Corn Commentary

America’s Farmers Thrown Under the Train Instead of Posted on It


American corn farmers do not often see how their lives might be impacted by high profile, First Amendment debates in the media. While we each value our Constitutional rights and deeply cherish liberty, our messages about growing food and stewarding the land generally do not stir up mainstream debate to a degree that lands us on the national stage.

Today, we did.

The Corn Farmers Coalition campaign, a six-year long tradition, normally places ads featuring facts about farmers presented by actual farm families in the DC Metro during the summer to help educate legislators and other Dc thought leaders. Sharing the unique stories of the men and women who grow corn while highlighting their constantly-improving practices and technology helps those in the capital understand what happens across the nation’s countryside and why it matters.

Today, those ads have not gone up on schedule.

Media outlets have spotlighted recent events that transpired between Pamela Gellar’s American Freedom Defense Initiative and the DC Metro over the ability of one group to purchase ad space from the latter. DC Metro, eventually, chose to resolve the issue by banning new issue-oriented advertising in the transit system for the remainder of the year. (Read more here)

America’s corn farmers know that, while CFC brings new information to DC every year, the campaign’s concept does not waiver or qualify as “new.” While the messages may change slightly, the intent remains the same.

They also know that the ads provide information without urging for any particular issue-oriented action. Showing images of real Americans in their fields with their families helps farmers share a little perspective on American agriculture with a town often farm removed from its rural roots. Featuring US Department of Agriculture data and facts, supported by reputable research, educates Washingtonians on the ever-evolving, ever-improving achievements on America’s farms.

Yet, DC Metro has stalled progress on the campaign’s scheduled June 1 launch due to a conflict in which we played no role. In the headline-grabbing dispute between AFDI and DC Metro, America’s corn farmers pay the price for highly politicized positions. Every year, real farmers invest real dollars to send the farm to Washington. Without a reasonable resolution of this conflict, America’s farmers will be thrown under the train rather than on it.

Captain Cornelius on Cardinals’ Farm Team

mfc-team-1The St. Louis Cardinals’ new roster this season includes some homegrown talent from the Show-Me State.

Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) and the St. Louis Cardinals are proud to bring to Busch Stadium the Farm Team, comprised of mascots Captain Cornelius, Simon the Soybean, and Sweet Bessie.

The farm team is part of the “Race to the Plate” educational campaign to increase awareness and understanding of today’s food production.

mfc-team2The mascots will be jockeying for bragging rights at each Friday night home game in Busch Stadium and racing to educate fans on Missouri agriculture. As the mascots vie for the win, in-stadium video boards will highlight facts about modern pork, dairy, soybean and corn production. Missouri’s farm families are also encouraging fans tuning into Cardinal Radio to learn more about today’s agriculture through radio spots highlighting farm facts and Friday night races. Print ads are also featured in the Cardinals Gameday Magazine and scorecard.

Missouri Farmers Care is a joint effort by Missouri’s agriculture community to stand together for the state’s top industry.

Iowa Corn Promotes Cy-Hawk Day

June 9 was a special day for Iowans as Iowa Governor Terry Branstad officially proclaimed it Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Day.

ia-corn-cy-hawkThe Iowa Corn Promotion Board is a proud sponsor of the University of Iowa and Iowa State sports teams to educate fans about the importance of corn in their everyday lives and they were thrilled to stand beside the governor, team cheerleaders, and mascots Cy and Herky to celebrate the occasion on Monday.

“We aren’t just celebrating the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, but we are celebrating both Universities, the coaches, athletes and the farmers who make the partnership work,” said Chris Edgington, a farmer from St. Ansgar and the current Vice President of Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

The official proclamation states, “Whereas, the series salutes the tradition and significant role that agriculture has in the history and the future of our great state; and the series is about celebrating the games, academics, the people of Iowa, and awarding points to the winner in various head to head match ups.”

The Iowa–Iowa State football game on September 13th will launch the 4th year for the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. No matter which team you back, everyone is a winner with corn!

Celebrating the Relevance of Agriculture

agdayFarmers and ranchers are celebrating the 40th National Agriculture Day this week in Washington DC and hopefully letting those running the country know that as long as we need to eat, agriculture will still be “relevant.”

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) Chairman Bob Stallman says they are encouraging farmers and ranchers across the country to use National Ag Day this week as a springboard to share their stories and answer consumer questions. “That includes talking about the new technologies we have, an emphasis on sustainability, and talking about that new, next generation of farmers and ranchers coming on board,” said Stallman.

The celebration of agriculture on Capitol Hill this week includes a briefing for congressional staffers on Tuesday, March 19 – which is the official National Ag Day. “The whole purpose is to talk about what our research has shown that consumers want to know about ag, how they want to relate, how they want to communicate,” Stallman said.

