Team and Leah serves on the Grower Services Action Team . 
 
"The Grower Services Action Team meeting was very productive and I am so excited about some of the things NCGA is working on to further our cause and increase our outreach," said Leah. "NCGA surveyed a group of members on what their first, second and third topics of interest are and they produced some interesting results. Some of the topics most interesting to members were Ethanol, Production and Stewardship Practices."

Action team and committee meetings concluded Tuesday afternoon. Click here for information on the action teams and committees.