Posters are popular at the Corn Utilization Technology Conference. The Chair for the poster session this year is Nathan Danielson, Dupont Applied BioSciences. He says the poster session allows researchers that may not have a project ready for a full talk or presentation, to showcase the work they’re doing and talk to people in the industry about it. The CUTC program is designed to provide plenty of time for interaction. The posters are brought to the conference by graduate students as well as companies doing work they’d like to present in this format. There’s also a competition for prizes.
Nathan says the National Corn Growers Association hold this poster session to support these students and researchers. This year the session was expanded to have a new topical division on aflatoxin. It’s part of NCGA’s commitment to helping understand and work on the aflatoxin issue.
Let’s continue our series of interviews about aflatoxin from the recent Corn Utilization Technology Conference with Ron Saylor, University of Arkansas. Ron participated in a session titled, “Aflatoxin Genetics/Transgenic/Plant Breeding.” His topic was “Transgenic Approaches to Control Aflatoxins in Corn.”
He says that breeding for resistance to this problem is “extraordinarily difficult.” So they’ve taken another approach, inserting some very potent anti-fungal trans genes into corn to address the problem. To date he has one trans gene inserted and will work on a new one as soon as he returns from the conference. Looking ahead he says that “Optimally I would hope that eventually the seed companies would adopt this as one of their stacked traits.”
It’s been about three weeks since the “final hurdle” to sales of 15% ethanol blended fuel was overcome, but as we celebrate our nation’s independence this week it will still be without the freedom to choose that fuel at the pump.
The independent Linn Co-op Oil Company in Marion, Iowa was all set to be the first in the nation to sell 15% ethanol blended gasoline to customers, but they can’t get the fuel to sell it. “We just on June 15 got the approval from EPA that we could sell E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles,” said said Jim Becthold, service manager of Linn Co-op Oil Company. “We can’t get the blend stocks to blend with the alcohol to be able to sell E15 in the summer months, from June 1 to September 15. We can sell it through the winter but we can’t sell it in the summer.”
According to federal fuel regulations, the gasoline blendstock needed to blend E15 during the summer is different from the gasoline blendstock for E10. The refiners who control what products go into pipelines that feed the fuel terminal for the Cedar Rapids area have refused to provide E15 blendstock anywhere in Iowa.
“What we should be celebrating on the Independence Day holiday is the nation’s first E15 retailer,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Instead, what we’re expressing frustration that the oil companies can use their monopoly over the pipelines to limit fuel choices.”
Shaw says they looked into having the correct fuel trucked in from Kansas City, but that would cost 17.5 cents per gallon in transportation costs. “E15 is going to sell 5-10 cents a gallon cheaper, but if you’re adding 17.5 cents in transportation costs, all of the sudden you’re upside down and it doesn’t make any sense.”
The same problem applies to any retailer in Iowa or anywhere not near a source for low Reid Vapor Pressure, or RVP, gasoline. “We have asked the EPA to consider granting a one pound waiver to E15 similar to what E10 gets or take the waiver away,” said Shaw. “So far, EPA has said it will take Congressional action to this.”
However, Shaw says refiners can actually make the decision themselves to serve the market. “Iowa has retailers that want to sell E15, it’s got consumers that want to buy E15, so the demand is there,” he said.
As temperatures across the Midwest soar into the triple digits with little chance for rain or relief in sight, talking heads have started to blabber on again about how the drought will hit consumer’s wallets. Adding further pain to the heat-induced misery, these armchair economists stoke the fires of already burning financial concerns.
Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater may grab attention and cause alarm, but it is illegal to do so for a reason. Causing panic for the sake of causing panic does not have a public benefit.
A more cynical commentator might note that it does help drive rating and generate revenue. But instead of focusing on the fray, take a look at the facts.
According to a newly released study from National Public Radio’s Planet Money series, Americans today spend less on groceries than they did 30 years ago, nearly a full five percentage points less. Prices have declined across the board with some staple items, such as butter and chicken legs, down by 35 percent. Even a steak costs 30 percent less.
Will a drought impact America’s corn crop this year? Almost certainly. Does this spell dire circumstances that will leave the grocery consuming public taking out loans to feed their family with healthy, safe food? Almost certainly not.
In today’s America, what is truly in jeopardy is a sense of perspective. Banners flash before already stressed eyes on the evening news making dire declarations. Weary from battling real issues all day, these prophets of pain become an echoing chorus of doom drumming away basic sanity. Frantic feelings froth to a frenzy as the spiral of sustained stress with the prognosticators acting like an emotional succubus that feeds on America’s anxieties.
Stay calm. It may be hot outside, but cooler heads can prevail. Calmly, remember that America has the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply in its history. The percentage of income needed to eat well has dropped to one of, if not the, lowest level in the developed world. Through innovation and hard work, farmers prove, time after time, that they can and will feed America, no matter what challenges they face.