National Ag Day is celebrated during National Ag Week, which is always the week of the first day of spring, celebrating the start of planting season. If you would like to participate in USFRA’s event on Capitol Hill during Ag Day through Twitter – follow @USFRA or tweet with hashtag Ag Day (#AgDay) or hashtag food D (#foodD).

More Friendly Farm Family Faces in the Capitol

Friendly farm family faces will be greeting those who work in and visit the nation’s capitol again this summer.

The Corn Farmers Coalition (CFC) is launching its major advertising campaign by taking over every available ad space at Union Station. The effort will also put prominent facts about family farmers in Capitol Hill publications, radio, frequently used websites, and other Metro locations in June and July.

“Nine of the largest corn crops in U.S. history have been grown in the last decade by family farmers,” said Jay Lynch, a fifth-generation farmer from Humboldt, Iowa whose family is featured in one of the new ads. “Direct outreach by farmers like me is putting a face on today’s family farmers and raising overall awareness with legislators, leaders or governmental agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of State, think tanks, lobbyists and environmental groups.”

Corn farmers from 14 states and the National Corn Growers Association are supporting the Corn Farmers Coalition program to introduce a foundation of facts seen as essential to decision making, rather than directly influencing legislation and regulation.

Learn more about the family farmers behind CFC in this short video.

American Ethanol Announces 2012 NASCAR Plans

Big plans have been announced for American Ethanol‘s second NASCAR season.

Growth EnergyThe announcements were made at the NASCAR Preview 2012 event over the weekend in Charlotte, N.C. First of all, American Ethanol announced that it will continue relationships with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and RAB Racing for the 2012 season. Pictured here are the American Ethanol drivers for the teams. Kenny Wallace (left) will drive the No. 09 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for RAB Racing. Austin Dillon, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season for RCR.

Growth EnergyThat No. 3 Chevrolet is the same one that carried Dale Earnhardt Jr. to four NASCAR Nationwide series championships and it will feature a new American Ethanol paint scheme that was unveiled during the preview event. American Ethanol will serve as the primary sponsor for six Nationwide series races as well as one race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012.

Both drivers are excited about being able to represent homegrown fuel in the NASCAR races. “I’m proud to carry the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR,” said Dillon, who is one of team owner Richard Childress’ grandsons. “I am looking forward to representing American Ethanol, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association.”

Wallace has already been a strong promoter of corn growers and ethanol during the 2011 NASCAR season. “I not only talk about American Ethanol, I truly believe in it,” Wallace said. “I’ve been to the farms, I’ve met the families, I’ve been to the ethanol plants, and I’ve been in the hallways of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., in support of it.” (Listen to a prior interviews with both Wallace and Richard Childress from Farm Progress Show.)

American Ethanol was established by National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and Growth Energy with NASCAR starting with the 2011 racing season, the same year that NASCAR switched its fuel to Sunoco Green E15. “American Ethanol is getting a lot of positive attention because it’s a good fit for NASCAR’s green initiative, and because of the increased horsepower on the track,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “Our partnership with RCR and RAB Racing will assure continued success in letting the American public know that if ethanol can stand the stress these drivers put it through, it’s good for the family car, too.” Niemeyer says that research for the first year of American Ethanol found an amazing 71% acceptance rate for ethanol within NASCAR’s 75 million fans.

American Ethanol is looking forward to another big year with NASCAR!

Missouri Corn is A-mazing This Fall

The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) is amazing fall visitors to corn mazes in the state with facts about the state’s corn industry.

Entering its second season, the Missouri Corn fall promotion builds on last year’s successful campaign in which weatherproof stop signs were featured in 25 corn mazes across the state. The 2011 maze materials continue the theme with yield signs answering some of the most common questions about field corn. Partnering mazes also received a free Many Uses of Corn poster and Corn in the Classroom education materials for visiting teachers.

“We want to help the next generation explore agriculture,” said Missouri Corn Outreach Coordinator Hilary Holeman. “The goal of Missouri Corn’s educational efforts is to help today’s children better understand the relationship between our nation’s top crop and its impact on our daily lives.”

Taking it one step further, three corn mazes were selected to participate in a pilot program featuring a series of oversized displays highlighting the top uses for Missouri corn: feed, fuel and exports. The interactive exhibits invite visitors to post pictures to the Missouri Corn Facebook page for a chance to win $50 in free fuel.

The three mazes participating in this Missouri Corn pilot program are Fischer Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, Jefferson City; Liberty Corn Maze, Liberty; and Beggs Family Farm near Sikeston. Be aMAZEd by corn!

Corn Growers Pump Up Ethanol at State Fairs

Corn growers in the Midwest have been putting the spotlight on ethanol during state fairs this summer.

During the Missouri State Fair, an official from USDA’s Rural Development agency paid a visit to recognize Missouri as the national leader in renewable energy. Through a partnership with the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC), the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri fuel retailers have been approved to install 26 biofuel pumps – more than any other state in the nation.

