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Friday, May 30, 2014

Corn Fed Kentucky Shootout Series 2014

KyCorn returns for the third year as the title sponsor for the Shootout series in the Mid South Tractor Pulling venues. This year the series includes a little something for all fans at each event. The lineup includes the Pro Stock 4X4 Trucks, Two Wheel Drive Trucks, Light Super Stock Tractors and Super Farm Tractors. More than fifty competitors from these four classes have committed to attend and support the series.

This year's series consist of nine sessions scheduled in Lawrenceburg TN May 31, Hopkinsville KY July 4&5, Tanner AL July 25&26, Hillsboro TN August 2, Columbia TN August 22, and Knoxville TN September 5&6. The total payout for 2014 Series is estimated to be over $126,140, this includes the class purses, the Bonus Bucks program and KyCorn's point's fund.


Friday, May 23, 2014

KyCorn Supports Effort to Challenge Students' Knowledge of Natural Resources and the Environment

For the fourth year, KyCorn has supported and assisted the Kentucky Envirothon, a unique competition that challenges students in natural resources practical knowledge and lifelong lessons on how to preserve our environment. The Commonwealth's top teams competed in an oral competition, followed by field tests surrounding the issue of sustainable agriculture.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School won this year's competition, and each team member received a $500 scholarship sponsored by Dow Corning. The top FFA team was from Madison Southern High School. They will represent Kentucky at the Environmental and Natural Resources Career Development Event in conjunction with the National FFA Convention in Louisville this October.

The Kentucky Envirothon is administered by the Kentucky Division of Conservation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big Win for Waterways Transportation, but Work Still Needed

May 20, 2014 - The US House today passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, by a vote of 412 to 4, that authorizes projects relating to water navigation, infrastructure, environment, and flood control, among others. This bill, which was in conference committee for several months, has been a long term priority for KyCorn. The bill will now need to be approved by the Senate.

"WRRDA is vital to the grain industry because it contains measures on inland waterways navigation and transportation," said Russel Schwenke, KyCorn president. "As corn farmers continue to excel in producing more grain and enhancing our global trade initiatives, the pipeline for delivering this grain to our harbors has to be improved. Many of the measures in the WRRDA bill allow for those needed improvements."

In addition to authorization of projects, WRRDA contains four major recommendations of the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan (CDP), which has been another KyCorn priority since 2010. The CDP is a package of recommendations to improve the vitality of our inland waters system. The four recommendations that WRRDA adopted are:
  • Shifts funding for Olmsted Lock and Dam from 50% to 85% from general fund. Located just downstream of Paducah, Olmsted has suffered from massive delays because of funding interruptions for more than a decade. The WRRDA shift of funding for this project will facilitate a more timely completion and free up $105 million annually from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund for other projects on the waterways system.
  • Redefines major rehabilitation project eligibility for Inland Waterways Trust Fund, increasing the level from $14 million to $20 million and adjusting it annually for inflation. This ensures that the limited resources of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund are spent more effectively on projects based on strategic set of criteria.
  • Allows for projects to be prioritized based upon risk of failure and economic benefit to the nation. This reduces the ability for focus to be diverted to projects of lesser impact (often times for political purposes) when a project that is more vital to the entire system needs attention.
  • Ensures project delivery improvements for the US Army Corps of Engineers to achieve on-time and on-budget performance. 
"It is important to understand that WRRDA is an authorization bill, not a funding bill," said Adam Andrews, KyCorn programs director. "WRRDA does not include a funding mechanism recommended by the CDP. KyCorn will still be working hard to seek acceptable funding measures for these authorized projects. In the coming months, we'll be looking to our grassroots network to encourage Congress to adopt an acceptable funding measure. We have some irons in the fire on that."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Owensboro Community and Technical College Shows Off Flex Fuel Cobra Replica to Launch Advanced Fuels Auto Technicians Program

Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) has launched its Preparing Vehicle Technicians for Advanced Transportation Fuels initiative by unveiling a replica 1965 AC Cobra that runs on 85% ethanol. The initiative is supported by KyCorn and will be the first college program in the state and nation to offer technician training in all of the advanced transportation/alternative fuel vehicle technologies.


"We are thrilled to be part of this alternative fuels education program," said Philip McCoun, KyCorn Promotion Council chairman and farmer from Shelbyville. "KyCorn was approached two years ago to support the modification of the Cobra engine to utilize a higher percentage of fuel ethanol, and we believed that was an excellent way to introduce future auto technicians to the technology."

