Corn Commentary

Corn Commentators Meet Up at Farm Progress Show

I think you can teach an old blogger new tricks. No, Mark Lambert isn’t old but I did sit down with him in the media tent at the Farm Progress Show to talk about posting techniques for Corn Commentary.

Mark is on the right and that’s me on the left. Two of your corn commentators hard at work in one of the biggest farm shows in the country!

Of course this means that we’ll be seeing even more from Mark in the future. Hopefully he took good notes.

Corn Growers Educate About Carbon Footprints at FPS

Corn growers nationwide are represented here at the Farm Progress Show by the Illinois Corn Growers Association. New ICGA representative Tricia Braid-Terry, former farm broadcaster, spoke with me about all the things they’re doing in their tent.

To start with you can participate in a contest to Win a Wii. Lean more about that on their website.

Tricia says they’re really focusing a lot of their information on carbon footprinting. In fact, you can follow some very large black footprints around their tent! They’re easy to find with 30+ foot high corn stalks and an E85 blimp hovering over the tent. They also help attendees with submitting comments to EPA about the RFS2.

She says that the National Corn Growers Association and Indiana Corn Growers are also participating in the exhibit. Indiana has their mobile biofuels unit on display.

Listen to my interview with Tricia here:

We’ve got lots of photos from the Farm Progress Show online so feel free to visit this Farm Progress Show Photo Album.

Land Use Rules & Regs Vitally Important

NCGA Land Use ConferenceKicking off the NCGA Land Use and Carbon Impacts of Corn-Based Ethanol Conference and welcoming participants was Conference Chairman, Jamey Cline, NCGA Director Biofuels and Business Development. I spoke with him after the opening session.

Jamey says that regulations from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and from EPA on the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) have brought up a number of questions and this conference was put together to ask them and receive answers in a public forum with various stakeholders. A lot of these current or proposed regulations are based on assumptions and economic theory and so questions need to be asked to make sure the latest data is being used and reasonable predictions are made for the future. He says that these issues are extremely important to agribusiness and corn growers in particular because if the CARB regs hold up, by 2012 they will effectively shut off that market to ethanol. Additionally, one presenter said that due to the proposed climate change bill and RFS, approximately 27.1 million acres would be taken out of production across the Unites States. That would have a huge impact on our economy, especially in rural areas.

He also speaks about the various models being used or referenced on the topics like land use change and life cycle analysis.

You can listen to my interview with Jamey here:

NCGA Kicks Off Land Use Conference in St. Louis

NCGA Land Use ConferenceThe NCGA Land Use and Carbon Impacts of Corn-Based Ethanol Conference is underway here at the Renaissance hotel by the St. Louis airport. This is our first panel discussion on “Emission Factors and Land Use Change Modeling” which is being moderated by Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association. We’re talking some very involved talks on things like Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis, Measuring Indirect Land Use from Biofuels, Analysis of the RFS and more.

A snapshot of presenters at the conference include Steven Del Grosso, Colorado State University; Dr. Bruce McCarl, Texas A&M; Nancy Harris, Winrock International; Keith Kline, Oakridge National Laboratory, Ken Copenhaver, University of Illinois, Chicago; Dr. Bruce Dale, Michigan State University; Dr. Wally Tyner, Purdue University; Dr. Pat Westhoff, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute; and Dr. Michael Wang of Argonne National Laboratory, as well as many others.

This conference is dealing with some issues that are vitally important to everyone in agribusiness, not just in corn production and I will be conducting some interviews with our panelists and presenters this afternoon and will be posting them in coming days.

You can see some photos I’m taking with my iPhone here: NCGA Land Use Conference Photo Album

Ethanol Center Stage at Sturgis

The Market Development Team of the Renewable Fuels Association stands near one of their banners during the 2009 Sturgis Rally at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground, just East of Sturgis, SD.

The Market Development Team of the Renewable Fuels Association stands near one of their banners during the 2009 Sturgis Rally at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground, just East of Sturgis, SD.


Thousands of Harley motorcycle riders from across the nation got an education on corn-based ethanol last week as Robert White and other representatives of the Renewable Fuels Association participated in the popular event known as Sturgis.

The effort to reach out to small engine and motorcycle enthusiasts about ethanol proved wildly successful with an estimated 500,000 consumers touched by the project.

T-shirts, information cards and good old fashioned face-to-face promotion provided ample opportunities to discuss the benefits of using a homegrown fuel. The key points being that it is a domestic product, it is cleaner-burning and it is made from renewable sources.