“It’s the Show-Me State and they’re showing us alright,” USDA Rural Development Business Program Administrator Judy Canales said during a speech at the Missouri Corn booth. “It behooves Missouri because in the long run this is going to be a locally grown product that is creating and keeping jobs in rural communities. That’s why we’re so pleased to have this partnership with Missouri Corn.”

In this photo from Missouri Corn, Canales (green shirt) poses with from left to right: Missouri Corn board member Rob Korff of Norborne, Mo.; Matt Moore, Missouri USDA Rural Development business program director; Barry Hart, executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives; Bradley Schad, Missouri Corn director of ethanol policy; Gary Marshall, Missouri Corn CEO; Janie Dunning, Missouri state director USDA Rural Development; Kenny McNamar, Missouri Corn Growers Association president from Gorin, Mo.; and Billy Thiel, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council chairman from Marshall, Mo.

Nebraska Corn Board along with the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) are on site promoting ethanol and flex fuel vehicles.

The groups are splitting duties with NEB focusing on FFV awareness and the economic benefits ethanol provides to both local and state communities and the national economy. Next door, the Corn Board will have a blender pump on display with jars of corn representing corn production from 1930, 2011 and the future. “There are approximately 100,000 FFVs in Nebraska and nearly 90 percent of consumers don’t know they drive a flex fuel vehicle,” said Kim Clark, Ag Program Manager from the Nebraska Corn Board. “The Nebraska State Fair is a great opportunity to educate consumers from all parts of the state about flex fuel vehicles and ethanol.”

On Saturday, September 3, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, there will be a “Do You Flex Fuel?” presentation. On hand to answer questions will be an auto mechanic, fuel retailer, ethanol expert and automobile salesperson. Finally, to showcase ethanol in action, the groups will host an ethanol blended fuel promotion beginning Saturday, September 3rd through September 5th. FFV drivers will see discounts on mid-level ethanol blends include a 20 cent discount on E20, 30 cents on E30 and 85 cents on E85. Click here for details on the FFV fuel promotions.

Green Dominates Iowa Corn Indy 250

In an American corn ethanol-fueled race at Iowa Speedway, Marco Andretti won the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250, posing in Victory Lane with Iowa Corn Grower leaders who attended the event.

This year was the 5th year for the race, sponsored by Pioneer, with support from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA). ICPB chairman Dick Gallagher says this year the race was all about going green. “We’re very proud to be able to show that (ethanol) is a renewable fuel, a green fuel and that’s what we need to be promoting more because our dependence on foreign oil is too much,” he said in an interview with Chuck Zimmerman.
Dick Gallagher Interview

Chuck also talked with incoming ICGA president Kevin Ross who says the Iowa Corn Indy 250 had been “a huge event” for corn growers. “It’s a great showcase that we can use not just in our state, but nationwide and even worldwide,” he said. “It’s a great venue to get our message out about the great things that Iowa corn growers are doing.”
Kevin Ross Interview

Indy has been using 100% ethanol for over five years now and during the post-race press conference, Chuck asked Mario his thoughts on racing in front of 2,500 corn growers and using fuel they grew. “I think it’s great we can be green and still have performance,” Mario said. “We’re thankful to have their support. I love this place. Iowa’s great.”
Marco Andretti Ethanol Comments

Even Indy and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick had nice things to say about ethanol. “I think that we’re in definitely in an age where everybody is doing what they can to take care of this wonderful world we live in,” Danica said during a pre-race press conference. “Ethanol is definitely something that has been a real presence in IndyCar years ago to NASCAR now. It’s really great.”
Danica Patrick Ethanol Comments

2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Fun Competition Promotes Iowa Corn Indy 250

Pedal tractor racing, corn shucking, and corn hole tossing were just a few of the fun team events that the Iowa Corn Growers hosted with Indy car drivers and representatives from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University this week to promote the upcoming Iowa Corn Indy 250 race on June 25 and their Join The Team program.

In the photo, Indy car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay competes on pedal tractors with Dick Gallagher, Iowa Corn Promotion Board Chairman. Waving the green flag to start is Shannon Textor, Iowa Corn Growers Market Development Director. You may remember that Ryan was once the Indy Team Ethanol car driver and he showed some of his race car driving skills by winning this particular race.

Ryan says he loves coming to Iowa and working for the corn growers in this interview that Chuck Zimmerman did with him.


Chuck also spoke with Kevin Rempp, Iowa corn grower and current Secretary/Treasurer for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board who talks about the Iowa Corn Indy 250, the Iowa Corn Fed program and their new commitment to the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.


Check out the video below and more photos in the Iowa Corn “Join The Team” Indy 250 Promotion Photo Album

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