The initiative objectives include summer academies, student technician training, incumbent worker training, secondary and post-secondary teacher STEM training, and a National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey event to increase public awareness of alternative fuels. The Cobra will be used to promote the initiative at schools and events across the Commonwealth, showcasing flex fuel vehicles and fuel ethanol. The initiative will also provide curriculum on conventional hybrid, plug-in electric, dedicated electric, biodiesel, propane, compressed and liquefied natural gas, and fuel-cell vehicles.

"Our initial investment in OCTC's Cobra project planted the seed to develop an entire training program around advanced and alternative fuels," said McCoun. "Our hope is that the program will produce a workforce that understands how ethanol works and will promote the benefits of our home-grown fuel."
Additional partners of the Preparing Vehicle Technicians for Advanced Transportation Fuels are the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition, ATech, Atmos Energy, ConsuLab, Cummins Crosspoint, Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, Kentucky Propane Gas Association, Kentucky Soybean Board, and Owensboro Grain Company. Project partners serve as the project steering committee and provide expertise to specific program areas.


According to Mike Rodgers, OCTC Southeastern Campus Director and head of the Advanced Transportation Division, participating partnership allows them to enhance the connection between education and industry.

"This partnership enhances what we were already doing in the lab, and it allows our faculty to remain on the cutting edge," said Rodgers. "OCTC is dedicated to preparing its students for the 21st century workforce in Kentucky and in the nation by ensuring they are knowledgeable of the evolving technologies transforming the transportation industry."

To learn more, visit www.kentuckycleanfuels.org.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kentucky Bourbon Affair Celebrates America's Only Native Spirit

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association earlier this month unveiled a new exhibit at the Frazier History Museum showcasing the 1964 Congressional Resolution that designated Bourbon as America’s native spirit.

It’s the first time that Senate Concurrent Resolution 19 has left the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. since it was adopted by Congress on May 4, 1964, said Joe Fraser, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors.

“Our signature industry is rich with 200 years of history and iconic figures,” said Fraser, who is Vice President of Operations at Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. “But this document, and the action it represents, had a profound effect on our business and our way of life.

“Thanks to this Resolution, no other country can produce a whiskey and call it Bourbon. It led to rigorous treaties that protect the integrity of our craft to this day. Nowhere is that more important than Kentucky – the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon.”

KDA President Eric Gregory said, “This is the Declaration of Independence for Bourbon as it recognizes the fact that Bourbon is distinctly American. It’s one of the most cherished pieces of our history, and we’re proud to have it in the birthplace of Bourbon where it belongs.”

The Resolution is on a six-month loan from the National Archives as part of the Bourbon history exhibit sponsored by the KDA. It also features distillery artifacts such as an Old Forester bottle from 1897, Frederick Stitzel’s patent for barrel ricks and a copper yeast jug from Four Roses.

Mayor Fischer joined dozens of Bourbon barons and Master Distillers at the downtown museum, located along the city’s famed Whiskey Row that is currently experiencing a renaissance with the Bourbon boom.

“We’re thrilled that the Resolution is out of the Archives and in a place where it can be seen and appreciated,” he said. “And no one respects their Bourbon – and Bourbon history – more than the whiskey connoisseurs of Kentucky and Louisville.”

The unveiling also serves as a kick-off for the inaugural Kentucky Bourbon Affair, a five-day Bourbon fantasy camp marking the Resolution’s 50th anniversary. The KDA showcase will feature exclusive distillery tours and one-of-a-kind events to celebrate all things Bourbon.

Dr. Madeleine Burnside, executive director of the Frazier Museum, said the new exhibit hopefully will spur interest in more Bourbon programs and displays. “Bourbon is such a critical part of our heritage, especially here in Louisville. We look forward to doing more to educate visitors about its past, present and future, as well as its economic and cultural benefits.”

The museum, which opened in May 2004, provides an interactive journey with ever-changing exhibits, daily performances by costumed interpreters and numerous special events. It is a member of the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Program and the American Association of Museums. Learn more at www.fraziermuseum.org.

In keeping with the museum’s educational mission, KDA President Gregory said the new Bourbon exhibit will feature an interactive timeline of the industry’s history and storyboards describing how the Resolution, transportation and strict federal guidelines shaped its future.

