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Friday, March 25, 2016

Give Your Favorite Farm Mom the Recognition She Deserves


On the farm, the CEO is generally referred to as mom. And while she doesn't ask for recognition for everything she does, from driving the combine, to cooking delicious meals to tucking everyone in at night, now's your chance to thank her. 

Celebrate her this year by nominating her for the America's Farmers Mom of the Year Contest between by March 29th, and she could win up to $10,000. Whether she's your wife, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, or even you, if she has a passion for farm, family, community and agriculture, we invite your nominations for Farm Mom of the Year.

Click here to nominate your favorite farm mom for the Farm Mom of the Year Contest.

Grain Insurance Fund Protects Farmers

Recently Laura Knoth, KyCorn and Ky Small Grain Growers Executive Director, attended a meeting of the KY Grains Insurance Corporation BoardWith the Kentucky Grain Fund in place, grain farmers across the state of Kentucky are protected against failure of grain elevators and licensed businesses that purchase and store their grain in Kentucky. 
There are two different types of licenses; dealers and warehouses. Every grain business that is licensed is required to have a surety bond ranging from $1,500 to $1 million; reliant on the amount of business they conduct. If a grain business is unable to pay a farmer, the bond is resourced. The bond is used when the grain business is unable to pay the farmer.  When the bond is drained, the Grain Insurance Fund will take effect. Routine inspections and audits are conducted to ensure contractual agreements with producers are secured and stable and ensure that the farmers of the Commonwealth are being paid for their grain commodities.
"The Kentucky Grain Insurance Fund provides a safety net for Kentucky grain farmers," said Laura Knoth. "We appreciate the diligence that the KY Department of Agriculture has shown in managing this program for the protection of our farmers as they sell their grain."
The fund is overseen by the Kentucky Grain Insurance Corporation board of directors, which consists of nine members; Commissioner Quarles, Attorney General Andy Beshear, Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon, and six other board members appointed by the commissioner. Of the six, two each represent the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, the Kentucky National Farmers Organization, and the Kentucky Feed and Grain Association.
The board met on March 9 to see that Its value has risen to nearly $5 million due to interest earned as well as 16 years of no payouts. The farmer-owned money is held by the Kentucky Office of Financial Management.
If a producer is unable to be paid for grain by a licensed Kentucky business, he or she should call the Grain Licensing and Regulation branch of the KDA's Division of Consumer and Environmental Protection at (502) 782-9207 and file a claim.

KyCorn Plans with Waterways Council, Inc.

Last week, members of the Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI)  met in Washington, D.C. to participate in a Board of Directors meetings, a Waterways seminar and panel discussions, followed by a full-day of Capitol Hill visits to discuss priority issues and requests. 

Kentucky was represented by John Danesi, Kentucky Corn Board Member, Crounse Corp, Marathon Petroleum, Marquette Towing, LG&E and Carlisle & Bray Enterprises. This WCI team was experienced on making Hill visits.  They were able to meet with Congressman Thomas Massie, Congressman Brett Guthrie, Congressman Andy Barr, Congressman Ed Whitfield, Congress Hal Rogers, Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul. 
"Looking at the US agricultural exports, over 70% of those exports use the waterways system, and approximately 65% of the agricultural imports use our waterways. The success of WCI in keeping our waterway system updated is a critical component to the success of the US Grains Council which promotes our Grain exports," said John Danesi. "We estimate that KY Corn Farmers export 50 million bushels out of state, much of which moves on our rivers.  Our waterways must operate efficiently to keep us competitive in the global market."

A list of WCI's priorities can be found, here

Thank You, Lowe's!

The Kentucky Corn Growers Association and Renewable Fuels Association is appreciative of Lowe's quick action to remove the signs that shed wrongful light on the use of ethanol to it's consumers. With farmer and ethanol industry help,  and you willingness to speak up and advocate for ethanol, we were able to make a change. It is important to speak up!

Lowe's is in the process of removing all the signs and should be completed in the next few days.