“We also had 25 static displays, which encouraged riders to, “Ride Safe, Fuel Right.” The event also provided a backdrop to launch a Sturgis Photo Contest at, where riders can win $1,000 for submitting their favorite rally photo. Each night concert goers were able to see ethanol information on the jumbotrons during such acts as Toby Keith and Aerosmith,” White said.

“A cross-section of America attends this event and they shared something in common besides Harley motorcycles. They believed that having a renewable fuel like ethanol that is available today and can safely be used in their motorcycles is important,” he said.

Congratulations from the nation’s corn growers on this great effort.

Biofuels are Cool at Indy Earth Day

Visitors to this year’s Earth Day Indiana celebration have the chance to “Live Green & Prosper” as they learn about the benefits of “going green” with biofuels, thanks to the Indiana corn and soybean growers’ Biofuels Mobile Learning Center.

The Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance will have their Biofuels Mobile Learning Center on display April 25 in downtown Indianapolis to educate the public about the environmental benefits of using biofuels.

“The Biofuels Mobile Learning Center is a fun and exciting, interactive, traveling exhibition focused on teaching its visitors about the many benefits of biodiesel and ethanol as fuel sources,” said Mark Walters, biofuels director for the state’s corn and soybean checkoff organizations. “The learning center is designed to provide an overview of how ethanol and biodiesel are manufactured; how these alternative fuels help both the environment and our rural economies; and how they lessen our dependence on foreign oil.”

The theme of this year’s big Hoosier Earth Day shindig is “how to do cool environmental stuff” and the learning center shows how fueling vehicles with biofuels is a cool way to help keep the environment green. The display will be one of about 130 conservation exhibits at the event, which last year was attended by 23,000 people.

Chicago Farmers Focus on Renewables

“Renewable Fuels - Agriculture’s Impact Present and Future” is the topic of an evening program March 16 presented by The Chicago Farmers.

According to the organization, this is a “must-attend event for those who own farmland in the Midwest, as energy issues have an effect on commodity prices, land value and leasing terms.”

Speakers will include Dr. Robert J. Hauser, head of the Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-author of “Corn-Based Ethanol in Illinois and the U.S,” Eric Rund of Rund Farms and International AGitivities, and Dr. Martha Schlicher with GTL Resources.

The event will begin with registration at 5:30 pm on March 16 at the NIU Naperville Campus. Registration is $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Register by March 12 on-line here.

Roasting Corn Down South

Ron is the roasting man at Sunbelt Ag Expo. I caught him roasting some ears of corn early in the morning before his booth was busy, although he says that there are people who like a corny breakfast.

He cooks with propane and says he does about 75 ears at a time. He like the combination of yellow and white sweet corn because it looks good and is very tasty. He says a key to a good ear of roasted corn is to cook it hot and for about a half an hour.

As you’ll hear Ron say in this video, “we dip it in some butter and you’ll grin from ear to ear.”

Corn Condition Great at Farm Science Review

I thought you might enjoy this picture from the Farm Science Review taking place in London, OH. The Ohio Dept. of Agriculture has this displayed outside their building.

I just spoke with show manager, Chuck Gamble and he says this will be the first show where farmers are getting to see full harvest and tillage demonstrations. Many of them, like the Farm Progress Show, weren’t able to offer that this year due to weather and crop conditions.

Here in Ohio I’d say conditions are excellent and there is a huge line of farmers waiting to get out into the field to see the live demonstrations.

Agriculture Celebration Planned for RNC

AgNiteAgriculture will be in the spotlight for thousands attending the Republican National Convention next week.

The Minnesota Agri-Growth Council is hosting AgNite, a celebration of America’s food and agriculture industry, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008, during the second night of the RNC in the Twin Cities. The evening event will showcase the food, agriculture and energy industries in a unique and exciting club atmosphere in the historic Minneapolis Depot’s impressive 60,000-square-foot venue. Guests will also experience some of the best networking, food, drink and entertainment in town.

MN CornAgNite is a non-partisan invitation-only event that will include over 3,000 guests, delegates, policymakers, news media and industry leaders. The event is being made possible by dozens of sponsors from Minnesota and across the country, including the Minnesota Corn Growers.

AgNite is basically taking the place of “The Great American Farm Breakfast,” which is normally held at the RNC but for some reason was canceled this time.

Page 2 of 3123