Corn Commentary

Missouri Dairies Benefit From DDGS

Dairy farmers and livestock producers from southern Missouri gathered at the McCallister Farm last week to explore nutritional considerations, storage techniques and the economic advantages for feeding livestock the ethanol co-product dried distillers grains (DDGs). Sponsored by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) and University of Missouri Extension, the field day drew a crowd of 75 producers and guests from across the state.

Mo Corn DDGS
“As a feed source, distillers grains offer economic and nutritional benefits to Missouri’s livestock producers,” said Gary Wheeler, Missouri Corn director of business development. “This field day allowed dairy producers to see those benefits firsthand. We hope they will take advantage of this value-added feed and apply what they learned at this event in their own operations.”

During the field day, producers learned the proper storage and handling techniques for dried distillers grains from the McCallisters, who utilize the ethanol co-product in their operation. Jeff Drost (pictured), animal nutrition sales manager with LifeLine Foods of St. Joseph, Mo., explained the latest technology and uses of corn and its co-products and LifeLine also provided the distillers grains for the field day.

Nebraska Corn Growers Give Consumers Ethanol Choices

nebraska blender pumpMotorists in Grand Island, Nebraska now have a range of choices at the pump when it comes to ethanol blended gasoline, thanks to help from the Nebraska Corn Board.

Six ethanol blender pumps were unveiled last week providing flexible-fuel vehicle owners with the option of using E85, E30, E20 or the traditional E10 blend of gasoline. “If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you don’t have to fill up with E85 all the time,” said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “You can choose your ethanol blend based on price, performance and availability. That’s why they’re called ‘flexible.”

Higher blends of ethanol are key to realizing the full benefits of this domestically produced, renewable fuel, Holzfaster said. “The more flex fuel vehicles we have—and the higher blends of ethanol available across the nation—the more we generate economic strength for Nebraska and our entire nation, reduce our expensive and dangerous dependence on imported oil, and improve our environment,” said Holzfaster.

A computer sensor automatically compensates for varying levels of ethanol in the gasoline. The pumps were installed at the Bosselman’s station on Allen Drive in Grand Island. Bosselman’s plans to install more blender pumps in the state, with the next planned for stores at Ainsworth and Chappell.

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.

Ethanol, Locks and Dams Top Corn Grower Agenda

Corn growers set their agenda for the year at last week’s Commodity Classic, with ethanol and locks and dams at the top of the list.

Rob Elliott, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says ethanol is important to keep corn demand strong. Some of the priorities in that area include higher blend levels, increasing infrastructure and getting more FFVs on the road.

Regarding the locks and dams issue, Elliott says Midwest corn growers continue to work on getting Congress to fund improving the infrastructure on the inland waterways. “The lock and dams were built in the ’30s. They are aging and decaying and we’ve seen what a lock failure can do with Hurricanes Rita and Katrina,” said Elliott. “WRDA has passed, the authorization to do the improvements has happened, the missing link is the money to do the work.”

Elliott says they were disappointed that the funding was not included in the stimulus bill, “but we’ll spend time in the next couple months prior to the next appropriations bill and maybe get some money squeezed out to get things started.”

Corn growers will be going to Washington DC in the next few weeks to talk with their lawmakers about these issues and others that will be important not just for themselves, but for future farming generations - like Rob’s little granddaughter Delaney pictured here with him.

Listen to an interview with Rob here, conducted by Domestic Fuel reporter Joanna Schroeder:

If you’d like to see photos from this year’s Commodity Classic please feel free to visit our: 2009 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Illinois Corn Sponsors Clean Snowmobile Team

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board will be sponsoring the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Clean Snowmobile Team in the upcoming 2009 Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which has a focus on ethanol fuel. The challenge this year will be held March 16-21, at Michigan Technical University in Houghton, Michigan with the theme being “Flex Fuel”.

Last year the NIU team placed 6th place overall and received the rookie of the year award running on E85 ethanol. This year the team hopes to finish in the top three with a 2007 500cc Turbo Charged Yamaha Phazer.

The “challenge” of each competition has been for students to modify a stock snowmobile to meet a series of requirements, including air pollution levels. Last year, snowmobiles were required to run on E85 ethanol. This year, snowmobiles can run on any blend of gasoline and ethanol up to 85 percent, making these true flex-fuel vehicles.

The SAE Challenge is a yearly collegiate competition that started in 2000 and is held every year to test the engineering and design capabilities of students from schools across the country.

Corn Farmers Coalition Debuts

Corn farmers from ten major corn producing states have formed a new coalition to educate policymakers in Washington.

Corn Farmers CoalitionThe Corn Farmers Coalition made its debut today, launching a new Web site, an advertising campaign and a statistical abstract on America’s biggest crop.

“Washington needs to know that corn farmers are using some of the most advanced technologies on the planet to do more with less — to grow more corn using fewer resources every year,” said Mark K. Lambert, Director of the Corn Farmers Coalition. “American corn farmers, the majority of them small business people, are among the most productive in the world.”

The coalition is an alliance of the National Corn Growers Association and 10 state corn associations representing tens of thousands of dues-paying farmers. The states involved in the effort are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The coalition plans to meet with reporters, think tanks and members of Congress to talk about what’s ahead: how U.S. farmers, using the latest technologies, will continue to grow enough corn in an environmentally friendly way to meet all our needs; the prospects for making the farm bill more responsive to the market; and the future of renewable fuels, a vital issue for our economy and national security and a key issue for the new administration.