“This honor for Missouri Corn is a fitting tribute to those growers who stepped in front of the camera to share their story,” says Missouri Corn Director of Communications Becky Frankenbach. “It’s heartbreaking that nearly a year later many farmers are still struggling to repair the damage left behind. Our work to ensure flood control is a top priority for Missouri River management is far from finished.”
Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards honor outstanding commercials, video and film productions, and web commercials, videos and films. Winners represent the best work of respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world. This year, nearly 11,000 entries were received from all 50 states and numerous countries.
Up and coming researchers in the corn industry showcase their projects at the Corn Utilization Technology Conference poster competition. One of them is Kaitlyn McClelland, University of Minnesota. Kaitlyn’s poster project is titled, “Effect of Modified Distillers Grains with Solubles and Crude Soybean Glycerin Inclusion in Beef Cattle Finishing Diets on Beef Quality.” She says that “Our nutritionist wanted to know if we’re going to feed this to our beef cattle in their finishing diets are we going to have a beef quality issue or possibly a fat quality issue.”
In our interview Kaitlyn describes the process she went through for her project. The results showed no difference in beef or fat quality between the control diet and the ones containing the modified distillers grains and soybean glycerin. That leads her to believe that feeding this diet will maintain quality while saving cattle producers some money.
Numerous sessions at the 2012 Corn Utilization Technology Conference focused on the subject of aflatoxin. Chairing one of these sessions titled “Aflatoxin Biological Control II,” was Dr. Kenneth Damann, Louisiana State University.
He says one of the main points that came up was the probable improvement of biological controls through the use of multiple isolates or strains of the fungus. However there are some cost impediments, namely registration. At this point there is only one commercially available biological control, so there’s still a lot of work to be done in this area. He urges farmers with an aflatoxin problem to look into using strains that have been developed specifically for their area to combat the problem.
If you call the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 “the Farm Bill” in Secretary Tom Vilsack’s office, it will cost you a dollar.
“And the reason for that is that when you say “farm bill,” you essentially speak to that one-tenth of one percent of the population (who are farmers),” Vilsack said during an address to the members of the American Seed Trade Association last week. “Every single American has a stake in this legislation. When you start talking about it as a food bill, you get people’s attention. When you start talking about it as a jobs bill, which it is, you really get people’s attention.”
“Let’s refer to it for what it is. It’s a food, jobs and farm bill,” he said.
Vilsack is pleased with the work done by the Senate on the legislation and hopes that the House will also work quickly. “It will probably be fundamentally different than the Senate version, fair enough,” the secretary said. “Get it to the floor, get 218 votes, get into conference and do it before September 30.”
The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up their version of the “food, jobs and farm bill” on July 11.
I was driving in my car this morning a little after 9:30 when I hear this guy on our local radio station in Pensacola talking about ethanol – and saying good things!
I nearly drove off the road. “Who is this guy?,” I said out loud to myself in traffic. He was talking about new engines that optimize ethanol productivity and how ethanol is the future for our country. Whoa! I’m kinda used to hearing talk show hosts bashing ethanol.
I knew about the partnership, but what I didn’t know is that Bobby is headquartered in Pensacola, my new home town. So, I’m going to be talking with Bobby next week and finding more about this partnership and what he, as a car guy, likes about ethanol. Bobby will be visiting Argonne National Laboratories and Ricardo to learn more about ethanol to pass on to his audience.
According to his website, Bobby Likis is the only car-talk host on commercial radio named to the “Talkers 250,” the list of the top 250 talk-show hosts in America – five times no less. He’s on everywhere answering consumer car questions so this sounds like a great way to educate people who care about cars about ethanol.
As temperatures rise and an array of fresh, vibrant produce options fills grocery baskets, the Environmental Working Group issued its annual summer scare list with this week. Deemed the “dirty dozen,” EWG again drags out its pseudoscience in the hopes of terrifying consumers, maligning nutritious foods and filling its coffers with donations from a frightened and misinformed public.
Almost any sound, reputable source stresses the incredibly important role that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables plays in a healthy diet. Instead of promoting this, the EWG joins the ranks of similar charlatans who base fad diets on trendy tidbits. Based more in sound bites than sound science, the misinformation found in the list pushes well-intentioned eaters off track.
This year, ignore the EWG. Frankly, it annoys them more than engaging with them. Instead, consider the facts.
Farmers value food safety for the same reasons consumers do. The food from their farms feeds their families as well as yours. Regular moms and dads with the same concerns, farm families strive to bring a broad variety of safe, nutritious foods to their tables and yours.
True scientists, the kind who hold respected positions in academia or publish in peer reviewed journals, have stepped forward, speaking out against this fear-based, anti-ag propaganda. With prominent professors from University of California at Berkley leading the charge, real food safety experts deem the
EWG list an unscientific hype piece that actually has a detrimental effect on the conversation about food.
So be fearless about food and ditch the dirty dozen’s baseless babble. An open, honest conversation between the people who grow food and the people who buy it is building. Find out more by clicking here.