Gregory thanked U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Andy Barr for their help in bringing the Resolution to Kentucky. It was introduced in 1964 by their predecessors, Sen. Thurston Morton from Louisville and Rep. John C. Watts from Nicholasville.

Sen. McConnell said he will be introducing a Senate Resolution this week marking the 50th anniversary. “Bourbon is a vital part of Kentucky’s history, responsibly enjoyed by adults all over the world.

“I want to thank the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and the Frazier History Museum for honoring the importance of Bourbon and the thousands of Kentuckians who work in the industry.”

Rep. Barr, a Congressional appointee to the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, said, “Kentucky’s Bourbon industry is enjoying explosive growth, due to demand both here and abroad. This renaissance is the result of Bourbon’s timeless production process and depth of flavor, but also thanks to its status as a uniquely American spirit.”

“This week, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Congress putting that concept into law, and we thank the KDA and all the hardworking men and women in Kentucky who make Bourbon such a great product.”

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville, co-founder and chairman of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, said, “It’s fitting that the 1964 Resolution is now in the Commonwealth, but it doesn’t take an act of Congress to know Kentucky Bourbon is the finest spirit in the nation.”

In declaring Bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States,” the 1964 Resolution cited examples of protected spirits such as “Scotch” as originating in Scotland, “Canadian Whisky” as manufactured in Canada and “Cognac” as grape brandy distilled in the Cognac region of France.

The phrase “America’s native spirit” is not in the actual text. However, as Bourbon whiskey is the only major distilled spirit originating in the United States, the industry historically has used that wording to capture the meaning of the Resolution.

“No other spirit in America has received this distinction, and no other has mirrored the course of American history like Bourbon,” Gregory said. “We hope everyone visits the Frazier to see this piece of history and toasts the growing global success of our legendary Kentucky spirit.”

Additional Links:
Bourbon Facts
KyCorn's stake in the bourbon industry

Monday, May 12, 2014

National Corn Yield Contest Entry Now Open

With planting well underway in much of the country, the National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to register early for NCGA's National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 16, fees will be reduced to $75. NCGA reminds growers that a small time investment now saves money later this summer.

"While it may still seem a ways out, we all know how quickly the time passes once planting season starts," said Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Don Glenn. "Every year, we gain valuable data from the contest that help develop the production practices of tomorrow. I urge those who haven't entered before to become NCGA members and try their hand at high-yield techniques as contest entrants in 2014."

To enter today using the online form, click here. Members should have received a paper copy in the mail. Membership information was included for entry. NCGA will also release a version of the online form suitable for use on mobile devices in the near future.

Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through August 1. All harvest forms will be due by November 21. Contest winners will be announced on December 19.

NCGA reminds farmers that there have been updates to the rules for the 2014 National Corn Yield Contest. In addition to moving to a solely online entry platform, contest rules have been revised to further ensure contest integrity while also accommodating for technological advances to make participation easier.

Read more

Friday, May 9, 2014

KyCorn Congratulates Kentucky Native Sam Willett on Top Lobbyist Award

KyCorn and the National Corn Growers Association proudly congratulate Senior Director of Public Policy Sam Willett for his selection as a 2014 Top Lobbyist by the CEO Update newsletter. This honor, was conferred in light of Willett's hard work that contributed to the final passage of the 2014 farm bill. Willett is originally from Bardstown, Kentucky.
 
"Sam works tirelessly as an advocate for corn farmers, and nowhere can the fruits of his efforts be better seen than in the 2014 farm bill," said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. "Year after year, Sam fights against inertia in Congress to improve the crop insurance options and risk management tools available to farmers. His dedication, perseverance and deep understanding of the issues are always readily apparent to those with whom he works. Public recognition of his work is a tribute to the excellence he exhibits every day."

CEO Update highlights staff lobbyists whose advocacy work achieves significant goals for the betterment of association membership on an annual basis. The awards are given to association staff lobbyists who rally membership support behind clear policy positions and vigorously put these issues forward utilizing an exceptional combination of strategy, skill and experience.

Friday, May 2, 2014

USDA Releases 2012 Census Data to Provide Snapshot of Kentucky Corn

The USDA released the full report from the 2012 Agriculture Census. Here is a snapshot of Kentucky's corn industry: 


The number of Kentucky farmers selling corn for grain went from 7,107 in 2007 to 9,642 in 2012. That is a 36% increase.

Income received from corn sales by Kentucky farmers rose 25%. Kentucky farmers received $693.6 million in 2012, compared to $553.1 million in 2007. 