Missouri Corn Celebrates 25 Years

The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) is celebrating 25 years of developing market opportunities for corn growers in the state.

The occasion was marked as part of the Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) annual meeting Tuesday in Jefferson City. CEO Gary Marshall, who has led the organization for over 23 years, was pleased at the turnout for the event. “We had a number of legislators that came in, I think we had over 50 that were registered, and we had a lot of growers there as well, so it was a great time to celebrate 25 years,” Marshall said.

MCGA honored 17 members of the Missouri state legislature with Friend of Corn Growers awards, including Representative Brian Munzlinger who served as chairman of the MCMC in 1993-94. That was the year that Missouri really took the lead in promoting ethanol by expanding use to over 16 percent of the state’s fuel, funding two feasibility studies for ethanol plants and introducing an E85 van at the Indianapolis 500.

Missouri corn growers headed to the state capitol after the meeting to present their legislators with breakfast for the next couple of months - four boxes of corn flakes containing a total of 12 cents worth of corn. MCMC Chairman Keith Witt says the idea was to show them the disparity between the corn prices and products containing corn. “The box of corn flakes costs $2.18, so we’re just putting a little visual to that,” said Witt. “It costs more for the transportation of the box of corn flakes than the actual corn.”

Janet Atkison of KMZU Radio in Carrollton was one of several farm broadcasters who attended the event, which also included a live broadcast of AgriTalk.

Listen to Janet’s report that she filed back to her station while the event was still on-going.

Wisconsin Corn Growers Honor Lung Association

The American Lung Association (ALA) of Wisconsin recently received the “Friends of Wisconsin Corn Growers” award during the WCGA annual meeting.

“Representatives of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin have worked tirelessly to promote E85 fuel as a ‘Clean Air Choice’ fuel for many years at dozens of gas station promotions, trade shows, fairs and other gatherings,” says Randy Woodruff, president, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. “We are fortunate to have this committed group of professionals working diligently to communicate the benefits of ethanol fuel to all the residents of our state and we look forward to partnering with them on some new programs.”

The ALA of Wisconsin promotes E85 through a variety of outlets such as listing E85 stations throughout the state on highway signage. “The blue highway signs are a great tool to remind motorists who have flex fuel vehicles that they have a cleaner alternative to gasoline,” says Jackie Blackburn, Clean Fuels coordinator for the American Lung Association of Wisconsin. “And often, E85 is priced significantly less than regular unleaded fuel.”

Wisconsin currently has more than 120 E85 fueling outlets.

Iowa Corn Fed Campaign

In an effort to drive home the point that Iowa’s economy is “corn fed,” Iowa corn growers have launched the Iowa Corn Fed Campaign.

The centerpiece of the campaign is the Iowa Corn Fed Sweepstakes that includes the chance to win a souped-up 2009 black Chevy FFV Silverado. The truck will be on tour through May 22 all over the state, including promotions at Iowa State University, the Iowa spring football game, and many events at Wells Fargo Arena.

“Corn ethanol kept Iowa’s fuel prices well below the national average - even during really high prices last summer,” said Shannon Textor, market development director for Iowa Corn. “By launching an educational campaign about our corn fed markets and giving away a corn-powered E85 Chevy Silverado, we hope to help Iowans understand that they win by being corn-fed, whether it’s food or fuel.”

Consumers can enter the drawing once each month in person at tour stops or online at Weekly winners of beef, pork, dairy products, Indy 250 race tickets or ethanol prizes will be chosen, and ten lucky winners will attend the 2009 Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 21, where one will draw the key to a new Iowa corn-fed truck.

The Iowa Corn Fed Campaign includes an educational effort on television, radio, billboard, and the internet. The campaign highlights the many uses for corn and focuses on demonstrating how corn upholds Iowa, including the economy, jobs, the environment, and energy security.

MO Corn Co-Products Field Day

MO Corn field dayOver 125 cattlemen and livestock producers gathered on a the farm of a Missouri state senator last weekend to learn more about accessing, utilizing and storing the ethanol co-product distillers grains.

Many producers traveled from surrounding counties to attend the event at the south-central Missouri farm of Senator Frank Barnitz (D-Lake Spring). “We had a really big crowd with a lot of interest in corn co-products,” Sen. Barnitz said. “I think the economics from the cost of the feed and the quality that we’ve seen with cows on grass, distillers grains are a big benefit. When you buy a commercial product that costs 10 or 12 or 14 dollars a hundred weight versus something that costs about half that, the economics are certainly there to try to feed something of less cost yet equal quality.”

MO Corn field dayThe field day was sponsored by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, University of Missouri Extension and South Ozarks Premier Beef Marketers, LLC. “This field day provided an excellent opportunity for livestock producers to see corn co-products utilized effectively in a beef backgrounding operation,” said Gary Wheeler, Missouri Corn director of business development. “We hope through field days like this one, we can help cattle producers add to their bottom line by incorporating the latest feeding and storage techniques for this high-quality feedstuff.”

The field day featured a tour of storage facilities, feeding equipment and a feedlot where ethanol co-products are currently being used and evaluated.

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