The debate of ethanol and food prices continues

Recent news stories about higher food prices often try to make a connection between food prices and the demand for ethanol, an incorrect assumption on the part of the ethanol opponents that significantly downplays all the impacts and pressures that affect food prices. Studies after the 2008 spike in corn prices help demonstrate this, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

“It’s an outrage to hear the same claims time after time, blaming corn growers and ethanol producers for the rise in food prices,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president. “It’s a rhetoric with no grounding in reality. Our growers are not only producing more corn and meeting all needs, but we are also experiencing some of the same negative factors on their farms, such as higher energy costs, that are driving up food prices around the world.”

Here in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office had already looked into the issue and issued a report in April 2009 that discussed the role of factors such as energy:

“CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded production of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percentage points of the 5.1% increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index (CPI).… Continue reading

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OCGA and OWGA progressing in unification

The Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and Ohio Wheat Growers Association (OWGA) have taken steps to unite to better represent the interests of thousands of grain farmers throughout the Buckeye State.

At the Ohio Grains Symposium December 16 in Lima, OCGA and OWGA leaders discussed the process and decision to form a new organization with the goal to advance Ohio’s grains with members.

As a single entity as of Jan. 1, 2011, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) has positioned itself for the regulation and advancement of domestic and international issues that affect the success of Ohio’s corn and wheat markets, including energy, livestock, trade, environment and transportation issues and relief programs, research and marketing programs.

The new organization is the result of an ongoing relationship between the formerly separate associations that has been fostered with shared staff and joint membership meetings, legislative visits, public campaigns and policy-development strategies.… Continue reading

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Statement from Thomas C. Dorr, USGC president, regarding China’s anti-dumping case against U.S. DDGS imports

“The U.S. Grains Council has a 25 year history of market development and capacity building programs in China and values the U.S./China market and trade relationship. China is a critical partner in trade and an important market for the United States.

“China’s investigation of U.S. DDGS imports is surprising and could be disruptive to trade. China’s unusual market and supply volatility over the last two years has resulted in new global trade flows. As trade flows change, it should perhaps not be surprising there would be an adjustment period in response to unprecedented demand.

“The United States takes pride in being a reliable supplier of high-quality feed and food grains and its ability to rapidly respond to global market demands.

“The mission of the U.S. Grains Council is to help keep markets open and support the free flow of goods. The Council looks forward to continuing the strong trade relationship with buyers and end-users of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ethanol, racing and the NASCAR nap

By Matt Reese

February and the start of the NASCAR season are just around the corner. This occasion has taken on an important place in the life of one of my co-workers in recent years.
She was never a big NASCAR fan, but after she married a diehard follower of the sport several years ago, she had to make some life changes. To deal with this potential source of marital strife, she called one of her friends in a similar situation to determine the best way to acclimate to her new life of NASCAR. That is when she learned the secret of the NASCAR nap.
Apparently, most of the drama, excitement and spectacle of NASCAR can be enjoyed in the first half hour and the final hour of the event. Hence, devoted wives of NASCAR fans can take a roughly two-hour Sunday afternoon nap during the middle of the race and still be able to hold competent discussions with their husbands about the event.… Continue reading

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SCN research

By Dennis Mills, Glen Arnold, Roger Bender, Mike Estadt, Mark Koenig, Anne Dorrance, Bridget Meiring, Kate Gearhart, Dave Mangione, Ohio State University Extension

As part of a multi-state, 3-year North Central Soybean Research Program project, we have compared the changes in SCN populations under varieties which are susceptible or have resistance derived from PI 88788, Peking, or PI437654 (CystX).  Management of soybean cyst nematode consists primarily of crop rotation both with non-hosts and with different sources of resistance (if they are available).