Irrigated acres increased slightly. In 2007, 22,483 corn acres were irrigated (1.7% of harvested acres). In 2012, 31,658 corn acres were irrigated (2% of harvested acres). 

KyCorn also updated its data charts to include 2013 reports:








Thursday, May 1, 2014

Corn Fed Kentucky Launched to Showcase Crop Impact on Local Economy


KyCorn has launched a promotional campaign called Corn Fed Kentucky to showcase the impact Kentucky's corn farmers have on important Kentucky industries such as food, livestock, biofuel and bourbon production. The success of the campaign will rely on farmer participation and those actively using social media.

"Corn is a primary feedstock for many Kentucky products," said Russel Schwenke, KyCorn president and farmer from Boone Co., Kentucky. "We hope to show Kentucky's leaders and citizens how important our family corn farmers are to the local economy."

Last year, Kentucky corn farmers produced a crop valued at more than $1.1 billion. Kentucky's corn industry creates raw product for livestock feed, food processors, bourbon and spirit distillation, biofuelproduction and export markets among others. Kentucky grain production also supports more than 43,000 jobs, and contributes $31 million to state and local taxes.

The Corn Fed Kentucky promotion involves farmers sharing messages on their vehicles and grain trailers which lead folks to the social media component. Any person who uses the hashtag #CornFedKy in their social media posts will be entered into a sweepstakes drawing for monthly Corn Fed Kentucky prizes.

"We have shipped out more than 100 signs to our corn farmer members," said Jennifer Elwell, KyCorn's communications director. "I am thrilled that farmers want to show pride in what they do. The next step is to turn our attention to engaging the public with social media activity."

KyCorn has a number of messages that can be shared or retweeted on their social media channels that bring attention to how corn is used within the Commonwealth.

"Many folks do not realize that Kentucky corn is used for more than just animal feed," said Elwell. "Bourbon is a unique market in Kentucky, and a larger portion of the corn crop is directed to food processors than in other corn-producing states. We are very thankful for the many businesses that give our Kentucky farmers a strong marketplace for their corn."

The Corn Fed Kentucky promotion will run throughout the year. Anyone interested in participating or winning prizes may visit www.kycorn.org/cornfed to learn more.

National Corn Utilization and Technology Conference Comes to Kentucky for a Shot of Bourbon

KyCorn is a sponsor of this year's National Corn Growers Association Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, June 2-4, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kristin Meadors with the Kentucky Distillers Association will deliver the keynote address at the opening reception.

"The bourbon industry's iconic utilization of corn makes it a perfect platform in which to kick-off three days of lively discussions among the corn industry's leading researchers, processors and business representatives," said NCGA Research and Business Development ction Team Chair Tom Mueller. "We are excited to have Kristin Meadors discuss her industry's impact on our economy and why this corn-based spirit continues its popularity at home and abroad."

Meadors is the Kentucky Distillers Association's first-ever Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs. She is responsible for coordinating the association's governmental and regulatory affairs initiatives at all levels of government, working with federal officials on trade issues and expanding global opportunities for Kentucky's signature bourbon industry.

In 1964, Congress declared bourbon America's only native spirit. It must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn, aged in charred new oak barrels and stored at no more than 125 proof.

The conference will be held at the Marriott Louisville Downtown Hotel. The agenda focuses on wet and dry milling technologies and new uses.

Visit www.corntechconf.org for more information and to register online.

Recipe: Kentucky Corn Bread

We are not exactly sure how this became a "Kentucky" corn bread, but it's delicious nonetheless. If you are looking for a sweet cornbread recipe, try some other state. In Kentucky, sweet is in tea, never cornbread.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup corn meal
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
OR use 1 1/2 cup self-rising corn meal instead of above

1/2 cup vegetable oil or butter
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
1 cup (1 small can) cream style corn
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl
except cheese.
3. Pour half of the batter into a 9 x 13 inch glass
or Pyrex baking dish.
4. Sprinkle with cheese.
5. Add remaining batter.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.

Using a cast iron skillet:
If you want to use a cast iron skillet, place the oil in the bottom of the skillet, then fill with half the batter, cheese, and remaining batter. Cook on a stove top for just a few minutes until a few bubbles come up through the batter, then put in oven to bake.

If you want to ensure this is Kentucky cornbread, try corn meal from our local mills:

Weisenberger Mill (Midway)
Sunflour (Hopkinsville)