"Thank you to Lowe's for listening to RFA's member companies and the nearly 400,000 workers and farmers across the country whose employment is dependent upon the success of renewable fuels," said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "It is refreshing to see a large national corporation move so quickly to correct an obvious mistake. Lowe's should be commended for the leadership they have demonstrated to address this situation conclusively and swiftly. We will continue to combat any and all misinformation about ethanol, to ensure consumers have access to the lowest cost, cleanest octane source in the world."

Friday, March 18, 2016

Yield-Increasing Tips from Top Growers

(NCGA) The National Corn Growers Association released a video offering tips from perennial high-yield entrants of the National Corn Yield Contest during a breakfast at Commodity Classic in New Orleans honoring the state winners of the 2015 contest. The new video, which accompanies the traditional online NCYC Guide, offers farmers across the country a chance to apply the tips learned through the contest to their own operations to improve their yields and their bottom line.
"The contest not only affords an opportunity for farmers to test their skill against their peers, it also provides NCGA with a significant amount of information about cutting-edge production practices that all farmers might find useful," said NCGA Production and Stewardship Chair Brent Hostetler. "NCGA has always looked for new and innovative ways to use this data, sharing the lessons learned with corn farmers. The video provides a quick, simple way for interested farmers to discover new ideas that might work for them."
The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 51st year and remains NCGA's most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2015 with 7,729 entries received.
For more than half of a century, NCGA's National Corn Yield Contest has provided corn growers the opportunity to compete with their colleagues to grow the most corn per acre, helping feed and fuel the world. This has given participants not only the recognition they deserved, but the opportunity to learn from their peers.
To explore the expanded online yield guide, click here. The printed yield guide was published in the mid-February edition of Progressive Farmer.
Watch NCGA News of the Day for further information on entering the 2016 contest, which will post entry information online near the middle of this spring.

Lowe's Did What?! Talk to Your Lowe's Now!

WASHINGTON - The Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock, urging his company to remove a sign appearing at several Midwest locations that inaccurately warns consumers to not use ethanol blends in small engines.

The sign, "Ditch the Ethanol," contains numerous statements that "are simply incorrect and are contrary to the very guidance found in the owner's manuals on the shelves of your own stores," RFA explained in its letter.

"We find the sign very troubling and are concerned with the massive amount of misinformation posted to ostensibly educate consumers," said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "We urge Lowe's to remove the misleading sign, or else we may be forced to pursue legal efforts to prevent the further dissemination of false information to consumers."

In the letter, RFA rebutted each statement made on the sign, including:
--"Ethanol burns hotter and wears out your small engine faster.

a. Every small engine that you offer at Lowe's was designed and engineered to run on ethanol blends up to 10% ethanol. If you read any small engine owner's manual found at Lowe's, you will see this fact, and that all warranties cover the use of ethanol blends up to 10% ethanol. If this sign was intended for higher blends of ethanol, it should be clarified, and also should be noted that any blend of ethanol in small engine applications would be illegal. This would include E15 and E85. All blends above 10% are clearly labeled at the pump to ensure consumers know that they are not purchasing E10 (or 10% ethanol).
b. Ethanol blended gasoline does not wear out your engine faster, or the manufacturers could not offer warranty to cover today's fuel. I have personally used E10 in all of my small engines for more than two decades, and have yet to have an issue. This statement makes it seem like Lowe's has some unique insight and data on engine wear that the own manufacturers that make the engines do not. I highly doubt that is accurate.
--"Most pump gas contains 10% or more ethanol.
c. It is true that most pump gas contains ethanol, but 10% ethanol or less, otherwise known as E10 (or fuel approved for all small engine use). Roughly 96% of all unleaded sold today contains 10% ethanol.
d. There are only ~180 stations that sell E15 and ~3,400 stations that sell E85, both of which are not approved for small engines. But, these two higher blends are definitely not commonplace in the 140,000 retail fuel stations."

"I am asking respectfully that Lowe's work with us to remove this misleading signage at your stores immediately," Dinneen concluded.