Best SCN Management Strategies for Ohio Soybean Producers
Egg counts/200 cc of soilCyst CountPopulation LevelManagement Strategies
0-400None detectedContinue to monitor field after two crops of soybean
40-2001TraceBegin to measure some yield loss in Susceptible varieties at or above 200 eggs/200cc
200-20001-4LowPlant SCN resistant variety or rotate to a non-host crop.  At or above 2000 eggs some yield loss may occur on SCN resistant varieties
2000-50003-20ModerateRotate to a non-host crop next year and return with SCN resistant soybeans the following year.
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West Ohio Agronomy Day-January 10th

The January 10, 2011 West Ohio Agronomy Day has daytime and evening sessions for the convenience of farmers, agricultural businesses and crop consultants. St. Michael’s Hall in Ft. Loramie, Ohio is the location of this event, designed to offer a comprehensive crop production agenda while providing private and commercial pesticide re-certification credits as well as CEU’s for Certified Crop Advisors.

Believe it or not; agriculture’s use of phosphorus is headline news! Ohio State University Extension’s soil fertility expert Dr. Robert Mullen plans to explain the science behind the attachment of P to soil particles at the January 10 West Ohio Agronomy Day. Plan to attend the program at St. Michael’s Hall in Ft. Loramie to also benefit from Purdue’s corn specialist Dr. Bob Nielsen’s advice on hybrid selection and plant pathologist Dr. Kiersten Wise’s crop disease control strategies with seed treatments and fungicides. OSU’s Dr. Ron Hammond will address insect issues with corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa and Mullen plans to share comments on best investment of your fertilizer dollars.… Continue reading

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Newest DuPont acquisition hits close to home in Ohio

DuPont announced it has acquired Seed Consultants, Inc., Washington C.H., Ohio, and Terral Seed, Lake Providence, La., as part of its Pioneer Hi-Bred PROaccess business strategy. Terms were not disclosed.

These two seed companies have been distributing products under the Pioneer-owned trademarks: Supreme EX brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties, distributed by Seed Consultants and  REV brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties, distributed by Terral Seed.

First introduced in December 2008, the PROaccess business strategy enables Pioneer to make available its seed genetics to more growers through a network of distributors. Pioneer will continue its PROaccess distribution agreements with other independent seed companies as previously announced, including: Beck’s Hybrids, Atlanta, Ind., distributor of XL brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties; Burrus Hybrids, Arenzville, Ill., distributor of Power Plus brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties; Doebler’s PA Hybrids Inc., Jersey Shore, Pa., distributor of RPM brand corn hybrids and soybean varieties.

In early December 2010, Pioneer closed the acquisitions of Hoegemeyer Hybrids, Hooper, Neb.,… Continue reading

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Soil is an overlooked resource

Advances in genetics and traits promise to accelerate yield increases in U.S. corn and soybeans. Some even say yields will double by 2030. But what’s often missing from the conversation is the critical role of soils.
Soil scientists remind us that even the most elite crop varieties need well-managed soils to provide the nutrients and water essential for high yields.
“U.S. corn and soybean farmers already are feeding whole nations,” said Jennifer Shaw, head of sustainability with Syngenta. “As we coax even more yield from every acre, soil health will become just as important as crop health in our drive to double food, feed and fiber production.”
Soils in the Corn Belt are among the world’s most productive, but they are degrading at a rate that will affect productivity unless we reverse the trend, points out Kendall Lamkey, agronomy chair with Iowa State University. Despite major gains in soil conservation, Iowa leads the nation in soil loss by water.… Continue reading

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2010 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest winners announced

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) announced the winners of the 2010 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest during the Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium in Lima. This was the first year for the statewide contest and entries surpassed expectations with more than 137 applicants.

There were six yield categories available and the quality category of the contest was based on highest percentages of oil and protein.

“We were very pleased by the response and excitement we received from Ohio farmers about the contest this year,” said Jeff Wuebker, president of OSA and Darke County soybean farmer. “We had some great yields and quality results from the entries and we hope to have even more entries next year.”

This year’s Overall State Yield Champion was Don Jackson from Preble County.  Jackson recorded a yield of 81.699 with Seed Consultants 9360 variety.

The complete list of yield and quality winners is listed below:

Yield Results

Conventional Tillage                                             Yield                           Variety

Don Jackson (Preble Co.)                           … Continue reading

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Legitimacy of EPA Total Maximum Daily Load rule called into question

The Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council (ANPC), a coalition of agricultural groups, released a third party report last month conducted by LimnoTech that raises significant questions about the data used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule. In a report, “Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region,” developed by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), very different estimates of pollutant loads to the Chesapeake Bay are reported compared to EPA’s data.

“Basically, we have two different agencies in this administration studying the same thing but yielding completely different results,” said Ashley Lyon, deputy environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “USDA’s report clearly shows that farmers and ranchers have already significantly surpassed EPA targets for reductions in sediment and phosphorus.”

The LimnoTech report found many discrepancies between USDA’s report and EPA’s data.… Continue reading

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No-till makes a difference where the rain meets the soil

When it comes to his no-till fields, Paul Kelly Jr. take a very keen interest in what is happening “where the rubber meets the road.” Though in this case, “where the water meets the soil” is more appropriate.

For this reason, when most farmers are parking their equipment in the barn and heading indoors due to a rainstorm, Kelly has been known to head out in the elements to observe his Clinton County fields.

“I’ve spent a lot of time walking my fields in the rain and comparing them to the conventional fields of my neighbors,” Kelly said. “I have collected jars of rainwater running off our fields and the others’ tilled fields and we never have nearly the soil loss. In the jars from my fields I would get floating crop residue. In the jars from the conventionally tilled fields there would be soil. That proved to me that the practices we are using are really performing.”… Continue reading

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Seven Ohio corn farmers recognized for outstanding yield numbers

Ohio farms are typically recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for having higher-than-average yield numbers each year. And each year, the Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and the National Corn Growers Association reward farmers whose yields have exceeded national and state averages.

Seven Ohio farmers, listed below, were recognized by OCGA December 16 during the 2010 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium in Lima, Ohio, as having outstanding yields:

AA Non-Irrigated

Steve and Tim Reinhard

293.891 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC62-54

Bucyrus, Ohio

AA No Till/Strip Till Non-Irrigated

Bill Putnam

285.5752 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC62-54

Conover, Ohio

No Till/Strip Till Irrigated

Jim Motycka

240.8185 Bushels Per Acre

Pioneer 33D14

Napoleon, Ohio

Ridge Till Non-Irrigated

Roger W.  Wolfe

253.3243 Bushels Per Acre

Pioneer 33W84

Baltimore, Ohio

Ridge Till Irrigated

Steven L. Meienburg

236.7612 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC61-19

Malinta, Ohio


Les Imboden

251.6672 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC61-69

Ashville, Ohio

“These seven individuals are a prime example of how Ohio farmers can do more with less,” said John Davis, OCGA President.… Continue reading

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ASA’s WISHH and USDA ship soy flour to Afghanistan

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) representatives participated today in the final preparations of a shipment of soy flour to Afghanistan. The 3,525 50-pound bags of soy flour shipped from the Port of Virginia will deliver the benefits of high-protein soy to 5,000 women and their families in Afghanistan.

ASA and state soybean leaders from Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois joined USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum at ARREFF Terminals in Portsmouth, Va. for loading of the soy flour. They then went to the Port of Virginia where the five containers were shipped. USDA purchased the soy flour as part of its cooperative agreement with ASA under the USDA Food for Progress Program. Cargill’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa facility produced the soy flour, which readily increases the protein content of traditional naan breads as well as makes soymilk and other foods.… Continue reading

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No-till reduces nitrous oxide emissions

Using no-till and corn-soybean rotation practices in farm fields can significantly reduce field emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, according to a Purdue University study.

Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, found that no-till reduces nitrous oxide emissions by 57% over chisel tilling, which mixes crop residue into surface soil, and 40% over moldboard tilling, which completely inverts soil as well as the majority of surface residue. Chisel plowing is the most widely used form of tilling before planting corn in Indiana, he said.

“There was a dramatic reduction simply because of the no-till,” said Vyn, whose findings were published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal. “We think the soil disturbance and residue placement impacts of chisel plowing and moldboard plowing modify the soil physical and microbial environments such that more nitrous oxide is created and released.”