Read the letter in its entirety here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

KyCorn Partners with Crappie Masters

KY Corn and Commonwealth Agri-Energy joined together as presenting sponsors for Crappie Masters' 2016 KY/TN State Championship, occurring May 13-14 at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in attempt to dispel the myths about ethanol's impact on marine motors and other small engines. We want farmers, anglers and boat owners to understand the benefits of ethanol to your environment, your economy and your engine.

The cornerstone of these efforts is a partnership with the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail and an angler team sponsored by American Ethanol. It is extremely important for farmers to be their own advocates about ethanol.  Farmers need to become versed about ethanol's benefits and its controversies. There are a lot of misunderstandings, and our job is to clear them up and explain to consumers that ethanol is safe to use.

Today, fuel blended with 10 percent ethanol (E10) comprises more than 95 percent of the gasoline sold nationwide. Most of the 12 million recreational boats in the United States are approved to operate on E10.  Join KyCorn this May at Buchanan Resort to advocate for the use of ethanol in boats.

NCGA Works to Build Profitable Demand for Corn

Kentucky corn farmers joined with other farmer members from soybean, wheat and sorghum for the 2016 annual Commodity Classic held in New Orleans, LA.  KY Corn leaders spent their week in New Orleans exploring the one-of-a-kind trade show and attending convention break out sessions. Attendees leave the week with fresh ideas and enthusiasm to work toward improving net farm incomes for our nations' grain farmers.

When leaders weren't walking the trade show, they were taking part in the National Corn Growers Association's (NCGA) Corn Congress. Farmer delegates discussed and voted on resolutions related to biotechnology, communication strategy, ethanol, membership programs and climate change .  KyCorn president Richard Strode and KyCorn Vice President Mark Roberts served as Kentucky's voting delegates during the proceedings.

During the general session of Commodity Classic, NCGA President, Chip Bowling addressed the audience. "Commodity Classic gives us the opportunity not just to celebrate great work, meet with friends and learn about new products and services, it allows growers to get together in one place to shape policy for our organization." Chip continued, "this year, all eyes and ears will be focused on the importance of protecting the farm safety net and building profitable demand for our farmers when corn production is high and corn prices are low."

Total attendance was 9,770 with a record number of growers attending.  Additionally, the trade show featured an all-time high of 433 participating companies, including 128 first-time exhibitors.

Friday, March 4, 2016

USDA: Ethanol Industry Continues to Improve it's Energy Balance

(RFA) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of a new USDA study on the energy balance of corn ethanol. USDA found that ethanol produced at a typical dry grind plant provides more than twice as much energy as was required to produce the fuel, with the energy balance ratio ranging from 2.1-2.3 BTU of ethanol for 1 BTU of energy inputs. However, this range is generally the same as USDA's last report published in 2010, which found an energy balance of 1.9-2.3. When investigating the reasons for the apparent lack of improvement suggested by the new USDA report, RFA found that the same 2008 survey of just 18 dry mills was used for both the 2010 USDA report and the new USDA report released. The new USDA report also examined an optimally situated plant producing wet DG, finding that it could potentially achieve an energy balance of 4.0.

Senate Ag Advances GMO Labeling- Key KyCorn Priority

The Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in the U.S. Senate marked up the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill with a bipartisan vote of 14-6. We appreciate Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell,  who serves on the committee, for voting in favor of this high priority for Kentucky Corn Growers. 

The legislation, which creates a national solution for a state-by-state patchwork of biotechnology labeling laws, now heads to the full Senate for consideration. We urge leader McConnell to quickly make time for this bill on the Senate floor for full approval. 

"It is clear that what we're facing today is not a safety or health issue. It is a market issue," said Chairman Pat Roberts (KS). "This is really a conversation about a few states dictating to every state the way food moves from farmers to consumers in the value chain. We have a responsibility to ensure that the national market can work for everyone, including farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers."

The legislation has the support of more than 650 farmer groups, cooperatives, agribusinesses, processors, seed makers, handlers, food and feed manufacturers, lenders, and retailers. The U.S. House of Representatives last July passed legislation on this topic with a bipartisan vote of 275-150. To read the legislation and to view a Senate hearing on this bill, click here.