During early season nitrogen fertilizer applications on corn, no-till may actually reduce nitrous oxide emissions from other forms of nitrogen present in, or resulting from, that fertilizer.… Continue reading

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Obama signs tax bill that benefits biofuels

Much of agriculture was pleased with the action taken by President Obama and members of Congress on tax legislation that extends the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, the biodiesel tax incentive and provides an important estate tax exemption.

“We are very happy to see the one-year extension of the ethanol blender’s credit and a two year reformed estate tax move,” said National Corn Growers Association president Bart Schott, a corn farmer in Kulm, N.D. “These extensions were among the top priorities for our organization in 2010; failure to renew both would have done much to harm our nation’s rural economy and the future of America’s farms.”

In addition to providing and supporting 400,000 jobs here in the United States, ethanol is an important part of our nation’s energy mix because it reduces dependence on foreign oil and cuts greenhouse gas emissions, Schott added. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that corn ethanol provides up to a 52 percent reduction in greenhouse gases compared to gasoline.… Continue reading

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House sends tax bill to Obama

The battered biodiesel industry is holding its breath as the long awaited renewal of the tax incentive for the biofuel inches closer to becoming law.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted by a 277 to 148 margin to approve H.R. 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. The legislation, which reflects the framework of the tax agreement reached by President Obama and Congress, retroactively extends the biodiesel tax incentive through 2011. The bill will now be sent to the President for signature.

“Reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit is welcome news for the U.S. biodiesel industry and good news for the nation as a whole,” said Manning Feraci, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs. “This will undoubtedly help kick-start the domestic biodiesel industry, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and create thousands of new jobs across the country.”

Biodiesel is a commercially viable, renewable, low carbon diesel replacement fuel that is widely accepted in the marketplace.… Continue reading

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USDA announces availability of enhanced online tool to estimate farm-level greenhouse gas emissions

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the release of an enhanced and expanded online tool developed in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU) that helps producers estimate carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions associated with a variety of on-farm management practices.

“This is a user-friendly tool that any conservation-minded landowner can employ to evaluate their greenhouse gas emissions,” White said. “Once producers have a better sense of their carbon footprint, they can choose to make changes within their operations that will enhance the environment for their families as well as their local communities.”

The tool, officially known as COMET-VR 2.0, is housed on the CSU Web site at Similar to the first version, COMET-VR, Version 2.0 is easy-to-use and connected to state-of-the-art models that help farmers and ranchers evaluate on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration options. The online tool estimates carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with the implementation of conservation practices for cropland, pasture, rangeland, orchards and agroforestry.… Continue reading

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ASA hails Senate passage of tax legislation, urges prompt House passage

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds Senate passage of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” and urges prompt House passage of the legislation. The Senate bill makes the biodiesel tax incentive retroactive for 2010, and extends it through 2011.

“ASA thanks the Senate for passing this legislation, which is crucial to the economic viability of the U.S. biodiesel industry,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Biodiesel is a major market for U.S. soybean oil, and has been a key factor in supporting domestic soybean prices in recent years.”

The bill, which now moves on to the House for a possible vote later this week, provides for an expedited process for U.S. biodiesel producers to claim retroactive 2010 credits. In 2009, the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 545 million gallons of biodiesel. Based on August and September production levels, 2010 production is expected to be 345 million gallons, a decline of over 35 percent from the previous year.… Continue reading

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USB prepares for 2011

The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff prepare to head into the new year with a new executive committee, led by newly elected USB Chairman Marc Curtis, a checkoff farmer-leader from Leland, Miss. Curtis, along with the other 68 volunteer farmer-directors, will begin reviewing priority issues established by representatives of the entire U.S. soybean industry at the recent CONNECTIONS meeting. These issues will be considered in the long-range planning process of the board.

Curtis has been a checkoff farmer-leader since 2005, serving as USB vice chairman, treasurer, chair of the USB Global Opportunities Program and member of the Production Research program, among other positions.

“I’m honored to have been selected by my fellow soybean farmers to serve as USB chairman,” says Curtis. “And I look forward to cooperating with the rest of the industry to continue the work of the checkoff especially to increase U.S. soy exports.”

Other members of the executive committee include: 

•    Vanessa Kummer, Colfax, N.D.,… Continue reading

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